Iowa Sen. Pam Jochum, D-Dubuque, earned airtime on screens around the country recently for her opposition to the Republican election reform bill signed by Gov. Kim Reynolds this month.

A clip of Jochum’s floor speech on the bill was selected for a March 14 segment on NBC’s “Meet the Press,” in which host Chuck Todd spotlighted dozens of Republican election reform bills being considered in state legislatures around the country following the 2020 election.

The new Iowa election law limits early voting, including shortening the state’s early voting period from 29 to 20 days. It also requires most mail-in ballots to be received by county election officials by the time polls close on Election Day. The law also moves up the time polls close on Election Day from 9 to 8 p.m.

The clip of Jochum that aired on NBC features the Iowa senator referencing former President Donald Trump’s claim — made without evidence — that he actually won his 2020 bid for re-election and that the election was stolen from him via widespread voter fraud. Dozens of courts turned away those claims.

“That big lie has been debunked,” Jochum said. “It has been debunked more than 100 times in courts of law. In Iowa, Republicans, heck, you won. You won big in 2020 here.”

The elections bill passed both the Iowa Senate and House of Representatives, earning only the votes of the Republican majority in each chamber. Reynolds later signed it into law.

Jochum quickly learned of her appearance on “Meet the Press.” She told the Telegraph Herald she wished it was for a reason she thought was better.

“Iowa needs some positive press,” she said.

Days before the segment with Jochum aired,

U.S. Rep. Ashley Hinson, R-Iowa, fought against a federal overhaul of elections being pushed through Congress by Democrats who control both chambers and the presidency.

House Resolution 1 would require states to create automatic voter-registration systems and offer same-day registration and would limit states’ ability to remove voters from their rolls, among other things.

“When I was in the Iowa state House, we worked hard to secure our election system to safeguard against fraud and ensure only legal votes were counted,” she said on the U.S. House floor. “Our goal in Iowa was to make it easy to vote and hard to cheat. And we succeeded in doing that. But H.R. 1 would overrule those efforts and force Washington one-size-fits all policy and voting practices on Iowans.”

Dubuque gets defender against downgrade

Hinson also caught wind of a federal proposal to downgrade the City of Dubuque’s municipal category in the national government’s rolls.

The federal Office of Management and Budget is considering a proposal that would change the definition of a metropolitan statistical area, which would change 144 U.S. cities — including Dubuque — from metropolitan areas to “micropolitan” statistical areas.

Hinson was unhappy with that proposal and took to social media about it.

“Dubuque is a great place to live, work, and travel and we want to keep it growing,” she tweeted. “But the Office of Management and Budget put forward a plan that would downgrade Dubuque’s designation as a metropolitan area and hurt our local economy.”

Hinson’s office last week said she would attempt to stop the OMB from making such a change.

Bustos backs carbon capture bill

U.S. Rep. Cheri Bustos, D-Ill., last week lent her support to efforts to invest in carbon capture technology to chip away at climate change during a House Energy and Water Subcommittee hearing.

Among efforts she mentioned was the Storing CO2 and Lowering Emissions (SCALE) Act, which would create good-paying jobs and grow local economies, according to a press release from her office.

“To tackle the climate crisis we must mobilize the wealth of resources rural America has to offer, while creating good-paying jobs in our communities along the way,” Bustos said in the release. “The bipartisan, bicameral SCALE Act provides us with an opportunity to develop infrastructure to create a cleaner environment and grow local economies.”

Sand supports Iowa’s election of Miller-Meeks

Iowa State Auditor Rob Sand, a Democrat, weighed in on the ongoing controversy surrounding the election of U.S. Rep. Mariannette Miller-Meeks, R-Iowa.

Miller-Meeks won her seat by just six votes in 2020 over former U.S. Rep. Rita Hart, a Democrat, and the win was certified by a bipartisan board in Iowa. Hart has challenged the results, however, and the House Administration Committee is considering her arguments — a move that has sparked criticism from Republicans.

During an interview on former political reporter Simon Conway’s podcast on Iowa government, Sand supported the decision coming from state officials. He argued that the appropriate path for Hart’s complaint would have been through Iowa’s court system, rather than appealing to Congress.

“I love the Iowa court system,” he said. “We have a very good court system, and my first preference, all other things being equal, would be the Iowa court system.”

The Republican Party of Iowa seized on Sand’s comments

“Iowans in the Second District know Mariannette Miller-Meeks is their rightful Congresswoman,” party Communication Director Kollin Crompton said in a release. “She won on election day, won the recount, and was certified the winner, even by Democrats.”

AwardsWisconsin Rep. Todd Novak, R-Dodgeville, was named a 2020 Friend of Housing last week by the Wisconsin Builders Association.

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