Neighboring States Wrestle with Many of the Same Issues

Apr 28, 2014

While there are many differences between Iowa and our neighboring states, there are also many similarities.  For example, Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker recently signed a bill to allow the use of a cannabis extract for the treatment of seizures, while Minnesota's state legislature is still working on a similar proposal.  In recent weeks, an effort to decriminalize the possession of cannabis oil has gained ground in the Iowa statehouse.  In this week's legislative show, Host Clay Masters talks with statehouse reporters in Illinois, Wisconsin, Minnesota and Missouri to compare notes, and see how lawmakers are approaching these and other issues.

Amanda Vinicky, Illinois Public Radio

Illinois House Speaker Mike Madigan is criticizing an effort to put the state's redistricting process into the hands of a non-partisan commission.  Iowa's redistricting process is held up as an example by proponents.  Speaker Madigan says the effort is being funded by the GOP, who have long been shut out of redrawing legislative boundaries while Democrats control both chambers at the statehouse.

Shawn Johnson, Wisconsin Public Radio

The redistricting debate in Wisconsin is nearly opposite that in Illinois.  Democrats in the General Assembly are calling for a non-partisan process, while GOP lawmakers who control both chambers in Madison says it's a case of sour grapes.  And 22 members of the General Assembly have announced plans to retire this year, meaning massive turnover in the Wisconsin statehouse which could lead to a stronger push of Governor Scott Walker's agenda.

Tom Scheck, Minnesota Public Radio

Minnesota lawmakers have pushed through a proposal to raise the state's minimum wage to $9.50 per hour.  This was also a priority of Iowa Senate Democrats earlier this session, but was quickly dropped in an election year.  The Minnesota legislature is also still considering a bill to require state contractors to demonstrate equal pay for men and women.

Marshall Griffin, St. Louis Public Radio

Republicans in the Missouri House are holding impeachment proceedings against Democratic Governor Jay Nixon.  Three articles of impeachment are being considered.  But the partisan fight wasn't enough to stop Missouri lawmakers from rewriting their criminal code, including eliminating jail time for first offense marijuana possession.