iowa capitol
John Pemble / IPR

An Iowa House panel advanced a proposal Wednesday that is meant to address concerns Republican leaders said they heard from voters about property taxes.

The bill caps property tax revenue growth at 2 percent each year.

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For 20 years, readers have been hooked on the adventures of Harry Potter and his friends, with many people finding inspiration in the characters and themes of the books by J.K. Rowling. The very popular podcast "Harry Potter and the Sacred Text" has grown out of that community, and it takes an intentional look at the series and the lessons we can take from it. 

felon voting application
John Pemble / IPR

Iowans with felony convictions will receive invitations from Gov. Kim Reynolds to apply to get their voting rights restored upon release from prison or completion of probation or parole in a simplified process.

Reynolds announced Tuesday her office is streamlining and expediting the process for ex-felons to apply to get their voting rights restored as she continues to advocate for a constitutional amendment to automatically restore those rights.

John Grimm via flickr creative commons /

The Green New Deal has broad-based support among Democratic voters, according to a new Iowa poll. Ninety-one percent of likely Democratic voters favor candidates who support the Green New Deal, according to the Des Moines Register/CNN/Mediacom Iowa Poll of likely Democratic caucusgoers. 


The new film, “Sons and Daughters of Thunder” tells the story of the anti-slavery debates that took place at the Ohio Lane theological Seminary in Cincinnati, Ohio in 1834. These controversial meetings, lead by abolitionists, were the first to publically discuss the end of slavery in the U.S. and served as a catalyst for major social activism and change at the seminary and throughout the wider Cincinnati community. 

Courtesy of Ksenia Nosikova

This week’s Symphonies of Iowa show on IPR features Orchestra Iowa with Ksenia Nosikova on piano and their “Russian Festival” concert. The all-Russian program includes works by Rachmaninoff and Tchaikovsky.

When Rachmaninoff was 17-years-old, he left the piano studio he was a part of in order to dedicate his life to composing. He became a major composer of the 20th century, performing his own concertos. At just 18-years-old, Rachmaninoff premiered his Piano Concerto No. 1 at the Moscow Conservatory in 1892.

Library of Congress

This program originally aired on June 28, 2018.

Iowa Writer’s Workshop graduate Nick Dybek’s latest book tells a mysterious story set in the aftermath of one of World War I’s most horrific encounters, the Battle of Verdun.

On this edition of River to River, host Ben Kieffer talks with Dybek about his new book, The Verdun Affair: A Novel, about the battle and its aftermath.

Courtesy of Sioux City

Sioux City council members on Monday adopted plans for a multi-purpose venue that will host everything from farm shows to soccer tournaments to dog shows. Officials expect the Siouxland Expo Center to draw people from throughout the region.

Seth Sawyers via flickr creative commons /

Seventy-five teachers in the Davenport Community School District are figuring out their next steps after losing their jobs due to budget cuts. Union members are helping the teachers with the transition. 

John Pemble/IPR

The Iowa Legislature is in it's ninth week at the Statehouse, with last Friday marking the first deadline of the session. During this River to River episode, Clay Masters talks with reporters about what bills are still being considered and what bills didn't make the cut after last week's "funnel." 

Guests include: 

Wikimedia Commns

Due to deep snow, plenty of ice, wild winds, and frigid temperatures, it has been a long, hard winter for all of us in Iowa. That includes the non-human residents. 

On this edition of Talk of Iowa, host Charity Nebbe talks with Wildlife Biologist Jim Pease about the possible impact of harsh winter weather on wild animals here in Iowa.

John Pemble/IPR


A wide-ranging elections bill that would block public university students from voting early on campus among other changes advanced in the Iowa senate last week. Morning Edition Host Clay Masters spoke with IPR’s state government reporter Katarina Sostaric about this bill and others working their way through the legislature following a deadline last week.


Clay Masters / IPR

Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders finished his first swing through Iowa Saturday as an official Democratic presidential candidate. Instead of small and more intimate venues, the campaign held three rallies over the course of three days in the state which kicks off the presidential nominating process.

Sanders, an independent senator who caucuses with Democrats, told the crowd he thinks he has a good chance of winning the Democratic nomination in 2020. But he says he will strongly support whoever gets the nomination.

ACLU of Iowa

The Iowa Supreme Court on Friday struck down the state’s policy excluding transgender people from using Medicaid coverage for transition-related surgical care.

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Research cited by the FCC estimates that almost half of all calls received in 2019 will be spam, and Iowa Attorney General Tom Miller is not pleased. 

On this "news buzz" edition of River to River, host Ben Kieffer talks with Deputy Attorney General Nathan Blake about the Attorney General's endorsement of a plan aimed at restricting spam calls. 

Also in the hour: 

ISU Extension

It may be hard to believe right now, but the arrival of spring is inevitable. On this horticulture day edition of Talk of Iowa, plant pathologist Lina Rodriguez Salamanca from the Iowa State University Plant and Insect Diagnostic Lab joins host Charity Nebbe to talk about an opportunity to become a certified morel mushroom hunter.

John Pemble / Iowa Public Radio

March 8 was the deadline for most bills and resolutions to pass a House or a Senate committee. Most of those that haven’t are no longer eligible for a subcommittee. Exceptions include appropriations, ways and means and government oversite. There are others ways a bill subject to the deadline could emerge later, but most won’t. This is also called the "funnel deadline."

The 2019 Iowa Legislative Session is scheduled for 110 days. That's 16 weeks, so it’s likely we are in the middle of this session.

voting sign
John Pemble / IPR file photo

Republican senators advanced a wide-ranging elections bill Thursday ahead of a key statehouse deadline for legislation to remain eligible in this session.

It would block students at the University of Iowa, Iowa State University and the University of Northern Iowa from voting early on campus. That’s one result of a proposed overall ban on hosting satellite voting stations in state-owned buildings, which would also include the Iowa Veterans Home.

John Pemble/IPR

A bill that would reinstate the death penalty for someone who kidnaps, rapes and murders a child advanced out of an Iowa Senate committee Thursday with an 8-7 vote.

Sen. Jason Schultz, R-Schleswig, said it is meant to address what he calls a “perverse incentive to kill children.”

Courtesy of Iowa DNR

The Iowa Department of Natural Resources is working to control an invasive aquatic plant and improve access for boaters in the Iowa Great Lakes region.

Pablo Martinez Monsivais

U.S. Senator Charles Grassley says the long-anticipated findings of Robert Mueller’s investigation could drop within the next two weeks.

In conversation with River to River host Ben Kieffer, Grassley says it’s vital for such reports to be made public. He also supports a bipartisan bill to ensure this and all future special counsel reports are released publicly. 

Courtesy of Luis Argueta

It's been more than ten years since a 2008 raid by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement rocked the small community of Postville, Iowa. The story of this community, and the undocumented workers swept up in the chaos, is told in a documentary series by director Luis Argueta.

Argueta says he decided to come to Iowa after reading about the raid in a New York Times article.

Charity Nebbe / Iowa Public Radio

Iowa has a reputation as being a home for writers. Recently that has been especially true for writers of poetry. Many poets across the state releasing new collections, participating in readings, poetry slams, and striving to teach and inspire the next generation of poets.

During this episode of Talk of Iowa, host Charity Nebbe will be speaking with three Iowa poets about their work and about the growing scene across the state. Their writing deals with a range of themes and inspirations, from death and sickness, and true crime, to arm wrestling at the Iowa State Fair.

Pat Blank / IPR

The inscription just above the sun visor in William Burt’s mini-bus reads, “Life is a journey, and only you hold the map.”  Burt’s journey began when as a child, he moved with his family from Mississippi to Iowa.  He became a father for the first time at the tender age of 14 and was soon in his words, “making money the easy way” by dealing drugs.

He was eventually arrested and sent to prison.  At the Fort Dodge Correctional Facility, Burt gave haircuts to the other prisoners, and realized he had pretty good skills.

medical marijuana
Katarina Sostaric/IPR

A bill that would expand Iowa's medical marijuana program is being fast-tracked by some House members ahead of a key statehouse deadline.

Rep. Jarad Klein, R-Keota, said the bill is a good step in the right direction, and comes in response to issues brought up with the current law.

iowa capitol
John Pemble/IPR file photo

Gov. Kim Reynolds’ administration is refusing to release information about how many harassment complaints are being investigated in state agencies. The state lawmaker seeking the information filed a complaint Wednesday with the Iowa Public Information Board.

Gage Skidmore/Flickr

Political scientists Chris Larimer of the University of Northern Iowa and Dave Andersen of Iowa State University join host Ben Kieffer for this Politics Day edition of River to River

In the hour, the trio discuss topics including:

  • U.S. Secretary of State Pompeo's visit to Iowa
  • A new probe into President Trump lead by House Democrats
  • The Senate as a possible roadblock to the president's national emergency declaration
  • Who is in and who is out in the crowded 2020 race for the presidency

Alexa McDowell

Only 11 sites in Iowa are listed on the National Register of Historic Places as having played an important role in African American history. The State Historic Preservation Office is hoping Iowans participate in a new project that will put more spots on the map – the 20th Century Civil Rights Survey Project.

In this episode of Talk of Iowa, Charity Nebbe talks with those involved: Paula Mohr, architectural historian at the State Historical Society of Iowa, and Betty Andrews, president of the Iowa-Nebraska NAACP.

Courtesy of Sam Fathallah

The music scene in Iowa and the rest of the Midwest is thriving right now and videographer Sam Fathallah wants everyone to know about it.

That's why Fathallah started Circular Sessions, a video series showcasing the breadth and depth of the Midwestern music scene through interviews and performances. Through the series, Fathallah invites artists including Elizabeth Moen, The Maytags, and Bad Bad Hats into his sun-filled artist's loft for a session that feels as creative as it is intimate. 

“Music in this type of space, in this natural lit open space... it's reminiscent of how music is made, when it's really made. You know, when it's rehearsed in people's living rooms, and in their basements before it even gets to the studio," Fathallah says. "That's what music really looks like especially in Iowa, where folks are just making music in their homes.”

The forces of writing and music come together as Chamber Music Quad Cities pairs up with novelist Nathan Hill.

Nathan Hill is an Iowa native whose writing skills came to national attention with The Nix, his “critically acclaimed novel spanning three generations of American life.” The novel is being translated into thirty languages and was named #1 book of the year by Audible and Entertainment Weekly.