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John Pemble

Reporter

John Pemble is a reporter for Iowa Public Radio and host of the Iowa legislative podcast Under the Golden Dome.

He produces many live events for News and Talk and records music performances for IPR Classical and Studio One. During the leadup to the 2020 Iowa caucuses, John was a co-producer for the podcast Caucus Land.

John began his career at Iowa Public Radio in 1989 as a program host for jazz, classical, and contemporary instrumental music programs. For a decade he was also an adjunct professor for Iowa Central Community College’s broadcasting department. He transferred to the news department in 2008. You can contact John at jpemble@iowapublicradio.org.

  • Last day of the 2021 legislative session featured a surprise amendment to a bill prohibiting schools and cities from implementing mask mandates stricter than state policies and code.
  • As the 2021 session comes to a close, changing Iowa’s bottle redemption system received a public hearing. Another large department budget passed out of an appropriations committee, and includes a controversial income verification qualification for public assistance programs. And a large bill about law enforcement passed out of the House.
  • A week after House committees presented appropriations budgets, the Senate followed. There are a few differences between the two chambers and they must be resolved for the budget bills to pass. Two of the governor’s appointees are in danger of not being confirmed by the Senate. Confirmation requires two-thirds majority and if Democrats unite in opposition, an appointee will be removed from their position.
  • This week, the Iowa House of Representatives passed a bill allowing third-party services to deliver beer, wine, or liquor to a customer’s home. Grants to increase faster internet service received unanimous support in the Senate and House, and the House appropriations committee advanced budgets to be debated in the chamber.
  • Autonomous personal delivery devices may start operating in residential areas of Iowa communities. The House has passed a bill allowing for these robot deliveries and now a Senate committee has modified the bill. The House has also passed a bill adding penalties for those who trespass and take animal, plant, or land samples from an agricultural-producing property. It also includes penalties for taking a photograph while trespassing.
  • Legislators are beginning the sprint to the end of the legislative session. Budgets are starting to form in the Senate and House. So are more tax reduction proposals, including one that would change funding for mental health to come from the general fund instead of local property taxes. Some of those other divisions would eliminate backfill payments to cities and counties.
  • With demand for a COVID-19 shot expected to be high this year, the House has passed a bill allowing dentists to administer these vaccines. The House also passed a bill placing restrictions on what concepts can be included in diversity training for state workers and public school staff. The floor debate lasted four hours.
  • A bill in the Iowa Senate passes that would add penalties for protesters who cause damage or interfere with police trying to break up a disorderly protest. Another passes prohibiting a city or county from reducing the budget for law enforcement. The House Government Oversight Committee meets with members from Ames Community School District about concerns for using Black Lives Matter at School Week of Action in their schools.
  • The legislative season is around the halfway mark, where there is a deadline for most bills to pass out of one full committee. Bills with a financial impact are not subject to this “funnel.” On this episode we walk through six bills that passed this funnel week.
  • A controversial bill proposes changing Iowa’s election laws and increasing penalties. It receives a public hearing, then two days later it passes in the House and Senate. Also, a bill from a Senate Education subcommittee advances that would make it easier for superintendents and school board members to be removed if they willfully violate Iowa laws concerning Iowa schools.