IPR News Stories

Coming Soon! Caucus Land - As the first in the nation voting state, Iowa is where all presidential candidates begin - and many end - their campaign to the White House. Join IPR reporters Clay Masters and Kate Payne as they delve into Iowa's role in shaping the nominating field - from Iowa's caucus history to the candidates, the moments and people that shape the 2020 presidential cycle. 

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IPR/Pat Blank

Advocates of a more comprehensive medical cannabis law in Iowa continue to push to make it a top legislative priority, and some who are enrolled in the program say it needs to be expanded.

On a typical morning at the Iowa Cannabis Company dispensary in Waterloo, staff members are taking phone calls, doing inventory and filling prescriptions. The Waterloo location is one of five licensed in the state and the second busiest.

Amy Mayer / IPR file photo

The threat of a deadly hog disease is prompting state officials to tighten security at swine events during the Iowa State Fair.

For nearly a year, U.S. pork producers have watched African swine fever decimate China’s pig herd and they fear it could arrive here. It doesn’t hurt people or contaminate food, but it could wipe out many farms and send pork prices soaring.

Clay Masters/IPR file photo

Local, state and federal officials have formed a working group to address Iowa’s PFAS contamination and any impacts to drinking water. Iowa is one of a number of states to grapple with the chemicals used at military bases and manufacturing sites.

Katie Peikes / IPR file photo

The mayor of a small western Iowa town that flooded last spring pitched his idea for a future flood control measure during a town hall meeting Thursday.

Natalie Krebs/IPR file photo

A Polk County judge has dismissed a lawsuit seeking to overturn a law that would allow organizations using public insurance dollars – like Medicaid – to opt out of covering gender-affirming surgery.

jerry foxhoven
Clay Masters / IPR file

Gov. Kim Reynolds’s office said former Department of Human Services Director Jerry Foxhoven’s emails to staff about the late rapper Tupac Shakur were not a factor in Reynolds asking for Foxhoven’s resignation last month.

Iowa National Guard

Thirty years ago today, a United Airlines plane crashed-landed in Sioux City and killed 112 people; 184 survived.

Every summer, thousands of Midwestern kids as young as 13 load onto school buses early in the morning to do one of the hottest, dirtiest temporary jobs out there. They are the corn detasselers.

But this year, there’s a snag: Detasseling season is being pushed back due to a wet spring.

Kate Payne/IPR file

Eastern Iowa residents will have a chance to weigh in on flooding, drought and navigation on the Mississippi River at public meetings this month. Events are slated for this Saturday in Muscatine and July 27th in Dubuque.

Storm damage varied among homes on the same street, and so has recovery. The collapsed porch and broken windows appear untouched on one home while the house next door now looks unscathed.
Grant Gerlock / IPR

Construction crews are still a regular presence on the north side of Marshalltown, where one year ago an EF-3 tornado carved a path through residential streets and the community’s downtown.

Courtesy of research.noaa.gov

Most of Iowa is under an excessive heat warning, where temperatures will reach in the 90s and heat index values could be as high as 110 degrees.

The Iowa caucuses are not known to be particularly inclusive or diverse. But in the 2008 cycle, the state became the jumping off point for a candidate who would become the nation’s first black president. On the second episode of Caucus Land, Barack Obama’s road to the White House.

Kate Payne/IPR file

Organizers in the southeast Iowa community of Burlington don’t anticipate any flooding issues to impact the city’s RAGBRAI plans. That’s after the Mississippi swamped parts of the town's downtown earlier this year

Clay Masters / IPR file

A new analysis released by the Iowa Environmental Council on Tuesday says the state's approach to reducing nutrient runoff into waterways has been slow to meet its goals, six years into having a strategy in place. The analysis projects that at the state's current pace, it could take hundreds to tens of thousands of years for the state to reach some of the goals laid out to improve water quality.

Des Moines Register pool photo

A Polk County jury decided Monday former Iowa Gov. Terry Branstad discriminated against a gay state official and awarded the former employee $1.5 million.

Charlie Neibergall / AP

Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden unveiled a health care plan Monday that would add a public option to the Affordable Care Act.  The former vice president talked about the plan at a Des Moines forum hosted by AARP Iowa and the Des Moines Register. Biden has differed from many of his opponents in not calling for a “Medicare for All” plan.

Natalie Krebs/IPR

As of this month, Iowa has a new children’s mental health system. Lawmakers have set up a system much like the adult’s mental health system to ensure there are much-needed core services for uninsured children across Iowa. But the legislation the governor signed in May came without long-term state funding and now that it’s officially in place -- one major question still looms: Who’s going to pay for it?

Midwestern fish farmers grow a variety of species, such as tilapia, salmon, barramundi and shrimp, all of which require a high-protein diet. The region grows copious amounts of soybeans, which have a lot of protein, but these two facts have yet to converge.

Kate Payne/IPR

About a thousand left-leaning Iowans weathered 90 degree temperatures in Cedar Rapids Sunday to hear from ten Democratic presidential candidates at Progress Iowa’s annual Corn Feed event. Each of the presidential hopefuls had about ten minutes to make their case.

representative john forbes
Joyce Russell/IPR file

Republican leaders in the Iowa Legislature Thursday denied Democrats’ request to form a special committee to make recommendations for the state’s medical marijuana program.

marijuana plants
Katarina Sostaric / IPR file

This story was originally published May 29, 2019. 

Democratic lawmakers are calling on the Republican-controlled Iowa Legislature to return to the Statehouse to overturn the governor’s veto of a bill that would have expanded the state’s medical marijuana program.

Casinos like the Isle of Capri are making plans to be ready for sports betting once the final rules are approved.
Dustin Oliver / Flickr

State regulators will vote later this month on rules allowing sports betting in Iowa, fulfilling a law passed this year by the legislature. If the guidelines are adopted by the Iowa Racing and Gaming Commission, the first wagers could be made as soon as mid-August.

Kate Payne/IPR file

The city of Davenport is taking a deeper look at this year’s historic floods and the city’s handling of them. A task force of residents, business leaders, local officials and scientists met for the first time this week, kick-starting a formal review process.

John Pemble/IPR file photo

State and federal attorneys want the Iowa Supreme Court to reverse a Tama County magistrate judge’s decision to dismiss a set of criminal charges because they occurred on tribal land. In oral arguments Wednesday, they argued a law passed by Congress last year does not entirely eliminate the state’s jurisdiction on the Meskwaki Settlement in eastern Iowa as the judge ruled.

iowa capitol
John Pemble/IPR

The state of Iowa has agreed to pay an additional $386 million in state and federal dollars to the two private insurance companies that manage the state’s Medicaid program for low-income and disabled residents.

doctors office
Jennifer Morrow / flickr

Five registered nurses at state-owned facilities have filed a class-action lawsuit against the state of Iowa challenging what they allege is the state’s failure to pay them proper overtime wages.

Courtesy of Iowa DNR

The Iowa Department of Natural Resources has wrapped up this year’s efforts to treat an invasive plant in the Iowa Great Lakes region. Efforts mostly worked against the plant that grew a little differently than past years, said a biologist.

Des Moines Metro Opera

Julia Child is famed for her ground-breaking cooking show that brought French cuisine to everyday Americans in an accessible and approachable way. Now, Child's legacy is the subject of a short "Opera 'Bon Appetit,'" produced in partnership with  Des Moines Metro Opera and the Iowa Culinary Institute at Des Moines Area Community College.

Courtesy of The National Institute on Drug Abuse

Last year, opioid-related deaths in Iowa decreased by 33 percent, marking a five year low for the state, according to statistics released this month from the state's Department of Health Statistics.


Starting Monday there's a new director of the Iowa Department of Natural Resources. After serving as Gov. Kim Reynolds legislative liaison, Kayla Lyon will become the agency's first female leader, after the department has gone over a year without a permanent leader in place.