Iowa Ideas 2023

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The latest issues positioned to drive big change.

    Local Control

    While the Iowa Constitution grants local governments “home rule” powers, local communities have accused the state of infringing on those powers in recent years – on issues from fireworks, masks, rental housing and more. Is this partisanship or are impacts deeper? Why does this matter? What impact does this have on political representation?

    Moderated by Erin Murphy

    Held on October 13, 2022 at 9:15AM

    • Bill Peterson

    • Alan Kemp

    • Ross Wilburn


    Name, Image and Likeness Laws for Student Athletes

    The ability for college players to earn money from their name image and likeness has led to a number of collectives and opportunities for athletes and fans to forge new relationships. Meanwhile, Iowa became the 15th state in August in which high school athletes could begin to earn money from use of their name, image or likeness. We’ll discuss what this means for athletes, programs and fans as the era of NIL takes hold.

    Moderated by John Steppe

    Held on October 13, 2022 at 2:10PM

    • Brad Heinrichs

    • Lyla Clerry

    • David Harris


    The Links of Domestic Abuse and Homicide

    Domestic violence homicides continued an upward trend in 2021 to the highest levels seen in at least 10 years. More than half of all Iowans killed in a domestic violence incident were killed with a gun. What is – or could – be done to lower domestic violence deaths? Why are they spiking now and what can Iowans do to reduce domestic violence across the state?

    Moderated by Trish Mehaffey

    Held on October 13, 2022 at 3:15PM

    • Jodi Bowden-Fuentes

    • Sandi Tibbetts Murphy

    • Lisa Ambrose

    • Nick Maybanks

    • Laura Hessburg


    The Big Idea: Keeping Balance in the Judiciary

    A fair and independent judicial branch is a key piece of a democratic form of government. The independence – including free from outside influences – helps judges stick the facts of the case and ignore other influences. Once hailed as a gold standard in judicial selection, there have been challenges in the judicial selection process, significant wave of retirements meaning Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds has appointed the majority of the court. A global pandemic also impacted how the courts have done business. How is the court doing at managing against outside influences and working to preserve its balance?

    Moderated by Tom Barton

    Held on October 13, 2022 at 4:20PM

    • Connie Ryan

    • Chief Justice Susan Christensen

    • Henry Hamilton


    School Choice

    While multiple school choice measures stalled in the Republican-controlled Iowa Legislature last year, they’re expected to again be a major theme when lawmakers return to Des Moines in January. What’s fueling the push? What do the proposals mean for students, public and private schools? What will these measures mean for Iowa’s rural districts?

    Moderated by Erin Murphy

    Held on October 14, 2022 at 10:10AM

    • Trish Wilger

    • Melissa Peterson

    • Drew Klein

    • Margaret Buckton


    Protecting our elders: Iowa's new Elder Abuse law

    Elder abuse became a specific criminal offense under a new law that took effect July 1. The new laws – which establish criminal penalties -- also address theft, assault and financial exploitation of those over age 60. We’ll talk about the impacts the laws are expected to have as well as why the laws were necessary in the first place.

    Moderated by Tom Barton

    Held on October 14, 2022 at 11:15AM

    • Brad Anderson

    • Robyn Mills

    • Larry Kudej

    • Chantelle Smith

Policy Articles

  • There were swift and loud demands for change to laws and practices across Iowa in the wake of George Floyd's death. How much progress has been made and what will it take to accomplish even more lasting change? Panelists include: Stacey Walker, Linn County Supervisor; Bruce Teague, Mayor, City of Iowa City; Betty Andrews, President of Iowa-Nebras...
  • The COVID-19 pandemic created instantaneous disruption and market changes for food producers and suppliers. From massive plant shutdowns, to major market disruption, the food industry changed quickly. What can be done to make the food system -- which Iowa has a major role in -- into more of a responsive system able to support individual consumer...
  • Presentation of Iowa's COVID-19 data has undergone several changes since the COVID-19 pandemic began in Iowa in March. What happens when these changes and corrections challenge public confidence in the data? Panelists include: Sara Willette, Iowa COVID-19 Tracker; Dana Jones, Nurse Practitioner, University of Iowa; Dr. Kelly Baker, Assistant Pro...
  • While significant transgender rights were secured in a court battle, the challenges against LGBTQ rights continue in Iowa in the most recent legislative session when more than a dozen bills seeking to undermine LGBTQ rights were introduced, with bills seeking to require schools to seek parent authorization to present materials on gender and sexu...
  • Whether it's felon voting rights, disproportionate incarceration of persons of color, comprehensive criminal justice reform has been a challenge for local and state leaders in Iowa. What needs to be done to make serious progress on criminal justice reform in Iowa? Panelists include: Dr. Beth Skinner, Director of Iowa Department of Corrections, D...
  • Newsrooms in Iowa and across the country face unprecedented challenges as business models meet global pandemics, social unrest and a large political chasm. A group of Iowa media leaders will discuss what this means for Iowans, public access to information and more. Panelists include: Adam Carros, News Director for KCRG-TV9, Carol Hunter, Executi...
  • Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds joins The Gazette Executive Editor Zack Kucharski to discuss the state's ongoing COVID-19 response, the state's economy, racial justice and other topics. This Q&amp;A was part of the 2020 Iowa Ideas Conference presented by ITC and held Oct. 15-16, 2020. This session originally occurred at 12:30 p.m. on Oct. 15, 2020. ...
  • CEDAR RAPIDS - Technology has made it so the plight of Black Americans no longer can be ignored. 'It is certainly a time where the cellphone is really one of the greatest civil rights tools there is,” said Betty Andrews, president of the Iowa-Nebraska chapters of the NAACP. 'The fact that we now - through video - can put some footage in front of...
  • CEDAR RAPIDS — Awareness of racial disparities and inequities in Iowa's criminal justice system is growing but change is slow in coming in a state that is 'Iowa nice' but has data that says otherwise, according to panelists who drilled into the issue Thursday during The Gazette's Iowa Ideas conference. Beth Skinner, director of the state Departm...
  • The push to release inmates to protect both free and incarcerated populations from COVID-19 raises questions about who we send to jail and why. Since the 1970s, the rate of incarceration in the United States has increased fourfold, according to the Vera Institute, an independent not-for-profit national research and policy organization in the Uni...

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