Living in Society

RAGBRAI and Iowa Politics

From Trish Nelson at RAGBRAI
From Trish Nelson at RAGBRAI

Trish Nelson, regular editor of Blog for Iowa, posted this photo on the Internet, reminding us that there is a world outside the confines of what Al Gore described as “the worldwide digital communications, Internet, and computer revolutions (which) have led to the emergence of ‘the Global Mind,’ which links the thoughts and feelings of billions of people and connects intelligent machines, robots, ubiquitous sensors, and databases.” That is, outside blogs, Facebook, twitter, the World Wide Web and cable TV.

On the real world front, while Governor Branstad was participating in RAGBRAI, his staff was meeting behind closed doors with regional Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) staff regarding Iowa’s compliance with the Clean Water Act. Read the community organizing group Iowa Citizens for Community Improvement (Iowa CCI) article here.

Putting the best face on it, the governor is managing mandatory compliance with the EPA on a number of fronts, including the Clean Water Act. Elections matter, and Iowa chose Terry Branstad, along with his views on EPA compliance, in 2010. To put the Iowa CCI face on it, they recirculated their frequent meme, “…the Farm Bureau does not run this state,” and demanded transparency. Both points have some validity, and there is no surprise by any of this as both party’s positions regarding concentrated animal feeding operations (CAFOs) are well known and have been.

Here’s the rub. In the May 31 letter from EPA staffer Karl Brooks to governor Branstad, Brooks wrote, “I respectfully suggest that those regulated parties with the most interest in Concentrated Animal Feeding Operation Clean Water Act permitting and evaluation should be invited to this conversation.” While some members of Iowa CCI may be “regulated parties,” the governor was under no obligation to hold public hearings on the matter and didn’t. The Iowa Farm Bureau response, with recommended revisions to the CAFO program work plan, was not only expected, it was, for the most part, the purpose of the meeting. The Iowa CCI response to the meeting was, like so many of their news releases, a red herring that gained some press coverage but diluted their effectiveness. I appreciate Iowa CCI making the information readily available, but there is no news here for anyone who follows water and air quality issues in Iowa. This meeting was predictable, and consistent with the Branstad administration outlook on EPA compliance.

For most Iowans who participate in RAGBRAI, it is a chance to get away from the daily grind for a while. The governor and thousands of others are participating in RAGBRAI, and for Branstad, as a politician, it was a photo opportunity. For Iowa CCI, RAGBRAI was a news hook to beat the drum on one of their core issues, one they know well. One of my groups, Veterans for Peace, uses RAGBRAI to publicize the true cost of our wars, as do a host of groups with their pet issues. All of it is good in what remains of our democracy.

The point is that involvement in a specific cause, regardless of how vocal one is, does not equate political change. There is a lot to hate about the Branstad’s approach to clean water, clean air and compliance with the Environmental Protection Agency. To effect political change means getting involved and working for political candidates, most of whom are subject to influence by moneyed interests like the Iowa Farm Bureau. Any candidate who dismisses as irrelevant the Farm Bureau, the livestock producers and row crop associations won’t be elected to statewide office in Iowa. It’s not going to happen in 2014.

Groups like Iowa CCI make political results more difficult when they throw out red meat as bait for their members and supporters, when most people are tuned out. For one, I’d like to see Iowa CCI less divisive and more involved with electing candidates that support progressive views, as many of their members are, and less focused on braggadocio after hammering the same nail once again.

RAGBRAI is happening, the summer weather has been unusually nice, and most people I know are unplugged from the global mind and living in the real world under Branstad until we can do better. For me, I prefer not to dip even a bicycle in the contaminated Mississippi River, long bike ride or not. Whether we as a state will do better on water quality and compliance with EPA depends a lot on whether people get together to elect a new governor in 2014. The work of doing so should begin now.

~ Written for Blog for Iowa

Living in Society

A Dose of Citizens United Reality

Writing in The Nation, John Nichols put the best possible face on what he described in as, “the broad-based national campaign to enact a constitutional amendment to overturn the U.S. Supreme Court rulings that ushered in a new era of big-money politics.” He was referring to the high court’s decision in Citizens United versus the Federal Election Commission.

Public Citizen, Move to Amend and others have organized, launched petitions, and convinced legislators in 16 states, the District of Columbia, and about 500 municipalities to support overturning Citizens United. There is tangible evidence in the form of resolutions and referendum results. As Nichols indicated, 2013 has been a banner year for efforts to overturn Citizens United.

At the same time, virtually no one I encounter in rural Iowa knows of this movement specifically. People can agree on generalities: that money is property, that humans are people, that corporations have property, and despite Mitt Romney’s assertion at the Iowa State Fair, corporations are not people.

People also don’t know much about the Citizens United case. They don’t know that it was about a conservative group airing a film critical of Hillary Clinton on television. They don’t know that the McCain-Feingold Act (a.k.a. Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act) prohibited airing the film within 30 days of the 2008 Democratic primaries. They don’t know, and for the most part don’t care, that McCain-Feingold’s regulation of how corporations spend money in campaigns was found to be unconstitutional. What my neighbors do know is a lot of money is spent on politics, and they get sick of television advertisements when it gets close to elections and tune out.

Iowa Move to Amend has had an uphill climb, made more difficult by the departure of Marybeth Gardam, who left the state. Gardam was the grassroots organization’s leader and spark plug. As a grassroots organization, Iowa Move to Amend will proceed without her, but whatever activity there is in Iowa regarding Citizens United will be concentrated in the liberal urban areas, especially Iowa City and Des Moines. The statewide reach that Gardam strove for and could well have organized is on hold with her gone. The Iowa web page on the Move to Amend site hasn’t been updated since 2012.

Groups of citizens pursue the idea of amending the constitution, but saying it is one thing— doing it is a rarity. There have been 27 amendments to the constitution. The last one, related to when pay raises take effect for members of congress, was ratified in 1992— more than 200 years after it was introduced. With an electorate informed by a corporate media owned by a small number of corporations, gaining consensus among three fourths of the states to ratify a constitutional amendment seems improbable without the broad based, bipartisan support for which groups like Move to Amend strive.

Good people are involved with getting corporate money out of politics. Three and a half years after the Citizens United ruling, proponents of a constitutional amendment are less than half way there, which puts any real action beyond the 2016 general election, and maybe further. As Nichols indicated, the cup may be half full, and an amendment may be advanced. However, the political reality is that corporate money will remain in politics for the foreseeable future unless a fire is lit under the movement to amend the constitution. Based on what we see in Iowa, we are a long way from ignition.

~ Written for Blog for Iowa.

Living in Society

It’s a Gatsby Kind of Summer

Larry Hedlund
Larry Hedlund

The story about the termination of Special Agent in Charge Larry Hedlund of the Iowa Division of Criminal Investigation won’t be going away soon. Ryan Foley of the Associated Press picked up the story, which is garnering some national attention. Read Foley’s story here.

The governor’s speeding around Iowa typifies the kind of reckless behavior present in his administration. Maybe Hedlund’s termination, and the governor’s flagrant disregard for public safety shouldn’t be the poster child.

With Director of the Iowa Development Authority Debi Durham’s poor negotiation of the Orascom fertilizer plant deal, her failing to connect the dots between China’s desire for self-sufficiency in corn and soybean production and sales of Iowa commodities to China, and her recent joke about the governor’s speeding while on a European trade mission, perhaps she should have been the one terminated for her negative and disrespectful comments.

On that German Autobahn trip, Governor Branstad and Ms. Durham remind one of Tom and Daisy Buchanan, characters in F. Scott Fitzgerald’s novel “The Great Gatsby.” Fitzgerald wrote, “they were careless people, Tom and Daisy- they smashed up things and creatures and then retreated back into their money, or their vast carelessness, or whatever it was that kept them together, and let other people clean up the mess they had made.”

Special Agent Hedlund appears to have been performing responsibly in this instance, and his wrongful termination lawsuit will be in the news. Taxpayers will likely pay for the administration’s defense.

While it is the state’s right to fire their employees, voters should take the reckless ones to task at the polls in November 2014, beginning with Governor Branstad. He has made his mark on Iowa. Isn’t that enough?

~ Written for Blog for Iowa

Kitchen Garden Living in Society

Vegetable Gardening and DOMA

After the Storm
After the Storm

LAKE MACBRIDE— When President Bill Clinton signed the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) in 1996, it seemed wrong. It was one more in a series of his actions I didn’t like. The political reasons for denying federal employee benefits were easy to understand. The blatant discrimination was not, and time and the Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS) decision yesterday vindicated the judgment of those who felt like I did.

Yesterday, bills were introduced in the U.S. House and Senate to remove DOMA completely, as some don’t feel SCOTUS went far enough in saying, “DOMA is unconstitutional as a deprivation of the equal liberty of persons that is protected by the Fifth Amendment.” The decision was good enough for me, although I downloaded the text and will read it— comparing it to Iowa’s Brien v. Varnum, dated April 3, 2009, that held the state’s limitation of marriage to opposite-sex couples violated the equal protection clause of the Iowa Constitution.

After three days of rain, thunder, lightning and hail, I spent time in the garden yesterday. Contrary to my previous post, I found hail damage, particularly on leaves of cucumber and squash plants. The damage was not severe, but a lot of leaves had small punctures.

Food production is outpacing our kitchen’s ability to store and process it. This afternoon’s local food shift at home will include harvesting turnips, preparing and freezing broccoli, planting seedlings and rearranging the fencing in the plot where the green beans are located. With the rain and fair weather, combined with more knowledgeable planting, this year’s garden is already a bin buster. More food will be given away as the week progresses.

At the farm, I soil blocked for the seventeenth week yesterday. The seeds planted are for fall harvest of cucumbers, broccoli and cabbage. While I was working, one crew had finished and was doing bicycle maintenance near the machine shed, and another was processing kohlrabi for share holders. The germination building was completely empty, and when I entered to get trays for soil blocking, the temperature was intensely warm. Seedlings trays were on wagons under a nearby tree to avoid the heat while they waited for planting.

With the rain, trip to Des Moines and farm work, everything is behind this week. Hopefully today will be a catch up day as I endeavor to stay on the property, with nose to the grindstone.

Living in Society

Media Day with Legislators

Media Moderators
Media Moderators

CORALVILLE— Bob Welsh of the Johnson County Task Force on Aging knows how to put on a show. His legislative forum this afternoon, billed as the Iowa Press format, attracted what could be called a gaggle of media. James Q. Lynch of the Gazette/Source Media Group was the only reporter present who had been on the actual Iowa Press, but representatives of Iowa Public Radio, KWWL Television, the Iowa City Press Citizen, the Solon Economist/North Liberty Leader and others were present to hear what key legislators had to say.

On the panel were state senators Bob Dvorsky and Joe Bolkcom, and representatives Mary Mascher and Bobby Kaufmann, all of whom were well behaved, yet passionate about the topics discussed. Adam B. Sullivan of the Press Citizen and Lyle Muller of the Iowa Center for Public Affairs moderated.

With the press ready to listen/photograph/record/quote/tape/notate, it is regrettable no real news was forthcoming. The initial discussion of a law to protect from elder abuse was engaging, but the discussion led the same place the first session of the 85th Iowa General Assembly did on this issue: inconclusive. The rest of the forum’s topics have mostly been covered by the media.

Topics included the property tax bill that passed, TIF reform, how to pay for infrastructure repairs and maintenance, education reform, medical marijuana, the health and human services budget including Medicaid expansion-Iowa style, passenger rail, eminent domain, and transparency during the final days before sine die.

There was unspoken but clear agreement that Iowa Department of Education Director Jason Glass’s departure to become a school superintendent in Colorado’s Eagle County School District won’t make a difference to education reform.

Some quotes:

Sen. Bolkcom: “After three sessions we’re learning to dance better.”
Sen. Dvorsky: “I was one of the people behind closed doors.”
Rep. Mascher: “At some point you have to govern.”
Rep. Kaufmann: “I had the votes (for passenger rail).”

Perhaps the only news may have been that the four legislator agreed on many issues despite their partisanship. That’s what we expected at the beginning of the session, so not really news.


Iowa Pulls the Plug on Nuclear Power

Nuclear Power? - No Thanks
Nuclear Power? – No Thanks

Pursuit of new nuclear power in Iowa was a bad idea when then governor Tom Vilsack began promoting it, and remains so. MidAmerican Energy’s announcement in the Des Moines Register today, that the utility “has scrapped plans for Iowa’s second nuclear plant and will refund $8.8 million ratepayers paid for a now-finished feasibility study,” was welcomed by people throughout the state. In the end, talk about nuclear power was a weird combination of the vaporous breath of politicians combined with a financially stable and well capitalized public utility owned by  one of the richest men on the planet. The discussion Vilsack started is over for now.

In an email to members, Dianne Glenney, co-founder and communications contact for the grassroots organization S.A.F.E. (Saving America’s Farmland and Environment) wrote, “we have learned more about the dangers of nuclear energy than we ever wanted to know.  But, we are much better informed now and an informed citizenry is primed to be a watchdog for future happenings, to report issues when they happen, and to take action.” While S.A.F.E. came into being only after the utility’s planned sites for a new nuclear power plant were recently announced in Muscatine and Fremont counties, Glenney’s words summed up the four-year process that stopped MidAmerican’s nuclear ambitions. Knowledge is power, and by 2013, the Iowa electorate had been educated about nuclear power.

As always, there is more to the story.

The idea that there was a nuclear renaissance in the United States was a product of the imagination of politicians, the nuclear industry, corporate media and the richest Americans. The nuclear disaster in Fukushima, Japan on March 11, 2011 brought the risks of nuclear power to the public’s attention. Shortly after the earthquake and tsunami that caused the failures, MidAmerican Energy’s Bill Fehrman asserted in an Iowa Senate Commerce Committee meeting that small modular reactors would solve some of the problems of Fukushima.  The public wasn’t buying it, at least to the extent that they would support the legislation Fehrman said was necessary for the utility to get the financial backing of Wall Street to build a new nuclear power generating station. In today’s announcement, MidAmerican conceded that lack of an approved plan for a small modular reactor was problematic, citing as one of the reasons for pulling the plug, “there is no approved design for the modular nuclear plant it envisioned.”

A final decision by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission to deny a license to the Calvert Cliffs III nuclear reactor, slated for southern Maryland, is evidence that if there was a nuclear renaissance, it may be over from an NRC perspective.

Another part of the story is the abundance of natural gas resulting from increased exploration and discover using the hydraulic fracturing process. With the cost of natural gas going down, interest in more expensive nuclear power is waning. It is important that MidAmerican Energy noted the potential regulation of carbon as an impediment to building a natural gas power generating station, something that did not stop Alliant Energy from seeking approval for such a plant in Marshalltown.

The current solution to the radioactive nuclear waste produced by nuclear power generating stations is no solution at all. The plan is to store it on sites where it is generated until the federal government figures out what to do with it. Reasonable people can’t seriously consider adding new nuclear power capacity until this long standing deficiency is addressed.

Dianne Glenney of S.A.F.E. wrote last night, “no one should have to live under the strain of a potential nuclear power plant in their neighborhood, community, state and/or country.  Someone is always downwind of every nuclear plant.” Now enough Iowans know this. Let’s hope we don’t forget.

Environment Home Life

Sunday Afternoon Drive

Flooding 140th Street
140th Street, June 2

BIG GROVE TOWNSHIP— When we were children, our parents used to take us out for a Sunday afternoon drive. A typical trip might include visiting Weed Park in Muscatine, friends of my parents in Blue Grass, or to the Niabi Zoo near Coal Valley, Ill. Today’s Sunday afternoon drive was not as much fun. I drove to 140th Street NE near Ely Road to see the progress of the flooding.

That is, not as much fun unless one is a fisher. When I arrived at the edge of the water, about half a dozen motor boats were out. Click on the thumbnail above, and the boats can be seen as small specks toward where the road rises out of the water. Word is out that striped bass, catfish and carp are biting. The reason I know is a neighbor mentioned it while I was working in the ditch in the front yard after the drive.

140th Street May 31
140th Street, May 31

The water has risen about four feet since Friday. Compare the two photos to see how the building is being submerged. If you would like, take a look. For me, I would not like. It is wearying to deal with the consequences of climate that changed when we should be advocating to change how society interacts with so-called nature turned into an owned and built environment.

Like this flooding, changing climate is hitting us where we live. In the water we use, the air we breathe, and the weather we experience. This weekend politicians sought photo opportunities to post on social media: of them helping sandbag buildings to protect them; of them inspecting the damage. What they should be doing is actual networking with their colleagues in government to find common ground and take concrete action to solve the climate crisis.

Some may not notice the climate crisis because they are so busy cleaning up in its wake, or in this case, trying to catch the limit of striped bass. Maybe they are taking a much needed Sunday afternoon nap. Eventually the frequency of these hundred year floods, at a rate of three in 20 years, will be noticed. It is not too late to solve the climate crisis, but we don’t know for how long.

Kitchen Garden Living in Society Sustainability

Farmers Oppose Nuclear Power

Nuclear Power? - No Thanks
Nuclear Power? – No Thanks

WILTON—About 65 people gathered at the Wilton Community Center last night to view a screening of the documentary, “The Atomic States of America,” hosted by the group Saving America’s Farmland and Environment (S.A.F.E.). Attendees also heard an update from two of the group’s co-founders Dwight and Dianne Glenney. S.A.F.E. began with a group of farm families who rose in opposition to MidAmerican Energy’s plans for a nuclear powered generating station on 150th Street near Wilton.

No surprise that a group of farmers would fight a large corporation in the biblical terms of David v. Goliath when MidAmerican Energy bought options on 729 acres of prime Iowa farm land in the middle of an established rural community to build a power plant. According to Glenney, the electric utility has three possibilities for the land should they exercise the options: build a nuclear powered generating station, build a natural gas powered generating station, or do nothing. S.A.F.E. is organized so their Davids can remove MidAmerican’s Goliath from their lives and the land options expire without action.

I first met some of the group in October 2012 when Iowa Public Interest Research Group hosted a community organizing meeting to oppose siting a nuclear power plant near Wilton. My advice at the time was, “your most effective voice is with your state legislators when they convene the 85th General Assembly… Let your legislator know you’re opposed to it.” Since then, members of S.A.F.E. engaged their elected officials, securing resolutions opposing nuclear power from the Cedar and Muscatine county boards of supervisors. They also recruited state representatives Bobby Kaufmann and Tom Sands to support their efforts. Membership is approaching 400 people who have signed their petition and joined S.A.F.E.

According to Dwight Glenney, the group has been researching nuclear power during the time since the October meeting. What they learned moved the group from a not in my back yard approach to more general opposition of nuclear power in Iowa, in the United States and globally. Glenney indicated there are options besides nuclear power to supply electricity to meet growing demand in the state.

He reported that MidAmerican Energy has completed their three-year study of the feasibility of nuclear power in Iowa and is expected to deliver the report to the Iowa Utilities Board this week. Dianne Glenney reported on grassroots organizing activity of fundraising, letters to the editor, production of an information packet, attendance at legislative forums and other items.

S.A.F.E. makes a strong point that they are not affiliated with any so-called “green” groups, and that is a strength of the organization. By remaining strictly grassroots, with members of the community effected by MidAmerican Energy’s plans for rural Wilton being the primary stake holders in the group’s activity, they have an independent and unique voice that dovetails with other concerns of rural Iowa.

What’s next? S.A.F.E. supports building any new electricity generating facility on existing power plant locations so that new land is not taken out of farm production. According to Dwight Glenney, it makes sense from the standpoint that the logistical support of transmission lines, roads and infrastructure is already in place. They also plan to advocate with the Iowa legislature for a ban on nuclear power, similar to what 13 other state legislatures have enacted. Such a ban may be permanent, or until the unresolved problem of disposal of radioactive spent fuel is addressed by the federal government. S.A.F.E. is working with their legislators to introduce bills regarding these issues during next year’s second session of Iowa’s 85th General Assembly.

Dwight said that if the issue is resolved, and MidAmerican Energy decides not to build a power plant near Wilton, any funds remaining in their bank account will be divided three ways and donated to local Future Farmers of America groups. For the time being, they asked for financial support and for people to join their growing membership. If you would like to learn more about S.A.F.E., email Dianne Glenney at

Living in Society

On Senate Adjournment and Health Care

Dome IA State CapitolBIG GROVE TOWNSHIP— In her remarks before adjournment sine die of the first session of the 85th Iowa General Assembly, Senate President Pam Jochum made a statement that included the following, “the biggest challenge of this session was how to help Iowans who, despite working every day, still cannot afford health insurance.”

The Iowa Senate addressed the issue in Senate File 446, the health and human services budget, which was 60+ pages and reported from the conference committee late yesterday. Some house members wanted to read the bill before voting, and were concerned that there would be time. It was difficult determining the status of things in the wee hours of this morning, but the house adjourned until 9 a.m. this morning, giving legislators time to pull an all-nighter and read the bill.

At the warehouse where I work with some of the same people Senator Jochum referred to in her statement, there is neither a health care plan provided, nor is there adequate pay to enable workers to buy a health insurance policy. This forces employees to seek medical care in their social networks and on the open market, and is at the core of the problem SF 446 seeks to address. Like it or not, business interests drive dependence on programs like Medicaid.

It is unclear by how many layers temp jobs like mine get outsourced: at least two or three. The job is organizationally far removed from the parent company that ultimately buys our labor. American business, in its global footprint, bankruptcy declarations and restructuring, mergers and acquisitions, and increased outsourcing, successfully stripped away the part of employee compensation related to providing health care, while improving productivity and decreasing the cost of labor.

For a single person, buying private health insurance can cost $350 per month or more. For a family of two, a monthly premium can be more than $800. Do the math. At an hourly wage of $9.25, with limited overtime, and no paid holidays, disability insurance or sick leave, a person can expect to earn just short of $18,000 per year, taking home about $15,000. There is no room in the budget for health insurance.

Why do people take jobs like mine? Regardless of the social commentary about living wages, minimum wages, prevailing wages, and general working conditions, the money is green at outsourced jobs, and people need it to help get by. There appears to be no shortage of people willing to work slightly above minimum wage, without benefits.

My co-workers have no time to worry about getting sick, or about how to pay for health care. The presumption is any illness will get treatment in one’s social network, with a visit to a clinic, emergency room or doctor’s office being the last resort. Whatever the Iowa government does with the Senate’s health and human services budget, it will be a band aid on a problem that wants a better solution— one that lies more in the global business community and with workers than with government.

We’ll see the Iowa house reaction to the senate bill today. Presumably the conference committee had support for the bill before reporting it out of committee. Here’s hoping the legislative band-aid does some good if and when it is signed into law.

Living in Society

Passenger Rail and Eminent Domain Get Married

Iowa State Capitol
Iowa Capitol

LAKE MACBRIDE— What will it take for the Iowa House to get a bill considered on the floor of the Iowa Senate? Representatives Dave Jacoby and Bobby Kaufmann are hoping that pairing a Senate Democratic priority— funding passenger rail in order to be eligible to receive a substantial grant from the Federal Railroad Administration to upgrade railroad tracks to handle 79 mile per hour traffic— with House File 219— an act relating to eminent domain authority prompted by a controversy in Clarke County— will do the trick.

Rep. Bobby Kaufmann has invested considerable political capital in the eminent domain issue. A March 11 story in the Muscatine Journal provides some background information, including the fact that HF 219 passed the Iowa House 93-6. According to Kaufmann, he recruited Rep. Dave Jacoby to co-sponsor the eminent domain bill, asked Jacoby to help write the language, and has spoken publicly about his positive relationship with the popular Coralville Democrat. Eminent domain is one of Kaufmann’s signature issues this session, and he has a lot riding on the outcome, personally and politically. The text of their joint press release is below.

To outsiders, it is unclear what is the secret sauce for getting Republican house bills like HF 219 to an up or down vote in the senate.  What is clear is the process is complicated. Democrats can appreciate the complexity, and for the most part, the results of the Senate’s actions. In any event, how this bipartisan collaboration plays out will be something to follow in the closing days of the first session of the 85th Iowa General Assembly.

Kaufmann-Jacoby Joint Press Release May 21, 2013
Kaufmann and Jacoby offer a compromise to the Senate

Rep. Dave Jacoby (D-Coralville) and Rep. Bobby Kaufmann (R-Wilton) have offered an agreement on two key issues that have garnered a lot of interest in the last several legislative sessions.  “The eminent domain language passed the Iowa House four times this session, each time with over 90 votes,” said Kaufmann.  “There has also been much bipartisan support in the Senate, but it has not been brought up for a vote.”  The legislation ensures that land cannot be condemned for recreational purposes by skirting the 2006 law.  A controversy in Clarke County has been an impetus for the bill.

The passenger rail proposal which includes matching federal funding for an initial run between the Quad Cities and Iowa City (with possible expansion to Des Moines) has met with significant resistance.  The $5.5 million dollars would be a part of the state match.  “Passenger rail is an important initiative for my district, and our local Chambers of Commerce.  This compromise reflects the continuing spirit of all legislative districts being heard and I believe gives both issues new life and a new pathway into becoming law,” said Rep. Jacoby.

As the 2013 session winds to an end, proposals like this could very well be the lynch pin to adjourning.