Iowa Public Television

 

Reporters Roundtable

posted on January 4, 2006

Borg: 2005 SLIPS AWAY. 2006 IS UPON US. WE'LL HIGHLIGHT THE POLITICAL CARRYOVER IN THE NEW YEAR. IT'S A REPORTERS ROUNDTABLE ON THIS EDITION OF "IOWA PRESS."

FUNDING FOR THIS PROGRAM WAS PROVIDED BY "FRIENDS," THE IOWA PUBLIC TELEVISION FOUNDATION; BY THE IOWA BANKERS ASSOCIATION... FOR PERSONAL, BUSINESS, AND COMMERCIAL NEEDS, IOWA BANKS HELP IOWANS REACH THEIR FINANCIAL GOALS; AND BY THE ASSOCIATED GENERAL CONTRACTORS OF IOWA, THE PUBLIC'S PARTNER IN BUILDING IOWA'S HIGHWAY, BRIDGE, AND MUNICIPAL UTILITY INFRASTRUCTURE.

ON STATEWIDE IOWA PUBLIC TELEVISION, THIS IS THE FRIDAY, DECEMBER 30 EDITION OF "IOWA PRESS." HERE IS DEAN BORG.

Borg: IN IOWA, 2006 IS A MAJOR ELECTION YEAR. ALL OF IOWA'S MEMBERS IN THE U.S. HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES ARE UP FOR ELECTION. THERE WILL BE A NEW GOVERNOR, AND IN THE IOWA LEGISLATURE, THE POTENTIAL FOR A SWITCH IN THE BALANCE OF POWER. WE'VE ASSEMBLED A PANEL OF IOWA JOURNALISTS WHO COVER POLITICS ON THE IOWA STATEHOUSE: "DES MOINES REGISTER" POLITICAL COLUMNIST DAVID YEPSEN, "RADIO IOWA" NEWS DIRECTOR KAY HENDERSON, "ASSOCIATED PRESS" SENIOR POLITICAL WRITER MIKE GLOVER, AND "IOWA PUBLIC RADIO" STATEHOUSE CORRESPONDENT JENEANE BECK. AND JENEANE, I'M GOING TO GIVE YOU THE BROAD ARRAY OF 2005. PICK A NEWS ITEM, A HEADLINE THAT HAS THE GREATEST POTENTIAL FOR CARRYOVER INTO THIS NEW YEAR.

Beck: I THINK THE DEATH OF TWO YOUNG GIRLS, JETSETA GAGE AND EVELYN MILLER LAST YEAR, AND THE CONTINUED FOCUS THAT HAS PUT ON SEX OFFENDERS IN IOWA AND WHAT TO DO WITH THEM AND WHERE THEY CAN LIVE. I THINK THAT'S GOING TO BE THE BIGGEST CARRYOVER INTO NEXT YEAR AS LEGISLATORS CONTINUE TO DISCUSS THE BEST WAY TO KEEP CHILDREN SAFE AND WHERE TO FIND PLACES TO LIVE FOR THESE PEOPLE.

Borg: AND, KAY, THAT REVERBERATED, DIDN'T IT, INTO IOWA COMMUNITIES, A WHOLE BUNCH OF LEGISLATION AND ORDINANCES?

Henderson: RIGHT. LOCAL CITIES JUST RAN TO PASS LOCAL ORDINANCES THAT WERE MORE RESTRICT THAN STATE LAW. A COUPLE OF YEARS AGO, LEGISLATORS PASSED A LAW WHICH SAID THAT NO SEX OFFENDER ON THE STATE SEX OFFENDER REGISTRY CAN LIVE WITHIN 2,000 FEET OF A SCHOOL OR A DAY CARE. WELL, THAT LAW NEVER WENT INTO EFFECT UNTIL THIS JULY. SHERIFF'S DEPUTIES, POLICE OFFICERS WENT AROUND, TRIED TO FIND OUT WHERE THESE FOLKS WERE LIVING AND TELL THEM THEY HAD TO MOVE. AND THEN COMMUNITIES THE SIZE OF DES MOINES TO THE SIZE OF TIPTON TO, I MEAN, REALLY SMALL TOWNS DECIDED, HEY, WE WANT AN ORDINANCE TO MAKE OUR TOWN SEX-OFFENDER FREE. SO YOU'VE HAD COMMUNITIES HAVING THIS DEBATE EVEN THIS WEEK AS WE HEAD INTO THE NEW YEAR. SO I THINK THAT WILL HAVE THE PERENNIAL ISSUE AS MORE TOWNS RUSH TO PROHIBIT SEX OFFENDERS FROM LIVING WITHIN THEIR COMMUNITIES.

Glover: A RELATED HEADLINE, ALTHOUGH A SLIGHTLY DIFFERENT TOPIC, I THINK THE ESCAPE OF TWO INMATES FROM THE STATE'S ONLY MAXIMUM SECURITY PRISON AT FORT MADISON WILL BE AN ISSUE THAT REVERBERATES INTO THIS NEW YEAR, BECAUSE I THINK IT SPARKED A SERIOUS DISCUSSION FOR THE FIRST TIME IN A LONG TIME ABOUT WHETHER WE OUGHT TO REPLACE A PRISON, PORTIONS OF WHICH DATE TO 1839. THAT'S A DEBATE THAT'S GOING TO BE HELD IN THIS LEGISLATURE AND A DISCUSSION TO BE HELD BETWEEN THE GOVERNOR AND THE LEGISLATURE, AND IT CAN BE A LOT OF MONEY. AND IT'S A DEBATE THAT'S GOING TO HAPPEN.

Yepsen: AND BOTH OF THESE ISSUES, DEAN, REALLY HAVE PUT A BIG FOCUS ON PUBLIC SAFETY, FIGHTING CRIME, THAT WE'VE NOT HAD. I MEAN THERE'S REALLY NO GOOD NEWS THAT COMES OUT OF SOME OF THESE EPISODES. BUT I THINK, FOR EXAMPLE, IN THE SEX OFFENDER THING, THIS DISCUSSION IS PROMPTING MORE PEOPLE AND MORE PARENTS TO BE MORE VIGILANT, AND THAT I THINK HAS A HEALTHY EFFECT ON OUR SOCIETY.

Borg: MIGHT THIS ISSUE, THOUGH, HAVE SOME CARRYOVER NOW INTO FUTURE COURT CASES WITH THOSE WHO SAY WE'RE BEING TOO RESTRICTIVE? MIGHT THERE BE SOME --

Yepsen: THE SUPREME COURT DID NOT WANT TO HEAR THIS CASE. THE CIVIL LIBERTIES UNION TRIED TO GET THE 2,000-FOOT LIMIT STRUCK DOWN. THE SUPREMES WALKED AWAY FROM IT. NOW, ANYBODY COULD FILE A LAWSUIT ANYTIME TO KEEP THE ISSUE ALIVE, AND SO I ASSUME THE PEOPLE WHO HATE THE LIMIT WILL CONTINUE TO TRY. BUT SO FAR IT'S CONSTITUTIONAL.

Beck: BUT THERE ARE ATTORNEYS WHO SAY THAT BEFORE THE SUPREME COURT -- THE IOWA SUPREME COURT RULED IT DIDN'T AMOUNT TO BANISHMENT BECAUSE THERE WERE STILL PLACES TO LIVE. BUT AS CITIES, LIKE KAY MENTIONED, ARE PASSING THEIR OWN MORE RESTRICTIVE RULES, AND NOW COUNTIES AS WELL -- POLK COUNTY HAS DONE THAT; SCOTT COUNTY LOOKED AT IT AND DECIDED NOT TO -- BUT AS COUNTIES DO THAT AS WELL, THEY'RE SAYING NOW YOU TAKE A SECOND LOOK AT THE LAW, MAYBE IT IS BANISHMENT BECAUSE THERE'S NOWHERE TO LIVE IN CERTAIN COUNTIES AT ALL BESIDES VERY RURAL AREAS. SO I THINK THERE WILL BE ANOTHER CHALLENGE. NOW --

Glover: AND THIS WILL CONTINUE THROUGHOUT THE YEAR BECAUSE OF ONE SIMPLE THING; IT'S AN EVEN-NUMBERED YEAR AND A LOT OF PUBLIC OFFICIALS WHO ARE ON THE BALLOT -- AND IT'S VERY, VERY EASY TO SAY OKAY WE'RE GOING TO GET TOUGH OF SEX OFFENDERS AND WHEN SEX OFFENDERS SAY YOU'RE CHASING ME OUT OF TOWN, A LOT OF VOTERS SAY, "REALLY! ARE WE? GREAT"! SO IT'S A POWERFUL POLITICAL ISSUE THAT'S RUNNING IN THIS STATE, AND THERE IS NO MORE BASE EMOTION THAT HITS MOST VOTERS THAN THE CONCEPT OF A YOUNG CHILD BEING ABUSED. THAT DRIVES PEOPLE CRAZY, AS IT SHOULD.

Borg: BUT FROM WHAT YOU'VE SAID, AREN'T SOME LEGISLATORS SORT OF IN A DILEMMA IN THAT THIS ISSUE IS GOING TO COME UP BEFORE THE LEGISLATURE, IN MY ESTIMATION, AGAIN THIS YEAR FOR SOME CONSIDERATION OF ARE WE TOO TOUGH?

Yepsen: NO.

Glover: NO.

Henderson: NO.

Yepsen: DEAN, IT'S NOT A QUESTION OF ARE WE TOO TOUGH; IT'S HOW CAN WE BE SMARTER AND TOUGH. NOW, ARE WE GOING TO PUT GLOBAL POSITIONING THINGS ON PEOPLE'S ANKLES? ARE WE GOING TO TREAT PEDOPHILES DIFFERENT THAN OTHER SEX OFFENDERS? IT'S ALL AIMED AT BEING TOUGHER.

Beck: IT'S AN ELECTION YEAR. NO ONE WANTS TO GO BACK IN THE FALL AND SAY WE WEAKENED THE LAWS AGAINST SEX OFFENDERS, WE LESSENED THAT 2,000-FOOT LIMIT, AND NOW THEY CAN LIVE CLOSER TO YOU. NO ONE WANTS THAT ON THEIR VOTING RECORD.

Glover: THE MOST SERIOUS DEBATE WE'RE GOING TO HAVE THIS YEAR IS CLASSIFYING SEX OFFENDERS. THERE'S A BIG DIVISION UP AT THE LEGISLATURE OVER WHETHER YOU OUGHT TO TREAT ALL SEX OFFENDERS THE SAME, WHICH IS WHAT THEY DO NOW, OR WHETHER YOU OUGHT TO TAKE SOMEONE, LET'S SAY, WHO HAS A NINETEEN-YEAR-OLD GUY HAS SEX WITH A SIXTEEN-YEAR-OLD GIRL, IS THAT THE SAME TYPE OF SEX OFFENDER AS A THIRTY-FIVE-YEAR-OLD MAN WHO ASSAULTS A TWO-YEAR-OLD GIRL. THERE ARE A LOT OF LEGISLATORS WHO ARE TRYING TO DRAW THOSE DISTINCTIONS. BUT WHEN YOU GET INTO IT AND TRY TO ACTUALLY DO IT ON PAPER, IT'S VERY DIFFICULT TO DO WITHOUT COMING OFF AS BEING SOFTER ON SOME SEX OFFENSES.

Henderson: AND THE GOVERNOR OF THIS STATE A COUPLE OF MONTHS AGO BASICALLY SAID IT IS NOT POLITICALLY POSSIBLE FOR EITHER ME OR THE LEGISLATURE TO WEAKEN THIS LAW. IF THIS LAW IS WEAKENED, IT WILL BE DONE BY THE COURTS.

Yepsen: THIS ISSUE IS DRIVING ANOTHER ISSUE, AND THAT'S REINSTATING THE DEATH PENALTY. THAT ISSUE CAME UP IN THE CONTEXT OF THE JETSETA GAGE CASE. NOW, IT'S NOT GOING TO -- WE'RE NOT GOING TO REIMPOSE THE DEATH PENALTY IN IOWA IN THIS LEGISLATIVE SESSION, BUT I GUARANTEE YOU, DEAN, IT WILL BE TALKED ABOUT AND IT WILL BE THE TOPIC OF DISCUSSION IN THE '06 CAMPAIGN. IT'S ALREADY HAVING AN EFFECT ON THE CAMPAIGN FOR GOVERNOR ON THE DEMOCRATIC SIDE. CHET CULVER SAID HE'D SIGN A DEATH PENALTY. A LOT OF LIBERAL DEMOCRATS DON'T LIKE IT.

Borg: YOU KNOW, ONE THING THAT'S GOING TO BE A FACTOR IN THAT, IN MY ESTIMATION, IS THAT THE TRIAL OF THE PERSON ACCUSED OF THAT MOLESTATION AND MURDER, THAT TRIAL COMES UP JUST AFTER THE LEGISLATURE CONVENES.

Glover: THERE WILL BE A LOT OF HEADLINES ABOUT THAT CASE. THE LITTLE GIRL'S PICTURE WILL BE IN A LOT OF HOMETOWN NEWSPAPERS. ARE YOU GOING TO TELL ME A LEGISLATOR IS GOING TO GO HOME, WHERE ON THE FRONT PAGE THERE'S A PICTURE OF THIS ADORABLE LITTLE GIRL WHO WAS KILLED, AND VOTE TO WEAKEN A LAW? NOT GONNA HAPPEN.

Borg: WELL, NOT ONLY THAT, BUT A LOT OF SORTED DETAILS THAT THE PUBLIC HASN'T HEARD YET WILL COME OUT IN THE PROSECUTION PART OF THE TRIAL.

Yepsen: AND IT ALL JUST THROWS A SHOT OF GAS ON THIS FIRE EVERY TIME ONE OF THOSE HEADLINES COMES OUT.

Borg: THE PRISON BREAK WAS THE OTHER THING THAT YOU MENTIONED HERE INITIALLY, JENEANE. THAT HAS BEEN AN ISSUE, I DON'T THINK, THAT ANYBODY HAD BEEN CONSIDERING, THAT IS BUILDING A NEW PRISON TO REPLACE FORT MADISON. ALL OF A SUDDEN THAT POPS TO THE TOP. WAS THAT SURPRISING TO YOU, KAY?

Henderson: I THINK IT WAS SURPRISING TO A LOT OF PEOPLE THAT THOSE TWO FELLAS GOT OUT OF THE PRISON. THERE WAS A COMPLETE SECURITY MELTDOWN IT SEEMS WHEN YOU LOOK AT THE SEQUENCE OF EVENTS. THEY WEREN'T COUNTED WHEN THEY WERE PART OF A WORK RELEASE PROGRAM. THEY USED SOME OF THE TOOLS WHICH THEY WERE USING WITHIN THAT PRISON INDUSTRY'S PROGRAM TO GET OVER THE WALL. THE PERSON WHO WAS DRIVING THE CAR AND MONITORING THE OUTSIDE OF THE PRISON NEVER SAW THE ROPE THEY USED. SO THERE HAVE BEEN HEADS ROLL IN REGARDS TO THIS. THE WARDEN IS GONE. THE GOVERNOR IS LOOKING AT THE IDEA OF A NEW PRISON. IT'S ALREADY SPARKED A DEBATE OF WHERE A NEW PRISON COULD BE BUILT. I MEAN IT SEEMS AS IF WE WENT FROM 0 TO 60 IN LESS THAN A SECOND ON THIS, BECAUSE YOU HAVE LEGISLATORS NOW QUIBBLING WITH THE GOVERNOR ABOUT WHETHER THIS NEW PRISON, A MAXIMUM SECURITY PRISON TO REPLACE THE AGING PRISON MIKE TALKED ABOUT EARLIER, SHOULD BE BUILT IN CENTRAL IOWA OR, AS THE GOVERNOR HAS SAID IT SHOULD BE, BUILT IN SOUTHEAST IOWA.

Glover: YOU KNOW THAT A LOT OF PEOPLE ARE A LONG WAY DOWN THE ROAD IN DISCUSSING THIS. WHEN WE TALK TO THE GOVERNOR ABOUT THIS, HE SAYS, WELL, WE OUGHT TO LOCATE THE PRISON IN FORT MADISON. BUT YOU'VE GOT TO REMEMBER WHEN THIS PRISON WAS BUILT, IT WAS OUTSIDE THE CITY AND NOW THE CITY HAS KIND OF GROWN AROUND IT. WHEN WE BUILD A NEW PRISON IN FORT MADISON, WE OUGHT TO MOVE IT OUTSIDE OF THE CITY. THAT TELLS ME THAT IN HIS MIND, HE'S WELL DOWN THE ROAD TO THINKING ABOUT A NEW PRISON.

Henderson: RIGHT.

Yepsen: THE POLITICS OF THIS, DEAN, IS JUST VERY CLEAR. IOWANS WERE TOLD, YOU KNOW, PEOPLE ARE SENTENCED TO LIFE IN PRISON, THEY SERVE LIFE. AND WHEN ALL OF A SUDDEN WE FIND OUT THAT MAY NOT BE TRUE, IT SCARES PEOPLE. I MEAN POLITICAL HISTORY IS LITERALLY CORPSES OF POLITICIANS WHO LET SOME CRIMINAL GET AWAY FROM THEM AND COMMIT ANOTHER CRIME. AND SO IT DIDN'T TAKE TOM VILSACK OR LEGISLATORS VERY LONG TO PUT CRIME RIGHT BACK UP AT THE TOP. WE'RE TALKING ABOUT SEX OFFENDERS. NOW WE'VE GOT THE ISSUE OF PRISONS. AND, FRANKLY, THAT'S NOT ALL BAD BECAUSE THAT REALLY, TO ME, IS THE MOST IMPORTANT THING GOVERNMENT DOES AND IOWA IS PRETTY LOW IN ITS SPENDING ON CORRECTIONS.

Glover: THE OTHER THING YOU'RE HEARING FROM THE GOVERNOR ON THIS IS HE'S ALREADY PENCILED OUT SOME OF THE NUMBERS. IT COSTS ABOUT $40 MILLION A YEAR TO RUN THE IOWA STATE PENITENTIARY IN FORT MADISON, ABOUT $12 MILLION A YEAR MORE THAN ANY OTHER PRISON. NOW, A LITTLE BIT OF THAT IS BECAUSE IT'S A MAXIMUM SECURITY. THERE ARE MEDIUM SECURITY. BUT CLEARLY, IT'S AN OLDER PRISON, IT'S A LOT MORE EXPENSIVE TO RUN, AND HE'S PENCILED OUT IN HIS HEAD HOW LONG THE PAYBACK WOULD BE IF HE BUILT A NEW PRISON.

Borg: WHAT IS IT, JENEANE -- MY NEXT TOPIC IN LINE, IN MY MENTAL ESTIMATION, IS THE PAST LEGISLATURE REALLY GETTING TOUGH AND TRYING TO CUT THE MANUFACTURE AND IOWA'S REPUTATION OF METHAMPHETAMINE. WHAT IS IT ABOUT THE IOWA CULTURE THAT WOULD DEVELOP SOMETHING LIKE THAT?

Beck: WELL, I DON'T KNOW IF IT'S PARTICULARLY OUR CULTURE, BUT ONE OF THE THINGS ABOUT OUR CULTURE IS THAT INTERSTATE 80 RUNS THROUGH OUR STATE. AND SO YOU HAVE A PIPELINE, FROM WHETHER IT BE CALIFORNIA OR FROM OTHER STATES, THAT ALLOWS IT TO GET TO IOWA VERY EASILY. I THINK THE OTHER PART OF IT IS WE HAVE BEEN TRADITIONALLY A LARGE MANUFACTURING STATE, AND THIS IS A DRUG THAT, FOR SOME PEOPLE, ALLOWED THEM TO STAY AWAKE, ALLOWED THEM TO STAY UP AND ENERGETIC, AND MAYBE THAT'S PART OF IT. AND WE'RE RURAL, SO YOU CAN HIDE A METH LAB IN RURAL IOWA SOMEWHERE IN A CORN FIELD AND PEOPLE AREN'T GOING TO FIND IT RIGHT AWAY. SO I THINK THOSE ARE THE THINGS --

Borg: AND THE MAJOR INGREDIENT, ANHYDROUS AMMONIA, IS ALSO AVAILABLE --

Beck: IS ALSO VERY READILY AVAILABLE ON IOWA'S FARM FIELDS, EXACTLY.

Borg: DOES THAT SEEM TO BE WORKING, KAY?

Henderson: IT IS DRAMATICALLY. AN 82-PERCENT REDUCTION IN THE DISCOVERY OF THESE ILLEGAL METH LABS SINCE THE NEW RESTRICTIONS WENT IN PLACE. SO IF YOU GO TO THE STORE AND YOU WANT TO BUY ONE OF THESE OVER-THE-COUNTER -- PREVIOUSLY OVER-THE-COUNTER MEDICATIONS THAT CONTAINS PSEUDOEPHEDRINE, THINGS LIKE SUDAFED OR NYQUIL, YOU HAVE TO GO ASK A PERSON TO GET IT BEHIND THE COUNTER. YOU HAVE TO SIGN A LOG BOOK. YOU HAVE TO SHOW YOUR ID. IT'S REALLY MADE A DRAMATIC CHANGE FOR CONSUMERS, BUT IT'S ALSO MADE A DRAMATIC CHANGE FOR LAW ENFORCEMENT. AND NOW THEY CAN REDIRECT RESOURCES THAT THEY SPENT PUTTING ON THOSE HAZARDOUS SUITS TO DEAL WITH THESE METH LABS THAT COULD EXPLODE AND INSTEAD TRY TO INTERDICT THE METH THAT'S COMING IN THE STATE ON 80 AND ON 35.

Yepsen: BUT LET'S NOT HAVE A FALSE SENSE OF SECURITY HERE. METH IS STILL A PROBLEM IN THIS STATE. WE HAD THE ATTORNEY GENERAL ON THIS PROGRAM LAST WEEK SAYING WE NEED TO DO MORE ABOUT DRUG TREATMENT, SO THE ISSUE SHIFTS FROM GETTING PSEUDOEPHEDRINE OFF THE GROCERY SHELVES TO HOW DO WE DO MORE DRUG TREATMENT.

Glover: AND ANOTHER THING THAT'S LIKELY TO COME UP IN THIS COMING LEGISLATIVE SESSION IS AN IDEA THAT'S BEEN AROUND FOR A WHILE AND IT'S BEEN PUSHED MOST RECENTLY BY THE STATE'S DRUG CZAR, TO TAKE AN EXISTING FACILITY AND MAKE A DRUG PRISON SOLELY FOR THE PURPOSE OF TREATING DRUG OFFENDERS, WHO TEND TO BE NONVIOLENT BUT NEED A LOT OF TREATMENT, AND BUILD IN THAT EXPANDED TREATMENT PROGRAM AT A FACILITY LIKE THAT.

Borg: ALL OF THIS LEADS ME TO ASK -- I KNOW GOVERNOR VILSACK HAS BEEN SAYING A LOT IN RECENT WEEKS ABOUT THE NEED TO PUT MORE MONEY INTO EDUCATION, BUT SUDDENLY THE CRIME AND PUNISHMENT, NEW PRISON, ALL OF THESE ARE GOING TO MAYBE -- EXPANDED DRUG TREATMENT IS COSTING MORE MONEY. IS IT GOING TO BE A BALANCING ACT BETWEEN EDUCATION AND CRIME AND PUNISHMENT?

Yepsen: IN A SENSE YES BECAUSE ALL AREAS OF GOVERNMENT ARE DEMANDING MORE MONEY. THE POLITICIANS AT THE STATEHOUSE ARE IN THE WORST OF BOTH WORLDS, DEAN. WE HAVE A LITTLE BIT MORE NEW MONEY IN IOWA, ABOUT $200 MILLION. SCOTT RACKER WAS ON THIS PROGRAM A COUPLE WEEKS AGO TALKING ABOUT THAT, THE CHAIRMAN OF THE HOUSE APPROPRIATIONS COMMITTEE. SO IN THE OLD DAYS WHEN YOU DON'T HAVE ANY MONEY, YOU JUST SAY NO TO EVERYBODY. IF YOU'VE GOT A LOT OF MONEY, YOU CAN SAY YES TO EVERYBODY. WELL, THIS IS WHERE THEY'VE GOT TO PICK AND CHOOSE, AND SO THEY REALLY ARE IN A SITUATION OF HAVING TO SAY, YES, WE CAN GIVE THE TEACHERS IN IOWA A LITTLE BIT OF A RAISE, BUT WE CAN'T GIVE THEM ALL WE WANT BECAUSE WE'VE GOT TO BUILD A NEW PRISON OVER HERE AND WE'VE GOT TO CREATE SOME DRUG TREATMENT PROGRAMS. AND SO, YEAH.

Glover: AND THE DYNAMIC IS GOING TO COME DOWN TO YOU'RE GOING TO HAVE A CHOICE YOU'RE GOING TO HAVE TO MAKE AT THE LEGISLATURE, AND THAT CHOICE IS GOING TO BE DO I PUT MONEY INTO LOCAL SCHOOLS, A LOT OF WHICH I'VE GOT IN MY DISTRICT, OR DO I PUT MONEY INTO BUILDING A PRISON IN FORT MADISON, WHICH IS NOWHERE NEAR MY DISTRICT? YEAH, THERE'S AN ARGUMENT FOR DOING IT, BUT AT THE END OF THE DAY, THE POLITICAL PRESSURES CAN DO THINGS LIKE INCREASE FUNDING FOR LOCAL SCHOOLS, INCREASE FUNDING FOR PRESCHOOL PROGRAMS. THE POLITICAL PRESSURE ON THAT IS GOING TO BE, I THINK AT THE END OF THE DAY, HIGHER THAN THE PRISON.

Henderson: WHAT'S INTERESTING, THOUGH, IS THAT GOVERNOR VILSACK HAS STARTED TO FRAME THE EDUCATION ISSUE AS A PUBLIC SAFETY ISSUE AS WELL, ARGUING THAT MANY OF THE PEOPLE IN OUR PRISONS NEVER FINISHED HIGH SCHOOL. IF YOU LOOK AT THE STATISTICS, SOMETHING LIKE 77 PERCENT OF THE PEOPLE WHO ARE INCARCERATED IN IOWA PRISONS ARE IN A G.E.D. PROGRAM INSIDE THE PRISON. THAT MEANS THEY NEVER FINISHED HIGH SCHOOL. SO IF YOU GET KIDS TO FINISH HIGH SCHOOL, IF YOU START WHEN THEY'RE IN PRESCHOOL, THE GOVERNOR ARGUES, IT'S A PUBLIC SAFETY ISSUE.

Borg: I SEE, SO THEY'RE LINKING THE TWO.

Henderson: MM-HMM.

Borg: JENEANE, ONE OF THE THINGS THAT PAST LEGISLATURE IN 2005 DID WAS TO RAISE THE IOWA SPEED LIMIT. WELL, I DON'T THINK THAT COST ANY MONEY. AND IN FACT, IT MAY BE A REVENUE INCENTIVE BECAUSE FINES ALSO WERE RAISED --

Beck: DOUBLED.

Borg: YES. SO WHAT EFFECT -- DO YOU SEE ANY CARRYOVER IN THAT?

Beck: I DON'T THINK WE DO IMMEDIATELY, ALTHOUGH ONE ISSUE THAT'S GOING TO COME UP, THERE ARE IOWANS WHO ARE SAYING, WELL, THAT'S INTERESTING THAT THE DEPARTMENT OF PUBLIC SAFETY IS NOW COMING BACK AND ASKING FOR TOUGHER RESTRICTIONS ON TEEN-AGE DRIVERS.

Borg: REALLY?

Beck: THEY ARE. AND THEY'RE GOING TO ASK FOR SOME RESTRICTIONS NEXT SESSION THAT INCLUDE THAT YOU CANNOT HAVE MORE THAN ONE PASSENGER IF IT IS NOT A FAMILY MEMBER UNTIL YOU'RE A CERTAIN AGE. I MEAN FAIRLY STRONG RESTRICTIONS ON TEEN-AGE DRIVERS. AND THERE ARE SOME IOWANS THAT HAVE ALREADY ASKED THE GOVERNOR WHEN HE'S ON OUR CALL-IN PROGRAM, WELL, IF THAT'S THE CASE, IF WE'RE WORRIED ABOUT TEEN-AGE DRIVERS AND DEATHS, WHY DID YOU RAISE THE SPEED LIMIT. SO WHILE THERE ARE MANY IOWANS THRILLED TO BE DRIVING 70 ON THE INTERSTATES, TEEN-AGE DRIVERS MAY NOT BE ABLE TO HANDLE IT.

Glover: AND THAT IS A PRETTY BIG REVENUE SOURCE FOR THE STATE BY DOUBLING THOSE FINES, AND I SAY THAT AS SOMEONE WHO HAS CONTRIBUTED. [ LAUGHTER ]

Borg: WHEN THEY SAY 70, THEY MEAN IT, HUH, MIKE?

Glover: THEY DO.

Borg: ONE OTHER THING THAT IS EMERGING AS AN ISSUE, I WOULD SAY, IS GAY MARRIAGE ACROSS THE COUNTRY. WHAT'S THE STATUS IN IOWA?

Yepsen: WELL, DEAN, SIX GAY COUPLES HERE RECENTLY FILED A LAWSUIT AGAINST THE STATE, CHARGING THAT THE STATE'S BAN ON GAY MARRIAGE VIOLATES THEIR 14TH AMENDMENT RIGHTS, SO NOW WE'RE GOING TO HAVE A BATTLE IN THE COURTS OVER THIS. AND IT ALSO MEANS WE HAVE A POLITICAL BATTLE, BECAUSE THE EFFECT OF THIS IS TO JUST GALVANIZE SOCIAL CONSERVATIVES AND TURN MANY OF THEM OUT TO THE POLLS. REPUBLICANS ARE PRIVATELY QUITE HAPPY TO SEE THIS HAPPEN BECAUSE THIS IS A REAL EMOTIONAL ISSUE. IT'S THE KIND OF ISSUE THAT GETS A LOT OF THEIR SUPPORTERS TO THE POLLS. IN FACT, DEAN, IF YOU LOOK AT -- THERE ARE MANY STATES IN THE '04 ELECTION -- THE PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION THAT HAD BANS ON GAY MARRIAGE ON THE BALLOT FOR VOTERS TO CONSIDER, AND GEORGE BUSH DID PRETTY WELL IN THOSE STATES. OHIO WAS ONE OF THEM. AND WHAT DEMOCRATS DON'T REALLY NEED IS TO GIVE REPUBLICANS AN ISSUE LIKE THIS TO JACK UP THE TURNOUT GOING INTO THE '06 ELECTION.

Glover: BECAUSE CRITICS -- THERE HAS BEEN A PROPOSAL TO CREATE A CONSTITUTIONAL AMENDMENT TO BAN GAY MARRIAGE. CRITICS SAY, OH, WE DON'T NEED THAT BECAUSE WE HAVE A STATE LAW WHICH DEFINES MARRIAGE AS BEING BETWEEN A MAN AND A WOMAN. AND NOW THOSE SOCIAL CONSERVATIVES CAN ARGUE, SEE, WE NEED A CONSTITUTIONAL AMENDMENT BECAUSE THIS IS NOW IN COURT AND THESE COURTS COULD VERY WELL GRANT A RIGHT THAT LAWMAKERS NEVER HAVE.

Yepsen: I DON'T THINK IT WILL COME UP IN THIS SESSION OF THE LEGISLATURE, DEAN. SENATOR GRONSTAL, THE DEMOCRATIC LEADER IN THE SENATE, SAYS HE DOESN'T WANT TO BRING IT UP. HE'S GOT VETO POWER. THAT JUST ASSURES THAT THAT ISSUE, LIKE THE DEATH PENALTY THAT HE DOESN'T WANT TO BRING UP, IS GOING TO BE FOUGHT OUT IN LEGISLATIVE CAMPAIGNS ALL ACROSS THE STATE.

Glover: AND YOU'VE GOT TO REMEMBER, IT'S GOING TO BE POTENT ISSUES LIKE THAT, AND THIS LEGISLATURE IS AS NARROWLY DIVIDED AS I'VE EVER SEEN IN THE LEGISLATURE: 25/25 IN THE SENATE; 51/49 IN THE HOUSE. CONTROL OF THE LEGISLATURE IS OFTEN, IN FACT ALMOST ALWAYS, DETERMINED BY A FEW HUNDRED VOTES IN A FEW KEY LEGISLATIVE DISTRICTS. AND ENERGIZING SOCIAL CONSERVATIVES TO GET THEIR MEMBERS OUT IS THE LAST THING DEMOCRATS NEED IN THAT FIGHT.

Borg: SO HOW WILL THAT PLAY OUT IN THE ELECTION, KAY, IF GRONSTAL AND OTHERS MANAGE TO KEEP IT OFF DEBATE IN THE LEGISLATIVE SESSION? IT MAY BE A CAMPAIGN --

Henderson: EVERY LEGISLATIVE CANDIDATE WHO'S A DEMOCRATIC IS GOING TO BE ASKED: DO YOU SUPPORT A CONSTITUTIONAL AMENDMENT THAT WOULD BAN GAY MARRIAGE IN IOWA? EVERY ONE OF THEM IS GOING TO BE ASKED THAT ISSUE. NATIONAL GROUPS WILL BE RUNNING ADVERTISEMENTS IN IOWA CRITICIZING CANDIDATES THAT SAY, NO, I DON'T SUPPORT THAT ISSUE. IT'S A BIG HEADACHE. DAVID MENTIONED THAT REPUBLICANS PRIVATELY WERE VERY HAPPY THAT THIS LAWSUIT WAS FILED. DEMOCRATS WERE VERY UNHAPPY THAT THIS LAWSUIT WAS FILED BECAUSE IT'S A HUGE HEADACHE FOR THEM IN THE COMING LEGISLATIVE RACES.

Borg: YOU KNOW, AN ISSUE THAT I WOULD CONSIDER TO BE A MERGING ISSUE IS WHAT TO DO ABOUT HEALTH CARE COSTS. IS THAT A NATIONAL ISSUE AND NOT LIKELY TO BE DEALT WITH WITHIN THE STATE, JENEANE?

Beck: WELL, I MIGHT HAVE SAID THAT IN THE PAST, BUT THIS YEAR -- THIS UPCOMING YEAR I ACTUALLY THINK THERE'S A CHANCE THAT IT WILL BE DEBATED IN THE LEGISLATURE. PREVIOUSLY IT'S BEEN HOUSE DEMOCRATS WHO ARE IN THE MINORITY THAT HAVE CONSTANTLY CLAMORED ABOUT THE FACT THAT THERE ARE MANY SMALL BUSINESSES THAT DON'T PROVIDE HEALTH INSURANCE COVERAGE FOR THEIR EMPLOYEES AND THAT IT'S SOMETHING THE STATE SHOULD TAKE A LOOK AT, BUT IT HASN'T BEEN ON EVERYBODY ELSE'S RADAR. AND THIS YEAR, PRIOR TO THE SESSION, BOTH HOUSE REPUBLICANS AND THE SENATE CO-PRESIDENT, THE REPUBLICAN SENATE CO-PRESIDENT, JEFF LAMBERTI, HAVE PRODUCED THEIR OWN PLANS FOR TAKING A LOOK AT SMALL BUSINESSES THAT DON'T PROVIDE HEALTH INSURANCE AND HOW TO GIVE THEM INCENTIVES SO THAT THEY WILL. SO WITH ALL THOSE DIFFERENT ENTITIES TAKING A LOOK AT THIS SUDDENLY -- AND THE GOVERNOR HAS A PROPOSAL -- I THINK WE COULD SEE SOME LIMITED LEGISLATION.

Glover: I THINK IT WILL BE DEBATED. IT'S FAR FROM CLEAR IN MY MIND WHETHER SOMETHING IS GOING TO ACTUALLY EMERGE, BECAUSE THEY'RE COMING FROM VERY DIFFERENT PERSPECTIVES. BUT EVERYBODY HAS A HEALTH CARE PLAN. EVERYBODY HAS READ THOSE POLLS. EVERYBODY HAS LOOKED AT THE POLLS, AND THE TOP ISSUE ON MOST PEOPLE'S MINDS IS HEALTH CARE BECAUSE OF THE BABY BOOMERS. THE BABY BOOMERS ARE GETTING OLDER. THE FIRST WAVE OF BABY BOOMERS HAS TURNED SIXTY. HEALTH CARE IS A VERY PERSONAL ISSUE FOR SOMEBODY WHO IS TURNING SIXTY.

Henderson: BUT POLLS ALSO SHOW THAT, FOR INSTANCE, IN IOWA HEALTH CARE WAS THE NUMBER ONE ISSUE FOR IOWA VOTERS, WHICH SURPRISED A LOT OF THE PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATES IN 2004. YOU HAD TWO CANDIDATES: GEORGE BUSH, WHO SORT OF SAID MAINTAIN THE STATUS QUO; JOHN KERRY, WHO HAD A DETAILED PLAN FOR VOTERS. THEY VOTED FOR THE STATUS QUO. SO OFTENTIMES VOTERS SAY HEALTH CARE IS A MAJOR ISSUE THAT I'M CONCERNED ABOUT, BUT THEN IS DOESN'T TRANSLATE INTO ANYTHING WHEN THEY ENTER THE VOTING BOOTH.

Yepsen: AND THE FACT IS MOST IOWANS HAVE HEALTH INSURANCE. I MEAN HEALTH INSURANCE RATES IN IOWA ARE SOME OF THE HIGHEST IN THE COUNTRY. WHAT IS BEING DISCUSSED HERE -- AND I THINK THERE WILL BE SOME THINGS THAT HAPPEN BECAUSE THIS IS A VERY INCREMENTAL APPROACH. HOW CAN WE FIND WAYS TO HELP SMALL BUSINESSES PROVIDE MORE INSURANCE? IT GETS VERY TECHNICAL AND ARCANE TALKING ABOUT REINSURANCE AND STUFF. BUT AT THE END OF THE DAY, THESE POLITICIANS MAY BE ABLE TO LEAVE THE SESSION AND SAY WE DID HELP GET MORE PEOPLE INSURED.

Borg: UNDER THE HEAD -- UNDER THE CATEGORY, AS I HAVE IT HERE, ISSUES THAT MAY HAVE PEAKED AT LEAST TEMPORARY, I HAVE LARGE LIVESTOCK CONFINEMENT. DO YOU THINK THAT THAT IS AN ISSUE THAT HAS PEAKED AN INTEREST AND IS SUBSIDING RIGHT NOW. JENEANE? YOU'RE SHAKING YOUR HEAD NO.

Beck: I DON'T THINK SO. I THINK IT'S SOMETHING THAT SOME IOWANS HAVE NOT BEEN TALKING ABOUT AS MUCH LATELY, I.E., LEGISLATORS. BUT I THINK THOSE IOWANS LIVING IN RURAL IOWA ARE STILL TALKING ABOUT IT A LOT. AND IN FACT, THE DEPARTMENT OF NATURAL RESOURCES HAS SAID THAT THEY MAY LOOK AT TOUGHER RESTRICTIONS ON WHERE THESE LARGE ANIMAL CONFINEMENT OPERATIONS CAN BE LOCATED. IN THE PAST THEY'VE SAID THAT THEIR ROLE IS VERY LIMITED, THAT ALL THEY CAN DO IS IF SOMEBODY APPLIES FOR A MANURE MANAGEMENT PLANT THAT THEY HAVE TO SAY YES, THAT THEY JUST HAVE TO LOOK AT IT AND ESSENTIALLY SAY YES. AND NOW THEY'RE SAYING: WELL, WE'RE GOING TO TAKE ANOTHER LOOK AT YOUR PLAN; WE'RE GOING TO TAKE A LOOK AT WHERE YOU'RE LOCATED IN THE STATE; ARE YOU TOO CLOSE TO A DRINKING WELL; AND WE MIGHT BE TOUGHER ON THAT. AND THAT WILL BRING IT BACK UP.

Glover: I THINK THE SAME APPROACH THAT DAVID MENTIONED FOR HEALTH CARE IS APPLYING HERE IN LARGE LIVESTOCK FACILITIES. WE'VE HAD A DEBATE IN THIS STATE ABOUT SHOULD WE HAVE THESE FACTORY FARMS, AND THAT DEBATE HAS ENDED UP WITH, YEAH, WE SHOULD. NOW THE DEBATE IS STARTING TO SHIFT TO HOW DO WE CONTROL THEM, HOW DO WE REGULATE THEM, HOW DO WE PROTECT WATER QUALITY, HOW DO WE PROTECT AIR QUALITY. SO I THINK THOSE KINDS OF THINGS THAT HAVE A LOWER NOISE LEVEL WILL HAPPEN.

Henderson: AND IT'S A HUGE FIGHT BETWEEN JEFF VONK, WHO IS THE DIRECTOR OF THE DEPARTMENT OF NATURAL RESOURCES, WHO ESSENTIALLY WANTS VETO POWER TO TELL OPERATOR "X" THAT THEY CANNOT BUILD THAT FACILITY, WITH LEGISLATORS WHO SAY, HEY, WE DON'T WANT TO GIVE YOU THAT KIND OF VETO POWER, STEP BACK.

Yepsen: I THINK LIVESTOCK CONFINEMENTS ARE AN ISSUE RELATED TO WATER QUALITY. IOWANS ARE FINDING OUT THAT OUR WATER IS NOT AS CLEAN AS WE THOUGHT IT WAS. NOW, ONE REASON WE'RE FINDING OUT, WE NEVER TESTED IT MUCH BEFORE. AND NOW WE'RE FINDING OUT, OH, MY GOD. SO I THINK THAT KEEPS THAT ISSUE ALIVE. BUT IT'S ALSO TRUE, IN FAIRNESS TO THE PRODUCERS, SOME OF THESE NEWER FACILITIES, THEY'RE BEING MORE SENSITIVE ABOUT WHERE THEY PUT THEM, HOW THEY BUILD THEM. AND IT'S ALSO TRUE THAT A LOT OF PEOPLE IN RURAL IOWA ARE GETTING USED TO THE FACT THESE ARE PART OF OUR WAY OF LIFE NOW.

Beck: WELL, AND THE DNR WILL EVEN ADMIT THAT IT'S NOT NECESSARILY THE SIZE OF THE OPERATION THAT MATTERS IN THE CASE OF WHO'S GOING TO BE THE ENVIRONMENTAL BAD GUY WHO'S GOING TO HAVE A SPILL; IT'S HOW IT'S RUN. AND SO AS DAVID IS SAYING, THESE NEW FACILITIES MAY NOT BE THE CULPRITS. IT MAY BE A SMALLER FACILITY THAT JUST DOESN'T HAVE A GOOD MANURE MANAGEMENT PLAN.

Borg: WHAT ABOUT THE IDEA OF REORGANIZING AND CONSOLIDATING IOWA GOVERNMENT, A SMALLER GOVERNMENT, CONSOLIDATING COUNTIES, SCHOOL DISTRICTS, AND SO ON? IS THAT AN IDEA THAT'S PEAKED?

Glover: IT'S ON THE TABLE. IT'S ON THE TABLE AND THE GOVERNOR IS GOING TO HAVE A PROPOSAL FOR THE LEGISLATURE TO ENCOURAGE LOCAL GOVERNMENTS TO SHARE. THE WAY IT WORKS NOW IS THE STATE MANDATES A BUNCH OF PROPERTY TAX EXEMPTIONS LIKE THE HOMESTEAD EXEMPTION, THE VETERANS EXEMPTION, AND THEN IT PAYS FOR THOSE PROGRAMS THROUGH LOCAL GOVERNMENTS. THE GOVERNOR HAS GOT A PROPOSAL WHERE YOU'RE GOING TO SAY, OKAY, FOR EVERY DOLLAR YOU'RE GOING TO GET IN PROPERTY TAX REPLACEMENT, 75 PERCENT WILL FLOW TO GOVERNMENTS THAT WORK AS ALWAYS. BUT THE OTHER 25 PERCENT WILL ONLY GO TO GOVERNMENTS THAT AGREE TO MERGE AND SHARE SERVICES AND EVEN THINK ABOUT CONSOLIDATING. THAT'S A BIG FINANCIAL INCENTIVE. I DON'T KNOW IF IT'S GOING TO PASS, BUT IT'S GOING TO BE ON THE TABLE.

Henderson: AND THERE'S NO POLITICIAN UP AT THE STATEHOUSE THAT HAS THE POLITICAL COURAGE TO SAY IOWA HAS TOO MANY COUNTIES, IOWA HAS TOO MANY SCHOOL DISTRICTS, WE NEED TO FORCE THEM TO MERGE. THERE'S NO POLITICIAN THERE WHO HAS THAT KIND OF COURAGE.

Yepsen: IT'S REAL EASY, DEAN, FOR TOM VILSACK TO TALK ABOUT THIS NOW THAT HE'S NOT SEEKING REELECTION. WHERE WAS HE TALKING ABOUT THIS IN THE '02 CAMPAIGN WHEN HE WANTED VOTES, OR IN 1998 HE DIDN'T? SO AND THE POLITICIANS UP AT THE LEGISLATURE, THEY SAY, GOVERNOR, THAT'S FINE FOR YOU TO PREACH THAT PREACH BUT -- THAT SERMON, BUT WE'VE GOT TO GO FACE VOTERS AND WE'VE GOT TO GET REELECTED WITH SOME OF THESE VERY COURTHOUSE AND CITY HALL POLITICIANS YOU'RE ATTACKING. FORGET IT.

Borg: YOU'RE TALKING ABOUT TOM VILSACK. WHAT ABOUT TOM VILSACK MOVING TO THE NATIONAL STAGE? HE ALREADY HAS. WHAT MORE -- DO YOU THINK THAT'S GOING TO INCREASE IN THIS NEW YEAR?

Glover: SURE. HE'S -- HE'S TAKEN TO MAKING APPEARANCES AT HIGH-PROFILE EVENTS IN OTHER STATES, JEFFERSON-JACKSON DAY FUND-RAISING DINNERS IN STATES LIKE FLORIDA AND GEORGIA. HE'S TRAVELING THE COUNTRY WIDER. HE'S USING HIS ROLE AS HEAD OF THE DEMOCRATIC LEADERSHIP COUNCIL TO ARGUE THAT HE'S GOING TO BE A FACTOR IN GUBERNATORIAL RACES ALL OVER THE COUNTRY, INCLUDING GUBERNATORIAL RACES ALL OVER THE COUNTRY IN STATES THAT ARE IMPORTANT IN PRESIDENTIAL CAMPAIGNS, WHICH IS WHERE THE WHOLE THING IS HEADED.

Borg: DOES IT MAKE HIM A LAME DUCK IN IOWA?

Yepsen: YES.

Glover: YES.

Yepsen: YEAH, HE IS A LAME DUCK EVEN IF HE WASN'T RUNNING FOR PRESIDENT.

Glover: THAT'S RIGHT. BUT MORE --

Yepsen: WELL, WHAT IT DOES -- ONE OF THE PROBLEMS HE'S GOING TO HAVE -- AND WE'LL SEE THIS TOO -- IS THAT AS HE'S OUT THERE RUNNING FOR PRESIDENT, REPUBLICANS -- REPUBLICANS IN THE LEGISLATURE ARE SAYING: WAIT A MINUTE, DO WE WANT TO MAKE HIM LOOK GOOD; DO WE WANT TO PASS THIS INSURANCE THING SO HE CAN GO OUT AND CROW ABOUT WHAT HE DID IN IOWA? IT ADDS A NEW WRINKLE TO THIS SESSION THAT WE'VE NOT SEEN BEFORE.

Beck: AND IT FORCES HIM TO LOOK AT HIS SCALES AND DECIDE, ALL RIGHT, DO I NEED TO BE SPENDING SOME TIME IN IOWA LOBBYING ON BEHALF OF THE PROPOSALS HE HAS, BECAUSE HE'D LIKE TO END ON A HIGH NOTE, YOU KNOW. I DON'T KNOW THAT DEAN IS A GOOD -- A GOVERNOR DEAN WAS A GOOD EXAMPLE, BUT HE DID TOUT SOME OF THE THINGS HE'D DONE A LOT IN HIS STATE.

Borg: HOWARD DEAN.

Beck: HOWARD DEAN, YEAH, WHEN HE RAN FOR PRESIDENT. AND IF THIS GOVERNOR GETS SOME THINGS DONE IN IOWA, THAT WOULD HELP HIM IN THE PRESIDENTIAL RACE, BUT SO DOES BEING OUT THERE ON THE CAMPAIGN TRAIL. SO IT FORCES HIM TO WEIGH HIS OPTIONS.

Glover: AND RIGHT NOW WE HAVE TO STOP AND ASK OURSELVES -- IF I HAD TO ASK WHAT'S THE LEGACY OF TOM VILSACK IN HIS EIGHT YEARS AS GOVERNOR, I'D HAVE A TOUGH TIME ANSWERING THAT QUESTION.

Borg: OKAY. WHAT MIGHT COME UP THIS YEAR THAT WE AREN'T EVEN EXPECTING? WHAT DO YOU THINK, DAVE?

Yepsen: WELL, WE CERTAINLY DO EXPECT BIRD FLU. I MEAN THAT'S SCARY, THE RAMIFICATIONS OF THAT. NOW, WE DON'T -- WE DON'T KNOW WHEN A PANDEMIC WILL OCCUR, IF IT WILL. BUT THE ONE THING THAT REALLY KEEPS POLITICIANS AWAKE AT NIGHT IS THE NOTION THAT THIS COULD HAPPEN, AND ALL BETS ARE OFF.

Glover: I THINK THE ONE THING THAT WILL HAPPEN IS AFTER ALL THESE YEARS, WE'LL HAVE A HEALTH CARE BILL THAT WILL MAKE ITS WAY THROUGH THE LEGISLATURE.

Borg: KAY?

Henderson: IOWANS AND AMERICANS WILL SUFFER THROUGH EVEN HIGHER GASOLINE PRICES AT THE PUMP, AND THEIR POLITICIANS WILL DO NOTHING.

Borg: JENEANE.

Beck: AND I THINK THEY'LL ALSO SUFFER HIGHER PRICES IN THEIR HOME HEATING COSTS, AND IT'S YET TO BE SEEN WHAT POLITICIANS WILL DO ABOUT THAT.

Borg: WE'LL COME BACK IN A FEW WEEKS AND A FEW MONTHS AND SEE IF THOSE PREDICTIONS COME TRUE. THANKS VERY MUCH FOR YOUR INSIGHTS TODAY. ON OUR NEXT EDITION OF "IOWA PRESS," FOCUSING ON THE SECOND SESSION OF IOWA'S 81ST GENERAL ASSEMBLY. THAT CONVENES ON MONDAY, JANUARY 9. SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES, CHRISTOPHER RANTS OF SIOUX CITY, JOINS US NEXT WEEK TO DISCUSS THE AGENDA FOR THE 2006 LEGISLATIVE SESSION. NOW, YOU'LL SEE OUR CONVERSATION WITH SPEAKER CHRISTOPHER RANTS FRIDAY AT 7:30, BUT THERE'S A NEW TIME FOR THE SUNDAY REBROADCAST. YOU'LL SEE "IOWA PRESS" NOW SUNDAY MORNING AT 11:30. I HOPE YOU'LL WATCH. THANKS FOR JOINING US TODAY. I'M DEAN BORG. BEST WISHES FOR A HAPPY AND SUCCESSFUL NEW YEAR.

FUNDING FOR THIS PROGRAM WAS PROVIDED BY "FRIENDS," THE IOWA PUBLIC TELEVISION FOUNDATION; BY THE IOWA BANKERS ASSOCIATION... FOR PERSONAL, BUSINESS, AND COMMERCIAL NEEDS, IOWA BANKS HELP IOWANS REACH THEIR FINANCIAL GOALS; AND BY THE ASSOCIATED GENERAL CONTRACTORS OF IOWA, THE PUBLIC'S PARTNER IN BUILDING IOWA'S HIGHWAY, BRIDGE, AND MUNICIPAL UTILITY INFRASTRUCTURE.

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