Friday, February 24, 2006

What's happening under that painted blue sky?

My S.O. noticed something interesting in the DMR (it happens on occasion). It’s the paper’s habit of publishing make’em look bad news; not that my S.O. minds the DMR’s news placement cheap shots at the legislature, to paraphrase: “they’re all 'challenged' in that place”. I don’t try to disagree, who needs an argument with a show-me-the-numbers sort of person.

Over the past couple days, the DMR has published at least three stories that should have been left on a hard drive. The news guys put together entirely too long “news” stories on the following:

The controversial and significant move to name the channel catfish as the state fish.

Icon status sought for channel catfish

A Senate panel passes a resolution on another symbol for Iowa.

Iowa has a state bird, flower, tree and rock. Next in line could be a state fish.

A Senate committee got hooked on the idea Wednesday, passing a resolution declaring the channel catfish the official fish of Iowa.

"Iowa is one of five states that don't have a state fish. It's time to do it," said Sen. David Miller, a Fairfield Republican and a member of the Senate State Government Committee.

The channel catfish could be a metaphor for Iowans, said 82-year-old George Marzeck of West Burlington, a self-taught naturalist and lifelong fisherman.

"The channel catfish prefers clean, clear water, but it's tough enough to put up with a lot of crap," said Marzeck, who has spent the last 38 years campaigning to have the Legislature designate the channel catfish as the state fish. … (Link)

The Iowa Senate’s efforts to micro-manage athletic eligibility education policy. This suggests we have one too many of those high school coaches practicing politics.

Proposal lets students fail 4 classes, compete

The Senate panel's bill would stymie efforts by the Board of Education to tighten athletic eligibility rules.

Iowa's high school athletes could fail as many as four courses each semester and remain eligible to compete in sports, under a proposed bill unanimously approved Wednesday by a state Senate subcommittee.

The proposed bill would stymie efforts by Iowa's State Board of Education to tighten high school athletic eligibility rule. …

… Sen. Dave Mulde r, a Sioux Center Republican and a subcommittee member, called the proposed rule unfair.

"I could have a student who gets all D-minus and gets to compete, and I can have another student with three A's and three B's and one F, and that kid is ineligible," Mulder, a former high school coach, said of the proposed rule. "Local school districts can do a better job of deciding this issue."

Mulder said he is hopeful the proposed bill makes it out of committee by next week's funnel deadline. …

… Sen. Frank Wood, an Eldridge Democrat and subcommittee member, said benching student athletes for failing a class counters a push for high school students to take rigorous courses. "If students think they'll get an F, they won't take the advanced class. They'll take the easy way out so they can participate in extracurricular activities."

Many high school principals, athletic directors and coaches objected to the Board of Education's proposal for stricter standards. … (Link)

Iowa license plates: blue or pink? Just so long as they don’t look anything like Nebraska’s we’re all okay. But really, do we need to spend legislative time and DMR column inch going on about changes to our license plates?

State: License plate change would cost $19.4 million

Replacing Iowa's blue and white license plates would carry a high price tag.

State transportation officials estimated Thursday it would cost $19.4 million to reissue plates. They did not provide a breakdown of the expenses.

A bill being considered by state lawmakers would require the Iowa Department of Transportation to issue new license plates "of a distinctively different design and color" every five years, beginning in January 2007. … (Link)

News out of the legislature that didn’t make the DMR over the past few days.

Financial education for applicants for and participants in the Family Investment Program. HF 2509

Issuance of identity theft passports by the Attorney General. HF 2506

Holding period for purposes of certain capital assets under the individual income tax. SF 2093

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