i9 Fact Checker: Ad attacks Gov. Reynolds across a variety of policy positions

Published: Oct. 18, 2022 at 11:55 AM CDT
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CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa (KCRG) - Iowa Democrats have continually attacked Iowa Republicans for their positions on public education funding, abortion and healthcare for years. Iowa Candidate for Governor Deidre DeJear (D) talks about all those issues in her first advertisement on TV9, which attacks her opponent Gov. Kim Reynolds.

Source: DeJear for Iowa

According to documents from the Iowa Ethics and Campaign Disclosure Board, DeJear for Iowa is the committee for DeJear’s campaign for Governor. She is running for the position after losing an election for Secretary of State in 2018.

Claim #1: Kim Reynolds tries to take money from public schools to give it to private schools.

Analysis: The ad is referring to this story from the Cedar Rapids Gazette in February 2021 about Senate File 159. The story uses numbers from the Legislative Services Agency (LSA), which is a nonpartisan service helping the legislature track finances and other effects from different bills.

According to LSA, the bill would create education savings accounts for students enrolling in private schools rather than attend a lower-performing school. Those education saving accounts would act similar to scholarships because the state would put public dollars into a savings account, which would offset the amount spent on private education.

According to the LSA, the program is funded through the state general fund and would take away $2.1 million from public school districts during the program’s first year. The amount is a small percentage of the total state funding in education, about $3.5 billion.

Critics have argued the amount of money taken away from public schools under this bill could have been higher than LSA’s estimates because the program doesn’t limit the number of scholarships awarded.

Gov. Reynolds supported a similar bill called Senate File 2369 during the 2022 Legislative Session. Among other changes, the bill would have given 10,000 students scholarships to help afford private schools. The program was funded through $55 million initially purposed for public schools.

Both bills never became law and have become a campaign issue for both major political parties.

Conclusion: The amount of money given to private schools is small compared to the overall budget. But, Gov. Reynolds did try to take away funds from public schools through two bills and give it to private schools. It gets an A.

Claim #2: She [Gov. Reynolds] supports letting states ban abortion even in cases of rape and incest.

Analysis: The ad is referring to this story from the Des Moines Register from June 2022 after the Supreme Court overturned Roe. v. Wade, which guaranteed the federal right to an abortion.

The story uses the Governor’s statement celebrating the decision saying she “won’t rest until every unborn Iowan is protected and respected.” She hasn’t publically publicly stated specifics on her abortion policy stances other than that she’s pro-life.

Gov. Reynolds did ask Iowa courts to reinstate both Iowa’s 24-hour waiting period and abortion ban after a heartbeat is detected, which often occurs after six weeks. The ban, which Reynolds signed, does have exceptions for the health of the mother, rape and incest.

The effect of the ban is debatable. A 2017 study from the United States Department of Health and Human Services found when somebody became aware they were pregnant the average age of a fetus was 5.5 weeks. A 2021 study from a research group at the University of California San Francisco found one in three people find out they’re pregnant past six weeks.

Conclusion: Governor Kim Reynolds is unapologetically pro-life. She has supported exceptions and why this claim gets a C.

Claim #3: “She said no to protecting landowners from eminent domain…

Analysis: Three different companies are trying to create carbon capture pipelines across the state, which would sequester carbon dioxide from the air, turn it into liquid and inject it underground out-of-state. Each pipeline stretches across multiple counties.

All three different companies are asking landowners to voluntarily sell their land for money but could ask the Iowa Utilities Board to use eminent domain. However, those companies could ask for eminent domain.

Stories from the N’West Iowa Review in February 2022 and Public News Service in April 2022 talked about efforts to limit these companies from using eminent domain through the legislature.

Senate File 2160 would have stopped carbon capture pipelines from using eminent domain in Iowa. An amendment to House File 2565 would have stopped hearings related to carbon sequestration pipelines for one year. However, none of those bills made it to the Governor’s Desk.

Gov. Kim Reynolds chairs a carbon sequestration task force, which studies carbon sequestration along with its economic value and effects on agriculture. She has attended meetings with opponents of pipelines.

TV9′s sister station, KTIV reported Gov. Reynolds said she worked to get language into Iowa law requiring farmers were adequately reimbursed if eminent domain was used. The story didn’t name the law used to create those protections.

Conclusion: Gov. Reynolds’ could have asked the legislature for stronger protections from companies using eminent domain. However, her direct role in saying “no” to these protections isn’t clear and gets a D.

Claim #4: …and lower-cost prescription drugs for seniors.”

Analysis: This refers to a joint statement from 22 Republican Governors, which includes Gov. Kim Reynolds, advocating against federal legislation supporters call the Inflation Reduction Act.

Governors, like Gov. Reynolds, had no power to vote on the bill.

The Inflation Reduction Act, according to the congressional research service, allows Medicare to negotiate drug prices for certain drugs among other changes. The Congressional Budget Office said these negotiations will result in the government spending less on health care costs, which should get passed onto the individual.

Conclusion: Gov. Reynolds had no power to say “No” to the inflation Reducation Act since it’s federal legislation. Ultimately, the Congressional Budget Office said the bill will lower costs for a program serving seniors and why it gets a B.