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Capitol Digest 3-30-12

James Q. Lynch, CR Gazette –

A roundup of legislative and Capitol news items of interest for Friday, March 30, 2012:

COOKING WITH KIDS: The Iowa House adopted a resolution calling on “parents and children to spend time in the kitchen together and prepare a healthy meal. HR 134 encourages parents to prepare at least one meal a week with their children as a way to “spend quality time and make healthy food choices … (and) commit to new healthy habits.

The resolution is part of Cooking with Kids, which was founded by restaurateur, cookbook author and host of Food Network’s “Diners Drive-ins and Dives,” Guy Fieri. The goal is to inspire 1 million young people to cook and addresses the crisis of childhood obesity through nutrition education by creating fun and memorable experiences for children in the kitchen.

Although it wasn’t in session, the Senate approved a similar certificate of recognition dated for March 30.

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STUDENTS UNITE: Universities for a Better Iowa — a student-led organization representing all three state universities — will hold its kick-off event next Monday 2 at the Iowa State Fairgrounds in Des Moines. Gov. Terry Branstad, members of the Iowa General Assembly, and alumni from the regent universities in Ames, Cedar Falls and Iowa City are scheduled to attend the event at the Elwell’s Family Food Center. Student leaders from Iowa State University, the University of Iowa, and the University of Northern Iowa hope to generate awareness about the impact of the universities and the benefits to all Iowans from investments in Iowa’s public colleges.

IOWA AND THE CIVIL WAR: “Iowa and the Civil War: Nothing But Victory,” an exhibit with more than 300 authentic artifacts and documents, opens April 14 at the State Historical Museum of Iowa. The 10,000 square-foot exhibition recounts the first-hand experiences of Iowans at war and the communities that supported them.

The exhibit includes historic battle flags Iowa troops carried into battle and the actual weaponry – cannons, guns and swords – they used while fighting in some of the most important events and turning points of the Civil War.

The State Historical Museum of Iowa is open 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday-Saturday and noon to 4:30 p.m. Sunday. Admission is free and open to the public. Visit or call (515) 281-5111 for more information.

BRANSTAD BACKS LFTB IN SCHOOLS: In a letter to local school superintendents, Gov. Terry Branstad encouraged them to continue choosing lean, finely textured beef in schools.

His letter is a response to the USDA’s action allowing schools to choose whether to continue serving this lean product in Iowa schools. Branstad said he will continue encouraging supermarkets and restaurants to offer this product as a safe, healthy choice for their consumers.

He noted that “in more than 20 years, there has not been one sickness or death associated with E. Coli or other bacteria. If lean, finely textured beef is pulled from schools in Iowa, the risks will be greater in using products deemed less safe.”

Also, Branstad said by “removing this lean product, schools will be forced to serve a fattier, unhealthier product.”

“It’s safe. It’s healthy. It’s the right thing to do,” the governor wrote.

KEYNOTE SPEAKERS: Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli – a leading opponent to federal health-care reform – will give the keynote address at the Republican Party of Iowa’s annual Lincoln Dinner on May 5 in Des Moines.

Iowa GOP Chairman A.J. Spiker said his party is honored to have Cuccinelli address the fundraiser. “We recently passed the two-year anniversary of ObamaCare becoming law, and the Supreme Court has begun reviewing the constitutionality of the Democrats’ healthcare mandate. Ken has been a leading opponent of this unconstitutional and destructive policy. We look forward to hearing Ken’s insight on this very important issue,” Spiker said.

In a separate announcement, officials with the Iowa Faith and Freedom Coalition said Sen. Rand Paul, R-KY, will be the featured speaker at the group’s spring event to be held on Friday, May 11. Organizers say they expect more than 600 Iowa activists who will play a foundational role in campaigns this fall to attend the May event, which will take place at Point of Grace Church in Waukee.

TROUT STOCKING: More than 350,000 rainbow and brook trout will be heading to streams in 12 northeast Iowa counties over the next six months when the Department of Natural Resources begins stocking runs every Monday. Trout will be stocked through October, but when and where is not announced.

At the DNR’s three trout hatcheries — Decorah, Big Spring and Manchester – it takes 18 months to grow trout to stocking size – one-half pound.

For novice anglers, northeast Iowa fisheries supervisor Mike Steuck advises using light line and small tackle, and trying to blend in to the background.

“These fish come off the stocking truck hungry and ready to bite, but trout have really good eyesight so you don’t want to announce your presence by wearing bright clothes or by using large tackle,” he said.

He also advises live bait — red wiggler or wax worm on an ice fly – or corn, marshmallows or scented baits.

Quote of the Day: “The interest seems to go up and down, but if a bill has nine lives, it’s definitely this one.” – House Speaker Kraig Paulsen, R-Hiawatha, discussing legislation to ban traffic enforcement cameras during Friday’s taping of Iowa Public Television’s “Iowa Press” show

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