IOWA CAPITOL SECURITY: Gov. Terry Branstad said Friday that he considers Iowa’s Capitol building safe and secure. Branstad, who has a personal security detail of state troopers, made the comment in reaction to revelations this week that at least two state senators have carried concealed weapons into the Statehouse. The governor said, “I respect the fact that the Legislature is a separate branch of government and they set their own rules,” but he would like to see “everybody treated the same” when it comes to security policies. Iowa citizens are required to go through a metal detector before entering the Statehouse, while elected officials and state employees can use swipe cards to access the building without going through the metal detectors. The state administrative code, which does not exempt the Legislature or its staff, bars any member of the public from carrying a dangerous weapon in the Capitol complex buildings.
SPRINT CAR CAPITOL: Gov. Terry Branstad will travel to the Knoxville Raceway on Tuesday. The occasion will be a signing ceremony for House File 2464, a bill passed last month before the Legislature adjourned that will provide a $2 million sales tax rebate plan for the raceway, referred to as “dirt-track heaven.” The legislation that Branstad promises to sign would allow the raceway to capture $2 million, or 25 percent of the construction costs, whichever is less. The proposal is modeled on a sales tax rebate being used by the Iowa Speedway at Newton.
VOTER FRAUD OUTCOME: Gov. Terry Branstad said Friday he is not surprised that a two-year probe by the Iowa Secretary of State’s office suggested that 117 ballots were cast illegally in Iowa during the past two election cycles. The joint investigation by the state Division of Criminal Investigation and the Secretary of State’s office resulted in 27 people facing voter fraud charges brought by county attorneys around Iowa and six convictions. “We need to make sure the security of the ballot box is protected and we don’t have people voting illegally,” said Branstad, who faces re-election this year. “When you have over a million people voting, the fact that you have 100 and some that have done so illegally I guess shouldn’t be surprising, but I think it’s something we need to be vigilant about,” added the governor. He said the results show it was appropriate for Secretary of State Matt Schultz to look into the issue.
QUOTE OF THE DAY: “That’s a rumor, and it’s a good rumor because it keeps the lobby at bay, it keeps you reporters away from me. It’s a great rumor.” — Rep. Clel Baudler, R-Greenfield, a former state trooper responding to a reporter’s question Friday whether he is among the state legislators who have carried a gun into the state Capitol for personal protection.