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Conza Borders, of Moline, a volunteer with the Quad-City Food Forest, plants a gooseberry shrub at a past planting event. Borders now is president of the group.

Thumbs up to Iowa Senate for considering legislation that would soften penalties for simple possession of marijuana.

Senate File 432 would reduce a first offense of possession of five grams or less to a simple misdemeanor from a serious one. That linguistic change would significantly reduce fines and potential jail time.

The move is nowhere near as strong as what's happening in many other states. A legalization wave is sweeping Democrat-run states. And even some GOP-dominated states are rocketing toward full-blown decriminalization.

Predictably, Iowa is taking a more cautious approach, probably too cautious.

But, at the very least, this bill would be a step in the right direction. 

Thumbs down to Iowa Senate for knowingly advancing legislation that violates the U.S. Constitution.

No one should be shocked that the "heartbeat bill" was introduced this session. The proposed ban on abortions upon the detection of a fetal heartbeat has been kicked around for years.

This week, a Senate committee forwarded this attack on women's rights along, even though everyone involved was keenly aware that it violated constitutional protections for abortion.

That, at the end of the day, is the point. Iowa's lining up to be part of a U.S. Supreme Court battle that could strike at the heart of the controversial Roe v. Wade decision that established abortion rights. 

And, to that end, state lawmakers appear willing to stomp all over the Constitution they swore to uphold just to join the party. 

Thumbs up to volunteers with Quad-City Food Forest, who have resurrected the organization's food plot after substantial damage.

It was never clear who or what last year destroyed the trees and crops at the Food Forest's plot in Davenport. But it was extensive.

Since then, volunteers have poured countless hours into rehabbing the site. Going one further, Food Forest is seeking its own non-profit status now that its umbrella organization, Food Hub, is defunct.

Projects such as these provide people skills and access to fresh food. They also establish a sense of place and community.

All are important.  

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