THE PLATFORM OF THE MUSCATINE COUNTY DEMOCRATIC PARTY 2000
Adopted by the County Convention on March 25, 2000
We, the Democratic Party of Muscatine County, believe that the principal purpose of all governments is to do as a society that which we cannot do as individuals and to assure that each of us as individuals enjoy all the freedom possible without encroaching on the freedoms of others.
We also support the concept that each of us has the right to the basics of a good life, including an adequate diet, decent shelter, access to competent health care, and a quality education commensurate with our abilities.
Along with these rights, we also believe that those of us blessed with talents that allow us to acquire wealth beyond our needs have an obligation, accepted since before recorded history, to share a portion of our surplus with those less fortunately endowed. We believe an equitable tax system is the fairest way to assure that all of us meet this obligation.
We want our government to work with the world community for the elimination of armed conflict among nations, and the establishment of guarantees of basic human rights for all peoples.
For these reasons we support an activist government which intervenes on behalf of the individual when others, with the power to do so, attempt to encroach on our individual liberties or create a privileged position for themselves.
This is why we support strong protection of the rights of all minorities, the free expression of ideas (no matter how far from the mainstream they might be) and free choice in our individual actions so long as they do not interfere with others.
This is also why we oppose those who seek power, money, and influence for their own selfish purposes at the expense of others or who try to impose their own particular narrow set of values upon the rest of us.
The remainder of this platform is an affirmation of these broad principles.
PLATFORM RESOLUTIONS ADOPTED BY THE MUSCATINE COUNTY DEMOCRATIC PARTY
2000 COUNTY CONVENTION
Our common beliefs in the good that citizens and government can do gives us our purpose. Our diversity in opinions is our strength. Together they form the character of the Democratic Party. This Platform Report embodies those characteristics.
I. AGRICULTURE AND THE ENVIRONMENT
Agriculture is the bedrock of Iowa's economy, culture, and heritage. Farming as a way of life has suffered under federal farm policy during the last decade. Current policy has allowed a loss of farm income and farm families, with a resulting concentration in the ownership of farmland and control of our natural resources. The Iowa Democratic Party offers its support to Iowa's family farmers and beginning farmers. The economic circle in Iowa begins with these farmers who must be able to competitively purchase and sell agricultural products, which in turn supports both urban and rural Iowa businesses.
The environment has been under continuous attack by wasteful human exploitation of its resources for centuries through the dumping of hazardous wastes into its air, land, and waters, by human encroachment into natural wildernesses, and the systematic elimination of some of the earth's valuable species. The United States should become a world leader in rescuing the environment. Internationally, the President should attend environmental summits and lead the way in preserving rainforests and other threatened ecosystems, and ending air and water pollution. At home, the conservation of resources must be a national priority. Our national forests belong to all Americans, and economic production from them should be limited to providing U.S. jobs, not foreign exports. The problems of toxic chemicals, ozone depletion, clean air, and water pollution must be met with consistent, scientific, and ecological management practices that recognize the links between our environment and our health. Environmentally-caused diseases must be reportable.
A. FARM POLICIES. WE SUPPORT:
1. The use of sustainable and organic agricultural production methods with research and funding through agricultural programs and the Extension Service.
2. Aid for crop diversification by farmers and horticulturists.
3. Education programs for farmers and livestock breeders to encourage the increase of livestock genetic diversity so that animals will be bred with the characteristics that will enable them to thrive in different conditions.
4. Research and education that assists and encourages farmers to minimize the use of chemicals and control farm runoff.
5. The use of appropriate vegetative filter strips to reduce erosion and protect surface and groundwater from contamination.
6. The use of sound crop rotation practices, integrated pest management, soil enhancement, organic enrichment, and intercropping in agricultural production.
7. Incentives for oil-seed based agriculture.
8. The availability of land at reasonable prices through the elimination of federal subsidies and other supports for producers with net crop income larger than $100,000.00.
9. Preservation of our farmland, wilderness, rainforests, wetlands, and other threatened ecosystems through:
a. Educating members of the farming and agricultural community in the use of organic farming practices thereby discouraging the use of environmentally, unsafe practices, such as the use of toxic and nonbiodegradable chemicals.
b. Retail chemical suppliers should be solely responsible for accepting empty farm chemical containers for the purpose of safe and responsible recycling and should provide a sufficient deposit to encourage recycling.
c. Prevention of the disposal of dangerous untreated wastes by discharge into the atmosphere, rivers, and oceans, through appropriate regulation.
10. RESOLVED: If hog lots are to be a future contribution to Iowa's economy, they must find solutions to waste and odor problems. More secure impoundment of animal wastes is needed along with waste treatment that includes capture of methane gas at large operations, utilization of waste as fertilizer where possible, and partnering with local neighbors and communities so that they can become a part of the industry's future success.
a. The repeal of the prohibition of “nuisance” lawsuits against livestock operations passed by the Legislature in H.F. 519.
b. The adoption of Federal and State standards for hog confinement facilities.
c. Giving county boards of supervisors and/or county zoning boards authority to set more restrictive regulations than state law in the siting of large livestock confinement operations.
11. An increase in state funding for farm to market road improvements.
12. State research into and marketing of new agriculural products.
TOXIC SUBSTANCES: WE SUPPORT FEDERAL AND STATE LEGISLATION:
1. That will enact accurate and honest labeling requirements on all household, industrial, and farm chemicals as to their content and reactivity (i.e., MSDS= Materials Safety Data Sheet).
2. Which strengthens the content and enforcement of current laws applicable to the treatment, transportation, storage, and disposal of radioactive, hazardous, or toxic industrial and agricultural wastes.
3. Enforcement of existing legislation to reduce toxic emissions.
4. Strengthening regulations on the shipment of hazardous wastes and increasing checkpoints for wastes transported by air, water, rail and truck.
WASTE REDUCTION. WE SUPPORT:
1. Greater responsibility on waste generators to recycle and reduce the amount of waste they produce including efforts to expand recycling-collection service and establishing trash-collection fees based on the weight or volume of waste produced.
2. Economic incentives to process waste rather than dispose of it in landfills.
3. Landfill fees which reflect all the costs of using landfills, including the costs of managing them after they are closed.
4. When appropriate the development and operation of waste facilities as regional systems so that all solid waste is handled in the most appropriate and cost-effective way.
5. Removing toxic materials from the waste stream and managing separately from waste that is incinerated or processed in other ways.
6. Expanding Iowa's Container Redemption Law ("Bottle Bill") to include bottles and cans used for tea, water, fruit and vegetable juices and drinks, and other noncarbonated beverages excluding milk; the per-container handling fee paid to grocery stores and redemption centers should be adjusted to support the essential role these handlers play.
ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION. WE SUPPORT:
1. Increasing funds for the Iowa Resource Enhancement and Protection Program.
2. Encouraging the development and market place use of corn seed-based and other biodegradable products for packaging and fuels.
3. A congressional ban of the environmentally detrimental gasoline additive MTBE.
4. The continuing elimination of chlorofluorocarbon (CFC) production and use, and providing technical assistance to developing countries toward faster elimination of CFC's.
5. Reinstating the wetlands review process with consideration for geographical differences and preservation/expansion of wetlands through the federal Conservation Reserve Program or other farm/nonfarm programs.
6. Assigning a specific federal agency to monitor activity in the area of genetically modified organisms (GMOs), authorizing this agency to alert the public to potential dangers, and funding research of measures to avert those dangers.
7. Strengthening toxic emission limits on all incineration processes.
8. Imposing a moratorium on the construction of nuclear fission plants until hazardous materials and by-products can be neutralized.
9. Zoning floodplain areas for land-use activities (parks, open space, recreation, wildlife preserves, agriculture) which facilitate flood prevention and control and mitigate economic damage.
10. Funding research for identifying and implementing reasonable measures to
avert potential disasters resulting from world overpopulation.
11. Prompt implementation of the Kyoto agreements on global warming.
12. Requiring the World Trade Organization to improve its standards for fair labor, trade, and environmental protection.
1. Oil drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge.
CLEAN WATER. WE SUPPORT:
1. The reauthorization of the Clean Water Act and reject any amendments that may weaken it.
2. More funding to local governments to build appropriate wastewater infrastructure.
3. An increase in provisions that deal appropriately with nonpoint source pollution - runoff from fields, city streets, and construction sites. .
1. Making it easier for landowners and developers to obtain permits to dredge and fill wetlands.
ENDANGERED SPECIES. WE SUPPORT:
1. The Endangered Species Act.
2. Legislation that protects natural areas and open spaces which support unique ecological systems and crucial habitat.
3. A modification in the tax system to give tax breaks to landowners who enter into conservation agreements with the local, state, or federal government to protect wildlife habitat.
RECREATION. WE SUPPORT:
1. That all existing and future monies collected by the Iowa Department of Natural Resources on behalf of recreation should remain under the control of the Department,rather than the State's General Fund.
II. SUSTAINABLE ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT
A. WE SUPPORT:
1. An economy in which industrial waste becomes a raw material for another process, an economy which uses hydrogen and sunshine rather than carbon as an energy source, and an economy with systems of feedback and accountability that support and strengthen behavior that restores the environment.
2. The gradual imposition over a 20-year period of revenue-neutral green taxes on emissions, products, or activities that are to be discouraged so that consumers are provided with accurate information about product costs.
3. A tariff status called Most Sustainable Nation (MSN), in addition to Most Favored Nation (MFN), for countries that practice sustainable harvesting of resources, that do not despoil the environment, and that do not exploit workers. Such a tariff status would also help prevent companies from circumventing national green taxes.
4. Severance taxes on virgin resources.
5. Programs that mandate percentages of packaging that has to be reused and/or recycled by producers of consumer products thereby limiting the amount of packaging that can be thrown away. Companies not meeting those standards would face fines. .
6. Legislation that requires all manufacturers of durable goods to a) label product parts as to their recyclability and b) to establish resource recovery centers.
7. Changing the wording from the GATT to allow countries to "discriminate between like products on the basis of the method of production." This current provision essentially prohibits countries from using their own domestic environmental, labor, health, safety, or social welfare regulations to prohibit or regulate products from other countries.
8. Defining commercial crime so that corporations are held more accountable for environmental damage.
9. Repeal of the tax law that allows the cost of litigation to be tax-deductible as a business expense.
10. International institutions to regulate the activities of transnational corporations and other transnational actors.
11. Sustainable development principles as part of urban and rural development efforts.
12. Economic analysis which takes the long-term rather than short-term view and considers costs and benefits to the entire community.
III. COMMERCE AND LABOR
The economic policies of the Reagan and Bush administrations took us from the world's largest creditor nation to the world's largest debtor. Under the current Democratic administration, the massive federal deficits have been reduced. Federal spending must emphasize the conversion of our military-industrial complex to a civilian industrial economy. We must have a fair, progressive taxation system that encourages savings and minimizes the effect of regressive taxes on low and fixed income Americans.
We of the Democratic Party are proud of our long association with our union brothers and sisters. Many of the workplace practices that Americans take for granted today were hard fought victories of organized labor. We must protect the intent and purpose of the National Labor Relations Act and Iowa's Public Employment Relations Act to allow men and women to organize and bargain collectively. At the federal level the Hatch Act should be reformed to allow federal and postal workers to participate fully in the political process. Federal legislation should be enacted that protects private sector workers' rights to picket, strike, and earn the prevailing wage. Furthermore, the collective bargaining process should provide fair and reasonable protection for employees engaged in labor strikes. Efforts to undermine this process by applying racketeering laws must be stopped.
In order to provide a fair environment in which business may compete, we support the enforcement of antitrust laws. We support the reduction of incentives that encourage the purchase and dismantling of one company by another.
ECONOMY. WE SUPPORT:
1. A Federal government jobs programs and vocational training and retraining.
2. Incentives for companies and factories to remain in the United States.
3. Federal guidelines to limit state and local government competition in the use of incentives to attract and retain business.
4. Fair trade agreements that ensure participating nations will offer decent wages, humane working conditions, and sound environmental policies.
5. Economic development that focuses on improving Iowa's infrastructure, and creating good paying jobs.
6. Iowa being competitive in economic development.
7. Investments in new technology within the State of Iowa and the marketing of Iowa products abroad.
TAXATION. WE SUPPORT:
1. Income tax increase should be limited to those making over $100,000 annually.
2. A graduated income tax without any loopholes for the wealthy.
3. A cap on personal residential property tax for citizens over 65 years of age who live on low fixed incomes.
4. Increase the exemptions on the inheritance taxes.
1. The use of IPERS or other retirement funds for any purpose other than benefits.
2. Passage of the so-called Taxpayers Rights Amendment to the Iowa Constitution.
BUDGET. WE SUPPORT:
1. Continued reduction in military spending to reduce the deficit.
2. Iowa DOT Road Use Funds should not be transferred to the General Fund.
3. Full funding of the National Endowment for the Arts and the Corporation for Public Broadcasting.
1. Using tax money to support gambling.
LABOR. WE SUPPORT THE FOLLOWING:
1. Workers Compensation measures that:
a. Allow an injured worker to select their treating physician.
b. Increase work-related death benefits.
c. Require insurers to pay all bills directly that result from an on-the-job injury.
d. Require all employers to provide unemployment insurance and workers compensation coverage to include rehabilitation services.
e. Allow workers to redress their worker compensation cases through the courts.
f. Separate Worker's compensation premium into two parts: one part based on medical costs and the other part based on wage replacement.
g. Enact legislation that will prevent the release of worker's compensation records to firms which blacklist workers and appropriate penalties in the event worker's medical privacy rights are violated.
h. Enforce current law requiring that first reports of injury and claim activity reports be timely filed and that insurance carriers name in-state claims representatives.
i. Enact legislation that provides for reasonable, but specific, time frames within which worker's compensation cases must be decided.
2. Unemployment compensation measures that:
a. Enact legislation that would change the current formula for qualifying for unemployment compensation in order to allow more Iowans who are unemployed through no fault of their own to receive benefits.
b. Extend of unemployment benefits to victims of domestic violence.
c. Oppose the use of unemployment trust fund money or the interest generated by the fund for anything other than benefits to unemployed Iowans.
3. Strengthening of plant closing and bankruptcy laws to protect employees. A revision of Chapter 11 Bankruptcy laws to prohibit companies from canceling their union contracts before a federal bankruptcy judge has made a ruling.
4. Employee terminations under the employment-at-will doctrine must be for good cause (misconduct or due to economic conditions), and must allow workers to have access to courts for adjudication of discharge cases.
5. The State of Iowa abiding by labor contracts and arbitrator's decisions.
6. Payment of unemployment insurance and extension of other employment-related benefits to strikers.
7. The right of migrant workers to unionize nationally and internationally.
8. Child labor laws enforced among migrant workers.
9. Repeal of the "Right to Work" law.
10. Iowa drug testing laws should be changed to permit testing for probable cause only, and rights of workers should not be diminished.
11. Ending the exemption from protection of health and safety statutes for agricultural workers.
12. Workers health and safety measures that:
a. Allow employees and unions greater participation in OSHA (Occupational Safety and Health Administration) and MSHA (Mine Safety and Health Administration) enforcement procedures, plus additional protection against discrimination for exercising rights granted under the Acts.
b. Grant employees the right to inspect unsafe workplaces, refuse unsafe work, and stop unsafe operations in the workplace.
c. Consider a bidder's safety record for government contracts.
d. Make available federal low-interest loans for cleaning up asbestos and other workplace hazards.
13. Discouraging the continued use of temporary employees in lieu of permanent, full-time employees.
14. Federal legislation that requires that part-time employees receive at least proportionate wages and benefits.
15. Pensions that follow the worker in his or her name, similar to the way that IRAs and Social Security Pensions do now. The individual should not lose what has been contributed in his or her name.
16. That private pension coverage should be expanded so that pensions are more available and reliable sources of retirement income for all Americans with early action being taken to ensure the integrity of all private pension plans and the timely payment of pension benefits.
17. We support "the Rule of 85" regarding IPERS benefits.
18. That Iowa minimum wage should be increased to at least $6.15 per hour and indexed to future increases in the cost of living.
19. Passage of legislation requiring companies selling products to state and local government to pay a "living wage" to their employees.
20. Hatch Act reform.
21. That unions have the right to organize.
22. The right of workers to organize by supporting card check recognition for public sector workers in Iowa, by advocating for reform of the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA) to include card check recognition for private sector workers and add meaningful penalties to the NLRA to punish employers who violate the rights of workers.
23. In organized workplaces, all wages, hours, terms and conditions of employment should be mandatory (not permissive) subjects of bargaining.
24. Including core worker's rights and environmental protection in all trade agreements.
25. That WTO rules do not undermine legitimate national, state, and local laws and regulations protecting public health, the environment, and social programs.
26. Legislation that reflects the distinction between employees and independent contractors and prohibits employer avoidance of their obligations.
27. A requirement that public entities entering into contracts for buildings or improvements valued at over $2,000 should pay prevailing wages to workers.
28. Programs that train inmates for work after their release, provided that such programs comply with prevailing wage requirements, that there is no adverse impact upon public or private sector workers, and that no displacement of employed workers occurs.
29. Programs that train welfare recipients for work, provided that such programs comply with prevailing wage requirements, that there is no adverse impact upon public or private sector workers and that no displacement of employed workers occurs.
1. Loss of quality public employees or services through the contracting out of public work.
2. The privatization/commercialization of the post office.
3. Deregulation of the electric utility industry unless there is full protection for utility workers' jobs and wages and benefits, assurances of affordable, reliable, and safe electric service for consumers and adequate protection for the environment.
4. Indiscriminate, random, or harassing drug testing of employees.
Democrats must remember Hubert H. Humphrey's words "The moral test of government is how that government treats those who are in the dawn of life, the children; those who are in the twilight of life, the elderly; and those who are in the shadows of life, the sick, the needy, and the handicapped."
We do not tolerate the social and economic inequities that have evolved under the Reagan/Bush/Branstad/Republican administrations. We support activist roles by government in solving our nation's problems.
HEALTH CARE. WE SUPPORT:
Comprehensive reform of health care systems (mental and physical) must be major priorities of government and requires immediate attention. Affordable, accessible, and quality health care are basic human rights and not privileges. Develop a national insurance program to cover all Americans, regardless of age, economic status, or country of origin.
1. Health Care Reform, which should include:
a. Individual choice of physician and hospital.
b. Increased emphasis and expansion of prenatal and child health care.
c. Increased emphasis and funding for HIV disease research.
d. Long term care at home and in nursing homes.
e. Dental, eye, and chiropractic care.
f. Covering prescription drugs.
g. Minimal co-payments and minimal deductibles.
h. Strong prevention programs.
i. Strict cost controls.
j. Increase all substance abuse funding to include education, research, and treatment.
k. Women's Health Equity Act.
l. Disability funding to include traumatic head injury.
m. A fair review of medical claims associated with Agent Orange and other military-related exposures, and when a presumption exists, the veteran and his/her agency should receive fair compensation.
n. Make health care coverage transferable with the worker when they move from one employer to another.
2. In an effort to restrain medical spending due to defensive medicine being practiced to prevent exorbitant malpractice awards by judges, and/or juries RESOLVED: that a system of arbitration and mediation be established to reach a fair and equitable settlement of legitimate claims without resorting to dependence on the court system.
3. Strengthening the Medicare system so that it continues to provide affordable, high quality care including prescription drugs for current and future beneficiaries.
4. Revising the Medicare reimbursement system to achieve equity in levels of reimbursement from state to state, such that low cost hospitals in states such as Iowa will be treated more fairly.
5. Increased funding for research into and prevention of life threatening diseases, and access to treatment.
6. Equal insurance coverage for persons with mental health disorders.
7. Provision of the same basic patient protections for all managed care consumers as those provided by the Medicare program.
8. That the Older Americans Act be better funded in order to provide the needed support and services to enable older citizens to remain in their homes and to receive proper care.
9. That our elected officials pursue the adoption of a program assuring affordable and quality health care for all people in the US, regardless of age or income.
10. That the Social Security program be preserved as a social insurance program, strengthened by ensuring the long-term financial stability of the program for future generations.
11. That a systematic plan be developed to phase in development of a coordinated, comprehensive long-term care program for the United States that would cover all Americans regardless of age or income.
12. Parity in insurance coverage for persons with brain disorders.
1. Any limits on discussions of health care issues at women's health clinics.
2. Any reductions in funds to women's health clinics.
3. Health care restrictions based on earned income.
4. Limits on medical malpractice lawsuits.
HOUSING/HOMELESS. WE SUPPORT:
1. Construction, maintenance, and rehabilitation of affordable housing, targeting inner-city neighborhoods and rural communities, through increased investment by federal, state and local governments and the private sector.
2. Creative programs which encourage home ownership for poverty level, low income, and middle income people.
3. Providing homeless people with food, shelter, financial intervention, educational opportunities, greater access to social services, job and training opportunities.
4. Instituting tenant-based management of HUD projects.
5. Broadening the dissemination of public information concerning housing programs.
SOCIAL SECURITY. WE SUPPORT:
1. Protection of the Trust Fund from any use other than benefit payments.
2. Separation of the Trust Fund from the unified federal budget.
3. Cost of living adjustments.
4. Increasing earned income limits.
5. Removal of FICA payroll wage caps.
POLITICAL PROCESS. WE SUPPORT:
1. Electoral College abolition.
2. Same day on-site registration with strict safeguards to prohibit voter fraud.
3. Change in registration requirements to allow persons without permanent addresses to register.
4. Saturday/Sunday election periods for general elections.
5. Holding multiple elections at the same time whenever possible.
6. Keeping Iowa Secretary of State an elective office.
7. Change to single district election of county supervisors.
8. Statehood for the District of Columbia.
9. Single issue legislation, passed on its own merits with only germane riders or amendments.
10. Requiring government policy-making boards to include representatives of those affected.
11. Efforts to increase and include minorities at all levels including elected offices.
12. Stronger consumer-protection regulation.
13. Investigating the integrity of financial institutions investing public/private funds.
14. Because democracy requires increased voter participation and fairness, that on election day the polls be open 24 hours with national allowance for time zone difference.
1. Automatic pay raises of for elected officials.
CAMPAIGN AND FINANCE REFORM. WE SUPPORT:
1. A system of public financing of state and federal elections.
2. Limitations on the length of presidential campaigns.
3. A cap on campaign spending.
ETHICS: WE SUPPORT:
1. Strict regulation and reporting of direct and indirect compensation of public officials of all gifts and honoraria.
2. Absolute separation of campaign and personal funds.
3. Confict-of-interest disclosure by all elected officials.
HUMAN RESOURCES. WE SUPPORT:
1. No penalization for working one's way out of the welfare system.
2. Broadening the number of people covered by Family and Medical Leave Act.
3. Higher income tax deductions for child care.
4. Increased enforcement of restraining orders in domestic abuse situations.
5. Increase funding for additional safe houses for victims of domestic abuse.
6. Full funding for the Women, Infant, and Children feeding Programs (WIC), school breakfast and lunch programs, and Meals on Wheels.
7. Title XIX (Medicaid).
8. Stricter enforcement of payment of court-ordered child support.
9. Interstate reciprocity for child support/visitation/custody rights.
10. Mandatory anonymous disclosure of an adoptee's birth-family medical history.
11. The concept of the living will and the individual's right to have input during terminal illness.
12. That federal standards be established that would allow welfare recipients to work while receiving benefits.
13. That approved parent training be made available to the parents of newborns while they are in the hospital.
14. Funding for high-quality child care to make it more available and affordable for Iowa's working families and provide living wages for child care providers.
15. That affordable housing be provided, through Iowa dedicating real estate transfer tax revenue for local housing programs. These funds would be controlled at the local level and used to meet the low - and moderate -income housing needs of that area.
16. Increasing funding for Iowa's Emergency Assistance Program (EAP), which provides grants to low-income families with children to pay for rent and /or utilities, essential home repair or a mortgage payment.
17. Adequate funding of Legal Services.
18. Funding for programs combatting physical, psychological, and sexual abuse of children, adults, elderly, spouses, ex-spouses, or cohabitants.
EDUCATION. WE SUPPORT:
1. Full funding of Head Start.
2. Increased funding for campaigns against illiteracy.
3. Increased federal funding for veterans' educational benefits.
4. Moving toward funding Iowa public schools entirely from income tax revenues.
REGARDING K-12 EDUCATION. WE SUPPORT:
1. Decentralized decision-making in schools.
2. New technology in schools.
3. Curriculum designed to challenge every child.
4. Retention of the calculation of an allowable growth rate.
5. Retention of the standing unlimited appropriation for financing school districts.
6. The appropriation of adequate state funds for competitive salaries for all Iowa school employees.
7. Timely delivery of school aid payments.
8. Special education programs.
9. Public alternative education programs.
10. Programs for "at risk" students.
11. Requiring teacher certification or verified satisfactory educational progress for those who instruct children.
12. Multi-cultural, non-sexist curricula with a global emphasis.
13. Expanded vocational education curricula and program funding.
14. Educational programs in family life responsibility.
15. Changing the state standards to start foreign language at early elementary years (kindergarten).
16. Lower student-teacher ratio.
1. Public funding for nonpublic schools, voucher programs, and increasing private education tax credits to avoid further deterioration of public schools.
2. Cutting art, music, and counseling programs as an attempt to balance school budgets.
3. The use of standardized testing as a requirement for promotion or graduation.
REGARDING HIGHER EDUCATION. WE SUPPORT:
1. Standardization of workload determination for community college instructors.
2. Fully funding the foundation plan for community colleges while guaranteeing that no school receives less funding than the previous year.
3. Renewed emphasis on undergraduate instruction.
4. Increased student aid for college education through grants, scholarships, and loans expanding eligibility.
5. Programs of public service for student loan repayment.
6. Uniform collection of student loan repayments.
7. Low interest loans based on family income.
8. Programs which fight "brain drain" through loan forgiveness for graduates who stay in Iowa.
V. INTERNATIONAL AFFAIRS
The foreign policy of the United States, in accordance with the principles expressed in the Helsinki Declaration, ought not to sacrifice human rights and needs for reasons of political or economic expedience. We support forms of conflict resolution that avoid the use of arms. We must work to eliminate terrorism as a political tool in the modern world. The U.S. should support efforts to eliminate human rights violations, world hunger, illiteracy, and environmental degradation. We are encouraged by the support for the growing movement toward democratic governments throughout the world.
All persons without exception have fundamental human rights including life, fair public trial, health care, shelter, nutrition, education, reproductive choice, and freedom from arbitrary arrest, torture, summary execution, and exile.
FOREIGN POLICY. WE SUPPORT:
1. Sanctuary for all refugees fleeing oppressive political conditions.
2. Assisting impoverished nations in meeting their long term food, housing, and employment needs.
3 Expanding economic assistance to promote the continued viability of the Republic of South Africa in its democratic evolution and all other emerging democracies.
4. Full funding of family planning information and implementation without coercion.
5. Continued evolution of our diplomatic opening with Vietnam and the immediate pursuit of similar initiatives with Cuba, Iraq, and North Korea.
6. Eliminating economic sanctions that hurt populations without affecting their leaders.
7. Limiting the CIA and other intelligence agencies to legitimate information-gathering and analysis.
8. Redirecting foreign aid from military to humanitarian objectives.
9. Participation by U.S. officials and non-governmental organizations in independent monitoring of foreign elections.
10. U.S. participation in establishment of the International Criminal Court.
11. Implementation of U.S. commitment made in Beijing to establish a White House Council of Women with express purpose of carrying out the goals of the Platform of the 4th World Conference of Women. ( See summary in 1996 Platform)
12. Condemnation of Russian behavior in Chechnya.
THE MIDDLE EAST. WE SUPPORT:
1. The U.S. role in the Middle East as an involved and impartial broker.
2. The current peace process of direct negotiations between Israel, all of her Arab neighbors, and the Palestinians.
3. Humanitarian aid to the successful partners in a sustained peace in the Middle East.
ARMS CONTROL. WE SUPPORT:
1. A world wide enforced ban on all testing and production of nuclear weapons, as well as the elimination of all chemical and biological weapons.
2. U.S. ratification of the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty.
3. Retraining workers and retooling military-industrial facilities to make cuts in military spending less injurious to individuals and communities.
4. The U.S. should reject aggressive international arm sales as an economic remedy to domestic unemployment due to the decline in the defense industry .
5. Using savings from reduced military spending to meet human needs and to rebuild the infrastructure.
6. Multilateral, verifiable reduction of the world's arsenal of nuclear weapons.
7. U.S. ratification of the Landmine Treaty.
WE OPPOSE ANY FUNDING FOR:
1. Modernization of existing nuclear weapons.
2. All research on new nuclear weapons.
3. The B-2 Bomber..
4. Any further expansion of NATO.
FOREIGN TRADE AND AID. WE SUPPORT:
1. Help for the peoples of the Newly Independent States and all other former Warsaw Pact countries to achieve and build democratic political institutions and viable economic mechanisms through emergency food and medical aid, technical assistance, credits for grain/producer/investment purchases and goods, loans from the IMF, and retooling of their military-industrial facilities as well as retraining of the workers.
2. The practice of fair and free trade as the best policy for advancing the economic welfare of the U.S. by reciprocity with our trading partners (open markets for our products, services, and investments) while avoiding both quotas and formulas that seek to impose ceilings on our bilateral trade deficits with any country.
3. The reduction of tariff and non-tariff barriers in the various bilateral talks in which the U.S. is engaged, such as those with the European Community and Japan.
4. Trade policies that must include adequate environmental, health, safety, and labor union protection.
MILITARY POLICY. WE SUPPORT:
1. A peace dividend through a reduction in military spending by 1/5; however, since national security remains a deep concern, the U.S. must provide and maintain an adequate military force for the protection of U.S. security interests, as well as continue basic and applied research.
2. Continued cooperation with the Vietnamese to achieve the fullest possible accounting of all POWs and MIAs, and return of any American MIAs and recoverable remains of Americans.
3. Closing of the Ft. Benning "School of the Americas" (spending over $18 billion annually, ostensibly to professionalize the Latin America military, but probably involved for many years in training for torture and atrocities).
UNITED NATIONS. WE SUPPORT:
1. Full funding of the United States' treaty obligation for the United Nations System.
2. U.S. support of U.N. peacekeeping operations including our share of funding training and logistics.
3. Return to full U.S. membership in all U. N. agencies, such as UNESCO and the world family planning programs.
We believe that each person should be enabled to live as full and independent a life as possible and be viewed as an equal and contributing citizen. We oppose discrimination on the basis of, but not exclusive to age, gender, creed, race, physical characteristics, sexual orientation, mental, physical or medical impairment, ethnicity, national origin, homelessness, or political affiliation. We support an activist government which intervenes on behalf of the individual when others, with the power to do so, attempt to encroach on individual liberties or create a privileged position for themselves.
CIVIL RIGHTS. WE SUPPORT:
1. Direct access to courts by individuals seeking remedies under federal and state civil rights acts.
2. Restoration of full funding and staff for the Iowa Civil Rights commission.
3. The addition of political affiliation and sexual orientation as protected categories in federal and state civil rights acts.
4. Legislation prohibiting discrimination by employers, based on lawful activity or use of lawful products off the job.
5. Implementation of and dissemination of information about the Americans with Disabilities Act, the Technology Related Assistance for Individuals with Disabilities Act of 1988, and the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, as amended.
6. Demands that all caucus, polling locations, conventions, and other official functions be mandated by statute to be accessible and equipped with facilities for persons with disabilities, and we affirm the commitment of the Democratic Party to actively integrate persons with disabilities into the party at all levels, including a disability caucus with voting representation on the Democratic State Central Committee.
7. Efforts to ensure the confidentiality of any individual's HIV status in order to encourage individuals to seek counseling, testing, and medical care, and to provide through state funding free, anonymous sites for HIV testing. Furthermore, employees must not be subjected to forced HIV testing nor the forced disclosure of their HIV status.
8. Education on universal precautions against contracting blood-borne pathogens.
1. Any law that establishes English as the official language of the United States, or any part thereof.
CRIMINAL JUSTICE. WE SUPPORT:
1. Equal justice for all.
2. The continued aggressive enforcement of Iowa's drunk driving laws.
3. The extension of federal, state, and local programs dealing with substance abuse, including alcohol abuse, since unreasonably severe criminal penalties have not proven an effective deterrent to substance abuse-related crime.
4. Better identification, enforcement, and greater penalties for hate crimes; and training, including sensitivity training, for law enforcement personnel.
5. Change in the law so that it is easier for the user of drugs, tobacco, and alcohol to sue for and collect damages from their suppliers, distributors, and producers, i.e. privatized drug enforcement through the Civil Courts.
6. We support a wide array of community-based sanctions, including, but not limited to, early release of non-violent offenders whose probation would be supervised through electronic monitoring. Education, training and/or employment would be a mandatory requirement of such an early release.
1. The death penalty.
2. Property forfeiture from persons without criminal conviction.
3. Property forfeiture from innocent third parties.
4. Racial profiling.
GUN CONTROL. WE SUPPORT:
1. Responsible ownership and care of weapons, with this care to be spelled out by law.
2. Prison or community service sentences in cases where accidental shootings, especially of minors, involves use of a gun improperly cared for.
3. Better regulatory controls on gun dealers and rigorous enforcement of current regulations.
4. A thirty day waiting period for purchase of all firearms.
5. Background checks on all applicants to purchase firearms.
6. A ban on detection proof weapons and armor piercing and exploding ammunition.
7. A requirement that guns used in crimes be destroyed, not sold.
8. That no handgun can be sold or delivered to any individual under the age of 21 or any convicted criminal.
9. A ban on assault weapons and automatic weapons, except for law enforcement personnel.
MINORITY REPORT. On the issue of Firearms we support:
1. Responsible ownership and care of firearms by all owners.
2. The rigorous enforcment of current regulatory controls and measures for firearms dealers.
3. The current firearm laws, regulations, and "The Brady Bill" with possible expansions in waiting periods.
4. Community service and educational outreach sentences in cases where accidental shootings take place, minors are involved, or firearms are improperly stored.
5. The Second amendment of the United States which states: "A well regulated militia being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed."
6. Education including both firearms safety and hunting safety classes. Responsibility begins in a home where guns are kept; the degree of safety a child has rests squarely on the child's parents. Parents who accept the responsibility to learn, practice and teach gun safety rules will ensure their child's safety to a much greater extent than those who do not. Parental responsibility does not end, however, when the child leaves the home.
IMMIGRATION RIGHTS. WE SUPPORT:
1. Abiding by international treaties, of which the US is a signatory, which recognize official documents issued by other countries' governments as legal proof of identity.
2. Establishment of a civilian oversight committee composed of citizens of any community where an INS quick response team will be operating.
3. Repeal of the Iowa law making a felony, and returning to the original status of misdemeanor, the possession of false identification for the purpose of carrying out daily survival activities.
4. Re-establishment of the right to appeal Board of Immigration Appeal decisions to the judicial branch of the government.
5. A shift in INS priorities from enforcement to processing documentation.
6. Amnesty and the opportunity to become naturalized citizens for all undocumented persons brought to the US as minors.
EQUAL RIGHTS. WE SUPPORT:
1. Passage of an equal rights amendment to the United States Constitution and the passage of the Iowa Equal Rights Amendment. which states: " All men and women are, by nature, free and equal and have certain inalienable rights - among which are those of enjoying and defending life and liberty, acquiring, possessing and protecting property, and pursuing and obtaining safety and happiness."
2. The addition of sexual orientation to Iowa Civil Rights law as a protected category.
REPRODUCTIVE RIGHTS. WE SUPPORT:
1. The right of reproductive freedom for all individuals including freedom from government intrusion in personal moral decisions. We respect the ability of people to determine if and when to become parents.
2. Full access, including prublic programs, to family planning information and all materials and procedures appropriate to each individual's needs, without coercion.
3. Implementation of educational programs to promote a healthy concept of self for all persons in order to ensure that every pregnancy is a wanted pregnancy and to avoid sexually transmitted diseases.
4. Funding of effective family planning services to prevent unplanned pregnancy.
5. Full disclosure of information about all options regarding unplanned pregnancy to all people regardless of age or economic circumstances.
1. Mandatory parental and spousal/partner notification prior to the exercise of any reproductive option.
2. Forced sterilization or contraception as a condition of employment, receipt of social services, or parole.
3. Government restrictions that impede access to abortion or adequate contraception.
Consumer Protection. WE SUPPORT:
1. Mandatory enforcement of inspection of domestic and imported food.