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Welcome to my website!

My name is Natalie Dunlap and I am a politics reporter and digital producer at The Daily Iowan. Last semester I covered lower education at the DI on the news team. I am also an intern at Little Village and an Experience Iowa ambassador. In high school I was the online editor-in-chief of the West Side Story.

Bill to freeze funding for regents universities passed through state House Appropriations Committee

The bill increases funding for other education entities, but not for the University of Iowa, Iowa State, or the University of Northern Iowa.

This article was originally published on The Daily Iowan’s website.

A bill that proposes zero increased funding and a tuition freeze for Iowa’s three regents universities was approved by the state House Appropriations Committee on a party-line vote on Monday. 

House File 868 includes increased funding compared to fiscal 2021 for programs and grants in the Department of Education and the state Board of Regents’ Iowa School for the Deaf and the Iowa Braille and Sight Saving School, but not for the University of Iowa, Iowa State, or the University of Northern Iowa. 

A Board of Regents spokesperson did not respond to The Daily Iowan’s request to comment by the time of publishing. 

Continue reading “Bill to freeze funding for regents universities passed through state House Appropriations Committee”

Top Republican officials in Iowa condemned Rita Hart’s contest in the U.S. House

Iowa Republicans said the results of Iowa’s 2nd Congressional District race should stand and that Rita Hart should have exhausted her options to contest at the state level before taking the contest to the Democratic controlled U.S. House.

This article was originally published on The Daily Iowan’s website and appeared in the 3/29/2021 print edition.

Iowa Republican leaders say it’s time to move on from the election in Iowa’s 2nd Congressional District race.

“Those votes have been counted, they’ve been recounted, they’ve been canvassed by bipartisan boards, by a bipartisan County Board of Supervisors, and signed off by the state canvas board,” Gov. Kim Reynolds said at a Thursday press conference. “This election should stand.”

Reynolds was joined by Iowa Republican Chairman Jeff Kaufmann and Secretary of State Paul Pate on Thursday to address Rita Hart’s contest of election results in the U.S. House of Representatives. The three Republican officials said the state-certified election results should stand, which shows Republican and now-U.S. Rep. Mariannette Miller-Meeks in a six-point lead.

They said Hart should have exhausted her options to contest at the state level before taking the contest to the Democrat-controlled chamber.

Hart’s lawyer Marc Elias said they chose to file in the U.S. House because the review period provided by the Iowa court system was too short to conduct a full recount of votes in the district. Hart’s contest alleges that 22 lawfully casted ballots were not counted, and if they were to be counted, it would show Hart in a nine-point lead over Miller-Meeks.

Continue reading “Top Republican officials in Iowa condemned Rita Hart’s contest in the U.S. House”

Lawyer for Rita Hart said he expects lawmakers will follow will of voters

Despite backlash from Republicans and hesitancy from Democrats, Rita Hart’s lawyer said he expects representatives will respect the will of the voters if evidence shows she received more lawful votes than Republican Rep. Mariannette Miller-Meeks.

This article was originally published on The Daily Iowan’s website.

As the U.S. House moves forward with Rita Hart’s notice of contest, her lawyer, Marc Elias, said he thinks that Democrats and Republicans in Congress will respect the will of Iowa voters if the evidence shows Hart received the most lawful votes. 

Hart lost the election in Iowa’s 2nd Congressional District to now-Rep. Mariannette Miller-Meeks, R-Iowa, by six votes. However, her contest argues that 22 lawful ballots, with votes cast for both Hart and Miller-Meeks, were left out of the final tally. 

Nine days after the Nov. 3 election, Hart was trailing by 47 votes. Because of the close margin, and two errors that occurred within the district when tabulating results, her campaign requested a district-wide recount. After the recount was completed, Hart and Miller-Meeks were only separated by six votes, out of 394,441. Iowa Secretary of State Paul Pate certified those results on Nov. 30. 

Rep. Ashley Hinson, R-Iowa, led 123 other Republican lawmakers in sending a letter to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, saying it was hypocritical for Pelosi to claim national voter fraud doesn’t exist while going forward with an investigation into the Iowa election. The letter also critiqued Hart for not going through the state’s judicial system before bringing her contest to the House. 

Continue reading “Lawyer for Rita Hart said he expects lawmakers will follow will of voters”

Hundreds attend AAPI student-hosted vigil honoring Atlanta shooting victims

Students and community members gathered on Sunday to remember the eight people who died at shootings targeting spas in the Atlanta area. Six of the victims were Asian women, which has sparked a conversation about misogyny, xenophobia and racism.

This article was originally published on The Daily Iowan’s website and in the 3/22/2021 print edition.

The American and Iowa flags flew at half-staff at the Old Capitol as people gathered on the Pentacrest. In front of the steps, there were eight bins with flowers inside, and marked with a name: Xiaojie Tan, Daoyou Feng, Hyun Jung Grant, Soon Chung Park, Suncha Kim, Yong Ae Yue, Delaina Yaun and Paul Andre Michels.

The vigil, hosted by the Asian Pacific American Cultural Center on Sunday afternoon, was one of a multitude held across the nation to honor the eight victims killed last week at shootings in Atlanta. Six of the victims were Asian women.

The suspect, a 21-year-old white man, claimed his sex addiction motivated these deadly attacks.

“It seems like everyone has been excusing his behavior with … his sexual addiction, and the fact that he wanted to end his temptations,” Kayla Nguyễn, one of the University of Iowa students who led the vigil, said in an interview with The Daily Iowan. “He didn’t even want to address them as Asian women, he just said, ‘They’re temptations and they’re my addiction, but it is not racist.’ And that’s what we have been seeing lately, and people are just blaming it on that. It’s ultimately dehumanizing Asian women.”

They added that the rhetoric used to associate Asian people with the coronavirus is dangerous.

Continue reading “Hundreds attend AAPI student-hosted vigil honoring Atlanta shooting victims”

Bill prohibiting ‘divisive concepts’ in DEI training passes Iowa House along party lines

A bill to protect free speech in higher education institutions was approved by the Iowa House with bipartisan support, which was then followed by hours of partisan debate on DEI training on Tuesday.

This article was originally published on The Daily Iowan’s website. Julia Shanahan contributed to this reporting.

Lawmakers in the Iowa House passed two bills related to education and free speech on Tuesday, including one that will prohibit “divisive concepts” from diversity, equity and inclusion training in schools, universities, and government institutions, resulting in hours of debate. 

Introduced by Rep. Steven Holt, R-Denison, House File 802, which passed 59-38, labels 10 topics as “divisive concepts.” These concepts include labeling the U.S. or Iowa as fundamentally or systemically racist and stating individuals bear responsibility for actions committed by their race or sex in the past. The legislation would prohibit these topics from being included in diversity, equity and inclusion training and from being taught in school curriculum. 

“I reject absolutely and with great enthusiasm, the idea that we must adopt racist ideology and scapegoat races of people, marking each individual is either oppressor or oppressed, in order to stop racism and foster inclusiveness,” Holt said in his opening statement. 

Continue reading “Bill prohibiting ‘divisive concepts’ in DEI training passes Iowa House along party lines”

Sen. Joni Ernst proposes several bills to increase transparency in government

Sen. Joni Ernst will propose bills to provide public access to information regarding government projects, COVID-19 relief for education and the carbon emissions of White House and executive branch officials.

This article was originally published on The Daily Iowan’s website.

Sen. Joni Ernst, R-Iowa, told reporters on Monday that she will propose bills regarding public access to information on funding for government projects, COVID-19 relief for education, and carbon emissions of White House and executive branch officials. 

Sunshine Week, which is taking place this week, is an initiative launched by American Society of News Editors in 2005 to promote open government. 

“To celebrate Sunshine Week, I’ll be putting forward a number of initiatives to increase transparency and ensure Iowans have access to information,” Ernst told reporters in a conference call on Monday. 

Ernst said she will propose initiatives to create publicly available price tags that disclose the cost of government projects supported by taxpayer money, ensuring the funds going to the Federal Department of Education for COVID-19 relief are accounted for and made public, and creating an alert system that exposes government projects that have gone over budget and fallen behind schedule. 

She also announced that on Monday she would introduce legislation tracking carbon emissions of White House and executive branch officials. 

“This bill will expose the hypocrisy of government officials who are targeting biofuel and fossil fuels, while they themselves are relying on fossil fuel powered transportation, like President Biden’s climate czar John Kerry, who just finished a trip to Europe on the taxpayers dime, using, and folks you guessed it, fossil fuel powered transportation,” she said.

Continue reading “Sen. Joni Ernst proposes several bills to increase transparency in government”

Bill increasing penalties for protesters passes Iowa Senate on party lines

The bill outlines penalties for protesters engaging in assault, criminal mischief, rioting, unlawful assembly, disorderly conduct, and interference with public disorder control.

This article was originally published on The Daily Iowan’s website.

On Wednesday the Iowa Senate passed a bill that creates harsher penalties for protesters in the wake of Black Lives Matter protests that happened this summer. 

SF 534, which was passed 31-17 by a majority Republican vote, outlines penalties for protesters engaging in assault, criminal mischief, rioting, unlawful assembly, and disorderly conduct.

Sen. Julian Garrett, R-Warren, who introduced the bill, said the purpose of the bill’s provisions was to make people think twice about destroying property and assaulting officers. 

Continue reading “Bill increasing penalties for protesters passes Iowa Senate on party lines”

Caleb McCullough selected as The Daily Iowan’s next editor

Caleb McCullough was chosen by the Student Publications Inc. to lead The Daily Iowan in the 2021-2022 school year.

This article was originally published on The Daily Iowan’s website.

On Monday night, Student Publications Inc. selected Managing Editor Caleb McCullough to be the next executive editor of The Daily Iowan for the 2021-2022 school year.

McCullough, a journalism and political science double-major minoring in philosophy, said he chose to attend the University of Iowa because he wanted to work at the DI. While attending Hudson High School in Hudson, Iowa, he worked on his student publication, Pirate Press, and toured the DI’s newsroom during a high school journalism conference.

“I heard all their great accolades, so I wanted to join and learn from The Daily Iowan,” he said.

He began working on the news staff and as a designer his freshman year. In the run-up to the Iowa caucuses, McCullough reported on politics in the fall of his sophomore year, and then was promoted to assistant politics editor for the spring semester. He was co-editor last summer. McCullough spent the first semester of his junior year as co-politics editor and is currently a managing editor.

“One of the things that the board really was impressed by was the fact that Caleb really had his hands in his time at the DI in a lot of different sections,” said Nichole Shaw, the chairperson of the 10-member Student Publications Inc. Board. “He especially took on the role of mentor really well and a lot of the relationships that he’s fostered with his co-workers in the newsroom have led to great stories.”

Continue reading “Caleb McCullough selected as The Daily Iowan’s next editor”

College students accounted for in latest COVID-19 relief package

Eligible households could qualify for an additional $1,400 per dependent, which includes students under the age of 24.

This article was originally published on The Daily Iowan’s website.

College students claimed as dependents will be included in the next round of stimulus checks, once President Joe Biden signs the $1.9 trillion COVID-19 relief package.

In the COVID-19 relief bill passed by the U.S. Senate over the weekend, taxpayers are eligible to receive the largest stimulus check of the pandemic yet — and, this time, a wider group of dependents will qualify for additional payments. The House is expected to finalize a vote on Tuesday.

Under the current proposal, a single taxpayer would be eligible for up to $1,400, and for couples filing joint returns, they would be eligible for up to $2,800. The households would then be eligible for an additional $1,400 for each dependent. In this bill, dependents now include 17-year-old children and adult dependents, which can include elderly relatives, disabled individuals, children younger than 19, and students younger than 24.

Continue reading “College students accounted for in latest COVID-19 relief package”