Stateline Story

Kids catch Iowa lawmakers goofing off

Iowa lawmakers seem to have free time on their hands - in spades. That's what a group of schoolchildren learned on their trip to the Iowa Capitol, when they watched senators play solitaire on their computers during floor debates. Rookie state Sen. Bill Heckroth (D) chided his colleagues to pay attention, according to the Quad City Times . But Senate Minority Leader Mary Lundby (R) wasn't concerned. "Freshmen are always shocked by what goes on," she told the Times. "Next year, he won't even mention it. He'll probably be playing games."
  
The second-highest Republican in the Montana House unleashed an obscenity-laden barrage against Gov. Brian Schweitzer (D) in front of his GOP colleagues, half a dozen school-age pages and a video camera. House Majority Leader Michael Lange called Schweitzer, among other things, an "SOB on the second floor that thinks he's going to run this state like a dictator," writes the Billings Gazette . After word of the speech spread - and the video appeared on YouTube - Lange apologized. Schweitzer told the Great Falls Tribune that the GOP lawmaker admitted his remarks were "out of line."
  
Scant support doomed a move in Tennessee to block steamy late-night TV ads for "Girls Gone Wild," the videos of breast-baring coeds, reports the Nashville bureau of The Associated Press . The state Senate passed a measure to fine cable and satellite providers for advertising "obscene" products, but a House subcommittee refused to touch it. No one on the panel would second a motion to move it forward
  
The water's fine but tempers are hot in Kentucky, where tourism officials are fuming over accusations from Arkansas that low water levels in Kentucky's Lake Cumberland are leaving boaters "high and dry." A news release from the Ozark Mountains Region tourism association is just wrong, Kentucky officials told the Lexington Herald-Leader . Arkansas' tourism director, Joe David Rice, was quick to distance himself from the group. "Evidently we have a nut in the tourism business over here," Rice told the paper. "He's embarrassed us. He is not speaking for the state."
  
With $54 billion at stake, there are lots of ideas about how to spend taxpayers' money in Ohio's treasury. The office of state Rep. Matthew J. Dolan's (R) senior aide practically disappeared as lawmakers turned in some 200,000 pages of paper suggesting 800 last-ditch amendments to the two-year budget, The Columbus Dispatch reports.
  
Alumni associations, car dealerships and smart alecks in Texas can breathe a sigh of relief, now that the Texas Legislature made license plate frames legal again, writes the Dallas Morning-News . The frames became illegal because of an effort by lawmakers to crack down on people obscuring their plates.
  
For people with Crohn's disease, an intestinal disorder that causes sudden and severe episodes of diarrhea, there's no time to waste when you've got to go. So Minnesota lawmakers are considering becoming the third state to require businesses to let anyone with the disease use otherwise off-limits employee bathrooms, according to the Minneapolis Star Tribune . The measure passed the Minnesota Senate but faces opposition in the House over liability issues. Illinois and Maryland already have similar laws.
  
Looking forward: The divorce case of self-proclaimed "gay American" and former New Jersey Gov. James E. McGreevy (D) is heating up, as McGreevy alleged his wife knew he was gay before they married, according to the AP's Trenton bureau. But things could get even more controversial, when his wife releases her memoirs May 1.