Governor Branstad and Republicans in the Iowa House and Senate will host 10 town hall meetings around the state to field complaints about state regulations. And Senate Republican Leader Paul McKinley dismisses the separate town-hall tour on government red-tape that Senate Democrats announced last week, suggesting it’s merely a publicity stunt.

“A lot of what the Democrats are talking about doing, quite frankly, is for public consumption,” McKinley says. “And we have talked about this issue for a number of years. We are very serious about gathering information and, quite frankly, it was under Democratic majority rule over the past several years that many of these onerous rules were adopted and enforced.”

Representative Dawn Pettengill, a Republican from Mount Auburn, says she fields lots of complaints from business owners. “This is one area that we can help them,” Pettengill says. “Without costing a lot of money, we can knock some of these barriers out of their way.”

Pettengill says a local quarry owner complained he’d been fined after an inspector found a cobweb in a porta-potty, but Pettengill doesn’t know whether that was a state or federal inspector who issued the fine. Senator Merlin Bartz, a Republican from Grafton, says the goal of these town hall meetings is to compile “concrete” examples where state regulations have gone awry.

“Government should not be punishing the very people that we need to have be creating jobs in this state,” Bartz says. “And we need to have reasonable and responsible levels of rules and regulations that protect the public interest without placing an undue burden on our job creators and on our cities, local governments and taxpayers.”

The Republicans, including Governor Branstad and Lieutenant Governor Kim Reynolds, plan to hold town hall meetings in Ames, Newton, Oskaloosa, Sioux City, Council Bluffs, Cresco, Cedar Falls, Dubuque, Cedar Rapids and Burlington between the middle of February and the middle of March.

Tentative Rules & Regulations Tour Itinerary:
Saturday, February 12, 2011
9:30 – 11:30 am Ames  Public Library 515 Douglas Ave Ames, IA 50010
1 – 3 pm Newton Newton Manufacturing 1123 1st Ave East Newton, IA 50208
4 – 6 pm Oskaloosa Interpower 100 Interpower Ave Oskaloosa, IA 52577
Friday, February 25, 2011
10:30 am – 12:30 pm Sioux City Morningside College 1501 Morningside Ave Sioux City, IA
3 – 5 pm Council Bluffs Council Bluffs Public Library 400 Willow Ave Council Bluffs, IA
Saturday, February 26, 2011
9 – 11 am Cresco CS Bank 111 North Elm St Cresco, IA 52136
1 – 3 pm Cedar Falls Hurst Center for Arts 304 W Seerley Blvd Cedar Falls, IA
5 – 7 pm Dubuque Best Western Conference Center 3100 Dodge St, Hwy 20 W Dubuque, IA 52001
Saturday, March 12, 2011
9 – 11 am Cedar Rapids CRST International 1332 Edgewood Road SW Cedar Rapids, IA
3 – 5 pm Burlington Comfort Suites 1780 Stonegate Center Drive Burlington, IA
**Times & locations subject to change