The Iowa Capitol dome in Des Moines.

Iowa Secretary of State Paul Pate announced a new voter registration initiative aimed at high school students.

Under the program, Iowa schools in which at least 90 percent of their eligible students register to vote will receive the Carrie Chapman Catt Award, named after the Iowan who was a national leader in the women’s suffrage movement.

“This year marks the 100th anniversary of women gaining the right to vote. I can think of no better way to mark that important milestone than by encouraging young people to get involved, while recognizing the sacrifices and accomplishments of suffragists like Carrie Chapman Catt,” Pate said in a statement.

The 2020 elections will be the first under a new Iowa law that allows 17-year-olds to vote in primary elections if they will be 18 years old by the general election. Pate said his office will work with Project High Hopes, the YMCA Youth and Government organization and the Iowa Council for the Social Studies to organize student voter registration drives across the state. He also plans to use National Voter Registration Day on September 24 to organize voter registration efforts in Iowa high schools.

The Secretary of State’s office also added a section on women’s suffrage to its Elections 101 curriculum, which is available free to districts at elections101.org.

Forbes to lead committee

Iowa Rep. John Forbes, an Urbandale pharmacist, has been named the leading Democrat on the Iowa House’s health care budget committee.

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Forbes is serving his fourth two-year term in the Iowa House. He replaces Lisa Heddens, who resigned from the House earlier this year.

“I look forward to this new leadership role and working with my colleagues across the aisle to ensure that Iowans have access to affordable and reliable health care,” Forbes said in a statement.

The 2020 legislative session begins on January 13.

Flags ordered half-staff

Gov. Kim Reynolds ordered flags in Iowa to be lowered to half staff on Wednesday, Sept. 11, in honor of Patriot Day and in memory of those who lost their lives in the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks on the U.S.

Flags will be flown half-staff at the Iowa State Capitol Building and on the Capitol Complex, and on all public buildings across the state. Individuals, businesses, schools, and other government subdivisions are encouraged to do the same.

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