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NEWS 6.3.20: IA Capitol Reopens, Record Voter Turnout, Testing Result Delays and More

Associated Press

Lawmakers returned to the Iowa State Capitol Wednesday to finish work left when the coronavirus pandemic surfaced back in March. 

Their biggest business?  Tackling the budget in this time of economic uncertainty.

Temperatures will be checked at the door and masks will be provided. Meeting rules have been established to allow lawmakers to be at least 6 feet apart. Committee meetings and floor debates will be streamed on the internet.

Woodbury County election officials say there was about 30% turnout during yesterday’s election.  That sets an all-time record for primary elections.

State Senator Randy Feenstra dominated the Republican Primary on Tuesday.  He beat nine-term incumbent Steve King by almost 10 points with 45% support. 

Feenstra now faces Democrat J.D. Scholten.  Scholten almost beat King in the last 4th District Congressional race in 2018.

Iowa Democrats have chosen Des Moines real estate executive Theresa Greenfield to be their nominee for the U.S. Senate to take on current Senator Joni Ernst in November.

In the race for Woodbury County Sheriff, former Sioux City police officer Chad Sheehan received a majority of the vote in the Republican primary.  Currently, there isn’t a Democratic challenger.

Sheehan says he is the person who can unite the community and have a positive impact on helping people who feel mistreated by law enforcement.

Current Sheriff Dave Drew decided to retire at the end of the year and had put his support behind Sheehan in the primary after orginally endorsing Wieck.

The Woodbury County Election Commissioner says the county Democratic Party could still chose a candidate to run against Sheehan in November.

Siouxland District Health reports one more death due to COVID-19 in Woodbury County and two additional cases.  There has been a delay in getting test results. 

That’s because Lab Corp based in Dallas is seeing in impact in staffing due to protests surrounding the death of George Floyd.

Meanwhile, Health officials say they still see little impact on losing a Test Iowa site in Sioux City since a majority was done by local medical providers and community testing sites instead. In three weeks, Test Iowa conducted less than 800 tests in Sioux City.

There have been almost 2,800 positive cases in Woodbury County and 37 deaths.  Dakota County Health officials logged six new cases for a total of almost 1,700 cases and 26 deaths.

South Dakota health officials report 92 new cases of COVID-19 Wednesday, bringing the state’s total to 4,177 infections. There were no new deaths to report, leaving the statewide toll at 46. Minnehaha County, South Dakota’s most populous county, continues to lead the state in infections, with 3,182 cases and 40 deaths. But Beadle County reported the largest day-to-day increase on Wednesday with 25 new confirmed cases. Nearly three-fourths of people who have tested positive for COVID-19 in the state have fully recovered, while 1,108 have active infections. There are currently 81 people hospitalized from the virus, according to the Department of Health.

Employees at a Smithfield pork processing plant in South Dakota where a coronavirus outbreak infected over 800 people saw something new as they showed up to work. They were greeted Wednesday by nearly a dozen Sioux Falls residents with thank you signs, cheers and waves. The event was organized by a group of friends who wanted to give meatpacking workers a show of support similar to what health care workers have received during the pandemic. Smithfield has instructed many workers to return to work this week as it looks to scale up operations by the end of the month.

South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem says she will be examining the state’s policing laws after witnessing the death of George Floyd and protests it has sparked.

The Republican governor didn’t have many specifics on what police reforms she would press for in the state, mentioning a few issues she was considering.

Noem suggested a conservative approach to policing reforms, pressing for the need for personal responsibility and change at the local level. 

South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem said Wednesday she is appealing to President Donald Trump’s administration in her standoff with two American Indian tribes over coronavirus checkpoints they set up on federal and state highways. Noem says she sent affidavits and video to the White House, the Department of Justice, the Interior Department and her state’s congressional delegation, asking for help resolving the dispute. The tribes set up the checkpoints last month to keep unnecessary visitors off the reservations. Earlier this month, Noem threatened to sue the Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe and the Oglala Sioux Tribe if they did not remove highway stops within 48 hours. She backed away from that plan last week, offering to negotiate if they would take them off of U.S. and state highways. 

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