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NEWS 4.22.21: COVID-19 Victims Remembered, SD Vaccine Requirements, Political Pot Party, and More

Siouxland District Health

The Iowa Department of Public Health recorded six more deaths statewide due to complications of COVID-19 with almost 500 new cases, with 17 added in Woodbury County in 24-hours.

Credit Siouxland District Health

Yesterday marked the one-year anniversary of the first death related to COVID-19 in Woodbury County. A post on the Siouxland District Health’s Facebook page remembered the 221 residents of the county who have lost their lives in the past year.

Gov. Kristi Noem is asking the South Dakota Athletic Commission to immediately rescind its requirement that sports participants provide proof they are vaccinated for COVID-19.

Noem said her request is under the authority of her latest executive order banning government-instituted vaccine passports.

Under a proposal backed by lawmakers, police, sheriffs and state patrol deputies in Nebraska would face greater accountability and have more yearly training, with a focus on de-escalating conflicts.

Senators gave the measure initial approval despite concerns from some that the requirements would be difficult for smaller law enforcement agencies to follow.

The vote came one day after Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin (show-vin) was convicted of murder and manslaughter for the death of George Floyd, an incident that sparked sometimes-violent protests nationally, including in Nebraska.

A political party focused on legalizing marijuana can now run candidates and claim registered voters in Nebraska after it gained official state recognition. The Legal Marijuana NOW Party met requirements to qualify as a political party. The designation allows voters to register with the party, and party officials can nominate candidates for partisan offices.

A judge has ruled that former Iowa Gov. Terry Branstad does not have to testify in a long-running lawsuit brought by an investigator who was fired in 2013 shortly after filing a complaint about Branstad’s state vehicle speeding.

Lawyers for former Division of Criminal Investigation special agent Larry Hedlund wanted to take Branstad’s deposition as they prepare for an August trial date in his case, which alleges Hedlund was wrongly discharged for blowing the whistle on the speeding and other agency misconduct.

A judge ruled Branstad is protected by the “high-ranking official privilege.”

Sheila Brummer returns to her radio roots as a Reporter/Special Projects Producer for Siouxland Public Media KWIT-KOJI.