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PM NEWS 7.9.21: Hate Crime Increase, SD Medical Pot Scramble, Dry Conditions, and More


The FBI says Nebraska and Iowa have seen a rise in hate crimes in recent years, most of which have been committed on the basis of race and ethnicity.

The special agent in charge at the FBI's Omaha field office says Nebraska and Iowa have seen a 21% increase in the reporting of hate crimes in recent years.

Federal officials define a hate crime as a criminal offense, such as assault or arson, with an added element of bias against the intended target's race, ethnicity, religion, sexual orientation, disability, gender or gender identity.

South Dakota government officials are scrambling to reach a consensus on rules around medical pot. The rollout of the voter-passed law has been anything but smooth. Attorney General Jason Ravnsborg’s office this week appeared to counter guidance from the Highway Patrol on medical marijuana ID cards issued by Native American tribes.

But on Friday, Ravnsborg issued a statement saying he agrees with the Highway Patrol’s stance. Meanwhile, the Department of Education is trying to work past state lawmakers’ objections to its proposed rules for allowing students to use medical pot at school.

Iowa's Attorney General has joined 37 of his counterparts to file a lawsuit against Google. The state is alleging that Google has an unfair monopoly regarding their app store and how that works in the android system. The states accuse Google of using its dominance to unfairly restrict competition with the Google Play Store, harming consumers by limiting choice and driving up app prices.

Eighty-seven-year-old Chuck Grassley is trying to show Iowans that he’s not just physically ready for an eighth term, but that's he thriving. It comes as some of his fellow long-timers in Washington are calling it quits, fed up with the rightward lurch of the GOP or the inertia in Congress. After 40 years in Washington, now serving under his seventh president, Grassley is taking steps toward seeking an eighth term and hoping to show he’s hardly a political dinosaur in the modern world of Washington. Once proudly bipartisan, Grassley has adapted deftly to the new hyperpartisanship of the Trump era.

The Iowa amusement park where a water ride accident killed one boy and critically injured another has become increasingly influential in Iowa politics as the state has trended Republican. Adventureland Park CEO Michael Krantz has donated $175,000 to county, state and federal Republican candidates and officeholders since 2014. That makes him one of the largest GOP donors in Iowa. The park has also stepped up its lobbying of the Republican-controlled Iowa Legislature. That includes for a recent law change allowing 16- and 17-year-olds to operate its rides for the first time. The increased political involvement has overlapped with several incidents in which workers or guests were injured.

This year is shaping up to be one of the driest on record because drought conditions are lingering throughout most of the Missouri River basin. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers said Thursday that this year could be the 10th driest year on record along the river and only about 60% of the normal amount of water is expected to flow into the river. Nearly three-quarters of the Missouri River basin is currently experiencing either drought or abnormally dry conditions — particularly upstream of Sioux City, Iowa — and the amount of snow in the mountains that feed into the river was also below average this year.

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