The Iowa Department of Transportation reported slick roads over much of the state this morning and many schools announced delays or closures, including Sioux City. Iowa’s 511 website shows roads in northwest Iowa are still partially covered. A few minor fender benders happened during the morning commute according to the Sioux City Journal, after an estimated half-inch of snow and drizzle blanketed the metro area.
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Three people were injured, including an Iowa State Trooper after a car crashed into a patrol vehicle early this morning in western Iowa. The Iowa State Patrol says the incident happened on I-29 near Loveland around 1:30. Troopers were assisting a single-vehicle crash when another vehicle lost control, hit the guard rail, then crashed into a patrol vehicle. The passenger in the car that struck the patrol vehicle suffered critical injuries. The driver and trooper received minor injuries.
The National Weather Service is warning of bitter cold descending on several Midwest states, including all three Siouxland states. The weather service has issued a wind chill warning for much of western and northern Nebraska, and parts of South Dakota. A wind chill advisory will kick in tonight for Siouxland with wind chill indexes falling to more than 25 below for Sioux City with a temperature of negative seven.
The Hard Rock Hotel and Casino in Sioux City could have a new operator by the end of the year.
Yahoo Finance reports Churchill Downs Incorporated entered a purchase agreement with Peninsula Pacific Entertainment that runs the Hard Rock. Peninsula Pacific Entertainment will look to sell the property to a third party. The third party would then lease the property to Churchill Downs Incorporated. It’s part of a deal worth almost $2.5 billion that includes other gaming properties in Virginia and New York.
Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds will deliver the Republican response to President Joe Biden’s State of the Union address on March 1. GOP congressional leaders made the announcement Tuesday. Reynolds is being praised by Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell as fighting COVID “without forgetting common sense” by protecting Iowans’ health and their rights at the same time. House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy says “disastrous decision-making in Washington” has been offset by real leadership in states across the country, and cited Iowa as an example. Reynolds is the 43rd governor of Iowa and has served since May of 2017.
Iowa House Republicans have approved a bill that prohibits transgender girls from participating in girls sports moving the direction of about 10 other Republican-run state legislatures in passing the controversial measure. Opponents say the bill which passed on party lines 55 to 39 is discriminatory and state-sanctioned bullying of transgender children while supporters say it’s the only way to protect girls from being dominated in sports competition by males who identify as females. Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds has supported the idea. The Iowa Senate has not yet voted on its slightly different version of the measure.
Lawyers for the state are scheduled to argue before the Iowa Supreme Court tomorrow (Wednesday) that a 2018 ruling protecting abortion rights should be overturned.
The state will also argue that the Court should uphold a law that requires an additional medical appointment at least 24 hours before getting an abortion. It was struck down last year because the Iowa Supreme Court ruled in 2018 that a 72-hour waiting period is unconstitutional.
Republican legislators and Governor Kim Reynolds are urging the Court to overturn that decision because it has made it very difficult to further restrict abortion in Iowa. The Court now has a majority of justices appointed by Reynolds.
If the U.S. Supreme Court chips away at federal abortion rights protections this year, state-level court decisions will determine the future of abortion in each state.
South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem’s proposal to make the state one of the hardest places in the country to get abortion pills is gaining support from Republican House lawmakers. But a federal judge has halted a similar state rule from taking effect, finding that it likely violated women's constitutional right to seek an abortion. Every Republican on the House Health and Human Services committee voted to advance the bill for a vote in the full chamber this week. It would require women seeking an abortion to make three separate trips to a doctor in order to take abortion pills.
Nebraska lawmakers are expected to discuss how they’ll proceed in the aftermath of state Sen. Mike Groene’s sudden resignation from the Legislature after he admitted to taking photos of an aide without her knowledge. Some lawmakers are calling for an investigation into whether the abrasive, conservative Republican sent the photos to others. Groene officially resigned Monday evening after saying he didn’t want to be “drug through the mud” by fellow lawmakers or put his wife through the ordeal when the legislative session resumed Tuesday. Republican Gov. Pete Ricketts said Monday that he plans to appoint a replacement soon. Groene represents a large chunk of western-central Nebraska, including the city of North Platte.
Several female state lawmakers are calling for an overhaul of how the Nebraska Legislature handles sexual harassment investigations following the resignation of a male state senator who admitted he took photos of a female subordinate without her consent. The half-dozen lawmakers on Tuesday recounted their own experiences of being groped, harassed and belittled. State Sen. Mike Groene abruptly resigned on Monday and abandoned his campaign to be a University of Nebraska Regent. The Republican acknowledged Friday that he took photos of the legislative staffer in his office. But he said none were sexual in nature. The former staffer, Kristina Konecko, filed a complaint with the Legislature’s Executive Board in which she described the photos as “objectifying and demeaning.”