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NEWS 3.4.22

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Nick Rohlman/AP
The Gazette
Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, speaks with supporters before filing for reelection at the Iowa secretary of state’s office, Friday, March 4, 2022, in Des Moines, Iowa. (Nick Rohlman/The Gazette via AP)

U.S. Sen. Chuck Grassley has filed nomination papers with the Iowa secretary of state’s office, officially beginning the process of seeking an eighth term representing Iowa. The 88-year-old Grassley announced in September he intended to run for another six-year term. If completed he will be 94. Grassley, who has held the seat for 41 years, is the longest-serving Republican U.S. senator. His campaign office says in an email that he delivered nearly 10,000 signatures from voters from all of Iowa’s 99 counties on Friday to qualify him to appear on the Republican ballot for the June 7 primary. Another Republican, State Senator Jim Carlin of Sioux City, and at least four Democrats also are running for the seat.

One state lawmaker highly concerned about Iowa’s new law banning transgender females from sports is Iowa Representative Chris Hall of Sioux City, who says the spirit of the bill is incorrect.

“We have enough challenges out there for most families that we don’t have to create additional challenges through politically divisive legislation.”

Iowa Legislature
Iowa State Representative Chris Hall

Hall believes lawmakers should be more concerned about attracting more people to the state.

“And a lot of that depends on the image we project where we project a place that is fair and creating opportunities for families that are fair no matter where they come from.”

Hall recently announced retirement from public service after serving a dozen years, six terms in the Iowa House.

“It’s been a real honor for me with the special relationship I created with my district. What is next for me? I’m not 100% sure.”

Hall did pass on running for governor this year, citing concern about name recognition in the state and committing the needed financial resources.

He also talked to Siouxland Public Media’s Sheila Brummer about the new law in addition to insight on his plans to retire from the Iowa Legislature after serving a dozen years in a longer interview recorded on March 4, 2022.

Iowa State Representative Chris Hall of Sioux City recorded on March 3, 2022

A South Dakota lawmaker who is running for governor is facing backlash after he used a derogatory term for a woman during a speech on the House floor. Republican Rep. Steve Haugaard described a woman whom he did not name but said was addicted to methamphetamine as a “wrung-out whore.” Haugaard, a former House speaker, is mounting a Republican primary challenge against Gov. Kristi Noem as a more conservative option. Haugaard later apologized and says he was trying to make a point about drug addiction. But female lawmakers in both parties spoke out against his speech, calling it an example of “misogyny” and “aggression towards women."

A northwest Iowa man facing four federal charges related to entering the U.S. Capitol during the Jan. 6, 2021, attack has pleaded not guilty. Kenneth Rader of Sioux City appeared in a video hearing on Friday before Judge Royce Lamberth to face charges he knowingly entering a restricted building, two counts of disorderly and disruptive conduct and demonstrating in a Capitol building. The 53-year-old Rader remains free on bond and has another hearing scheduled for May 10. He was arrested on Jan. 20 in Sioux City after an Omaha, Nebraska, FBI agent said the agency received a tip from a relative that Rader was involved in the breach of the Capitol.

A stranger who walked into a Des Moines hospital's neonatal intensive care unit and bottle fed a baby has been found guilty of misdemeanor trespassing and ordered to pay more than $700. Television station KCCI reports that 36-year-old Adam Wedig was found guilty Thursday by a magistrate judge and incurred $736 in fines, charges and court costs. Police say Wedig entered the NICU at MercyOne Des Moines Medical Center and fed and changed the baby in December, but had no relationship to the baby or his parents. The child was not injured. The child's parents are suing the hospital, accusing MercyOne of not having adequate security for the unit. The hospital has declined to comment on the lawsuit.

A new report from the American Health Care Association shows just how challenging the coronavirus pandemic has been for long-term care providers who have struggled with staffing and other issues. During the course of the pandemic, South Dakota nursing homes have lost over 1,000 staff members, or about 14% of their workforce, according the association’s report. All health care providers saw decreases in staff at the beginning of the pandemic, but some have either recovered or made significant progress toward pre-pandemic staffing levels. South Dakota hospitals and home health agencies have rebounded or even exceeded the number of staff they had pre-pandemic, while South Dakota nursing homes and assisted living facilities continue to struggle with staffing levels.

Hemp growers in South Dakota are expecting to more than double the number of acres used to grow industrial hemp and some are even adding fiber and seed processing capabilities in state. Fiber processing facilities, or decortication plants, are expected to open in Wakonda and Winfred this fall. Boosters are aiming to plant 5,000 acres, which would be the most in the nation.

News release from the State of Iowa:

Gov. Reynolds proclaims Day of Prayer for Ukraine

DES MOINES – Governor Kim Reynolds has signed a proclamation declaring this Sunday, March 6, 2022, as a Day of Prayer for Ukraine in Iowa.

“Iowans, Americans and nations across the globe are watching the events unfolding in Ukraine with disbelief and sadness,” stated Gov. Reynolds. “As soldiers and civilians stand united to protect their homeland, Iowans can unite in our support for the Ukranian people through the power of prayer.”

On Sunday, Iowans are encouraged to join in the Day of Prayer for Ukraine to show solidarity in their fight against Russian forces and to restore peace and civility in their country.

A video reading of the proclamation is included below:

Day of Prayer for Ukraine Proclamation Video