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NEWS 4.5.22

South Dakota Attorney General Impeachment Explainer
John Raoux/AP
FILE - South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem, speaks Feb. 25, 2022, in Orlando, Fla. A South Dakota House committee investigating whether the State's Attorney General Jason Ravnsborg should be impeached for his conduct surrounding a 2020 fatal car crash is set to finish its work this week. House lawmakers are wrapping up a months-long investigation that has splintered the state's Republicans over the fate of Ravnsborg. Gov. Noem has pushed hard for her fellow Republican's ouster. (AP Photo/John Raoux File)

South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem issued an executive order instructing the state’s Department of Education to review its teacher training, content standards, and other materials to ensure they are devoid of “divisive concepts” on race. Noem's move comes after a bill she touted banning so-called critical race theory from K-12 classrooms failed to pass the Legislature this year. However, the order’s power is limited to the Department of Education. That’s because school boards set much of their policies.

Nebraska Gov. Pete Ricketts has trimmed almost $52 million in spending from the new state budget that lawmakers sent him last week before signing the rest of the package into law.

The Republican governor says he had reduced funding for several initiatives using his line-item veto power, which lets governors change specific parts of the state budget passed by lawmakers while keeping the rest intact. Ricketts says he cut general-fund spending increases for providers of behavioral health, child welfare and other services. Instead of a 15% increase approved by lawmakers, providers would get a 5% raise.

Nebraska Democrats have picked state Sen. Patty Pansing Brooks of Lincoln to run in a special election in June to replace former U.S. Rep. Jeff Fortenberry, a Republican who resigned last month after he was convicted of federal charges. Pansing Brooks is likely to face fellow state Sen. Mike Flood, a Norfolk Republican who had challenged Fortenberry in the GOP primary on May 10. That election is still proceeding as scheduled and will determine each party’s nominee to serve the next term in Congress that begins in January.

Republican Nebraska governor hopeful Jim Pillen has picked Joe Kelly, a longtime career prosecutor, as his campaign running mate. Pillen announced his choice for the ticket at the Nebraska Capitol. Kelly is the criminal bureau chief in the Nebraska attorney general’s office. He previously worked as the U.S. attorney in Nebraska as an appointee of former President Donald Trump, overseeing federal prosecutions in the state.

Kelly also served for years as Lancaster County attorney and a chief deputy Lancaster County attorney in Lincoln. As the county’s top law enforcement officer, Kelly oversaw prosecutions of a variety of crimes. Pillen says he recognizes Kelly as a reliably conservative leader in law enforcement.

The military is considering decommissioning the USS Sioux City, which joined the Navy fleet just three years ago. Pentagon officials say the USS Sioux City is one of 24 ships that need a costly repair to its propulsion system.

Sioux Mayor Pro-Tem Dan Moore and all of the city council members wore USS Sioux City baseball caps at Monday night’s meeting to show their support for the ongoing use of the ship.

Iowa Senator Chuck Grassley says he’s concerned that the military would consider decommissioning the USS Sioux City, which joined the Navy fleet just three years ago.

The Navy is asking Congress to approve decommissioning 24 ships over the next five years, to save $3.6 billion. The list includes the USS Sioux City and seven other combat ships in the Navy’s Freedom Class.

Radio Iowa reports that Grassley says it appears the Navy is not handling taxpayer money effectively or responsibly.

Pentagon officials say the USS Sioux City is among ships that need a costly repair to its propulsion system and six new ships will be delivered with a revamped design to address the flaw.

Iowa’s other U.S. Senator, Republican Joni Ernst, spoke at the christening ceremony for the USS Sioux City in 2018. In a written statement Ernst said now is not the time to “flatten the size” of the defense budget, as “America’s enemies are on the march and the world has become a much more dangerous place.”

The Sioux City Council also showed support for the U.S.S. Sioux City. Members wore U.S.S. Sioux City hats as a show of solidarity.

State tax collections in Iowa are soaring — up nearly eight-and-a-half percent in the past nine months compared to the same period in the previous fiscal year.

An official with the Legislative Services Agency tells Radio Iowa there have been increases in each of the main sources of revenue for the state.

Individual income tax is up more than 6%, use tax up almost 10%, and corporate income tax up about 8%.

The state paid out $30 million more in income tax refunds so far this year compared to the first three months of 2021.

Iowa income taxes are due by April 30, 2022.

The tax cuts Governor Reynolds signed into law March 1 will start going into effect for the next tax year. The immediate repeal of state taxes on retirement income and the first stage of reducing the income tax for individuals are projected to contribute to a nearly $15 million reduction in total tax payments to the state.

The community of Pender, Nebraska issued a drinking water notice due to high levels of nitrate. The issue is expected to continue through April 18th. Babies, pregnant or nursing mothers are advised not to drink the water.

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