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NEWS 5.24.22

Charlie Neibergall/AP
FILE - Marissa Messinger, of Lake View, Iowa, center, holds a sign during a rally to protest recent abortion bans, May 21, 2019, at the Statehouse in Des Moines, Iowa. With a devoutly anti-abortion Republican governor and large GOP legislative majorities, Iowa would seem poised to easily ban abortion if the U.S. Supreme Court overturns Roe v. Wade. (AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall, File)

An Iowa Supreme Court decision is holding back the state's solidly Republican Legislature and governor from banning abortion if the U.S. Supreme Court overturns Roe v. Wade. Iowa is among GOP-controlled states that would be expected to ban abortion, except for state high court decisions recognizing the right under the state constitutions. The issue is most immediate in Iowa, where a court now dominated by Republican appointees is expected to decide in the coming weeks whether to uphold the ruling, decided just four years ago. The Iowa case highlights the inevitable confrontation between new abortion bans being prepared in anticipation of Roe’s reversal and state constitutions.

A bill that prohibits public colleges, schools, and licensed daycare centers from requiring kids to get the COVID-19 vaccine to enroll is on its way to Gov. Kim Reynolds desk.

The ban on the requirement would last until July 2029.

It passed the Senate along party lines after previously passing the House.

Sen. Jason Schultz, a Republican from Schleswig said the bill is about further protecting Iowans from mandates.

Parents can still vaccinate, vaccinate their children as, as they wish they can see fit. It is not for an institution to do it. And we're protecting these parents, we're not harming these parents.

Several Democrats spoke out against the bill saying it could undermine parents’ trust in all childhood vaccination and could harm working parents who will need to take time off to stay home with sick children who are unvaccinated.

Legislators will return to the state capitol today to put the finishing touches on state spending plans for the budgeting year that begins July 1. Republicans who hold majorities in the House and Senate have agreed to provide Iowa’s 15 area community colleges with $6.5 million more for the next academic year.

The three state universities will get a five-and-a-half million dollar boost according to Radio Iowa.

Lawmakers voted to put the brakes on a proposed casino in Cedar Rapids and the proposal is headed to Governor Kim Reynolds for her signature. The plan would create an immediate moratorium, to prevent the Iowa Racing and Gaming Commission from considering any casino license applications over the next two years.

Linn County voters approved a gambling referendum in November.

Representative Steve Hansen of Sioux City says as casino construction starts in Nebraska, a moratorium on new casinos in Iowa is short sighted due to the potential for loss revenue.

Senators considered and approved the moratorium for the first time Monday morning and the House approved it a few hours later. The bill that includes the moratorium on new casino licenses also would let Iowa casinos simulcast out-of-state horse races like the Kentucky Derby and take bets. The package passed the legislature by a 95-34 margin.

An earlier version of the bill would have allowed Iowans to bet on video game competitions, but references to E-sports were removed from the bill.

Iowa Auditor Rob Sand says he was the target of an attempted email scam in which someone pretended to be him and unsuccessfully tried to move his paycheck deposit to a different bank account. Sand used his own experience to warn Iowans on Monday about ways fraudulent emails can be designed to give scammers access to tax refunds or paycheck deposits. He credited a state human resources worker with contacting him directly on May 13 to alert him of the email to divert his paycheck direct deposit to a different bank. Sand confirmed the email was fake. He says such scams should be reported to the state auditor and the FBI.

The Iowa State Patrol is investigating a hit and run accident in Cherokee, Iowa that sent a 6-year-old girl to the hospital. An off-duty Cherokee police officer is accused of leaving or failing to return to the scene of an injury accident. Investigators say Michael McGee hit the girl in a crosswalk. Her injuries were not considered to be life threatening.

One of the two Fairfield teens accused of murdering their Spanish teacher is asking for his trial to be moved out of Jefferson County.

Attorneys for Willard Miller filed a change of venue motion Monday. His trial is currently scheduled to take place on November 1, 2022.

Miller and 17-year-old Jeremy Goodale are charged with first-degree murder and conspiracy to commit murder in the November 2021 death of Fairfield High School teacher Nohema Graber. The 66-year-old’s body was found concealed in a city park after she was reported missing.

The Grundy Center man found guilty of shooting and killing an Iowa State Patrol Trooper will be sentenced in June.

A Jury took around two-and-half hours of deliberation earlier this month before finding 42-year-old Michael Lang guilty of first-degree murder in the death of Patrol Sergeant Jim Smith last April in Grundy Center.

Lang was also found guilty of attempted murder, and assault on a peace officer in connection with the standoff. Radio Iowa reports he will be sentenced to life in prison on June 27th.

A man with a long history of mental illness when he killed the grandfather of two Nebraska football players more than two decades ago has died in prison. The Nebraska Department of Correctional Services says in a news release that Russell Harms died in the system's Reception and Treatment Center in Lincoln on Monday. He was 64. Harms had been in prison 22 years for gunning down 84-year-old Tennyson Kelsay in the parking lot of an Auburn shopping center in 1999. The older man was the grandfather of then-Nebraska rush end Chris Kelsay and former Nebraska and Pittsburgh Steelers linebacker Chad Kelsay. Harms was convicted of first-degree murder and sentenced to life in prison despite being diagnosed as a paranoid schizophrenic.

Iowa farmers have been catching up with spring planting after rain and cooler temperatures kept them out of the field. Iowa Republican U.S. Senator Chuck Grassley says he’s not concerned yet about farmers being able to grow enough corn and soybeans this year.

I think that more production is going to be decided more by the amount of rain we get in July than the two week planting that we're behind. So I'm not I'm not worried at this point because of the late planting.

Grassley grows corn and soybeans with his son and grandson in northeast Iowa. He made his comments on a call with reporters Tuesday morning.

The latest crop report from the USDA says 86 percent of Iowa’s expected corn crop has been planted. About half of the corn crop has emerged. Nearly 70 percent of Iowa’s soybeans have been planted.

News release from Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds:

Gov. Reynolds signed several bills into law

DES MOINES -- Today, Gov. Reynolds signed the following bills into law:

SF333 A bill for an act relating to authorized emergency vehicles, making penalties applicable, and including effective date and applicability provisions.

SF551 A bill for an act relating to fire fighters and emergency medical services members operating certain vehicles.

HF604 A bill for an act relating to language and literacy development for deaf and hard-of-hearing children.

SF2287 A bill for an act relating to used catalytic converter transactions, providing penalties, and making penalties applicable.

HF2252 A bill for an act relating to programs and services under the purview of the department of human services including child care assistance, child and family services, foster care, adoption, and the dependent adult abuse information registry.

HF2507 A bill for an act relating to juvenile justice including juvenile delinquency, child in need of assistance and family in need of assistance proceedings, juvenile justice reform, and juvenile court expenses and costs, and including effective date, applicability, and retroactive applicability provisions, and making appropriations.

HF2412 A bill for an act requiring radon testing and mitigation in public schools, and including applicability provisions.

SF463 A bill for an act establishing the occupational therapy licensure compact and the audiology and speech language pathology interstate compact.

HF2239 A bill for an act relating to the discovery of evidence in a criminal or postconviction relief action involving victims of sexual abuse, and the admissibility of evidence in a prosecution for physical abuse or a sexual offense upon or against a child, person with an intellectual disability, person with a cognitive impairment, or person with a developmental disability.

SF577 A bill for an act relating to a certificate of nonviable birth.

SF2334 A bill for an act relating to shotguns that may be used to hunt turkey.

SF2190 A bill for an act relating to the use of child labor for certain bakery machine occupations utilizing pizza dough rollers.

News release from the City of Sioux City:

Siouxland Pride Alliance to Host LGBTQ+ Pride Activities

Siouxland Pride Alliance will host a variety of free events in late May and early June to celebrate LGBTQ+ Pride. The grass roots non-profit organization was formed in 2012 to connect and protect the local LGBTQ+ community as well as to educate the Siouxland community about LGBTQ+ issues. The Alliance hosts support groups for adults and youths, manages a free lending library, assists individuals to navigate community resources and provides educational opportunities on LGBTQ+ issues. In addition to its year-round activities, Siouxland Pride Alliance hosts free Pride events each summer. Each of the events listed below is free to attend.

Pride Prom

The Pride Prom is an annual dance for LGBTQ+ teens and their allies. The event will be held on Friday, May 27th, from 7:00 p.m. to 11:00 p.m. at Girls Inc., 500 Main Street. The evening will include dancing, a mini-drag show, a teen drag contest, and makeovers. Snacks will be provided by the local Free Mom Hugs group. Parents and guardians are encouraged to attend. The event is free to attend.

Raising The Roof

The Alliance will be hosting a celebration at The Crown Rooftop Bar at the Warrior Hotel from 7:30 p.m. to 10:30 p.m. on Saturday, May 28. The event is also free to attend and will have a cash bar with both alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages. A silent auction will be held to benefit Siouxland Pride Alliance’s work in our community. The celebration will culminate in the lighting of the hotel in Pride colors.

Pride Parade

Sioux City’s first Pride Parade will be held on Thursday, June 2 on Historic Fourth Street, beginning at 6:00 p.m. The parade route will be on Historic Fourth Street, beginning at Fourth and Iowa Streets and ending at Fourth and Nebraska Streets. The parade is co-hosted by the Sioux City Human Rights Commission. The Grand Marshal for this inaugural event is City Councilmember Matthew O’Kane.

Sioux City Pride Festival

The Sioux City Pride Festival will be held on Saturday, June 4th, from Noon to 4:00 p.m. outside of the Public Museum. Fourth Street from Jackson Street to Nebraska Street will be closed for the event. The festival is family-friendly with a variety of activities for people of all ages including face painting and a free lunch. The Kids’ Space will have story time, games, arts and crafts, and other activities for youngsters. Activities for teens and adults will include Drag Races, Pride Trivia, and Drag Queen Bingo. A community resource fair will be held as a part of the Pride Festival, involving a wide variety community organizations and businesses. Disabilities Resource Center of Siouxland and the Sioux City Human Rights Commission are co-hosting the festival along with Siouxland Pride Alliance. The event is free and open to the public.

Interfaith Pride Service

Siouxland Pride Alliance, along with First Unitarian Church and Mayflower Congregational Church, will host an Interfaith Pride Service on Sunday, June 5 at First Unitarian Church, 2508 Jackson Street. The service will begin at 11:00 a.m. Rev. Jessie Lent, pastor at Mayflower Congregational Church, will provide the sermon with lay- leaders from both churches participating.

Sioux City Pool Update

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