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NEWS 1.20.23

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City of Sioux City
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The City of Sioux City ended its snow emergency today. Vehicles can park on both sides of the street unless otherwise posted. City officials urge residents to sign up to receive snow emergency alerts through text, phone, or email through the CodeRed platform. There’s also an option to receive updates on delays for public transit and garbage/recycling collection.

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City of Sioux City
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Iowa officials say the state is in a much stronger position compared to one year ago when it comes to unemployment.

According to Iowa Workforce Development, December 2022′s unemployment rate was 3.1%, nearly a whole percentage point lower than in December of 2021.

The Director of Iowa Workforce Development tells KCCI Television in Des Moines, “Individual industries continue to feel shocks from high inflation and the ripples of a difficult business cycle. But overall, Iowa is now much stronger heading into a new year.

Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds is open to repealing the requirement that state and local officials ensure there’s an equal balance of men and women appointed to boards and commissions.

A bill to repeal that gender balance requirement is eligible for debate in the Senate State Government Committee. Reynolds is not committing to signing the bill into law, but the concept is something she supports.

Reynolds said during an interview with Radio Iowa that she feels “the best, most qualified and somebody who wants to do it is the person we should put in that position.”

General balance has been required on all boards and commissions in state government since 1987. In 2009, the legislature passed a law to require gender balance on city and county boards and commissions established by state law.

It has become increasingly hard in rural Iowa to find people to serve on local boards and commissions, according to Reynolds and others who support the bill, and this added requirement makes even it tougher.

Supporters of the gender diversity requirement say the law helps bring women who might be overlooked into leadership roles on boards and commissions. Iowa is among eight states that have a gender equity requirement for government boards.

The Nebraska Supreme Court has upheld a lower court judge's ruling that sided with state employees who fought back against a government dress code banning blue jeans. The Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services had sought to require a new employee dress code starting in 2020 that would have barred employees from wearing blue jeans, T-shirts and other casual wear except on Fridays. More than 200 union-covered employees filed a grievance saying the department violated the union contract by unilaterally deciding to change the dress code. An arbitrator, then a judge, agreed, and the agency appealed. The state's high court said Friday the arbitrator was “well within his powers” in striking down the dress code.

South Dakota lawmakers dismissed a proposal that the state constitution ban ballot measures from being reconsidered if they failed in the previous election. The Republican-controlled House State Affairs Committee rejected the proposed constitutional amendment Friday, with lawmakers saying it relied on vague language and unwieldy implementation. Republican Rep. Fred Deutsch brought the proposal after voters rejected a ballot measure to legalize recreational marijuana last year, but legalization advocates say they plan to put the proposal back on ballots in the next election. One Republican criticized the proposed amendment's interference with citizens’ ability to directly change laws in South Dakota. It was the first state to enshrine the ballot measure process.

A spokesperson for the TSA says the number of guns found at Iowa airport security checkpoints was up in 2022.

A spokesperson says 22 guns were found in Iowa, compared to 14 in 2021. Fifteen guns were found at the Des Moines Airport, up six from the previous year. The nationwide number of guns found was a record for the second year in a row. No guns were listed as being found at the Sioux Gateway airport.

Passengers are permitted to travel with firearms in checked baggage if they are unloaded, packed separately from ammunition in a locked hardback case, and declared at the airline check-in counter

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