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Newscast 02.08.23: A new leader for MercyOne Western Iowa; Abortion legislation on hold on Iowa

MercyOne Western Iowa has a new president.

MercyOne, a connected system of health care facilities and services, announced the selection of Tom Clark for the position in a statement released on Wednesday. Clark will join MercyOne in late February.

The statement said Clark brings multiple years of experience leading faith-based hospitals and health system operations.

The Sioux City Journal reports that Clark most recently served as the chief strategy and growth officer for Avera Health in Sioux Falls, South Dakota. While there, he helped guide strategic priorities for the organizations 377 locations across five states, including hospitals, clinics and senior living facilities.

A Republican leader in the Iowa House says lawmakers need to wait for an Iowa Supreme Court opinion before trying to enact new abortion restrictions.

A district court ruling has blocked a 2018 state law to ban most abortions after the sixth week of a pregnancy from taking effect. Governor Reynolds has asked the Iowa Supreme Court to intervene. House Majority Leader Matt Windschitl of Missouri Valley says the legislature’s next step will be guided by how the court rules.

Earlier this week, a couple of Republican lawmakers said they intend to introduce a bill this year that would ban all abortions in Iowa. Windschitl says that’s the ultimate goal.

Republicans on a House panel advanced a bill today that would allow the state to suspend or revoke business licenses from employers who knowingly hire people who aren’t eligible to work in the U.S. It would require businesses to use the E-Verify system to check immigration status.

Radio Iowa reports that representatives Phil Thompson and Henry Stone say they have serious concerns about how it would affect businesses, but they moved it forward to keep the discussion going. No one spoke in favor of the bill today (Wednesday).

Opponents of the bill say the E-Verify system isn’t accurate and would lead to unfair penalties for businesses and discrimination in hiring.

Iowa lawmakers have advanced a bill eliminating reporting requirements and other regulations on public K-12 schools.

The bill, proposed by Gov. Kim Reynolds, covers several provisions that a representative from Reynolds’ office said will remove “burdensome and trivial” requirements on schools. The bill would eliminate the requirement for schools to develop an annual comprehensive improvement plan and also provide flexibility for schools contracting with community colleges to teach high school courses.

However, some lobbyists and education representatives say that loosening those requirements would lead to subpar education for Iowa’s students.

Two bills regulating medical marijuana “pop-up clinics” passed the South Dakota House Health and Human Services committee Tuesday morning at the Capitol in Pierre.

The Argus Leader reports that the bills, one that would regulate pop-up clinic locations and another that would regulate advertisements and restrict telehealth meetings to obtain a medical marijuana card, passed through the committee 10-2 and 9-4, respectively. Both bills are sponsored by Fred Deutsch, R-Florence.

The issue of the clinics popped up at the Legislature’s Medical Marijuana Oversight Committee last year. The Leader says pop-up clinics have appeared in several businesses across the state, including the Hampton Inn in Watertown, the St. Charles Lounge in Pierre and even a strip club, Deutsch said.

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