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NEWS 2.22.23

Iowa 511

Brutal winter weather is hammering the northern U.S. with “whiteout” snow, dangerous wind gusts, and bitter cold. All of South Dakota and much of Iowa and Nebraska are under warnings and advisories.

* Check www.weather.gov for forecast updates.

The weather impacted some school districts in Siouxland, including metro-area districts.

“Hello, due to the weather, Sioux City Community Schools will have a two-hour early dismissal today."

- voice message to parents

Moderate to heavy snowfall is predicted for Siouxland today, and into Thursday, while forecasters say a wintery mix of rain, sleet, and snow is more likely for much of central Iowa, with just rain to the south.

The National Weather Service issued Blizzard Warnings for the counties of Lyon, Osceola Sioux, O’Brien, and Dickinson, including part of the Iowa Great Lakes region. That area could get 5 to 7 inches, with winds gusting as high as 40 miles per hour. Lyon County could see more than a foot of snow. The forecast currently calls for 4 inches in Sioux City.

Meanwhile, rain and snowfall combined with a glazing of ice could make for very hazardous driving conditions across a wide segment of Iowa. Travel is not advised in the upper corner of northwest Iowa. In South Dakota, Interstate 29 is closed north of Sioux Falls.

The National Weather Service Office out of Sioux Falls did report a radar outage for a short time this morning, due to a technical program. The radar was out for about an hour. Meteorologists relied on radar from outside the area to monitor the storm.

A snow advisory has been issued for South Sioux City for 24 hours starting at 5 p.m. Another one kicks in for Storm Lake at 10 p.m. and runs through Friday morning at 6, according to Siouxland News CBS FOX 44.

This week at the Iowa Statehouse, a House subcommittee is going through a 1600-page bill proposed by Governor Kim Reynolds.

WHO-Television in Des Moines reports the billwould consolidate 37 state agencies into 16, in order to streamline the state government process. Lawmakers said that this hasn’t been looked at for over 40 years. The Senate had already moved the governor’s bill through a subcommittee, leaving it now up to the House to push it through.

News release from Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds:

Gov. Reynolds Statement on Government Realignment Bill Passing the Iowa Senate State Government Committee

DES MOINES – Gov. Reynolds released the following statement in response to her Government Realignment bill passing the Iowa Senate State Government Committee:

“State government exists to serve Iowans, but an increasingly growing bureaucracy is making it too complicated. This bill gets to the heart of the problem, making government efficient, effective, and small. While shrinking government from 37 cabinet departments to just 16, we will also save Iowa taxpayers an estimated $215 million over four years. For Iowans and our state to thrive, government must be responsive to their needs.”

A bill to reinstate the death penalty in a limited number of cases is eligible for debate in the Iowa Senate.

The bill would make those convicted of kidnapping, raping, and murdering a person under the age of 18 eligible for a death sentence.

The bill cleared the Senate Judiciary Committee on a 10-8 vote.

The chairman of the House Judiciary Committee has said he could support the death penalty on moral grounds. But Republican Representative Steven Holt of Denison tells Radio Iowa it is impractical for several reasons. The drugs to administer a lethal injection are hard to find, and Holt said the cost of sentencing someone to spend the rest of their life in prison is far less than the court costs associated with appeals to a death sentence and the expense of maintaining a death row in the state’s prison system.

Anyone who can legally own a gun would be able to carry it, loaded with bullets, while driving on a public highway under legislation that’s cleared a House subcommittee. Current law says guns are to be unloaded while a vehicle is moving.

Another gun-related bill that’s passed a House subcommittee with bi-partisan support would direct K-12 schools to provide lessons on gun safety.

Adoption of those rules was part of Gov. Kristi Noem’s executive order 2022-02, issued April 5, 2022, which she ordered after a bill that would’ve barred critical race theory in K-12 education was shot down in the legislative session last year. A similar bill passed for higher education.

The Iowa Supreme Court heard arguments today in a case that looks to force the governor to comply with the state’s open records law within a certain timeframe.

Journalists with the websites Iowa Capital Dispatch and Bleeding Heartland say they had to sue Gov. Kim Reynolds to receive records related to her response to the coronavirus pandemic.

Laura Belin is with Bleeding Heartland.

“This case is not only important because of the documents we were seeking, but that no one is above the law.”

An attorney for the state told the justices the case should be dismissed because her office was busy with other things during the pandemic.

Thomas Story, an attorney with the ACLU of Iowa, says that was never expressed, and the requests were ignored until a lawsuit was filed. That’s when it took only 18 days to fulfill open requests for 18 months.

“Our clients have experienced blatant stonewalling.”

The state claims there is no deadline in the law for the governor to fill records requests and that it would violate the separation of powers for the court to create one.

The Supreme Court will make a ruling on the case later on in the year.

News release from the City of Sioux City:

2023 Faces of Siouxland Multicultural Fair

The 2023 Faces of Siouxland Multicultural Fair 2023 will be held Sunday, March 12 th at the Sioux City Convention Center, 801 4 th Street, from 12:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. The fair celebrates the diversity within our community through music, dance, art, and food. This large and lively event is free and fun for the whole family. Faces of Siouxland is our largest annual community event, with attendance in the thousands. There will be numerous local organizations, agencies, and businesses with a variety of free giveaways and informational booths. The entertainment for this year includes Ballet Folklorico Estrellas de Jalisco, Somali Dance Group, and The Flying Pan Steel Band, to name a few.

Children of all ages are welcome to enjoy our supervised “Kid’s Space” where there will be arts, crafts, and face painting. Free parking is available near the Convention Center and in the Discovery Parking Ramp across the street.

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