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NEWS 5.22.23: Nebraska governor signs law targeting abortion and gender-affirming care, Iowa Great Lakes death, COVID-19 hospitalizations fall in Iowa, and more

Nebraska’s Republican governor has signed a bill that bans abortion at 12 weeks and restricts gender-affirming medical care for people younger than 19. The law was signed Monday by Gov. Jim Pillen, during a ceremony in Lincoln today.

The abortion ban takes effect immediately. The restrictions on gender-affirming care take effect Oct. 1. Nebraska’s conservative-led, unicameral Legislature passed the bill that included the two contentious issues on Friday after hours of heated debate.

18-year-old Norfolk woman pleads guilty to improperly disposing of unborn baby’s body

A Norfolk Nebraska teen pleaded guilty to improperly disposing of the body of an unborn baby.

Investigators say 18-year-old Celeste Burgess took pills to abort her 29-week-old baby before disposing of the remains in a Madison County field.

Burgess is scheduled to appear back in court on July 20 for her sentencing.

A Cedar Rapids man drowned in the Iowa Great Lakes this weekend.

Officials say 21-year-old Alexander Glover was in the area on vacation when he jumped off a boat to swim in Miller’s Bay in West Lake Okoboji early Saturday afternoon. Glover got fatigued as he swam back to the boat, which was drifting away, and he slipped underwater.

Radio Iowa reports a kayaker nearby brought Glover to the surface and Glover’s family began lifesaving measures until a rescue crew arrived. Glover was taken to a local hospital, where he died.

Four Iowa newspapers owned by Davenport-based Lee Enterprises have just three print editions a week beginning June 20th.

In last quarter’s earnings call, Lee Enterprises was looking to grow digital revenue while decreasing overhead. And over the weekend the company announced cuts its print editions of the The Waterloo-Cedar Falls Courier, Mason City Globe-Gazette, The Sioux City Journal and Council Bluffs Daily Nonpareil.

Print revenue made up 60 percent of Lee’s total operating revenue last quarter.

A new report ranks Iowa 20th in the nation for senior health.

The America’s Health Rankings report by the United Health Care Foundation ranks states using more that 50 factors.

The report found Iowa ranks low nationally for things like obesity rates and access to high speed internet.

However, Iowa also came out ahead in many categories. It has one of the lowest rates for senior food insecurity, drug deaths and frequent mental distress in the country.

The number of people with COVID-19 who are receiving inpatient treatment at Iowa hospitals on any given day is at its lowest since at least August 2020, according to federal health data. For more on the story check out the Iowa Capital Dispatch.

Sen. John Thune, the Senate’s No. 2 Republican, is endorsing the presidential campaign of Sen. Tim Scott, according to a story in Politico.

The South Dakota senator will appear at Scott’s presidential launch on Monday in South Carolina.

Rodney D. Bennett was named as the priority candidate to become the 21st chancellor of the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, the university announced Monday morning.

Bennett served as the leader of Southern Miss for nearly 10 years and was the first African-American president of a predominantly white university campus in Mississippi's history.

The selection of a leader comes after Chancellor Ronnie Green announced his plans to retire at the end of the 2022-23 school year.

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