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Newscast 12.12.23: Public comment on Iowa's six-week abortion ban rules opens Wednesday; SC Community Schools to change rules on state law governing sexual materials in school books

Sioux City Community School District headquarters
Sioux City Community School District headquarters

Proposed rules for implementing Iowa’s six-week fetal heartbeat abortion ban open for public comment tomorrow.

If a patient seeks an abortion under the exceptions for rape or incest, the rules would require doctors to get details about those incidents and record them in the patient’s medical record. The rules would also require a doctor to certify that a fetal abnormality is incompatible with life to provide an abortion under that exception.

The Sioux City Community School District will eliminate 65 staff positions due to the loss of COVID-19 recovery funds, however, it will not fire any teachers.

At its Monday meeting, the school board approved a restructuring plan to account for the loss of Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief Funding. The district received $59.4 million in funding for COVID-19 recovery. The fund has provided $7.6 million per year of additional staffing for the district.

Also Monday night, the School Board passed the first reading to update the district’s Library and Instructional Material policies. The change all comes after Senate File 496 was passed by lawmakers in April.

The law bans schoolbooks with descriptions or depictions of sex acts; prohibits instruction on gender identity or sexual orientation before seventh grade. It also requires schools to notify parents if a student requests a new pronoun.

The district will now require all instructional material, as well as library books, to be age appropriate. In addition, the district announced it will soon publish a complete list of books that are in school libraries on its website. https://bitly.ws/35Gbz

Iowa State University’s yearly farmland survey released Tuesday shows values may have plateaued, even as they hit a record high.

The average value increased about 4% for a statewide average of $11,835 an acre. Last year, values were 17% higher.

Iowa State University farmland values survey
Iowa State University Farmland

Southeast Iowa saw the biggest gains from people buying land for recreation and hunting. Northwest Iowa saw a very slight dip in value. Even so, Sioux County replaced O’Brien County with the highest farmland value of about $16,500 an acre. That’s more than $4,600 higher than the state average.

Officials in Kossuth County are evaluating last week’s federal court ruling that permanently blocks Shelby and Story County ordinances restricting where hazardous liquid pipelines may be located, according to Radio Iowa. https://bitly.ws/35Gbz

A federal judge ruled the ordinances in Story and Shelby County could have made it impossible for Summit Carbon Solutions to build a carbon pipeline even if the Iowa Utilities Board grants the company a permit.
Kossuth County Supervisors have drafted an ordinance similar to Shelby County’s. It has not gone into effect, but has made it most of the way through the approval process.

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