NEWS 1.13.21: 2 More C19 Deaths in Woodbury County, Impeachment, State of the State, Lottery & More

Jan 13, 2021

Credit CDC

Woodbury County added two more COVID-related deaths in the past 24-hours for a total of 175 since the start of the pandemic. There were 46 additional cases. Siouxland District Health says mask up, keep your distance, wash your hands, stay home when sick, and avoid nonessential gatherings.

The Iowa Department of Public Health reported 10 more Iowans have died of the disease for more than 4,200 (4,232) and almost 1,900 additional cases for a total of 300,000 positive test results.

More than 50 Iowa counties have a 14-day average positivity rate above 15%, a level indicating significant community virus spread. That’s includes Woodbury County with 15.4%.

Iowa’s representatives in the U.S. House split along party lines on the vote to impeach President Trump for the second time. The delegation’s lone Democrat, Congresswoman Cindy Axne, voted to impeach, saying Trump incited the insurrection at the U.S. Capitol and cannot remain in office.

The state’s newly-elected Republican representatives voted "no", including Representative Randy Feenstra, who represents Siouxland in the 4th Congressional District.

South Dakota Representative Dusty Johnson, a Republican voted against impeachment.

WASHINGTON (AP) — Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is moving abruptly away from President Donald Trump. A Republican strategist says McConnell is telling people that he thinks Trump perpetrated impeachable offenses. McConnell also sees House Democrats’ drive to impeach Trump as an opportune moment to distance the GOP from the tumultuous, divisiveness outgoing president. McConnell's view is significant because he will be Washington's most powerful Republican once Democrat Joe Biden takes office next week as president. McConnell's thinking emerged as the Democratic-led House moved toward a Wednesday vote certain to result in Trump's impeachment over his incitement of supporters who stormed the Capitol last week.

PIERRE, S.D. (AP) — A pro-Trump Christian group has a permit to gather at the South Dakota Capitol in Pierre Sunday. Members of Jericho March plan to walk around the Capitol and pray for the country. About 50 people are expected to gather. The FBI has issued bulletins warning of armed protests at all 50 state capitols, as well as Washington, D.C., in the days leading up to President-elect Joe Biden’s inauguration on Jan. 20. State officials say past gatherings of the group at the state Capitol have been peaceful and no arrests were made.  

WOW-TV in Omaha reports the Nebraska National Guard plans to send 230 personnel to the inauguration of President-elect Joe Biden in Washington, D.C.

Military members from across the country are expected to provide security services next week.

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds says she will ask lawmakers to immediately send her a

IA GOVERNOR KIM REYNOLDS
Credit Associated Press

bill to sign into law that will require schools to offer parents the option of having their children in classrooms full time despite continuing high levels of coronavirus throughout Iowa. Reynolds, in her annual Condition of the State speech Tuesday evening, also laid out a plan for spending $450 million over the next five years to expand high-speed internet service across the state, more than $25 million to improve child care programs and $30 million over two years to fund mental health programs. Those are the largest spending requests she'll seek from lawmakers.

LINCOLN, Neb. (AP) — A decades-old rule designed to promote transparency and accountability in the Nebraska Legislature could be in jeopardy. A proposed rule change would bar reporters from otherwise private “executive sessions” of legislative committees, where lawmakers discuss and vote on bills. The sessions are closed to the general public, but legislative rules allow reporters to attend and report what happened. Sen. Dan Hughes, of Venango, says he introduced the measure after getting quoted several years ago in what he believed to be a private, frank discussion with fellow lawmakers. Free-speech advocates and members of the news media say changing the rule would undermine public trust and make it more difficult for journalists to report accurately on legislative issues.

PIERRE, S.D. (AP) — South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem is using her State of the State address to return to themes that have marked her two years in office, touting the state’s economy, focusing on job development and unveiling a proposal to ban abortions based on a Down Syndrome diagnosis. Noem defended her hands-off approach to the pandemic to lawmakers, pointing out that the state’s economy has weathered the pandemic relatively well. Thanks to a windfall of federal coronavirus aid, the state has over $250 million in one-time funds to put towards projects like broadband and college scholarships. 

PIERRE, S.D. (AP) — Facing criticism for falsely accusing two Democrats who won Georgia’s Senate race of being communists, Gov. Kristi Noem has been avoiding taking direct questions from reporters in South Dakota. The Republican governor says she won't be talking to reporters after Tuesday’s State of the State speech, and she cancelled a news conference on Monday. Noem has been less accessible this week just as the Republican Party faces a reckoning over the riot at the U.S. Capitol by supporters of President Donald Trump. She has limited her comments on that attack to a pair of tweets. Democrats say Noem's comments must not go unchecked.

Credit Associated Press

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — Lottery players will have a shot Friday night at the fifth-largest jackpot in U.S. history after no tickets matched all the numbers in the latest Mega Millions drawing. The jackpot for Tuesday night’s Mega Millions was $625 million and lottery officials say it’s rising to an estimated $750 million. The Mega Millions numbers drawn Tuesday were: 12-14-26-28-33, Mega Ball: 09. The big prize for Powerball, the other national lottery game, is $550 million for Wednesday night’s drawing. Mega Millions and Powerball are both played in 45 states as well as Washington, D.C., and the U.S. Virgin Islands. Powerball also is offered in Puerto Rico.