NEWS 2.25.21: IA C-19 Vaccine Website, SD Gov. Calls for Attorney General's Resignation, and More

Feb 25, 2021

Credit IDPH

The state of Iowa plans to launch a new website tomorrow to provide more information on how to get COVID-19 vaccines.

However, the Governor stressed during a news conference today Iowans will not be able to schedule an appointment on the site www.vaccinate.iowa.gov.

The state also plans to reach out to older Iowans in need of finding a vaccine. Starting on March 8 they will open a 211-call center to answer questions and help with scheduling.

The governor says with the new Johnson and Johnson vaccine that just received approval this will allow the state more options in vaccinating the public.

Meanwhile, appointments just opened up at three this afternoon for the next clinic in Woodbury County scheduled for Tuesday at the Tyson Events Center. Officials with Siouxland District Health say supplies are limited. They urge people to make appointments online and for people without computer access to call instead. This next clinic is for people 65-years-and-older. Appointment for previous clinics quickly filled up.

South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem is increasing pressure on the state’s attorney general to resign, promising to release more investigative documents on his fatal crash and enlisting her secretary of public safety to join the chorus calling for his removal from office. Jason Ravnsborg struck and killed a man on a rural highway in September. Noem said Thursday that she decided to call for Ravnsborg to resign this week after reviewing the investigation. Secretary of Public Safety Craig Price says he backs the impeachment of Ravnsborg because “maintaining public trust is critical” for law enforcement officers.

The South Dakota House has passed legislation that prohibits transgender girls from participating in female sports at public schools. The bill’s prime sponsor, Republican Rep. Rhonda Milstead, argued that transgender girls have an unfair advantage in female sports. The bill means female sports would only be available to participants who are female based on their biological gender at birth. Opponents of the bill include the American Civil Liberties Union which says the bill is unconstitutional. The bill moves on to a Senate committee. 

An Iowa House panel has advanced an education bill that includes some proposals favored by Governor Kim Reynolds but leaves out the school choice programs she has championed this year.

The bill (HSB 240) expands a tax credit for tuition and textbooks. It would also extend the deadline for open enrollment in some cases.

It does not address charter schools or private school vouchers, but House Speaker Pat Grassley says those proposals have not been ruled out.

Grassley says House Republicans will decide how to approach other parts of the governor’s bill next week.

The Iowa Senate passed the governor’s school choice package about one month ago.

Iowa House Republicans have cast the final vote needed to send a bill to the governor that sharply limits early voting in the state. The move comes months after a general election overseen by a Republican secretary of state that saw record turnout and overwhelming victories by GOP candidates. Like states across the country with Republican legislatures, Iowa lawmakers said early voting must be reined in because of the potential for fraud, even after a successful election in a state with no history of problems. The House passed the bill Wednesday a plan approved by the Senate a day earlier, Democrats who are outnumbered in both chambers were left aghast but in no position to stop the changes.

Iowa lawmakers have advanced the governor’s renewable fuel standards bill out of the Senate Ag. Committee even though they believe it needs changes.

The controversial bill would require gasoline with ethanol and biodiesel-blended fuel at almost all fuel pumps in Iowa. But it would allow just one pump at each site to sell gasoline with no biofuels. It also would also extend tax credits for retailers.

A bill advancing in the Iowa House (HF 633) would fine tech companies up to 100,000 dollars for removing content or de-platforming users without explanation.

Tech companies have been more aggressive in addressing misinformation online, but many Republican lawmakers claim the process is biased against conservative views.

A related bill in the Iowa Senate would end tax incentives and government contracts for tech companies that remove content.

Governor Kim Reynolds did not weigh in on the proposals when asked at a press conference today (Thursday), but said she understands lawmakers’ frustration.

The South Dakota House has passed legislation that prohibits transgender girls from participating in female sports at public schools. The bill’s prime sponsor, Republican Rep. Rhonda Milstead, argued that transgender girls have an unfair advantage in female sports. The bill means female sports would only be available to participants who are female based on their biological gender at birth. Opponents of the bill include the American Civil Liberties Union which says the bill is unconstitutional. The bill moves on to a Senate committee.