NEWS 3.9.21: IA Voting Law Legal Challenge, NE C-19 Variants, SUX Flights, and More

Mar 9, 2021

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Iowa’s new voting law faces a legal challenge.

Governor Kim Reynolds signed the Republican-backed bill into law yesterday (Monday). It shortened the time allowed for early, mail, and Election Day voting, and made many additional changes to Iowa’s election procedures.

The League of United Latin American Citizens of Iowa filed a lawsuit.

Attorneys argue the new law unconstitutionally burdens Iowans’ voting rights. 

In a statement yesterday, Reynolds said the new law will promote transparency and accountability in elections.

The Iowa Department of Public Health shows 15 more Iowans have died of complications of COVID-19 with more than 500 positive tests with 22 in Woodbury County in a 24-hour period.

Nebraska health officials continue to identify more cases of different variants of the coronavirus in the state. The state says five cases of the variant first identified in the United Kingdom and 14 cases of a variant first identified in California have now been confirmed. Both of those variants of the virus are believed to be more easily transmitted.

State officials said they expect to receive 82,430 doses of the vaccines this week. That may lead to a small drop in the number of people vaccinated in the state this week after officials vaccinated 90,461 people across Nebraska last week.

The city of Sioux City announced new flights from the Sioux Gateway Airport after the recent announcement SkyWest will take over serving the airport on April 1st. SkyWest operates for United Express, a regional carrier for United Airlines. The company won a three-year federal contract to provide Essential Air Service or EAS from Sioux City. There will be a dozen weekly round trip fights to Chicago aboard a 50-passenger CRJ200 jet aircraft. Skywest already served Denver.  There will be a morning flight to Chicago, midday to Denver and late afternoon service to Chicago. EAS guarentees small communities served by a commercial carrier prior to deregulation would continue to receive a minimal level of service that would otherwise not be profitable.

*More information in a news release below.

A study conducted by University of Nebraska-Lincoln researchers has found that gasoline blended with 30% ethanol is safe for use in non-flex-fuel vehicles. The yearlong study tested 50 Nebraska State Patrol vehicles and found no decrease in energy efficiency or performance during the study among those that used E30 fuel. The research was conducted with permission from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Rajib Saha, an assistant professor of chemical and biomolecular engineering, says researchers ran 26 of the vehicles on a lower ethanol blend and 24 on the high-blend E30 fuel.

An effort to halt Gov. Kristi Noem from merging government agencies that oversee agriculture and the environment has narrowly failed in the Senate. Senate Democratic leader Troy Heinert introduced a resolution that would have stopped the merger of the Department of Agriculture and the Department of Environment and Natural Resources. Noem has billed the new Department of Agriculture and Natural Resources as a “one-stop” shop for farmers and ranchers that would save the state about $450,000 by eliminating five positions. But Heinert argued that oversight should remain separated, both to protect the environment and best serve farmers and ranchers.

An Iowa journalist covering a protest for racial justice was temporarily blinded when a police officer shot pepper spray in her face and jailed for hours despite telling him repeatedly she was just doing her job. Body camera video played at her trial shows Des Moines Register reporter Andrea Sahouri in custody on May 31, 2020, her eyes burning from pepper spray. She says she is the newspaper and asks Officer Luke Wilson why he arrested her, adding that she was in pain and couldn’t see. Sahouri’s defense played the video for jurors on the second day of a trial in which Sahouri and her former boyfriend, Spenser Robnett, are charged with failure to disperse and interference with official acts.

News release from the city of Sioux City:

United Express Flights to Chicago Begin April 1, 2021

United Express, operated by SkyWest Airlines, to provide Essential Air Service (EAS) from Sioux Gateway Airport/Brigadier

General Bud Day Field (SUX) to Chicago O’Hare International Airport (ORD) beginning

Thursday, April 1, 2021. The 12 weekly round trip flights to Chicago will be onboard the

These new flights are in addition to the once-daily United Express flights from Sioux City to Denver. As a result, the Sioux Gateway Airport will now have a morning flight to Chicago, a mid-day flight to Denver and a late afternoon flight to Chicago.

“We are happy to welcome back flights to Chicago multiple times per day on United starting in April and feel this will greatly complement our market and the highly successful flights to Denver,” said David Bernstein, President of the Airport Board of Trustees. “SkyWest has been truly great to work with and United Airlines provides significantly more connections from Chicago along with excellent benefits through their MileagePlus program, including status match with existing programs on other airlines. We are very optimistic about this new service.”

“We’re excited for the opportunity to add these new flights to Chicago and to provide Siouxland travelers with greater convenience and connectivity,” said Greg Atkin, SkyWest’s managing director of Market Development. “With direct access to two of United’s largest hubs, passengers can easily plan for upcoming trips with just one flight out of Sioux City.”

The United Express flight schedule in Sioux City is as follows (all times local)*:

Sioux City, IA to Chicago, IL

Origin Departure Destination

SUX 7:30 a.m. ORD ORD 9:25 a.m. SUX SUX 5:10 p.m. ORD ORD 8:20 p.m. SUX

Arrival

9:15 a.m. 11:13 a.m. 6:55 p.m. 10:08 p.m.

Origin

SUX

DEN
*Schedule varies and may be subject to change

Arrival

12:45 p.m. 4:36 p.m.

Sioux City, IA to Denver, CO

Departure Destination

11:44 a.m. DEN 1:55 p.m. SUX

Tickets can be purchased now by visiting the Sioux Gateway Airport website www.flysux.com, the United Airlines website united.com or by contacting your local travel agent.

Essential Air Service is a U.S. government program that dates back prior to the deregulation of the airline industry in 1978. It guarantees that small communities that were served by a commercial carrier prior to deregulation would continue to receive a minimal level of scheduled air service that would otherwise not be profitable. The EAS contract is for a three-year term from April 1, 2021 through March 31, 2024.

For additional information, contact SkyWest Corporate Communications at corporate.communications@skywest.com or 435-634-3553.