NEWS 6.4.20: Sioux City Unity Event, C-19 Test Concerns, Unemployment and Library Update

Jun 4, 2020

PRAYER UNITY EVENT IN DOWNTOWN SIOUX CITY, IA
Credit Ike Rayford/NAACP

An estimated crowd of 300 joined together for peace and healing in downtown Sioux City Thursday afternoon after the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis.

Local law enforcement leaders, and representatives from Unity in the Community and NAACP attended the Unity in Prayer event.

A march is planned for Friday afternoon.  People plan to gather at Cook Park at 2 p.m. with the march at three.  The event was organized by a student from West High.

Iowa Democrats and black leaders are calling for urgent action by state lawmakers to end racial injustice and have proposed several bills during the shortened legislative session.

One would make it illegal for police to use a chokehold or neck restraint unless a person poses a threat.

Another would make it illegal for Iowa police departments to hire officers who were fired or resigned while being investigated for serious misconduct or excessive force.

Gov. Kim Reynolds and House Speaker Pat Grassley, both Republicans, wouldn't commit to the ideas but said they're willing to talk.

Republican Sen. Chuck Grassley says he is blocking two Trump administration nominees until the White House provides adequate reasons for the recent termination of two inspectors general.

The Iowa senator is a longtime advocate for the watchdog role of inspectors general. 

Today in Iowa another 14 people with COVID-19 have died and there have been an additional 694 confirmed cases reported, according to the Department of Public Health. 

The state reported 578 COVID-19-related deaths, an increase of 14 deaths since the state's tally yesterday. There are more than 20,700 confirmed cases of the coronavirus in Iowa.

At a news conference Thursday morning, Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds addressed concerns that the state has failed to keep its promise of completing 3000 tests per day.  Reynolds said that number refers to the state’s test capacity, provided that 3000 people come through Test Iowa each day.

“What I did promise Iowans is that we would leave no stone unturned to make sure that we had the resources necessary to provide the care Iowans need and deserve during this pandemic.  Test Iowa is just one of those resources.” 

In Woodbury County, Siouxland District Health Department reported 12 new cases of the novel coronavirus today and no new deaths. There have been a total of more than 2,800 cases.

Meanwhile, health officials in Dakota County reported one more death for a total of 27 and 7 new confirmed cases. 

Fewer Iowa workers are filing for unemployment as COVID-19 restrictions are partially lifted on businesses across the state.

Iowa Workforce Development reports almost 7,000 workers filed new unemployment claims last week.

That’s a decrease of about 50 percent from the previous week.

The total number of Iowans continuing to receive unemployment benefits declined to about 165,000.

Native American voting rights advocates are cautioning against states moving to mail-in ballots without opportunities for tribal members to vote safely in person.

The Native American Rights Fund released a wide-ranging report on voting rights Thursday.

In it, the group outlined the challenges that could arise as states move to rely more heavily on mail-in ballots.

The report says online voter registration could be hampered by spotty or no internet service on  nreservations, ballots will be delivered to Post Office boxes that rarely are checked and turnout may be low because of a general reluctance to vote by mail.

The Sioux City Public Library announced a phased-in plan for reopening.

They’re starting with contactless curbside pickup by appointment only at the Perry Creek Branch on Hamilton Boulevard on Monday, June 15th.

Other locations will be opening in the upcoming weeks with social distancing and health and safety measures in place.