Noon News 5.10.19

May 10, 2019

Credit Nebraska Farm Bureau

A new report says a nearly $200 million decline in Nebraska's agricultural exports in 2017 was driven by President Donald Trump's threats to impose tariffs on U.S. trading partners.

The Nebraska Farm Bureau report attributes the drop to decreases in soybean and corn exports, while beef and pork exports both increased in 2017.

The findings come as Trump imposed his latest tariff hike on Chinese goods Friday. 

A bill to legalize marijuana for medicinal purposes in Nebraska has advanced out of a legislative committee.  It will now go to the full Unicameral for debate.

Activists are working to put a separate legalization measure on the 2020 ballot with far fewer restrictions. 

It would legalize smokable marijuana and allow individuals to grow an "adequate" supply of the drug.

Two South Dakota men have been sentenced to more than seven years in federal prison for trafficking fentanyl from Minnesota.

37-year-old Dean Bourn, of Vermillion and 28-year-old Stuart Siecke, of Worthing, pleaded guilty to drug conspiracy in February.

A man accused of killing an Iowa State University golfer last year was attacked by another inmate.

Anthony English is accused of punching Collin Richards 20 times on April 23rdat the Story County jail.

Both are in jail on murder charges.

A judge says jurors will decide whether former Gov. Terry Branstad singled out a former state official for a pay cut because of his political party or sexual orientation.

The judge rejected the state's request to dismiss a long-running lawsuit filed by former Workers' Compensation Commissioner Chris Godfrey.  The ruling sets up a trial in Polk County, which is scheduled for June 3.

Branstad slashed Godfrey's pay by 35 percent after the commissioner refused the governor's request to resign in 2011. Godfrey had been confirmed to a six-year term by the Iowa Senate.

Branstad says he wanted to appoint a more "pro-business" commissioner than Godfrey, who had been appointed and reappointed by prior Democratic governors. Godfrey argues that the pay cut and other retaliation was improperly motivated by his status as an openly gay man and Democrat.

Iowans can soon purchase new blackout license plates.

More than 800 Iowans have purchased the specialty license plate for the Dordt College Defenders. It has a black background. The letters and numbers are white. 

According to Radio, Iowa lawmakers tucked language creating a new “blackout” license plate without the reference to Dordt College in a bill approved this week by the governor.

The Iowa Department of Transportation plans to start taking orders for the plates on July 1.