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Newscast 04.01.22: New Nebraska Congressman to be Elected the Same Day Republican Jeff Fortenberry is Sentenced for Lying to Federal Officials; IA Supreme Court Delivers Verdict in LGBTQ Rights Case

women's prison
State of Iowa Department of Corrections
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Iowa Correctional Institution for Women

304 040122

The Iowa Supreme Court has upheld much of a 2019 jury verdict that found the state discriminated against a transgender prison employee. The decision recognized gender identity discrimination for transgender workers under state civil rights law and experts say this is a significant LGBTQ victory.

In the case, the state denied Jesse Vreogh the use of men’s restrooms and locker rooms. Vroegh is a former nurse at the state’s Mitchellville prison for women.

However, the court dismissed a portion of the case that centered on sex discrimination. The decision means Vroegh has won his discrimination lawsuit based on gender identity and the jury’s $120,000 damages verdict awarded for emotional distress.

Nebraska voters will elect a new member of Congress on the same day a judge in California is scheduled to sentence the Republican who resigned from the position. Former Rep. Jeff Fortenberry resigned days after his conviction for lying to federal authorities about an illegal campaign donation.

Gov. Pete Ricketts said today winner of the special election on June 28 to serve out the rest of Fortenberry’s term.

On that same day, a federal judge in Los Angeles is scheduled to sentence Fortenberry, who was convicted on March 24 of concealing information and two counts of making false statements to authorities. Each count carries a potential five-year prison sentence and fines.

South Dakota Democrats have failed to produce a candidate for the state’s U.S. House seat for the second consecutive election cycle. Rep. Dusty Johnson, however, will face a Republican primary challenger. The winner of the contest between Johnson and state Rep. Taffy Howard will likely represent South Dakota in the U.S. House. Although independents could still enter the general election race at a later date.

The U.S.D.A. estimates American farmers will plant more soybeans and less corn this year compared to last year.

The USDA estimates Iowa farmers will plant at least 200,000 fewer acres with corn this year compared to 2021. Meanwhile, the agency predicts a four percent increase nationwide in the number of acres planted with soybeans. The estimate is impacting prices and planting decisions, too.

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