Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds (R)

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Iowa Senator Chuck Grassley is asking House Democrats to “act quickly” to ratify the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement before the week is out.  Yesterday Grassley told the Senate the agreement would create hundreds of thousands of jobs and help raise wages for Americans.  Grassley says if a deal cannot be reached by the end of this week, he doesn’t see how the USMCA can be ratified this year.

Governor Kim Reynolds says she’s disappointed that a federal judge temporarily blocked a new law critics call “ag-gag two-point-oh”.

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Governor Kim Reynolds is no longer allowing the public to attend her annual budget request meetings with state agency directors.

The hearings had allowed state agency directors to publicly describe the needs of their agencies, and the governor could ask them questions. 

But Reynolds says she finds the private meetings very productive.

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The Sioux City Council will be asked today to approve a consulting services agreement related to the redevelopment of the historic Badgerow Building.

City staff is proposing that the city enter into a contract with Chicago-based Hunden Strategic Partners (HSP) to assist with the process of selecting a developer for the project. According to documents filed with the city, interest in the Badgerow Building from "a variety of developers" continues to grow.

www.denison.k12.ia.us

A school district in Western Iowa has determined a high school teacher who used a racial slur last week had “no malicious intent.”

The Denison Community School District had been investigating teacher Crystal Holt, the wife of a state lawmaker.

The district says it will put together a cultural advisory committee to make sure the learning environment is “free from cultural bias.” Students, teachers, and administrators will be on the committee.

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Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders, Minnesota Senator Amy Klobuchar,  and Colorado Senator Michael Bennet will make appearances in northwest Iowa today and tomorrow. 

Unlike many of the Democratic candidates, Bennet does not oppose a wall on the border with Mexico if it is part of the larger, modern immigration system.  He wrote an immigration bill in 2013 with a similar suggestion. 

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The Iowa Supreme Court says it will take an appeal of an Iowa attorney who challenged a 2017 flight Gov. Kim Reynolds and her family took.  That flight was on a private jet to a football game in Memphis, Tennessee.

Gary Dickey filed a complaint with the Iowa Ethics and Campaign Disclosure Board in September 2018, alleging the $2,880 claimed for four seats on the jet in campaign documents underestimated the flight's value.

The board dismissed his complaint, saying the estimate was reasonable.

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A new committee tasked with making criminal justice reform recommendations to Governor Kim Reynolds met for the first time today.

Iowa criminal justice system leaders and stakeholders heard presentations about trends in Iowa’s prison population and the barriers people face when they leave prison.

Lieutenant Governor Adam Gregg chairs the committee. 

Coming up on The Exchange, we hear from the two candidates for mayor and two candidates for the Sioux City Council, who spoke at a forum last Thursday. 

Also, we get an update on what Iowa Governor plans to do or not do about vaping in the state.  Also, we talk with a physician from the Mayo Clinic about the dangers of vaping.

And we speak with the host of the NPR program, The Hidden Brain,  Shankar Vedantam

The program marries science and storytelling.

A trio of Iowa officials is criticizing the Democratic National Committee for instituting polling and fundraising thresholds to participate in the presidential debates.  They say the thresholds are artificial and they are winnowing the field of candidates and usurping the job of Iowa caucus-goers.

In a conference call with reporters today, Iowa Attorney General Tom Miller and Iowa DNC member Jan Bauer said most Iowans are not tuning in to the Democratic presidential debates and have not yet made up their minds.

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Iowa gamblers are getting the hang of legalized sports betting since it started in mid-August.

Data from the state Racing and Gaming Commission indicates Iowans placed $47.1 million in bets during the first six weeks since the state authorized it. Of that total, $21.6 million in bets were made through casinos and $25.46 million were made online.

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