Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds (R)

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Gov. Kim Reynolds says today she is ok with a state board's recommendation to change the level potency of legally available medical marijuana products. Some lawmakers wanted to allow higher amounts of THC. THC is the chemical that makes recreational marijuana users high.

Lawmakers have been searching for a bill that would meet Reynolds' approval after she vetoed a proposal last year that would have expanded the state's medical-marijuana program. 

 

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A House panel has tabled a bill that would ban Iowa health care providers from trying to change a child’s sexual orientation or gender identity. 

Committee Chair Bobby Kaufmann, a Republican, says he wants to keep working on legislation to ban conversion therapy for LGBTQ children. 

The Iowa Court of Appeals has rejected two cases challenging a law that restructured the state judicial nominating commission. 

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Today, Gov. Reynolds announced the appointment of Scott Marler to serve as Director at the Iowa Department of Transportation (IDOT). His appointment is effective today.

Marler says he is looking forward to serving the citizens of Iowa.

Interim Director Stuart Anderson will return to his role as Director of the Planning, Programming, & Modal Division.   

In December, Governor Reynolds asked the current DOT director Mark Lowe to resign. Reynolds said she “decided to seek a change in leadership.

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Doug Fisher has been named as the new general manager of the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Sioux City less than a week after the resignation of their previous general manager. Fisher is replacing former GM Jim Franke, who announced his decision to step down last week for personal reasons. Franke had held the position for less than two years.  He will take over on Feb. 24.

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The chairman of the Democratic National Committee is calling for a “recanvass” of the results of Monday's Iowa caucus. 

Technical problems and delays have marred the first contest on the 2020 election calendar. The current results show Pete Buttigieg and Bernie Sanders nearly tied with almost all the votes counted. 

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The chairman of the Democratic National Committee is calling for a “recanvass” of the results of Monday's Iowa caucus. 

Technical problems and delays have marred the first contest on the 2020 election calendar. The current results show Pete Buttigieg and Bernie Sanders nearly tied with almost all the votes counted. 

This week on The Exchange, we hear from Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds, Nebraska Governor Pete Rickets and South Dakota Governor Kristi Noem as they deliver their legislative agendas for 2020 sessions.  Each of the Republican governors focused on a need to bolster the economic conditions of their state.

In the run-up to the February 3rd caucuses, we talk with a student from Northwestern College in Orange City, who is holding a mock caucus to educate those who have never taken part in Iowa's presidential nominating process.  

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President Donald Trump signed the first phase of a new trade deal with China this morning.

Part of the agreement includes China buying more soybeans and other U.S. farm products.

Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds and South Dakota Governor Kristi Noem were by Trump’s side in Washington, D.C.

Noem mentioned the potential positive impact for farmers during her “State of the State” speech yesterday in Pierre.

“I have a deep appreciation for the President for his commitment and leadership to mend this U.S. China Trade Agreement.”

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Republican Governor Kim Reynolds is proposing raising the state sales tax and cutting income taxes as one of her legislative priorities for 2020. 

Reynolds announced the plan today in her condition of the state address

 “These investments will not only aid our conservation efforts, they will improve our quality of life and help us retain and recruit a new generation of Iowans.” 

  

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In her condition of the State address this morning, Iowa Gov Kim Reynolds is asking lawmakers to consider increasing the state sales tax by 1 cent to fund increased spending on water quality, the environment, and mental health care programs. 

To offset the tax increase she's proposing an income tax cut of 10% and a property tax cut. 

She would also like to raise the limit for the childcare tax credit from 45 thousand to 90 thousand dollars, and she will ask for unique childcare ideas.

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Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds delivered her condition of the state address this morning at the Iowa State House. Reynolds unveiled the “Invest in Iowa Act”.  The move would increase the sales tax by one percent and lower others.

“I’m proposing to cut income tax by an additional 10 percent for almost every Iowan, with lower-income Iowans receiving as much as a 25 percent cut.” 

Reynolds also proposes reducing county property taxes.  The state would help pick up the cost of mental health services. 

Iowa PBS

Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds delivered her Condition of the State Address this morning.

She plans to make the next decade Iowa’s best with what she calls bold and visionary initiatives.

She unveilved the “Invest in Iowa Act”.

The move would increase sales tax by one percent and lower others.

“I’m proposing to cut income tax by an additional 10 percent for almost every Iowan, with lower-income Iowans receiving as much as a 25 percent cut.”

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Democrat Cory Booker today has dropped out of the presidential race after failing to qualify for the December primary debate.  The U.S. senator from New Jersey had struggled in polling and fundraising since launching his bid last February. Booker was unable to hit 5% support in a single qualifying poll required to make it on the January debate stage. 

The Iowa Senate and House of Representatives gaveled in this morning.  Republican Pat Grassley of New Hartford is the new speaker of the house.

Tomorrow,  Republican Governor Kim Reynolds will deliver her third condition of the state address.

She’ll set out her agenda for the year and unveil her budget proposal. They’re expected to include workforce and rural Iowa initiatives, and restoring felon voting rights.

Listen for live coverage on Siouxland Public Media starting at 10 a.m.

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A significant winter snowstorm is expected to affect this evening’s commute across much of Iowa. National Weather Service meteorologist Alan Curtis says the system will work its way from the southwest to the northeast.

Through areas like Atlantic, Des Moines, the southern Ames metro then off towards Marshalltown and Waterloo. This evening those areas could end up seeing about two to five or three to six inches in some cases.”

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The Sioux City Council will be asked today to approve a pre-construction agreement with the Iowa Department of Transportation for the reconfiguration of Iowa 12/Riverside Boulevard to a three-lane roadway, according to the Sioux City Journal.

The project would reconfigure Iowa 12/Riverside Boulevard from four lanes to three on Iowa 12 from War Eagle Drive to Military Road.  

Iowa is the only state that still bans all people with felony convictions from voting unless they appeal to the governor.

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The director of the Iowa Department of Transportation is resigning at the request of the governor.

A statement from Governor Kim Reynolds’ office says she, quote, “has decided to seek a change in leadership as she continues to build her administration.”

Reynolds appointed Mark Lowe to the top transportation job in 2017 when she became governor. Lowe worked for the D-O-T for nearly a decade before that.

Lowe’s resignation letter doesn’t provide any details about why the governor asked him to leave. His resignation is effective January tenth.

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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.

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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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A powerful winterlike storm moving through the Great Plains was closing schools and causing travel headaches in several states, authorities said today. However, in Siouxland, we should see temperatures in the 30s overnight with some drizzle.

Winter storm warnings and watches stretched from Wyoming and Montana through western Nebraska and into the Dakotas and Minnesota. Forecasters said the storm packs strong winds and double-digit snowfall totals, along with blizzardlike conditions through tomorrow.

Coming up this week on The Exchange,

We hear from Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds who was in Siouxland yesterday to open a new fiber-optic network center downtown. She also met up with teachers and students in a Western Iowa Tech program that teaches students how to build homes.   It’s part of the Future Ready Iowa Initiative.

A report on the needs of the nurses at Mercy One, who are involved in a contract dispute with their employer.   

We talk with a Siouxland native who has created an app to help farmers monitor the health of their pigs.

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Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds said recent reports of respiratory illnesses caused by e-cigarettes are alarming, and she said the state is looking at what it can do in response.

Taking questions from reporters at a news conference on Wednesday, Reynolds said she's working with the Iowa Department of Public Health to continue collecting data on the illnesses.

Twenty-three cases (and no deaths) of respiratory illness linked to vaping have been reported in Iowa. 

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