Nebraska Legislature

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The Iowa House of Representatives has officially elected Republican Pat Grassley as the new speaker of the House. The chamber voted today (Monday), the first day of the 2020 legislative session.

Grassley is a 36-year-old farmer from New Hartford and the grandson of U-S Senator Chuck Grassley.

Speaker Grassley says his time as chair of a powerful budget-writing committee showed him the importance of building consensus among House Republicans.

Nebraska’s Lt. Governor Mike Foley presides over the convening of the 106th Legislature today in Lincoln.

Senators face a time crunch with a short, 60-day session.  They plan to pass major property tax legislation and flood-relief measures and more.

The Woodbury County Board of Supervisors plan to give weekly updates about the proposed new jail project.  A vote on the $49 million dollar project is expected to come in March.

New trade deal for North America has passed another hurdle on its way toward approval in the United States.

The U.S. Mexico Canada Agreement passed out of the Senate finance committee today.

The USMCA will replace the 25-year-old North American Free Trade Agreement.

Two Republicans and one Democrat voted against the agreement. It still needs a vote from the full senate and Canadian approval.

Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds says all pending voting rights applications from people with felony records will be reviewed before the Iowa Caucuses on February third. 

The Sioux City council will look at potentially throwing out the community’s pit bull ban.

It was passed 11-years-ago.

However, the city attorney says the ban doesn’t legally hold up and doesn’t comply with Fair Housing Regulations or the Americans with Disabilities act.

Omaha's mayor says she supports a proposal to expand a tobacco tax to including vaping.

The change would spur an estimated $1 million increase in the tobacco tax, which now raises about $3.5 million annually.

Vaping retailers say they will fight the proposal.

PM Newscast 6.21.19

Jun 21, 2019

The first official summer weekend will be a soggy one for most of Iowa.

Potential heavy rain will be mixed with severe weather over the next few days.

In Siouxland, scattered thunderstorms are possible tonight with hail and winds up to 40 miles per hour.

The National Weather Service says the most severe weather could strike parts of southern Iowa.

Three years after South Dakota lawmakers changed the state's education funding formula to boost teacher pay,  school leaderes say the new system isn't delivering as promised.

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Flood concerns in Siouxland are fading.  After cresting at 30.32 feet early Saturday morning, the Missouri River had fallen more than half a foot as of Sunday afternoon and is expected to continue dropping over the next few days.

Data accumulated by the National Weather Service station in Sioux Falls shows the Missouri River had been at flood stage – 30 feet in depth – since around 8 a.m. Friday. The river dropped below flood stage early Sunday morning around 6.

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The Iowa Supreme Court has affirmed a state regulator’s 2016 decision to allow the Dakota Access Pipeline to be built diagonally across the state. ‘Court also upheld the use of eminent domain to make way for the pipeline against the objections of landowners. 

Landowners and the Sierra Club sued the pipeline and the Iowa Utilities Board because they said the pipeline doesn’t meet the legal standard of “public convenience and necessity” and presents serious environmental risks. 

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Abortion rights supporters rallied at the Iowa Capitol today (Tuesday) as part of a nationwide protest against new abortion restrictions in other states. 

Iowa abortion rights advocates say new abortion laws in states like Alabama and Kentucky are an attack on everyone in the United States who can get pregnant.

Sarena Ramirez of Des Moines agrees. 

0521ramirez: 10  “All women are threatened by that. In other countries, they have these laws, and women die because they can’t do what is right for their health care.”

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 A monthly survey of rural bankers in parts of 10 Plains and Western states shows they're rapidly losing confidence in the region's farm economy.

The Rural Mainstreet survey for May, released Thursday, shows the survey's overall index dropping from 50 in April to 48.5 this month. Any score above 50 suggests a growing economy, while a score below 50 indicates a shrinking economy.

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Iowa’s senior senator says he’s disappointed with the escalating trade tensions between the U.S. and China. Republican Chuck Grassley stands by the president’s efforts pressuring China to align its trade practices with global expectations on intellectual property and other issues. But he says increasing tariffs on soybeans and other agricultural products hits farmers hard.