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Saturday News - April 23rd

Sioux County Installs Surveillance Cameras

(Orange City, IA)- Sioux County recently completed the installation of surveillance cameras in both the Treasurer’s Building and the County Courthouse, which are both located in Orange City.
There are 17 cameras placed in the Courthouse and two in the Treasurer’s Office. The total cost of the project was $35,000. Signs have been posted at both County buildings to increase awareness of the presence of the monitoring system. The cameras are monitored 24/7 by the Sioux County Communications Center. The cameras are part of a continuing initiative by the Sioux County Safety Committee to increase security in County facilities.

 

 

 

 

Iowa Legislators Still Apart On Issues

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - Lawmakers in the split Iowa Legislature haven't reached agreement on several issues needed for adjournment this session, and it means they'll be back next week.
The Republican-majority House and Democratic-controlled Senate have made advancements on several bills that will make up the nearly $7.35 billion budget for the fiscal year that begins in July. But many bills remain unfinished as each side adds funding and projects to the pieces of legislation.
At least some bills are expected to be sorted out in special legislative committees that only form when there's no consensus. Legislative leaders say they'll return Monday and Tuesday for more negotiations.

 

 

 

Senate Votes To Keep Planned Parenthood Funded

(Des Moines, IA) - All but one Democrat in the Iowa Senate have voted to block a bid by Republican legislators to "defund" Planned Parenthood. Under current law,  Medicaid patients in Iowa can go to Planned Parenthood for contraceptives or reproductive health exams. Earlier this week House Republicans voted to ban all state tax dollars from being spent at Planned Parenthood, proposing instead that Medicaid patients go to more than 200 "federally-qualified health care providers for family planning services.

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That's Republican Senator Amy Sinclair of Allerton, an advocate of the House G-O-P's plan. No state tax dollars are being spent on abortion services at Planned Parenthood, but Republican Senator Ken Rozenboom (ROH-zen-boom) of Oskaloosa says many Iowans "strenuously object" to sending ANY tax dollars to the organization.

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Rozenboom says. Senator Amanda Ragan (RAY-gun), a Democrat from Mason City, spoke out against the G-O-P effort to "defund" Planned Parenthood.

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Ragan says. Ragan acknowledged the "passion" this debate has generated.

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At the conclusion of debate, 25 Democratic senators voted to stick with the status quo and allow state funding of NON-abortion services at Planned Parenthood.  All 24 Republicans, plus Democratic Senator Joe Seng (sing) of Davenport voted to bar all tax dollars from going to Planned Parenthood. That means the House G-O-P plan failed on a tie vote today (Friday) in the Senate. Planned Parenthood officials say about 30-thousand Iowa Medicaid patients get NON-abortion services at Planned Parenthood each year. The State of Iowa pays 10 percent of those bills. The federal government covers the rest.

 

 

 

 

Iowa and Minnesota Working Together On Medical Marijuana Issues

ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) - Officials in Iowa and Minnesota are exploring a system to allow Iowa residents to buy medical marijuana from their northern neighbor, lawmakers from both states have told The Associated Press. 
Iowa's Legislature has struggled this year to expand a 2014 law that legalized marijuana oils for patients suffering seizures but left them nowhere to buy it. Iowa House Speaker Linda Upmeyer said Friday an agreement with Minnesota is one option they're now considering.
Minnesota's program launched last summer. The novel setup could bring more patients to the two companies in Minnesota that are struggling with low enrollment.
But it would also raise some federal concerns. And it could pit Iowa residents with long drives to the closest dispensary in Rochester, Minnesota - three hours northeast of Des Moines.

 

 

 

Mall Shooters Trial Nearing Completion

NEVADA, Iowa (AP) - Prosecution and defense lawyers have finished presenting witness testimony in the trial of a man charged with killing a woman at a Coralville mall.
State and defense lawyers concluded testimony Friday in the first-degree murder trial of Alexander Kozak, who is charged in the shooting death of Andrea Farrington at the Coral Ridge Mall on June 12.
Lawyers will make their closing arguments Monday, and the jury will begin deliberations.
Prosecutors say Farrington was shot three times while working in the mall. Police say Kozak told officers he "snapped" after getting a text from Farrington saying she was breaking off their relationship.
The trial was moved to Story County because of media attention. If convicted, Kozak faces a mandatory life in prison sentence.

 

Supreme Court Gives Victory To Iowa Department of Human Services

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - The Iowa Supreme Court has handed a victory to the Iowa Department of Human Services in a dispute over cuts in payments made to a group of Medicaid service providers in 2011.
The dispute occurred after then-Gov. Chet Culver ordered 10 percent budget cuts for state agencies in 2009 and the Legislature passed a bill in 2010 continuing those cuts into the 2011 state fiscal year. The DHS, however, neglected to carry over a portion of those cuts - a 2.5 percent inflation adjustment - into its administrative rules which set service provider payments.
Service providers sued, claiming the administrative rules govern rates, and the Iowa Court of Appeals agreed.
The Supreme Court on Friday, however, said statutes enacted by the Legislature prevail over administrative rules when there are conflicts.

 

 

University of Northern Iowa president Bill Ruud says the effort to push up enrollment on the Cedar Falls campus continues to see positive results.


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Ruud says enrollment has increased for the freshman class by 16 percent in four years.


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He says to see such success in growth is phenomenal.


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Ruud made his comments at the Board of Regents meeting Thursday.



 

 

 

 


 

 

   

Friday Afternoon News, April 22

Legislature Appropriates Money For Capitol Dome Restoration

(Des Moines) -- The renovation of state-owned buildings and facilities was discussed at length by the Iowa legislature, but unfortunately, many of those buildings that need improvements may have to wait another year before any construction work can begin.   State Representative Chuck Holz says many legislators realize the need to renovate the State's Historical Museum, Wallace Office Building, and the Iowa Law Enforcement Academy, but he says there simply isn't enough money in the budget. One building that will get a make-over is the state capitol building, specifically the iconic gold dome.  Holz says restoration efforts will begin shortly on the capitol dome.

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Holz says the funding to repair and renovate the state buildings comes from the RIF account.

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The Le Mars lawmaker says part of the problem is the state is still financing a bond issue from the Governor Culver administration.

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Senate Rejects House Plan To Ban Funding For Planned Parenthood

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - The Democratic-majority Senate has stripped away language in a budget bill passed by the Republican-controlled House that would remove state funding for Planned Parenthood.
The Senate voted 27-23 Friday for a roughly $1.8 billion health and human services bill that would remove language to cut Medicaid funding for family planning facilities that provide abortions. Medicaid provides health services for about 560,000 poor and disabled residents.
Democrats say the proposal would make Iowa ineligible for federal dollars. Republicans say they don't want to support abortion providers and there are other options available.
The Senate would also add more state oversight of Medicaid, which switched recently to private management. Democrats say an oversight plan by the House isn't enough.
A special legislative committee is expected to sort out differences in the bill.

 

 

 

 

Iowa And Minnesota Look To Help Each Other On Medical Marijuana Issue

ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) - Officials in Iowa and Minnesota are exploring a system to allow Iowa residents to buy medical marijuana from their northern neighbor, lawmakers from both states have told The Associated Press. 
Iowa's Legislature has struggled this year to expand a 2014 law that legalized marijuana oils for patients suffering seizures but left them nowhere to buy it. Iowa House Speaker Linda Upmeyer said Friday an agreement with Minnesota is one option they're now considering.
Minnesota's program launched last summer. The novel setup could bring more patients to the two companies in Minnesota that are struggling with low enrollment.
But it would also raise some federal concerns. And it could pit Iowa residents with long drives to the closest dispensary in Rochester, Minnesota - three hours northeast of Des Moines.

 

 

 

 

Supreme Court Awards Decision In Favor Of Iowa Department Of Human Services

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - The Iowa Supreme Court has handed a victory to the Iowa Department of Human Services in a dispute over cuts in payments made to a group of Medicaid service providers in 2011.
The dispute occurred after then-Gov. Chet Culver ordered 10 percent budget cuts for state agencies in 2009 and the Legislature passed a bill in 2010 continuing those cuts into the 2011 state fiscal year. The DHS, however, neglected to carry over a portion of those cuts - a 2.5 percent inflation adjustment - into its administrative rules which set service provider payments.
Service providers sued claiming the administrative rules govern rates and the Iowa Court of Appeals agreed.
The Supreme Court on Friday, however, said statutes enacted by the Legislature prevail over administrative rules when there are conflicts.

 

 

 

 

Grassley Admits To Having A Tough Re-election Race

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - Sen. Charles Grassley acknowledges he's facing his toughest re-election race in decades.
The Republican seeking a seventh Senate term says more than his Democratic opposition, he thinks the presidential race could present challenges.
Grassley, back in Iowa Friday to meet with civic groups, schools and businesses, says he doesn't know how his support will be affected if billionaire businessman Donald Trump is the Republican nominee.
He equates the race to 1980 when many assumed Ronald Reagan would hurt down-ticket Republicans. It didn't turn out that way. Grassley says he received 100,000 more votes than Reagan in Iowa.
Grassley hasn't lost a general election in 50 years and typically wins with more than 60 percent of the vote.
Democrats running include former Lt. Gov. Patty Judge and state Sen. Rob Hogg.

 

 

 

 

 


 

 


 

 


   

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