Thursday Afternoon News, May 16
Le Mars Community School Board Discuss Affordable Health Care Plan
(Le Mars) -- The Affordable Health Care Program officially begins next year, but small businesses and others are already talking about how it will affect their employees, and the offered insurance benefits. At the Le Mars Community Board of Education meeting this week, Dr. Todd Wendt, superintendent of schools, informed the school board of the possible consequences the health care program may have upon the school district.
Wendt says the Affordable Health Care Act provides employers to either stipulate part-time employees at 30 hours a week, or at 130 hours per month. Any amount of hours over the time allotment would require employers to provide health care insurance benefits. School officials were hoping they could keep the part-time employees at their current status without having to cut employee hours. Wendt informed the board the school will use the 130 hours per month provision, and will closely monitor the hours of its part-time employees.
Wendt says school officials looked back at the present and past school years, and calculated the hours of part-time employees, and determined the school district will be able to comply with the Affordable Health Care provisions without having to cut hours from part-time staff.
Wendt recommended the school board move six employees that were previously listed as part-time employees, now to become full-time employees with 40 hours per week.
Le Mars Rotary To Host Bicycle Safety Fair
(Le Mars) -- The Le Mars Rotary Club along with Bike Central and the Le Mars Police Department are sponsoring a community-wide bicycle safety fair scheduled for May 22nd at the O'Toole Park in Le Mars. The event will be from 5:00 to 7:00 p.m. The Bicycle safety fair will include free bicycle safety information and safety demonstrations for cyclists of all ages. Free bicycle safety inspections will also be provided. Although everyone with a bicycle is encouraged to attend, special emphasis will be directed toward elementary-age children to help them have a safe summer of bicycling. Free safety reflectors will be given to all attendees, as well as ice cream novelties and treats courtesy of Well's Blue Bunny.
Legislature Close To A Deal On Property Tax Reform
DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - Iowa legislative leaders say they are close to a deal to reduce commercial property taxes in the state.
Republican House Speaker Kraig Paulsen and Democratic Senate Majority Leader Mike Gronstal say Thursday the plan will include provisions sought by both chambers. They say the draft plan will be
out later in the day.
Gronstal says they have tentative agreement on "key points." Republicans have sought an overall reduction to taxable assessments for commercial properties, while Democrats want tax credits focused
on smaller businesses.
Just when the 2013 session will conclude is not clear. Lawmakers are still trying to work out a deal on education policy. And discussions continue about whether to delay talks about proposals
to expand Medicaid or approve an alternate health plan.
Branstad Proposes An Increase In Salary For Future Governors
DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - Gov. Terry Branstad is proposing increasing salaries for future Iowa elected officials, but the bill appears unlikely to get support in the Legislature.
Branstad's measure was sent Wednesday to the state House and Senate. It includes provisions to raise pay for future elected officials, as well as funding for raises for union-represented
Under the plan, the next governor's salary would rise from the current $130,000 to $141,710.
Iowa Democratic Party Chairman Tyler Olson, a state representative from Cedar Rapids, criticized the proposal, saying the governor is "out of touch."
Branstad spokesman Tim Albrecht says Thursday the salary boost would apply to the winner of the 2014 governor's race. He notes that Branstad hasn't announced whether he'll seek re-election.
Legislative leaders say the bill is unlikely to advance.
Light Fixture Falls And Injures Students
ATLANTIC, Iowa (AP) - Three middle school students in Atlantic were injured when a light fixture fell in a recently renovated classroom.
The students at Atlantic Middle School were hurt when the fixture fell Wednesday
School principal Cam Smith says two students suffered scratches and one received a bump to the head. They were all treated by the school nurse, and one of the students was later taken to Cass
County Memorial Hospital in Atlantic for an examination and treatment.
Students were moved out of that classroom and two others with similar light fixtures.
A contractor determined the fixtures weren't properly installed. They were fixed Wednesday.
Land Fill Fire May Force Legal Action
IOWA CITY, Iowa (AP) - Iowa City officials say an insurance claim over a landfill fire last year remains in dispute and may force legal action.
The city's insurance company claims the landfill cell that burned for 15 days last May was not listed on the policy's municipal assets.
City Manager Tom Markus says the dispute may end in litigation. Melissa Miller, a revenue and risk manager for the city, also says the case may end in litigation if the coverage issue isn't
The city's policy with The Travelers Companies lists sheds and buildings at the Iowa City Landfill, but not the cells. The fire caused an estimated $3.5 million in damage.
A spokesman for The Travelers Companies says the company doesn't discuss insurance claims for privacy reasons.