Tuesday Afternoon News, Feb 12
School Board Disappointed With Legislator's Lack Of Action On Education Funding
(Le Mars) -- The Le Mars School Board also discussed their frustration over the lack of action displayed by the legislature dealing with educational issues. Members of the school board hosted a legislative forum on Saturday, February 2, then last Monday attended a legislative seminar held in Des Moines. Board member Scott Kommes says education was hit hard when the allowable growth rate was greatly reduced in recent years. He believes since the state has a surplus of funds, that money should be directed to education.
Kommes further clarified his position.
School Superintendent, Dr. Todd Wendt reminded the school board that the legislature has placed priority on reducing property taxes and funding education. However, Wendt says if the legislature fails to properly fund the schools, than more than two-thirds of the state's school districts will be forced to increase property tax levies in order to meet the necessary expenditures.
Akron City Council To Decide On Funding Requests
(Akron) -- Akron City Council will meet this evening and will discuss various funding requests. Among those organizations seeking funding from the Local Options Sales Tax include the Akron Opera House, Akron Children's Center and even the Plymouth County Historical Museum. Also on the agenda will be discussion of a summer detour. The Akron City Council will begin its meeting at 7:00 p.m. at city hall.
Grassley Has A "Wish List" For State of the Union Address
(Washington) -- President Barak Obama will deliver the state of the union address this evening, and Gun control and North Korea's nuclear testing are two items sure to be covered but Iowa Republican Senator Chuck Grassley says he'd also like to hear President Obama talk about his plans for the future of Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security.
Grassley says some "presidential leadership" on these issues is very important. "Sequestration" is the term for the upcoming series of budget cuts and Grassley says he'd like to hear President Obama provide more detail on alternatives to those cuts -- which could total one-point-two trillion dollars over a decade.
The first round of budget cuts under sequestration would total about 85-billion dollars over seven months, hitting everything from farm payments to military spending. There are a few other items on Grassley's "wish list" for tonight's big speech.
The president will address the joint session of Congress at 8 PM Central time. Grassley says he'll be there in person.
State Senators Consider Banning Smoking At Casinos
DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - State senators will discuss legislation that would ban smoking in Iowa casinos.
A Senate subcommittee was scheduled to discuss the proposal Tuesday. Casinos were exempted from Iowa's Smokefree Air Act when it passed in 2008.
Democratic Sen. Jack Hatch, who has supported efforts to expand the ban, says it would be a public health benefit. But he questioned whether the bill would have much support in the
Sen. Jeff Danielson heads the panel considering the proposal. The Democrat says he'd like to see updated information on how a smoking ban would affect revenues that come to the state.
Danielson hasn't taken a position on the bill. He says the information provided in 2008 was that a smoking ban would hurt casino income.
Grants Available For Smoke Detectors
ANKENY, Iowa (AP) - The state fire marshal plans to join with firefighters from around Iowa to announce two grants totaling nearly $300,000 that will fund the purchase and installation of
State Fire Marshal Ray Reynolds will announce the $245,000 federal smoke alarm grant and a $50,000 grant from State Farm Insurance.
Reynolds says it's his goal that every Iowa child grow up in a home with a smoke alarm.
The announcement will be Tuesday morning at a Casey's General Stores warehouse in Ankeny. The business has helped the effort by letting officials make use of its statewide distribution network to
deliver smoke alarms to firefighters across the state.
The grants ultimately will pay for more than 11,600 smoke alarms in 2013.
Universities To Discuss Budgets and Tuitions With Legislators
DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - Leaders of Iowa's public universities are expected to discuss budget and tuition plans with lawmakers.
Iowa Board of Regents President Craig Lang and President Pro Tem Bruce Rastetter will testify Tuesday to the Legislature's education appropriations subcommittee. They'll be followed by University of Iowa President Sally Mason, Iowa State University President Steven Leath and outgoing University of Northern Iowa President Ben Allen.
Higher education leaders are generally pleased with Gov. Terry Branstad's budget proposal, which would give them enough funding to freeze tuition next year for undergraduate students.
But Lang and Rastetter are expected to lobby for additional money for a new state-funded financial aid program. They hope the program will allow universities to stop using tuition revenue to
fund grants and scholarships, which would allow regents to reduce rates.
Father of Missing Cousin Sent To Jail
WATERLOO, Iowa (AP) - The father of one of two slain Iowa cousins has been jailed for violating the terms of his release while awaiting trial on drug and domestic assault charges.
Police on Monday arrested 36-year-old Daniel Morrissey. He's the father of 10-year-old Lyric Cook, who disappeared with her younger cousin in July. Their bodies were found in December.
A Department of Correctional Services report alleges Morrissey "should be considered a danger to the community and himself" because he tested positive for meth and marijuana last week - while
already facing charges of manufacturing and delivering meth.
The report says Morrissey missed some treatment sessions and sometimes failed to check in with his probation officer.
Morrissey's in the Black Hawk County jail on a $365,000 bond.