Saturday Afternoon News, April 6
Lawmakers Visit About Legislative Issues
(Le Mars) -- State Representative Chuck Soderberg along with State Senator Bill Anderson were in Le Mars Saturday morning holding a legislative forum. A group of nearly 20 people from various businesses consisting of educational, utility, agriculture, mental health, and even seniors had attended the forum. Soderberg told the group how the State House of Representatives are becoming more frustrated with the State Senate's inability to deliver budget bills. Soderberg, who chairs the House Appropriations committee says while the House has sent six budget bills to the Senate, the Senate has sent over to the other chamber only one budget bill.
The General Session is scheduled to end on May 3rd, however, both lawmakers are uncertain as to whether the legislature can complete its work on time.
(Le Mars) -- The State Senate has before them the task of confirming the various nominees for commissions and state boards prior to April 15th. Governor Branstad's nominees for the Board of Regents and the State Utility Board have come under great scrutiny within the Senate committees. State Senator Bill Anderson says he intends to support Governor Branstad's nominees for the Board of Regents, both Craig Lang and Robert Cramer and says it is a matter of Democrats wanting to play politics.
Mathis Says She Will Not Seek Congressional Seat
DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - Democratic state Sen. Liz Mathis says she will not seek the Iowa congressional seat being vacated by U.S. Rep. Bruce Braley.
Mathis, of Robins, told The Associated Press she seriously considered a bid for Iowa's 1st Congressional District but decided to announce Saturday she would focus on her state Senate work and her family.
Mathis was elected to the Senate in a 2011 special election, then won a full term in 2012. She represents the 34th District in Linn County.
Braley, a Democrat, is seeking the Senate seat held for five terms by Tom Harkin.
The 1st District includes 20 Iowa counties.
Democratic state Rep. Pat Murphy of Dubuque has announced he will run. Cedar Rapids businessman Steve Rathje and Dubuque businessman Rod Blum say they'll seek the Republican nomination.
Public Safety Director Speaks About Criticism
DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - Iowa's new public safety department director has literally worn many law enforcement hats in his career.
The state Senate confirmed 59-year-old K. Brian London this week as head of the agency, about six months after he began working following his appointment by Gov. Terry Branstad.
London has more than 30 years of experience in law enforcement, including stints with agencies ranging from the CIA and Secret Service to the California Highway Patrol.
London has made some changes in the department that have drawn criticism, but he tells The Associated Press, "Give me a shot. I think you'll be pleasantly surprised."
State Supreme Court Denies Appeal
WASHINGTON, Iowa (AP) - The Iowa Supreme Court has denied the appeal of an eastern Iowa man who smothered his wife in 2010 during an argument.
The state's high court on Friday rejected James Blum's argument that the Iowa Court of Appeals
should have found that his trial lawyer was ineffective.
The Iowa Court of Appeal upheld Blum's second-degree murder conviction earlier this year.
Blum told police that he held Patricia Blum's face down against a cushion until she died and should've let her up but didn't because he was so angry. Police say he attacked his wife after she
told him she backed a car into their garage door.
Blum is serving a 50-year prison term. He's now 73.
Students Drive Tractors To School
VAN HORNE, Iowa (AP) - The parking lot at eastern Iowa's Benton Community High School looked a little crowded this week.
Cedar Rapids television station KCRG-TV reports that Friday was the Van Horne school's
annual "Bring Your Tractor to School" day.
Future Farmers of America organizes the event every year.
Student Connor Selken drove his great-grandfather's 1951 Ford tractor to the school. Adam Gorkow drove in a much bigger machine and noted that Iowa is the top corn producer in the country.
Gorkow says that without the tractors, that wouldn't be possible.