Home News Monday Afternoon News, May 15th

Monday Afternoon News, May 15th


Lt. Governor Reynolds Says Her Transition Team Is Ready

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) – Iowa Lt. Gov. Kim Reynolds says she’s decided whether she will appoint a lieutenant governor when she replaces Gov. Terry Branstad, but she won’t disclose those details yet.
Reynolds told reporters Monday her transition team has a plan in place, but the public will need to wait until Branstad is confirmed as U.S. ambassador to China and resigns as governor.
Democratic Iowa Attorney General Tom Miller recently released an opinion that Reynolds will have the title and powers of governor, but not the authority to choose a new lieutenant governor. He cited wording in the Iowa Constitution and historical precedent.
Reynolds, Branstad and other top Republicans have criticized Miller’s opinion, with many calling it a political move.
If Reynolds appoints a No. 2, she could face a legal challenge.



Branstad Pleased With Achievements

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) – As Iowa Gov. Terry Branstad prepares to step down from office, he’s highlighted his administration’s successes in recent years.
That includes a low unemployment rate, multi-billion dollar private-sector investments and a slate of workforce initiatives. The results are more mixed when considering four goals he promised when returning to office in 2011. Data shows many remain unfinished as he heads out.
The objectives by 2016 were 200,000 new jobs, a 15 percent reduction in the cost of government, 25 percent increase in family incomes and having the nation’s best schools.
Ben Hammes, a spokesman for Branstad, says the governor would argue “substantial” progress has been made in all areas.
Branstad is expected to resign soon to become ambassador to China. A Senate vote could happen as early as this week.


Additional Funding Is Needed For Schools Teaching English As A Second Language

STORM LAKE, Iowa (AP) – Iowa school districts are struggling to meet the need for more English language teachers amid growing demand from students and stagnant state funding.
The Des Moines Register (http://dmreg.co/2pOJsvO ) reports that enrollment in English language learner programs has grown five times in the last 25 years to more than 27,200 students in 2016. Forty-one percent of students in Storm Lake are still learning English.
State funding for ELL programs and services has nearly doubled over the last 10 years from $25.9 million in 2006 to $55.4 million in 2016. Still, Iowa educators say school districts need more state funding to cover additional years of ELL classes for students who have difficulty picking up English.
Recent efforts to continue increasing state funding haven’t gained traction, including legislation introduced this session that would’ve boosted per-student state funding from five to seven years.



Northey Comments On Possible USDA Position

(Des Moines) — Iowa Agriculture Secretary Bill Northey this morning told Iowa reporters there’s no formal signal from the Trump Administration that he’s been chosen to serve as
an “undersecretary” in the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

Speculation ramped up over the weekend after D.C.-based “AgriPulse” reported Northey was in line to be the U.S.D.A.’s Undersecretary of Farm Production and Conservation. Northey would have to be confirmed by the U.S. Senate if he’s nominated to that job. Northey posted a note on his Facebook page Saturday, saying doesn’t want to be “overly presumptive” about landing a leadership role in the U.S.D.A. Northey also said
be loved his current job.

Northey, though, has had “several conversations” with newly-confirmed U.S. Ag Secretary Sonny Perdue, including a face-to-face when Perdue was in Iowa last week.

Northey says it would be an “amazing experience” to be part of the U.S.D.A.

Northey suggests that by learning about the inner workings of the U-S-D-A, he could return to Iowa and advise ag groups about how best to influence federal policymakers. Northey, who is 57 years old, is serving in his third term as state ag secretary. He runs his family farm near Spirit Lake, where corn has
been planted so far this season, but no beans.