Sheriff Van Otterloo To Present Budget Requests To County Supervisors
(Le Mars) — The Plymouth County Board of Supervisors will begin forming the next fiscal year’s budget today as they will hear from Plymouth County Sheriff Mike Van Otterloo as he submits his budget requests. The county supervisors will also hear from County Engineer Tom Rohe as he seeks a resolution for transfer of local secondary road use tax to the farm to market fund. County recorder, Jolynn Goodchild will also appear before the supervisors to submit the Recorder’s report from September to December.
Former Sioux City Councilman Being Sued By State
SIOUX CITY, Iowa (AP) – The Iowa attorney general’s office has filed a lawsuit against a former Sioux City council member alleging the improper storage and disposal of millions of pounds of electronics and hazardous waste.
The state filed the lawsuit Monday in Woodbury County District Court against Aaron Rochester, who lost his bid for re-election in 2011 after a single council term. The suit seeks unspecified civil penalties against Rochester and a permanent injunction to prevent his recycling businesses from further violations.
The attorney general’s office says more than 17 million pounds of waste, some of which includes lead, mercury and other toxic material, has been stored at facilities in Iowa and Nebraska. The Iowa cleanup could surpass $1.5 million.
Rochester expressed surprise at the lawsuit and says he’s willing to work with the state.
Iowa Lawmakers Begin General Session
(Des Moines) — The gavel has sounded marking the start of the General Session of the Iowa Legislature.
That was Speaker of the House Linda Upmeyer, and over at the Senate Chamber, State Senator Bill Dix convened the 50 members.
Lawmakers convened Monday morning at 10:00 a.m. in both chambers, and discussed their hopes for the general session. A top Democrat says it’s time to address the “disgraceful” and “predatory behavior” in the Iowa Senate that led to a
million dollar settlement with the former communications director for Senate Republicans. Senate Democratic Leader Janet Petersen of Des Moines raised the issue during her speech at the opening of the 2018 legislative session.
The senate’s Republican leader asked a retired senator who used to be a human resources manager for Wellmark Blue Cross Blue Shield to review the case and senate operating rules, but she has yet to make a public report. Petersen — the Democratic leader in the senate — says retaliation against a whistle blower is
supposed to be grounds for termination under the existing senate handbook, but the rule is being ignored.
Petersen and the Democratic floor leader in the Iowa House both used their “opening day” speeches at the statehouse to lambast Republicans on a variety of fronts. House Minority Leader Mark Smith of Marshalltown says legislators’ first priority is to restore “fiscal order.”
Smith criticized Republicans to cutting state support of public universities and community colleges and questioned whether Republicans will invite Democrats to develop bipartisan proposals on key issues.
Iowa Republicans gathered for a fundraising breakfast three hours before the 2018 legislative session began, emphasizing their goal of passing income tax cuts this year. G-O-P leaders also delivered opening day speeches after the House and Senate officially opened for business.
Republicans Want To See Tax Cuts
(Des Moines) — Republicans who hold majorities in the Senate and House will set the agenda for the session, and they’ve indicated that overhauling Iowa’s tax code will be high on their to-do list. A proposal has not been shared publicly.
Any plan to cut taxes must be balanced with Iowa’s roughly $7.2 billion budget, which has been below projections in recent years. That’s led to multiple reductions to government spending.
There’s also growing pressure for legislators to address ongoing
problems with the state’s privatized Medicaid program. Health care providers and patients have complained about reduced services. State officials have defended the program. Governor Kim Reynolds will present her “Condition of the State”
address scheduled for this morning from the House Chambers.
Lawmakers Hire Human Resource Director
DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) – The Iowa Legislature has hired a human resources director to oversee harassment complaints at the state Capitol.
Colin Tadlock, a spokesman for House Republicans, confirmed Monday the manager will begin work Jan. 21. Nonpartisan administrators in both Republican- controlled chambers were involved in the hire. No additional information was
The state agreed in September to pay $1.75 million to settle a lawsuit filed by a former GOP Senate staffer who said she was fired after reporting sexual misconduct in the workplace. The conduct centered on lewd and inappropriate language. The Legislature is still grappling with the fallout.
Tadlock says House Republicans considered creating the position prior to the lawsuit reaching trial last year. A recent internal Senate GOP report revealed office staff fear retaliation if they report harassment.
Two Plead Guilty To Abuse At Glenwood Resource Center
GLENWOOD, Iowa (AP) – Two more former Glenwood State Resource Center workers charged with mistreating residents have pleaded guilty.
The Des Moines Register reports that 50-year-old Darrel Case pleaded guilty Monday to two counts of wanton neglect of a resident of a health care facility. His wife, 43-year-old Dana Case, pleaded guilty to one count.
They’re scheduled to be sentenced Feb. 12.
Earlier this year 13 workers at the center quit or were fired over abuse allegations. An Iowa Department of Human Services investigation that found several clients were physically abused or subjected to verbal abuse or neglect.
The center provides services for those with intellectual or