Home News Thursday News, March 7th

Thursday News, March 7th


Jeneary and Carlin To Hold Town Hall Meetings On Saturday

(Des Moines) — Republican state lawmakers Dr. Tom Jeneary and Jim Carlin have announced they will hold two town hall meetings scheduled for Saturday morning. The legislators will be at the Kissenger Community Hall in Merrill beginning at 9:00 a.m. and the second town hall meeting will be at 11:00
a.m. at 3 Sisters Bistro at Remsen. The town hall meetings are open to the public. The legislators will discuss the issues and bills facing the state legislature.



House Judiciary Committee Approves Restoration Of Voting Rights To Felons

(Des Moines) — The House Judiciary Committee’s chairman called it a “rare moment.” Last (Wednesday) night, Republicans and Democrats on the committee unanimously embraced a plan from Governor Kim Reynolds on felon voting rights. The proposed constitutional amendment would automatically restore
the right to vote to felons who’ve completed their sentences. Backers hope the proposed amendment could be presented to voters in 2022. Representative Bobby Kaufmann of Wilton says House Republicans will meet soon to discuss how to legally define what sentence completion means.

Kaufmann says he’s interested in keeping felons who’ve done time for murder, rape or child sex abuse from voting.

Other Republicans have discussed requiring felons to pay any restitution to their victims before they’d be allowed to vote.



Senate Republicans Want To Give Grants To Parents With Special Needs Children To Go To Private Schools

(Des Moines) — Eight Republicans on a senate committee have endorsed a plan to send state grants to the parents of special needs students who want to enroll their children in a private rather than a public school.

That’s Republican Senator Brad Zaun of Urbandale. Republican Senator Jerry Behn  from Boone would have preferred giving state grants to EVERY parent of a school-aged child in Iowa, but he says this set of students can be a proving ground.

Two Republicans on the Senate Education Committee joined the five Democrats on the panel to oppose the bill. Senator Clair Celsi, a Democrat from Des Moines, says starting with the most fragile students who need the most help is wrong.

Senator Herman Quirmbach (KWIRM-bawk), a Democrat from Ames, says the consolidation of rural schools will accelerate if parents are given state money to pay for private schooling.

Bill backers estimate there are about 60-thousand special needs students in Iowa. Opponents say it would shift hundreds of millions of tax dollars from public to private schools if each of those students transferred. However, the bill does not require private schools to accept students with an individual education plan because of special circumstances, like a disability or behavior issues.



Democratic Representative Wants To Know How Many Sexual Harassment Cases Are Against State Employees

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) – Iowa Democratic Rep. Amy Nielsen is accusing the administration of Gov. Kim Reynolds and the director of the state’s human resources agency of “fostering a culture of secrecy in state government” for refusing to release information on the number of sexual harassment cases
filed within state agencies in the past few years.
Nielsen on Wednesday filed a complaint with the Iowa Public
Information Board after she says she received a bureaucratic runaround in her attempts to find out how many sexual harassment complaints are under investigation.
She says Iowa taxpayers have paid out more than $7.5 million in four settlements in the past two years and deserve to know if there are other cases taxpayers haven’t been told about.
State officials say the information is confidential.



Judge Rules Hinton Couple Needs To Pay Attorney Over Two Million Dollars For Bus Crash Settlement Agreement

SIOUX CITY, Iowa (AP) – A judge says a northwest Iowa couple owe a lawyer $2.18 million more for representing them in talks that resulted in a $7.5 million settlement with Sioux City.
The judge said in her lawsuit ruling filed Monday that attorney Stan Munger’s contingency fee contract with Chad and Rosanne Plante was “reasonable and valid.”  Judge Nancy Whittenburg said Munger was entitled to receive 33 percent of the settlement the city paid the Plantes to resolve claims from a 2016 bus crash that caused serious injuries to Chad Plante.
The Plantes already authorized Munger to withdraw $380,000 from the settlement. He says they told him the contingency fee agreement “is against public policy.”



Storm Lake Man Charged With Possession Of Child Pornography

SIOUX CITY, Iowa (AP) – A Storm Lake man has pleaded guilty to one count of receiving child pornography.
Federal prosecutors say 49-year-old James Gailey was convicted after pleading guilty on Monday to the single count. At his plea hearing in Sioux City, Gailey admitted that in October 2017, he used an online image account to receive child pornography. He also admitted that in January 2018, he did the same thing. Prosecutors say the images included victims as young as
infants and toddlers.
Gailey remains in custody until he’s sentenced at a later date. He
faces up to 20 years in prison.



Six People Charged With Stealing Opioids From Nursing Homes

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) – Federal prosecutors in Iowa have announced the indictments of six people suspected of having stolen various opioids from nursing homes where they had worked.
The indictments were announced in a news release Wednesday.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Rachel Scherle says the cases are being prosecuted as part of the Department of Justice’s Elder Abuse Initiative. All are charged with acquiring a controlled substance by misrepresentation, fraud, deception, and subterfuge.
Those indicted are 36-year-old Arminda Cruickshank, of Osceola; 47-year-old Barbara Jean Tindall, of Keosauqua; 30-year-old Christine Renee Weilbrenner, of Ankeny; and 29-year-old Samantha Anne Mills and 32-year-old Alicia Danielle Swenson, both of Des Moines. They have all pleaded not
Prosecutors say 31-year-old Katie Christine Howard, of Des Moines, pleaded guilty to two counts on Feb. 11 and will be sentenced in July.



Fort Dodge Police Officer Recovering From Opioid Exposure

FORT DODGE, Iowa (AP) – Authorities in north-central Iowa say a Fort Dodge police officer was found unresponsive in his squad car after handling a suspected opioid and had to be revived.
The Fort Dodge Police Department has released police body camera video of the officer being pulled from the squad car, placed on a gurney and loaded into the back of an ambulance. Police have not released the officer’s name.
The Messenger reports the incident happened Sunday afternoon when the officer made a traffic stop. The officer handled an unknown substance before arresting the driver. Police say that on the way to jail, the officer began feeling dizzy and called for help. First responders gave the officer two doses of Narcan, an opioid-overdose antidote. He was given more doses at a hospital, where he was kept until Monday.
Police believe the substance the officer handled was a form of
fentanyl, a powerful opioid that is fueling a national epidemic of fatal overdoses.



Schools Urged To Reduce The Use Of Seclusion Rooms

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) – Iowa is considering new rules to limit school districts from using padded seclusion rooms to discipline children following a violent outburst.
The Des Moines Register reports that the proposed changes seek to limit the frequency rooms are used and implement a better system to notify parents. The rules also seek new specifications for the wooden rooms, which are typically 6-by-6-foot.
The ACLU of Iowa and Disability Rights Iowa helped draft the
changes. They say some districts have used the rooms too frequently, particularly with students with disabilities and African-Americans.
School officials say they’re concerned the rules are overly
The rooms have come under scrutiny in recent years. The state
Department of Education determined in 2017 that the Iowa City Community School District improperly used the rooms.



16 Year Old Nebraska Boy Charged With Murdering Council Bluffs Man

COUNCIL BLUFFS, Iowa (AP) – A 16-year-old Nebraska boy has been charged with murder, accused of killing a man in western Iowa’s Council Bluffs.
Court records say the boy was 15 when 38-year-old Adam Angeroth was slain. Angeroth’s body was found in his apartment on Jan. 24. Details about his death haven’t been released.
It’s not yet clear whether the boy will be tried as an adult. The
Associated Press generally doesn’t name juveniles accused of crimes.
His preliminary hearing is scheduled for Monday.