Animal Rights Groups File Lawsuit In Federal Court Against State
DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) – The state of Iowa has been sued again in federal court by animal rights groups for passing a law last month designed to prosecute people who get hired at farms in order to work undercover to report on animal living conditions.
The measure was approved by lawmakers on March 12 and signed into law by Gov. Kim Reynolds two days later. It creates a trespass charge for anyone using deception to gain access to a farm to cause physical or economic harm.
The lawsuit filed Monday in Des Moines by the Animal Legal Defense Fund and four other groups claims the new law violates constitutional free speech and due process rights.
Lawmakers passed it two months after a federal judge struck down a similar law they passed in 2012, saying it violated free-speech rights. That ruling is on appeal to the 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.
Beau Wins Drake Relays “Beautiful Bulldog Contest”
DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) – A 3-year-old pet from a suburb of Des Moines is this year’s winner of Drake University’s annual Beautiful Bulldog Contest.
The university says Beau won over the judges Monday with a winning personality, an easygoing manner and good looks. Judge Nadia Valentine said in a university news release that she chose Beau because of his “squishy” appearance.
He lives in Urbandale with owners T.J. and Angela McKenzie and their three children. The two McKenzies attended the private college.
The English bulldog is the Drake mascot.
Beau was crowned in front of 3,000 spectators. It was the 40th contest and served as the unofficial start to this week’s Drake Relays track meet. The athletic competition gets underway Wednesday with the men’s decathlon and the women’s heptathlon.
Indiana Man Sentenced To 30 Years In Prison For Killing Woman
FORT DODGE, Iowa (AP) – An Indiana man accused of killing a woman and burning her body has been sentenced to 30 years in an Iowa prison.
Webster County District Court records say 26-year-old Phillip Williams, of Lafayette, Indiana, was sentenced Monday in Fort Dodge. He’d pleaded guilty to attempted murder and abuse of a human corpse. He and 27-year-old Mackenzie Knigge were charged with first-degree murder in the August 2017 slaying of 26-year-old Jessica Gomez in Knigge’s Clare apartment. Prosecutors lowered the murder charge against Williams in return for his pleas.
Knigge’s trial is scheduled to begin June 10.
Iowa Lawmaker Switches Political Parties
DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) – The longest serving Republican in the Iowa Legislature says he’ll become a Democrat.
Rep. Andy McKean announced his decision Tuesday, saying one important factor was the presidency of Republican Donald Trump. McKean says he can’t support Trump, and if his behavior and leadership is the new normal, “I want no part of it.”
McKean, a 69-year-old retired attorney from the eastern Iowa city of Anamosa, first entered the House in 1979 and served seven terms. He left the legislature but returned to the Senate in 1993 and served three terms. He then won election to the House in 2017. He’s now served nearly 29 years in the Legislature.
When he returned, McKean found he disagreed with Republicans on many high profile issues.
McKean says he’ll register as a Democrat this week and plans to seek re-election as a Democrat in 2020.
Council Bluffs Man Sentenced To Prison For Girl Friend’s Daughter’s Death
COUNCIL BLUFFS, Iowa (AP) – A man has been given 50 years in prison for beating to death the 16-month-old daughter of his girlfriend in western Iowa.
The Daily Nonpareil reports that Javon Jennings was sentenced Monday. A jury found him guilty Feb. 15 of manslaughter and child endangerment in the death last April of Jazlynn Harshbarger.
An autopsy showed the toddler had suffered numerous injuries and died of blunt force trauma. Prosecutors say Jennings was supposed to be baby-sitting the girl in Council Bluffs.
Jennings repeated earlier statements that he didn’t kill Jazlynn. His attorney says Jennings will continue appealing the verdict and sentence.