Home News Thursday News, May 9th

Thursday News, May 9th


Iowa DOT Opens Interstate 29 To Missouri Border

(Council Bluffs) — The Iowa Department of Transportation opened travel on flood-damaged Interstate 29 between U-S Highway 34 at Glenwood and the Missouri border
this (Wednesday) morning. D-O-T transportation planner, Scott Suhr  says the opening comes after a lot of effort.

He says drivers will have to use caution.

Suhr says it isn’t normal traffic flow, but it does get traffic moving to help those who have had to detour.

Several crews are involved in the emergency repairs in southwest Iowa, and Suhr says there’s one big challenge each faces.

Suhr says they had been working hard to get Iowa Highway 2 at I-29 open — but the continued rain and water over parts of the roadway has set that back.

Suhr says the I-29 opening comes earlier than planned, and they are continuing to try and get other roadways open before the end of this month.

You can check out the progress on the flooded roadways at the D-O-T’s website.



Missouri DOT Joins Iowa In Opening Interstate 29

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) – A stretch of interstate highway in northwestern Missouri is open again for the first time since floodwaters shut it down in March.
Interstate 29 reopened Wednesday to the Iowa state line. Historic flooding in March forced closure of the busy north-south roadway. I-29 also is open in Iowa, but with some restrictions.
The Missouri Department of Transportation says more than 12,000 vehicles use I-29 in northwestern Missouri on a daily basis.
Many other roads and highways in northwestern Missouri and
southwestern Iowa remain closed due to flood damage. The latest round of flooding has forced many other roads to close across several Midwestern states.



Governor Reynolds Signs Bill Regarding The Selection Of Judges

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) – Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds has signed a measure into law that gives her greater control over the way judges are selected and weakening the influence of attorneys.
Language making the change was inserted into a larger funding bill approved on the last day of the legislative session.
Reynolds signed it Wednesday with no fanfare, announcing her approval in an email that also noted four other bills.
She says she’s proud to sign it “to give all Iowans a greater voice
in the process.”
The majority of the 17-member state judge nominating commission members will now be picked by the governor – she will chose nine while lawyers will chose eight.
The commission nominates finalists for the Iowa Supreme Court and the Iowa Court of Appeals and submits them to the governor, who makes the final choice.
Democrats accused Republicans of trying to stack the courts in their favor after losing cases involving abortion and same-sex marriage.
Iowa is among at least four states where Republican lawmakers moved to lessen the role of attorneys on judicial nominating panels.



Former Iowa State University Staff Member Reaches Settlement With Gender Discrimination Law Suit

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) – A former Iowa State University employee will get a settlement of more than $27,000 from the state after claiming discrimination in the way the university managed its health insurance for transgender employees.
Elyn Fritz-Waters sued the state in January when her employee health insurance denied care for gender dysphoria, which included her request for hormone therapy and a sex reassignment surgery.
Fritz-Waters was born male but says she has felt most of her life
that she is female.
She claimed discrimination and violations of the Iowa Civil Rights
Act. Before the lawsuit could go to trial the state offered to settle.
The State Appeal Board approved the settlement Wednesday.
Fritz-Waters will get about $18,000 and her attorney receives around $9,000.
In June 2018, a state judge ruled the Iowa Department of Human Services violated the state constitution and civil rights laws by denying two transgender women Medicaid coverage for sex reassignment surgery.
The Legislature responded by approving a bill that prohibits Medicaid money for sex reassignment surgery. Gov. Kim Reynolds signed the bill into law, though it’s likely to be challenged in court.



Senator Ernst Introduces Bill To Protect Small Businesses

(Washington) — During National Small Business Week, Senator Joni Ernst (R-IA), a member of the Senate Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship, spoke on the Senate floor about the critical role Iowa’s small businesses play in our booming economy, and the legislation she is working to support
these local job creators.
This week, Senator Ernst re-introduced her Prove It Act, which gives Iowa’s small businesses a stronger voice in the federal rule-making process. This bipartisan bill allows the small business community to send agencies back to the drawing board to “prove” that a rule or regulation won’t have a
significant impact on small businesses.

Senator Ernst also recently introduced a bipartisan bill with Democratic Senator Tammy Duckworth (D-IL) to eliminate a discrepancy that puts women and veteran small business owners at a disadvantage. Her Expanding Contracting Opportunities for Small Businesses Act, would ensure small businesses,
regardless of the program they are certified under, have access to the same threshold of benefits in sole-source contracting.