Wednesday Afternoon News, May 1
Snow In May...Really?
(Le Mars) -- An old joke says "If you don't like Iowa's weather stick around ten minutes and it will change" that certainly seems to be true, especially when you look at the month of April and now having snow on May first. Although snowfall in May is not as uncommon as one would think, according to State of Iowa Climatologist, Harry Hillaker.
Hillaker says Le Mars actually holds the record for the most snow accumulated for the month of May, but you have to go back a number of years.
The State Climatologist says this past month was the wettest April on record.
Iowans have witnessed quite a range of weather patterns within the last few weeks, and Hillaker says that is likely to continue.
Senate Rejects Branstad's Health Care Plan
DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - The Iowa Senate has rejected the governor's low-income health plan approved by the House this week.
Democrats, who support a Medicaid expansion plan, voted Wednesday against Gov. Terry Branstad's measure for low-income Iowans on a party-line vote, 26 to 24. The House approved the bill Tuesday.
The issue now goes to a joint committee where lawmakers of both parties and chambers will seek a compromise.
Democrats say Medicaid expansion would cover 150,000 additional low-income residents. The federal government would pay the full cost for the first three years then 10 percent would gradually
shift to the state.
Branstad opposes it saying it's an unsustainable cost for the federal government.
Democrat Sen. Pam Jochum of Dubuque says Branstad's plan would be more expensive for the state and cover fewer people.
School Districts Look At Teacher Lay-offs
DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - Dozens and possibly hundreds of Iowa teachers are receiving notices they could lose their jobs in the next school year.
School districts are sending layoff notices because of a deadline requiring them to notify teachers by April 30 of possible job losses.
District officials say they hope they won't have to follow through on the job cuts, but the inability of state lawmakers to approve a general school funding level forces them to guess on
their budgets for the upcoming year.
Galen Howsare, of the Iowa Association of School Boards, says the group knows of at least 83 teachers who have been sent layoff notices, and the actually figure is likely 150 to 250.
This year, school funding has been mired in discussions about Gov. Terry Branstad's proposed education reforms.
Senate Approves DNA Misdemeanor Crimes Bill
DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - The Iowa Senate has approved a measure that would require people convicted of certain aggravated misdemeanors to submit DNA samples for a federal databank.
Lawmakers passed the bill Wednesday, 29 to 20. It now goes to Gov. Terry Branstad.
Under the proposal, adults convicted of crimes like aggravated misdemeanor assault and theft would submit a DNA sample. Under current Iowa law, only convicted felons and sexual offenders are
required to submit samples.
Iowa Attorney General Tom Miller supports the bill, saying it would help police solve cases.
Senators rejected an effort by Republican Sen. Mark Chelgren of Ottumwa to amend the bill to require samples from convicted juveniles and undocumented immigrants stopped by police.
Democratic Sen. Herman Quirmbach of Ames opposed the bill, saying it violates privacy rights.
Sorensen Says He Did Not Receive Payments From Bachmann
DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - An Iowa senator accused of taking improper payments from a presidential campaign says there is no evidence to support the claims.
Republican Sen. Kent Sorenson, of Milo, released a detailed statement Wednesday to the Senate ethics committee. The panel is set to meet to review an affidavit from an Iowa campaign adviser to
U.S. Rep. Michele Bachmann's presidential campaign. In it, Andy Parrish says the Minnesota congresswoman approved a plan to indirectly pay Sorenson to work on her 2012 campaign.
Sorenson says he was never paid directly or indirectly. He provides an affidavit from an attorney who audited his bank statements and says there is no evidence of the alleged payments.
The alleged payments could violate an Iowa Senate ethics ban on paid employment with political campaigns.