Friday News, May 13
State Senator Rick Bertrand Campaigns In Le Mars
(Le Mars) -- Saying "what's good for Iowa is good for the nation." State Senator Rick Bertrand brought his message to Le Mars Thursday afternoon. Bertrand, a Sioux City developer, is running against incumbent 4th District Congressman Steve King for the Republican nomination to represent northwest Iowa in our nation's capital. Bertrand spoke before about a dozen people. Bertrand says he is asked why he is challenging the seven-term congressman? He responds by saying western Iowa is primed for additional economic development, and someone needs to lead that movement.
Bertrand says this region should be doing more to push our agricultural products.
The Sioux City republican says there are several similarities between himself and Congressman Steve King, but he says King needs to answer three questions.
Bertrand will face Steve King in the June 7th primary race.
Branstad Signs Bill That Will Reduce Sentences For Some Drug Offenders
DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - Gov. Terry Branstad has signed a bill into law that is expected to reduce prison time for inmates convicted of certain drug offenses.
Branstad signed the bill Thursday. It was passed in the House and Senate this legislative session.
The legislation will allow certain non-violent drug offenders in Iowa to be eligible for parole after they serve at least half of their mandatory minimum sentence. It will also give judges more discretion in sentencing for crimes like robbery.
The law also adds a mandatory minimum sentence for a person convicted of child endangerment resulting in death. Previously, such a person was automatically eligible for parole.
The nonpartisan Legislative Services Agency says the law is expected to reduce the disproportionate number of minorities in Iowa's criminal justice system.
Grassley Says He Will Support Donald Trump For President
(Washington) -- U-S Senator Chuck Grassley of Iowa says he intends to support presumptive Republican nominee Donald Trump for president. Grassley, who spoke to news reporters on Thursday, says he will support Trump mainly because he believes this nation needs to go in a different direction.
Prairie Meadows Casino May Lose Non-profit Status
ALTOONA, Iowa (AP) - Federal officials say they are revoking a central Iowa casino's nonprofit status.
The Internal Revenue Service announced Thursday that Prairie Meadows, in Altoona, should lose its tax-exempt status, following an 18-month audit.
The casino has faced questions about its nonprofit status partly due to the amount of money it spends on salaries for top executives compared to the amount spent on charitable activities. Records show the company spent nearly $58 million on employee salaries and benefits in 2013, while spending roughly $21 million on grants.
The casino plans to appeal the decision.
Nearby Des Moines could lose roughly $6 million a year for street and bridge repairs if an appeal fails. Polk County receives nearly $16 million annually in rent from the casino.
Bus Driver Charged With Having A Gun On School Grounds
WEST DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - West Des Moines police say they have charged a bus driver with having a gun on school grounds.
The incident began about noon Wednesday when police say Des Moines police Capt. Mike Hoffman was driving an unmarked car and a private bus started tailgating him on Interstate 235.
Police say the bus driver honked his horn and flashed his lights before passing the officer.
Hoffman followed the bus to Valley High School and approached the driver, 64-year-old Paul Smiley-Oyen, of Ames, who was holding a handgun.
He was charged with possessing a firearm on school grounds. Online court records don't list the name of an attorney who could comment.
No students were on the bus. The driver was scheduled to pick students up for a trip.
Council Bluffs Man Sentenced To 10 Years For Attempting To Steal Child
COUNCIL BLUFFS, Iowa (AP) - A 22-year-old Council Bluffs man has been given 10 years in prison for trying to kidnap a girl near her elementary school.
Nathan Busse pleaded guilty Thursday to child stealing after prosecutors dropped a kidnapping charge.
Council Bluffs police say Busse grabbed the girl in January 2013 near Edison Elementary School and forced her to walk with him. She struggled with Busse and broke away.
After mental testing in 2014, Busse was found incompetent for trial. This past March he was found competent for trial. At sentencing he was given credit for the time served while being treated in a state institution.