Home News Friday Afternoon News, March 5th

Friday Afternoon News, March 5th


State Auditor’s Office Issues Report On City Of Remsen And Remsen Municipal Utilities

(Des Moines) — State Auditor Rob Sand has issued a report on an agreed-upon procedures report on the City of Remsen, and the Remsen Municipal Utilities  for the period July 1, 2019 through June 30, 2020. The agreed-upon procedures engagement was performed pursuant to Chapter 11.6 of the
Code of Iowa.
Sand reported eight findings for the City and one finding for the Utilities related to the receipt and disbursement of taxpayer funds. The findings address issues such as a lack of segregation of duties, the lack of recording interest earned on certificates of deposit, a deficit fund balance and City disbursements exceeding budgeted amounts.
Sand provided the City and the Utility with recommendations to address each of the findings.
Four of the nine findings discussed for the City and the Utility are repeated from the prior year report. The City Council and the Utilities Board have a fiduciary responsibility to provide oversight of the City’s and the Utility’s operations and financial transactions. Oversight is typically defined as the “watchful and responsible care” a governing body exercises in its fiduciary capacity.




People Vulnerable To COVID Due To Pre-existing Illness May Be Given Priority For COVID Vaccinations

(Des Moines) — State officials say Iowans with chronic medical conditions that put them at risk of getting seriously ill with Covid may become eligible for vaccinations, starting next week.
The decision potentially means hundreds of thousands of Iowans over the age of 16 can start trying to schedule Covid shots next week. The announcement came last night in an Iowa Department of Public Health news release. The state did not issue a list of chronic conditions that would make an Iowan eligible for a Covid shot, but linked to the Centers for Disease Control website. The C-D-C’s list of conditions that make a person more likely to get
seriously ill from Covid includes diabetes and cancer, plus heart and immune system disorders. Smoking and obesity are also on the C-D-C’s list. Iowans over the age of 65 as well as those in certain occupations have been eligible for vaccinations. The Iowa Department of Public Health news release indicates those groups in “several” counties are mostly vaccinated, so those are the counties where expanded eligibility will start. “Some”
counties will continue to limit vaccinations to the first tiers of eligible Iowans. The agency did not specify which counties are in which category.




State Legislature Fails To Pass Governor Reynolds’ Priority Bills

(Des Moines) — Key elements of the governor’s 2021 agenda have failed to clear the legislature’s first deadline for policy bills. House Republicans did not have enough votes for state scholarships to cover private school expenses for students in 34 under-performing schools. Governor Kim Reynolds’ plan to make it easier to form charter schools, though, is eligible for House debate. Representative Skyler Wheeler, a Republican from Orange City, says it would let a school district or a group of people found a state-funded charter school.

Democrats like Representative Mary Mascher of Iowa City oppose the plan.

G-O-P lawmakers also failed to act on part of the governor’s criminal justice agenda that called for steps to combat racial profiling in law enforcement. Representative Jarad (JAIR-uhd) Klein, a Republican from Keota, says the House G-O-P’s bill was drafted after consulting with police.

The Iowa Legislative Black Caucus is calling on the governor to veto any bill on policing that does not include anti-racial profiling language. Representative Ras (like “Ross”) Smith, a Democrat from Waterloo, notes a SENATE committee has voted to deny state funds to cities that reduce police and sheriffs’ department budgets.

However, the bill penalizing Iowa cities that might “defund the police” did NOT clear a House committee this week, meaning that proposal is unlikely to become state law.




US Senator Grassley Files 2022 Election Paperwork

(Washington, DC) — Iowa Senator Chuck Grassley is still considering a run for an eighth term in the U-S Senate next year. Eighty-seven-year-old Grassley filed a statement of candidacy with the Federal Election Commission this week. The Iowa Republican has not officially announced whether he’s
running for another six-year term. Grassley will turn 89 just before the November 2022 election. State Senator Jim Carlin of Sioux City announced last month he’ll seek the 2022 G-O-P nomination for U-S Senate.




Alleged Sex Offender From California Arrested by US Marshals in Northern Iowa

(Hampton, IA) — An accused sex offender from California is in U-S Marshals Service custody in Iowa. Eighty-five-year-old Nhin Tat Ho was arrested Thursday in Hampton on felony charges of child molestation. Ho was wanted by the San Gabriel Police Department in Los Angeles County, California. He is named in a criminal filed in April 2019, charging him for child molestation
against multiple victims dating back to 1987. Ho was transported to the Linn County Jail and awaits extradition back to California.