Primebank To Hold Drive Thru Easter Egg Hunt
(Le Mars) — Easter is tomorrow, this coming Sunday, and along with Easter is the traditional Easter Egg Hunt. Although, this year the Easter Egg hunt isn’t so traditional. Due to COVID-19 concerns, Primebank, the sponsor of the egg hunt will conduct the hunt in a different manner. Brad Pick of Primebank tells what’s going to happen on Saturday.
Pick says the Easter eggs to be distributed to children will be filled with candy.
Pick says the distribution of the Easter eggs will begin at 11:15 and will continue until 1:00 p.m. or until the eggs are gone. He says people need to go through the Primebank’s drive thru lanes, using all three lanes. Vehicles need to approach the drive thru from the west, or from the alley from the north or south, but will need to turn east following the traffic pattern. Pick says the Easter bunny will be on hand to wave at all the children. Pick
says the eggs will be given in bags.
The Primebank official says they want to limit the Easter egg distribution to children 12 years of age and under. People can check the KLEM website for a map showing the traffic pattern for the distribution of the Easter eggs.
Remsen To Hold Easter Egg Hunt At Remsen Football Field
(Remsen) — The Remsen Easter egg hunt is also scheduled for this morning beginning at 11:00 a.m. The event is sponsored by the Remsen Chamber of Commerce and will be held outdoors this year at the Remsen football field.
Chamber Director, Alicia Hoffman says they have chosen to hold the Easter egg hunt outdoors at the Remsen football field to help with a safer outdoor location to allow for more social distancing. The Remsen Easter egg hunt is open for children 8 years old and younger. Something new this year is those children wanting to participate in the Remsen Easter Egg Hunt must have a
ticket. Hoffman says, “Tickets are required, as there is a limited number available, and they will need to be picked up at City Hall or Iowa State Bank prior to the event. When tickets are turned in, each child will receive a bag to be used for the Easter Egg Hunt. The Remsen Easter Egg Hunt will still have a drawing for prizes at the end of the hunt.
City Tree Disposal Site Opens Today
(Le Mars) — City of Le Mars officials want residents to know the city tree disposal site located on the west edge of town near the Riverview ball parks will open today, this Saturday, April 3rd between the hours of 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. The city tree disposal site will also be open on Wednesdays between 2-6 p.m. The
disposal site accepts grass trimmings, leaves, and twigs. It does not accept any garbage or tree stumps. The city tree disposal site will be open on Saturdays and Wednesdays from now until the end of November.
Le Mars Historical Preservation Commission To Offer Window Restoration Workshops
(Le Mars) — The City of Le Mars Historic Preservation Commission will hold a two-day window restoration workshop in May. The workshop, which is open to the public, will inform property owners and area contractors on the options and techniques for window repair and restoration on historic houses or buildings. Facilitating the workshop will be Terry Philips, Historic Window Rehabilitation specialist.
The first session, Window Repair, Restore, Replace: How to Decide, will be held on Friday, May 14 from 4:00pm to 7:00pm at the Brown Central Event Center. A complimentary light dinner will be served. On Saturday, May 15 the second session will be held from 9:00am to Noon at Care1 Nurses office building, 35 Plymouth St NE. You’ll participate in a hands-on learning experience in the various techniques to restore historic
windows. This session is entitled Hands on Window Repair/Restoration Techniques.
Le Mars Historic Preservation member Stu Dekkenga stated that “The workshop is being offered to educate and assist contractors and home owners as they address issues with their properties. This educational opportunity will allow people the chance to ask questions and learn about the right ways to restore historic windows.”
Admission is free to both sessions. Reservations for the workshop are needed. Contact Le Mars City Hall at 712-546-7018 to reserve your spot by May 7th. The workshop is open to contractors and historic property owners. If you have questions, please contact Stu Dekkenga 712-540-5503 or Karla Dekkenga 712-540-2909.
Governor Reynolds Signs Gun Rights Bill Into Law
(Des Moines) — Governor Kim Reynolds has signed a bill into law that gets rid of the requirement that Iowans get state permits to purchase and carry pistols and revolvers.
The state permits for buying and carrying a concealed handgun will be voluntary. However Iowans who wish to carry a handgun in other states that require and recognize Iowa permits may continue to get one. Critics say the bill creates a loophole on private gun sales, since the state permit process for buying handguns that is now optional requires a background check.
Supporters of the law say it gets rid of the state permission slip for a constitutional right under the 2nd amendment. Governor Reynolds issued a written statement Friday afternoon, emphasizing a section of the law that makes it a felony to knowingly sell a handgun to someone who cannot legally
own a gun. Reynolds says state officials will never be able to outlaw or prevent every single bad actor from getting a gun, but this new law ensures law-abiding citizens have full access to their constitutional rights while keeping Iowans safe. State Representative Dr. Tom Jeneary of Le Mars says he
received several phone calls, letters, texts messages, and emails from constituents showing support for the bill.
Jeneary explains the context of the gun bill.
When the House had passed the bill two weeks ago, the vote was primarily split down party lines with Republican members voting in favor of the measure and Democrat House members voting against the bill. Jeneary explains the objections from the opposition.
Republican State Senator Jim Carlin also commented on the gun rights bill that passed the Senate chamber a week ago.
Governor Reynolds Extends Health Proclamation For Additional 30 Days
(Des Moines) — Gov. Reynolds signed a new Public Health Disaster proclamation on Friday that extends critical regulatory relief for an additional 30 days to those on the frontlines of COVID19 recovery.
The proclamation continues to strongly encourage Iowans, businesses, and organizations to take reasonable public health measures consistent with guidance from the Iowa Department of Public Health.
The proclamation also continues to extend the waiver on transportation restrictions for overweight loads.
Ernst Calls President Biden’s Infrastructure Plan A “Heart-ache”
(Washington) — Republican Senator Joni Ernst says President Biden’s more than two-trillion dollar infrastructure plan is too bloated to get G-O-P support.
Ernst says the plan contains every progressive wish list item
under the sun, like support for electric vehicles and labor unions. Other elements in the plan can be debated separately, according to Ernst.
Ernst suggests a starting point for Biden Administration negotiations with congress could have been the bill that
unanimously passed the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee last year.
Ernst says last year’s bipartisan highway bill included crucial funding to repair and replace the lock and dam system on the Mississippi River.
Someone Associated With Iowa House Tests Positive For COVID
(Des Moines, IA) — The chief clerk says someone associated with the Iowa House has tested positive for COVID-19. An email sent to lawmakers and staff indicates that person was last in the Iowa Capitol on Monday and tested positive Tuesday. The chief clerk says the person was wearing a face mask at all times. This is the second positive case reported at the Capitol this week. The other was some associated with the Iowa Senate. It’s the eighth
positive test reported since the legislative session started in January, and the seventh associated with the Iowa House. Face covering are not required in the building.
Ex-Sioux City Wastewater Plant Superintendent Sentenced to 3 Months
(Sioux City, IA) — The former superintendent of the Sioux City Wastewater Treatment Plant will spend three months in prison for cheating on environmental testing. Sixty-three-year-old Jay Earnest Niday of Sergeant Bluff pleaded guilty in October to conspiracy and one count of knowingly rendering inaccurate a monitoring device required by the Clean Water Act.
The court information shows Niday and others knew that the wastewater treatment plant could not consistently disinfect the millions of gallons of wastewater that the plant was sending into the Missouri River each day from 2011 until June of 2015. They used higher levels of chlorine in the water to hide the issue. Niday was also fined six-thousand dollars — and ordered to
repay 25-hundred dollars in court fees.
Northwest Iowa Man Pleads Not Guilty to Sex Acts With Minors
(Spencer, IA) –– A northwest Iowa man accused of engaging in sexual acts with minors in Clay County claims he’s innocent. Twenty-one-year-old Hunter Gentry of Estherville pleaded not guilty to charges including kidnapping, enticing a minor, third-degree sexual abuse, lascivious acts with a child and
indecent contact. Gentry was arrested in February for offering to provide vaping and nicotine products to underage kids in exchange for explicit photos. Arraignment is in May with a jury trial expected in early June.
Greetings from the Statehouse,
This week is the second funnel week here in the Legislature. In order for policy to remain alive beyond this point, House bills needed to be voted out of committee in the Senate and vice versa. This week my newsletter will highlight current broadband legislation and renter/homeowner assistance for
eligible COVID-19 impacted individuals.
House Passes Changes to Broadband Grant Program
This week the House unanimously passed HF 848 making changes to Iowa’s Broadband Grant Program. When the governor introduced her bill, it made significant changes to the existing program and focused on increasing speeds around the state. The House believed that this emphasis should be placed on
connecting Iowans who currently do not have access to broadband internet.
The product of the resulting conversations between the Governor and the House, resulted in a bill that both focused on speed of deployment and internet speeds. Grant funds will be eligible at varying amounts based on the internet speed (or lack thereof) available. Broadband infrastructure project must deploy fiber to Targeted Service Areas to receive grant funds.
HF 848 is a step in the right direction to set the framework for aggressively building out Iowa’s broadband infrastructure to ensure that all Iowans will have access to broadband internet. However, this policy bill will have limited effect without a significant financial investment within the grant program. As of this publication, the House has set a goal to invest $100
million this year alone in the broadband grant program.
Assistance for Renters and Homeowners Available
Iowa COVID-19 impacted renters and homeowners are now able to apply for assistance with rent and mortgage payments through two assistance programs.
The Iowa Rent and Utility Assistance Program will provide eligible COVID-19 impacted renters with rent and/or utility assistance for a total of up to twelve months. General eligibility requirements state that applicants must be current renters earning no more than 80% of the county area median income, one or more renters must have either qualified for unemployment or have
experienced a documented financial hardship as result of COVID-19, and can demonstrate a risk of experiencing homelessness or housing instability which may include a past due utility, rent notice or eviction notice.
The Iowa Homeowner Eviction Prevention Program reopened applications this week to provide eligible COVID-19 impacted homeowners at imminent risk of eviction with mortgage assistance for up to four months, with a max assistance per household of $3,600. The short-term program will be available
until funds are exhausted or a new federal program is launched. This funding is provided through the Federal CARES Act funds.
Program details are available under ‘Assistance for Homeowners’ at IowaHousingRecovery.com.
As we close out week twelve I believe that this is one of the fastest paced sessions in which I have ever participated. I am grateful to have the opportunity to serve you. As always if you have any questions, comments or concerns – please reach out.
Representative Tom Jeneary
Serving the Citizens of House District Five
Taylor Times by Senator Jeff Taylor 4-2-21
This week, in addition to working on legislation, I had some social times with friends and allies. Shelley Noteboom Stabe, Moe Lake, and Kevin Brown were among the northwest Iowa Republicans who visited the Capitol on Tuesday.
Shelley lives in Plymouth County, Moe in Woodbury County, and Kevin in Clay County. My colleague Sen. Zach Whiting joined us for a photo. He represents my hometown of Spencer, among other communities and townships.
Later we attended a get-together at Republican Party of Iowa headquarters. I posed with three other new state senators—Jesse Green, Mike Klimesh, and Jeff Reichman—and Governor Kim Reynolds.
This week was the twelfth week of the legislative session. It included the next important legislative deadline of the year. In order to be considered for the rest of the year, policy bills needed to be out of their original chamber and through committee in the second chamber. In other words, we spent
time this week looking at policy bills sent to us from the House.
We received more good news about Iowa and the economy. The Bureau of Economic Analysis reported Iowa’s economy grew faster in the last few months of 2020 than many of our neighboring states, with 6.3% growth. Along with one of the
lowest unemployment rates in the country, this is great news as Iowa recovers from pandemic effects. We will continue advocating for pro-growth policies at the Capitol and make this state the best for living, working, and raising a family.
This week the Senate passed Senate File 496. This bill eliminates noncompete agreements with employees who make, on a monthly average, $14.50 per hour or less. It prohibits noncompete agreements for low-wage employees restricting
employment by a different employer for a certain period of time, in a geographical area, or a similar role. Noncompete agreements are a barrier to the workforce, and inhibit mobility and upward advancement for people working hard to support themselves and their loved ones. I was on the subcommittee
that got this bill going and I’ve been a strong supporter because it advances both fairness and freedom.
Another bill we passed this week was House File 260, allowing a person providing child care to care for five or fewer children, or six or fewer children if one of the children is school-aged. Current law requires a child care home to register as a child development home if it has more than five children at any one time. Access to affordable child care has been an issue
for a while, especially while many were working from home during the pandemic. This bill is one way we can address the need for child care, especially in rural areas, without creating a new government program or further complicating Iowa’s tax code.
Higher Property Assessments and a Real Property Tax Cut
New property assessments arrived in many mailboxes this week and these assessments came as a shock for many Iowans. The Quad City Times reports average increases of 8.5% in Scott County, WOWT-TV notes increases as high as $55,000 on residential properties in Council Bluffs, and the Sioux City
Journal writes of an increase of 13% in parts of Sioux City.
Property assessments and local levy rates are the factors in determining property taxes paid by Iowans and these sharp increases in value can lead to painful property tax increases. When assessments rise, property taxes increase, even if the levy rate stays the same. In 2019 the Legislature passed significant property tax reform to improve transparency around the
property tax process and give property taxpayers more information to engage in local taxing decisions.
This session the Iowa Senate is again working to reduce the property tax burden. SF 587 eliminates the property tax levy on mental health and shifts funding to the state level. Eliminating this levy means over $100 million in reduced property taxes.
Property tax increases are difficult for many Iowans. Seniors on fixed incomes frequently do not have an increase in income to pay for additional taxes. Working families need new clothes for growing children and high property taxes are a hurdle for new home-buyers trying to attain the American Dream of home ownership. Also, higher property taxes result in higher
payments for those who rent housing. Permanent, reliable tax relief helps many Iowans.
I serve as the vice chair of the Education Committee, and also serve on the Judiciary, Labor and Business Relations, and Natural Resources and Environment committees. Additionally, I serve on the Justice System Appropriations Subcommittee.