Home News Thursday News, January 13th

Thursday News, January 13th


Jeneary Likes Governor Reynolds Plan To Eliminate State Taxes On Retirement Accounts

(Des Moines) — Using the famous quotation from the Iowa-based movie “Field of Dreams”, Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds during her Condition of the State speech Tuesday evening says people will come to Iowa.  Reynolds believes if the legislature adopts her proposals, Iowa would become a destination for opportunity, which would attract families and businesses alike to the Hawkeye state.  State House Representative Dr. Tom Jeneary of Le Mars says he likes the governor’s proposal dealing with eliminating state income tax on retirement accounts.  The Republican House member says those policies will be attractive to investors.

Jeneary is optimistic the state legislature will work with the Governor on moving forward to a flat tax program.

The Le Mars house representative is hopeful the flat tax will generate enough state revenue to cover all the state’s expenses for services.




State Supreme Court Chief Justice Christiansen Says Iowa Courts Are Getting Through The Covid Storm

(Des Moines) — Iowa Supreme Court Chief Justice Susan Larson Christensen is asking the Iowa legislature to approve a six-point-seven-six percent increase in the court system’s budget. Christensen delivered the annual “Condition of the Judiciary” speech this (Wednesday) morning in the Iowa House. She did not make a budget pitch, but instead focused on court operations and promised a review of the juvenile court system will be done in November.

Christensen wore a face covering in the House until she was recognized to speak and put it back when she finished and left the room. Christensen says Covid had an abrupt and brutal impact on the judiciary.

Christensen says the covid storm continues to rage. The chief justice issued 30 orders since the beginning of the pandemic, but replaced those with one order in December that keeps some changes in place.

Christensen says some of the changes might never have been envisioned if the courts hadn’t been forced to innovate during the pandemic. Republican Representative Gary Worthan (WORTH-an) of Storm Lake is chairman of the subcommittee that drafts the court system’s budget. Worthan says there are a lot of good things happening in the courts.

At least 90 percent of the court system’s budget is for salaries and Worthan says it’s a House G-O-P priority to maintain staffing levels and courtroom hours, especially in the courthouses in each of Iowa’s 99 counties.

Worthan says he believes it’s important to add another four district court judges to handle the volume of cases in the system.

(photos contributed.)




Ernst Speaks Against Proposed Senate Rules Regarding Filibusters

(Washington) — Several Republican U-S Senators took to the floor of the Senate Chambers, on Wednesday afternoon, to speak on behalf of keeping the rules of the filibuster.  One of those Republican Senators to speak on the filibuster topic was U-S Senator Joni Ernst of Iowa.  In the Senate, once a Senator has been recognized by the chair, that senator can keep talking until such time they are no longer able to continue to speak on the topic.  The rule says the senator must be standing when delivering their remarks.  The senator may continue until a filibuster vote is called and taken.  The only way a senator can be interrupted, is if that senator yields for a question.  Senate rules state that it takes 60 Senate votes, or what is known as a filibuster, to stop a senator from continuing.  However, Senate Democrats are now wanting to change the rules that would state only 50 votes would be needed to stop a filibuster.  Republican senators, including Ernst, used quotations from Democrats, such as President Biden when he was a U-S senator from Delaware, and New York Senator Chuck Schumer and Illinois Senator Dick Durbin from years past, when they had said changing the filibuster rules would be damaging to our democracy.   Ernst used a poster that portrayed flip-flops to illustrate her point showing a quote from then, Senator Joe Biden, in 2005.

Ernst then showed a quotation from President Biden regarding the same topic that was said just a few days ago during 2022.

Ernst then used the same tactic against New York Democratic Senator Chuck Schumer, the Majority Leader of the U-S Senate.

The U-S Senate is expected to vote on the filibuster measure next week.




Iowa DCI Investigates Shooting Incident Involving Deputy In Sergeant Bluff

(Sergeant Bluff, IA)  —  The Iowa Division of Criminal Investigation is handling a fatal incident at a Sergeant Bluff mobile home park involving a deputy.  Two deputies from Woodbury County were responding to a report of a burglary in progress Wednesday when they confronted a man trying to force his way into a mobile home.  That suspect advanced toward the deputies with a tire iron in his hand.  When he hit one of them with the tire iron, that deputy shot the man.  He died at Mercy Hospital in Sioux City later.  The deputy was treated for his injury and sent home.  The suspect’s name hasn’t been released.




Iowa Governor:  4% Flat Tax Plan Might Lead To No State Income Tax Eventually

(Des Moines, IA)  —  Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds says her four percent flat tax plan would make the state’s income tax system simpler.  Reynolds says it might one day lead to Iowa doing away with its state income tax.  The governor says she isn’t proposing eliminating the state income tax now and her goal is to reach four percent by the 2026 tax year.  She says when she took office Iowa had the sixth-highest income tax rate in the country.  If her proposal is approved and goes into effect Iowa would be the fifth-lowest.




Urbandale Agrees To Discuss Regional Water System, West Des Moines May Be Next

(Urbandale, IA)  —  The Urbandale Water Utility has agreed to discuss the idea of a regional water system and West Des Moines Water Works could be next.  Urbandale gets its water from Des Moines now but has considered building its own treatment plant.  The regional approach would have the communities involved sharing water sources and the members would set a wholesale price for utilities to purchase drinking water.  West Des Moines is set to vote later this month on whether it wants to join the talks about a regional water system in central Iowa.




Regents Vote To Remove ACT/SAT Requirements At State Public Universities

(Cedar Rapids, IA)  —  The Iowa Board of Regents has voted to remove the A-C-T and S-A-T requirements for admission to the state’s public universities.  Students applying to attend the University of Iowa, Iowa State University, or the University of Northern Iowa would be affected.  The requirements were temporarily waived in 2020 during the COVID-19 pandemic.  Wednesday’s vote won’t affect private scholarships or private colleges or universities.  If the student takes the test anyway, the results can be considered for admission.




COVID-19 Hospitalizations and Positivity Rates Continue to Surge

(Des Moines, IA)  —  The Iowa Department of Public Health reports a continued spike in COVID-19 hospitalizations and positivity rates.  Today’s (Wednesday) update shows 923 Iowans are hospitalized with the virus – the highest number since December of 2020.  The 14-day test positivity rate rose to 21-point-two percent, with more than 31 thousand new cases in the past week.  State health officials also confirmed 182 deaths in the last seven days.  I-D-P-H director Kelly Garcia says demand for COVID testing remains high.  Fifty-six percent of eligible Iowans are fully vaccinated against the virus.




Governor Reynolds Awards $36.6 Million in Child Care Grants

(Des Moines, IA)  —  Governor Kim Reynolds is awarding 36-point-six-million dollars in child care grants that she says will create nearly 52-hundred new child care slots.  The grants will fund 108 projects in 72 Iowa communities and will be matched with nine-point-seven-million dollars in private local investment.  Reynolds said in a statement, “projects funded through this program will help alleviate the burden of finding child care for families and give more Iowans the opportunity to return to the workforce while create a lasting impact on children, parents, and communities all throughout the state.”  Reynolds’ office says Iowa leads the nation in the percentage of households where both parents work, but 23 percent live in areas lacking an adequate supply of child care.




Eastern Iowa Woman Sentenced to 3 Years For $2.9 Million Mail Fraud Scheme

(Des Moines, IA)  —  A Scott County woman is sentenced to three years in federal prison for a business scheme involving millions of dollars.  Thirty-two-year-old Chelsea Gless of Princeton was charged in federal court in 2020 with mail fraud, money laundering, and wire fraud and pleaded guilty to a scheme to defraud and one count of mail fraud.  Investigators say Gless was part owner of Royal Metals Group and over four years made false representations to clients about precious metals.  Instead of delivering the precious metals she promised, she used their money to pay other clients and for personal expenses.  She was ordered to pay more than two-point-nine-million dollars in restitution.