Le Mars To Host Crop Advantage Meeting On January 26
(Le Mars) — Iowa State University Extension and Outreach has been hosting a series of seminars focusing on next year’s crop production. Entitled “Crop Advantage”, the meetings provide a solid foundation of current, research-based crop production information to help make smart, informed decisions for the farming operation. Each location features topics selected for your fields and your growing conditions. Le Mars will be hosting the “Crop Advantage” meeting scheduled for Wednesday, January 26th at the Le Mars Convention Center. Iowa State University Extension and Outreach crops specialist for northwest Iowa, Joel DeJong says the meeting will help farmers make decisions and prepare for the upcoming crop year.
DeJong highlights the various seminars planned for the afternoon session.
The ISU crops specialist reminds area farmers of the registration process. DeJong says the seminar will take walk-ins, however, after January 19th, the cost of the registration increases.
COVID-19 Hospitalizations Continue Rising in Iowa
(Des Moines, IA) — Nearly a thousand patients in Iowa hospitals today (Friday) have tested positive for COVID. Infection rates have been rising as the more contagious omicron variant sweeps through the Midwest. The latest data from the Iowa Department of Public Health show treatment for the virus is the primary reason nearly two-thirds of the COVID patients were admitted to an Iowa hospital. Fifty Iowa nursing homes are reporting outbreaks among residents. The state has been tracking the number of positive Covid test results since the beginning of the pandemic and that number has been climbing. Those numbers do not include results from over-the-counter rapids tests taken at home.
Congresswoman Hinson Tests Positive For COVID-19 Again
(Marion, IA) — Iowa Congresswoman Ashley Hinson says she’s tested positive for COVID-19 for a second time. The Republican from Marion said she began experiencing “mild, cold-like symptoms” Thursday afternoon, so she took a COVID test and it was positive. She’s isolating and working remotely. Hinson is fully vaccinated, with a booster shot. She promoted all three vaccinations on social media. She previously tested positive for COVID in November of 2020 before vaccines were available and right after she elected to the U-S House.
House GOP Proposes Changes For Iowans Receiving Food Assistance and Health Care
(Des Moines, IA) — Republicans in the Iowa House are considering changes to the application process for government food assistance and health care coverage through Medicaid. One bill would require the state to adopt a new online system to verify a person’s income, to ensure recipients qualify for government benefits. Iowa Department of Human Services director Kelly Garcia isn’t opposing the bill, but she said the agency already has made changes to make eligibility checks more accurate. Another bill would require applicants to submit personal information online to confirm their identity. Both bills have cleared a House subcommittee. Around 800-thousand Iowans are enrolled in Medicaid.
DNR Urges Caution After Snowmobile, ATV Break Through Ice on Okoboji Lakes
(Spirit Lake, IA) — The Iowa Department of Natural Resources is urging caution after a snowmobile and an A-T-V broke through the ice on West and East Lake Okoboji. The incidents happened Thursday night and the riders were rescued by people ice fishing and treated and released from the hospital. The D-N-R’s Greg Harson says the ice quality on the Iowa Great Lakes isn’t as good as it has been in the past. Harson says the new snow is going to make it harder to identify ice heaves and locations where geese are keeping the water open. He recommends checking the ice thickness frequently and bringing ice picks, a throwable floatation cushion and 50 feet of rope.
Gov. Reynolds appoints Jennifer Benson Bahr as District Court Judge
DES MOINES– Gov. Kim Reynolds today announced her appointment of Jennifer Benson Bahr as a district court judge in Judicial District 4.
Bahr, of Crescent, Iowa, currently serves as a district associate judge in Judicial District 4. She previously served as an Assistant Pottawattamie County Attorney and has also served as the Webster and Humboldt County Attorney. Bahr received her undergraduate degree from the University of Iowa and her law degree from Drake University Law School.
Bahr fills the vacancy created by the upcoming retirement of District Court Judge James S. Heckerman. Judicial District 4 includes Audubon, Cass, Fremont, Harrison, Mills, Montgomery, Page, Pottawattamie, and Shelby counties.
On Monday January 10th, the second session of the Iowa General Assembly convened into regular session. I am both humbled and honored to serve as your Representative from Iowa House District 5. Every session, House Republicans have priorities that we aim to accomplish before we adjourn. This session our top priorities are putting money back in Iowans pockets, reemploying Iowans great workforce, and putting parents back in charge of their children’s education.
Thanks to the exemplary leadership of Governor Reynolds, and the House Republicans conservative budgeting practices, Iowa’s economy is among the strongest in the nation. As a result, the Iowa government is in a surplus through our Tax Payer Relief Fund of $1 billion. House Republicans aim to put that money back in your pocket to empower Iowans to keep their hard-earned money. Conversations are bustling in our caucus and the governor’s office about the best way to effectively sustain our strong budget while returning funds to the people.
Iowa’s economy is booming as an effective job creator, however, there is a shortage in our workforce. As it stands, there are 64,000 Iowans on unemployment and 110,000 unfilled jobs. We are shifting our focus to get Iowans to work to fill those jobs and strengthen our workforce. Governor Reynolds committed to the people of Iowa to address this shortage of workers to help businesses prosper. Governor Reynolds has the goal of re-employing the people of this great state and getting back to work.
Last session, we heard parents’ concerns with school closures and online education being forced upon their children during the COVID-19 pandemic. House Republicans answered the call and got students back in the classroom and worked on solutions to remove race-based stereotyping from the curriculum. Despite our success, there is still work to be done. This session, House Republicans are focused on creating greater transparency in the classroom and returning power to parents to ensure that their child is receiving the best education every Iowan deserves. We have the goal of giving parents a voice of what their students read in the library and what fills their mind. Our vision is permitting parents to be more involved in their children’s education. Providing parents with more choice and control in their children’s education will remain a top priority for House Republicans this session.
It has been among my greatest honors serving in House District 5, however, after redistricting I will be living in House District 3. I am proud to announce that I will be running for re-election for this seat. I look forward to getting to know and working with some of my new constituents. As always please feel free to contact me.
Representative Tom Jeneary
Taylor Times By State Senator Jeff Taylor
The 2022 session of the Iowa General Assembly began on Monday, January 10. I look forward to doing my best to serve the residents of Senate District 2, and all Iowans, with the assistance of clerk Marce Huhn (pictured).
The first week of session involves speeches by legislative leaders, the chief justice, and the governor. These speeches are important parts of the legislative session and they inform us about the goals of each caucus and branch of government. On Monday, I was finally able to see, up-close, the beautiful State Law Library in the Capitol.
This week we also had introductory committee meetings to set the stage for the coming weeks. Senators will have a number of bills and issues to consider over the next few months. As we work through them, please feel free to contact me with questions or concerns. My email address is Jeff.Taylor@legis.iowa.gov. Also, if you’re coming to Des Moines and would like to get together at the Capitol (Monday-Thursday), please let me know. I will serve on five committees this session: Education, Judiciary, Labor & Business Relations, Natural Resources & Environment, and Ways & Means (taxation).
Tuesday I attended a legislative reception sponsored by the Iowa Association of Electric Cooperatives and the Iowa Communications Alliance, among other groups. I talked with Doug Boone, Ryan Boone, and Lisa Koerselman of Premier Communications, and with Rob Driesen and Doug Becker of North West Rural Electric Cooperative. Premier is headquartered in Sioux Center. Rob lives in Sioux County, Doug in Plymouth County. Tuesday I also met with Kevin Boeve (vice president of Premier Bank in Rock Valley, which has also branches in Lyon County), did a phone interview with KLEM Radio of Le Mars, and did a Zoom meeting with Sioux County Farm Bureau.
On the first day back, we listened to a speech by Senate Majority Leader Jack Whitver. He discussed many of the issues we have heard about over the last several months: lowering taxes, growing Iowa’s workforce, and keeping Iowa one of the best states in which to live. In the words of Senator Whitver, “Recently, Iowa was rated as one of the best states for opportunity. We were named the state in the strongest position to withstand the Covid pandemic and we were also named the fastest state to recover from it. After five years of a Republican trifecta, Iowa’s success is no longer subjective—it’s objective.”
We know that the policies enacted over the last several years have been good for Iowans and their families. We’ve seen successes from these policies and want to continue building on these successes. It is no secret that Senate Republicans in the legislature are dedicated to meaningful and permanent tax relief this legislative session.
In her Condition of the State speech, on Tuesday evening, Governor Reynolds talked about tax relief, workforce concerns, and child care needs. She pointed out that the Bright Start Daycare and Preschool of Hull “will expand its facility to help cut the current waitlist of 67 children” as a result of a state Childcare Challenge grant. Kristen Niemeyer, Kelsi Van Leeuwen, and Jessica Bonestroo were in the gallery as the Governor called attention to their plans.
On October 28, 2021, during a special session of the General Assembly, we approved LSA’s second set of proposed redistricting maps for the U.S. House and the State Legislature. We also enacted a statute that was a partial solution to the problem of Covid vaccine mandates being forced on many employees in our state by both the federal government and some Iowa employers. The law says that an employer must waive the vaccine requirement if an exemption is requested by an employee on either religion or health grounds. This means the employer cannot sit in judgment of the request and cannot create additional hurdles. In the Senate, HF 902 passed 45-4, with 100% of Republicans and 72% of Democrats voting for it.
This law does not solve all of the problems associated with Covid medical coercion. Some employers will discriminate against the non-vaccinated by requiring masks or weekly testing. I would like to see additional legislation, during the 2022 session, to protect workers and sensible employers.
I applaud Governor Reynolds and other conscientious state executives for filing lawsuits challenging the federal government’s unconstitutional and unnecessary mandates. I was also happy when the Iowa Labor Commissioner announced, last week, “Iowa OSHA will not be enforcing the federal OSHA Vaccine Mandate. Iowa employers and their employees are not required to comply with the federal OSHA Vaccine Mandate.” This was appropriate application of the Tenth Amendment by state government.
On January 13, 2022, the U.S. Supreme Court struck down the OSHA mandate. This was an important victory for the Constitution, for individual freedom, and for common sense. Unfortunately, the Court incorrectly decided to allow medical coercion to be used against health care workers. Workers’ rights, health care privacy, and informed consent (freely given) for medical treatment are important concepts that should be respected in Iowa. Our state motto is “Our liberties we prize and our rights we will maintain.”