PREGNANCY TERMINATION BILL
The Iowa legislature has passed a bill responding to the case of a Storm Lake man accused of forcing his wife to take medication to end two pregnancies. Tony Wangmeng Lee was convicted of assault and tampering with a witness, but in 2017 the Iowa Court of Appeals dismissed his conviction for terminating a pregnancy without consent. Lee’s wife told police her husband had forced her to take pills on five different occasions, ending two pregnancies. Representative Sandy Salmon of Janesville described the case during House debate.
The House unanimously endorsed the bill two months ago. It cleared the Senate this week on a 47-to-zero vote. Senator Jeff Taylor of Sioux Center — the only Senator to speak about the bill — didn’t mention Lee’s case.
Lee was arrested in October of 2014, shortly after his wife filed for divorce and told police her estranged husband was threatening her and previously forced her to end two pregnancies. Court records show Lee went to Laos in 2010 to marry the woman and she could not read, write or speak English when she arrived in the U.S. in 2011. According to the Iowa Department of Corrections, Lee served two years in prison and was released in 2017, several months after the Court of Appeals ruling that reversed his felony conviction for non-consensual termination of a pregnancy.
FLOYD VALLEY EXPANSION
Floyd Valley Health Care has broken ground on a project to expand their Specialty Clinic and a Therapies addition.
Chief Financial Officer Daryl Friedenbach explains their plans.
Friedenbach says these areas will expand by an additional 12,500 square feet.
The expansion is due to increased demand for these services.
The expansion of one area brings on the need to expand another.
Construction on the addition is already underway.
The entire project will take a little over 18 months.
This 10.4 million dollar project will include a geothermal heating and cooling system. Construction will begin on the building addition in a few weeks. It is planned to be finished by December, 2023.
For the first time ever, E-M-S crews in Sioux City will be required to undergo self defense training. The training will include paramedics, emergency medical technicians, and staff from all three shifts — and includes new hires and those with decades of service. According to the Centers for Disease Control, about two-thousand emergency medical personnel are hurt in “violent incidents” each year while on duty.
SLOW PLANTING PROGRESS
We’re more than a month into spring already, but weather and soil conditions have been far from ideal for Iowa farmers to do much in the way of spring planting. While the ground is not overly wet, soil temperatures are still a bit low. Temperatures this week have roller-coastered from the 20s to the 60s and just last weekend, parts of Iowa got more than four inches of snow. The spring season officially arrived back on March 20th.
Wells Visitor Center and Ice Cream Parlor won two awards at the recent Iowa Tourism Conference. Manager Shannon Rodenburg says the awards – Outstanding Dining Business and People’s Choice – reflect their hard work over the past year.
Rodenburg says the awards give her business impetus to put forward a stronger effort this year in promoting Le Mars.
Some House Republicans are publicly stating their opposition to the governor’s plan to create state scholarships to cover expenses for sending 10-thousand students to a private school. Republican Representative Megan Jones of Sioux Rapids, who is opposed to the bill, says the votes just aren’t there in the House to pass it.
There are more than a dozen private schools in the Des Moines metro, while 42 of Iowa’s 99 counties do not have a private or parochial school. Jones says the 55-million dollar price tag for the governor’s private school scholarships is also a worry.
Jones is vice chair of the legislative committee that meets year-round to oversee state regulations. The Republican chairman of the House Appropriations Committee and a retiring Republican lawmaker from Walcott announced at a forum in the Quad Cities that they are opposed to the spending plan.
The U.S. Transportation Secretary says addressing safety concerns is the highest priority for the three-point-nine BILLION dollars in new federal infrastructure money for Iowa roads, bridges and airports. Secretary Pete Buttigieg (BOOT-ih-judge) spoke with Iowa reporters during an online news conference.
Nearly one in five bridges in Iowa is considered structurally deficient. Buttigieg is holding news conferences around the country to emphasize that 20 percent of the new infrastructure spending is reserved for projects in rural areas — where 19 percent of Americans live.
Buttigieg won Iowa’s 2020 Caucuses, but dropped out of the presidential race a month later and endorsed Joe Biden. Republican Senator Chuck Grassley and Congresswoman Cindy Axne, a Democrat, were the only two members of Iowa’s D.C. delegation who voted for the bipartisan infrastructure bill. Axne says adding money for broadband and water systems, Iowa will receive five BILLION dollars in total as a result of the infrastructure bill.
Axne says she’s grateful to see the infrastructure funding starting to go out the door.
Axne says elected officials, including the governor, should explain the money for infrastructure and other large scale projects came from the bipartisan infrastructure bill as well as the federal pandemic relief packages approved during the Trump and Biden Administrations.
The Biden administration plans to rescind the Trump-era public health order known at Title 42, a move Iowa Senator Chuck Grassley says will make the situation at America’s southern border far worse. Title 42 was enacted in 2020 to keep migrants and those seeking asylum from entering the U-S due to the pandemic. The C-D-C says the measure is no longer needed from a public health standpoint.
Grassley is calling on Senator Dick Durbin, a Democrat from Illinois, to open a hearing about the potential consequences at the southern border if Title 42 is abolished, as planned, in about a month.
It’s not a partisan issue, Grassley says, noting several prominent Democrats have warned rescinding the order will likely exacerbate troubles on the U-S border with Mexico.
In Grassley’s letter to Durbin, he quoted a U-S Border Patrol official saying there are already about 7,000 encounters per day with illegal immigrants crossing the border, and the number is likely to pass the one-million mark in the first six months of the fiscal year. The Biden administration plans to rescind the order on May 23rd.