PLYMOUTH COUNTY TOWN HALL
This Saturday, the four Iowa lawmakers representing Plymouth County will hold an open forum in Merrill. The event is open to everyone in the area, regardless of political party. The lawmakers – State Senators Jeff Taylor of Sioux Center, and Kevin Alons of Salix, and State Representatives Tom Jeneary of Le Mars and Ken Carlson of Onawa – will discuss current legislative topics and take questions from the audience. The event is held at the old Kinsinger elementary school gym at Merrill at 11 am.
Installation of new equipment at the Well’s South Ice Cream Plant in LeMars will cause streets in that area to be shut down Saturday. There’s a new crane rail that will be installed in the freezer. It requires the installation crew to pull it across 18th St SW in order to line it up for installation. Le Mars Street Department has okayed the closure of part of 18th St SW between 6th Ave SW and 12th Ave SW this Saturday, February 18th, frm 7-30 am to 1 pm. Detour signs will be posted.
NURSING HOME CLOSURES
A new report has found the state’s nursing homes are facing significant financial challenges — and there’s been an 11 percent decline in the workforce for Iowa’s senior care services since the start of the pandemic. The report is from LeadingAge Iowa, a group that represents non-profit assisted living centers, home health care services and nursing homes. Nearly eight out of 10 Iowa nursing home managers say they’ve used temp agencies to fill staffing gaps. The report from LeadingAge Iowa found operating costs for providers of aging services increased 16 percent during the past two years. The revenue from patient care, however, rose less than half that amount. The Medicaid program pays for the care of over half of Iowa nursing home residents. If lawmakers don’t raise Medicaid rates, the report from LeadingEdge Iowa concludes there will be an unprecedented wave of nursing home closures. Last year, 17 nursing homes in Iowa closed and — since the beginning of THIS year — five more Iowa nursing homes have announced plans to close. A Rock Rapids nursing home recently closed as a temporary measure, due to staffing issues. Those clients were transferred to a Hull nursing home.
TWEAK CARBON PIPELINE RULES
Governor Kim Reynolds says she’ll have a conversation with House Republicans who’ve proposed regulatory changes for the proposed pipelines for capturing carbon from ethanol plants.
Twenty-two House Republicans, including the House speaker, have introduced a bill with nine different proposals that would impact when, where or even if the pipelines are built. The bill’s lead sponsor says he’s standing up for landowners along the proposed pipeline routes. Reynolds says a current state law spells out how pipeline companies could be granted eminent domain authority to seize property from landowners who don’t sign voluntary easements for the pipeline.
And Reynolds says, as governor, she needs to make sure the state supports adding value to Iowa agricultural products, like corn that’s turned into ethanol.
Reynolds, who spoke briefly with reporters at the statehouse late Thursday, indicated her comments shouldn’t be interpreted as favoring or opposing the House G-O-P bill on pipelines.
Friday, March 3rd is the date of the so-called funnel deadline Reynolds mentioned. Bills that deal with taxes or spending are eligible for consideration at any time. But policy bills — like the pipeline bill — have to be approved by a House or Senate committee or they’re no longer eligible for debate.