TAYLOR – BUDGET/NON-PRESCRIPTION EPI-PENS, CONTRACEPTIVES
The Iowa Senate last week passed a bill that would make insulin and contraceptives more readily available. District 2 State Senator Jeff Taylor says Senate File 326 would allow pharmacies to dispense EpiPens without a precription. It also allows self-administered hormonal contraceptives to be available to women 18 years and older without a prescription. Senator Taylor says EpiPens should not have limited availability to those who need them in an emergency. He also says the contraceptives covered by this law must be to prevent pregnancy, and most inteded to induce an abortion.
Iowa Senate Republicans released their budget target for this year. Second District State Senator Jeff Taylor reported March Revenue Estimating Conference meeting last week. Their estimate will help lawmakers form the state’s new budget. The Conference board the state’s budget and revenue, confirming state income is in line with the majority’s budget priorities. The budget target for the 2023-24 fiscal year is $8.486 billion, a 3.3% increase in state spending. That’s also the same target as the governor. Taylor says that outlook will fit plans for policy, and also the Republican’s tax relief plans.
PENCE – TRUMP INDICTMENT
Former Vice President Mike Pence says the potential arrest of former President Donald Trump is politically motivated and Pence says that’s deeply troubling. Pence spoke with reporters in Iowa shortly after Trump announced he expected to be arrested Tuesday in connection with a New York grand jury probe — and Trump called for protests. Pence says he respects the right of every American to speak their mind and express frustration about the situation, but Pence says there can be no tolerance for the kind of violence seen on January 6th or throughout the summer of 2020. Pence was in Des Moines for a discussion about foreign policy. Pence said as the leader of the free world, the U.S. must support Ukraine to ensure peace in eastern Europe. Pence said he’s met Vladimir Putin and anybody that thinks Vladimir Putin is going to stop if Russia takes Ukraine is misjudging Putin.
EXPERIENCING HEALTH DAY
Floyd Valley Healthcare is hosting a one day program for high school students interested in health care as a career field. It’s called Experience Health Day. It will take place tomorrow. Students will visit, and participate with several clinical departments at Floyd Valley Healthcare. They will also hold discussions with staff to learn more about aspects of various medical jobs; college requirements; salary ranges, and hear personal stories about career experiences. For more information contact Marlys Van Otterloo in Floyd Valley Healthcare’s Education Department, 546-3388.
SMALL FARM NUMBERS DWINDLING
An Iowa State University study finds the size and number of small farms in Iowa dwindled in the past decade, while the size and number of commercial farms exploded. Professor David Peters, an extension rural sociologist at I-S-U, defines a small farm as being about 300 acres.
In the report “Rural Iowa at a Glance, Farm Trends,” small farms are vanishing and the big farms are getting bigger. Peters says whether that’s a good thing or a bad thing depends on your point of view.
Peters says the study also reflects a sharp rise in net farm incomes between 2020 and 2021, which he says was a surprise. Net farm incomes increased across all farm commodities in Iowa, as well as all farm sizes and classes.
There are about 83-thousand farms in Iowa and about 70-percent of them are places to live, not places to make a living. That’s important, Peters says, as the majority of farms in Iowa are now operated by people who do -not- make the majority of their income from farming.
While corn, soybean and hog farms have seen steady growth, poultry farms have seen income dips due to disease outbreaks, while Peters says there’s also concern for the cattle and dairy sectors. See the full report at:
RADICAL SHIFTS IN CHINA
The author of a new book contrasting first-hand accounts of China in the 1980s versus the modern era will be in Des Moines for an event tonight (Monday). Patti Isaacs first visited China in 1981 on a one-year contract to teach English at a small university, and people were still wearing uniform clothing during the last days of communism. Twenty-four years later, Isaacs returned to that same university to teach English — and to do research for her book, “The Second Long March, Memoir from a Witness to China’s Transformation.” She says the changes were astonishing between 1981 and 2005, as high rises and a high-tech zone had sprung up. Isaacs says the book aims to dispell stereotypes and provide stories of “regular people” in China. She says national pride is growing for some, while others feel modernization robbed China of its soul.
WINTER PAVEMENT REPAIRS
If you’ve hit some rough stretches on state highways, you are not alone. The Iowa Transportation Commission has approved amending its budget to spend 15 million dollars on weather repairs. The D-O-T’s Stuart Anderson says there’s been an above normal number of freeze-thaw cycles this winter that are causing issues. Anderson says they checked with maintenance districts across the state and believe this money will help take care of some of the issues.
Anderson says the Transportation Commission took the same action and spent 12 million in winter repairs in 2019. He says there are issues across the state and the money will be spread evenly among the maintenance districts.
The D-O-T’s chief engineer, Mitch Dillavou (Dill-uh-voo) says the conditions have been the worst you can get for pavement.
He says his perfect winter conditions for pavement are when the temperature drops and stays the same and there’s not a lot of melting water or rain that gets into pavement cracks. Dillavou says the older pavement has more problems.
Anderson says the 15 million dollars will be moved out of the next fiscal year budget to allow them to handle the repairs as soon as they can.