PIPELINE BILL – SENATE
A carbon capture pipeline was passed out of the Iowa House with great fanfare, but it won’t move in the Senate.
Second District State Senator Jeff Taylor says it’s a different bill than what was considered earlier in the House…
…yet it’s still a bill he can support.
Taylor doesn’t expect the bill to go far in his chamber.
There were several provisions which were taken out of the House bill that he thought would give it more influence over pipeline construction…
A third provision would have required the state Utilities Board to consider local bodies who have concerns over safety and property rights.
Most likely Taylor says, the issue will stall in the legislature, and the state Utilities Board will consider the permit applications; or opponents of the pipelines will seek court action against them.,
The key issue in the pipeline proposals are the use of eminent domain to allow the pipeline companies build the lines across the property of farmers or landlords who refuse to grant them permits.
NEW MEDICAID AND SNAP RULES
Republicans in the Iowa legislature are proposing an asset test and a new system to conduct frequent income checks for Iowans who’re enrolled in Medicaid or receiving what are commonly known as food stamps. The 34 Republicans in the Senate approved a bill last week to take those steps. Senator Jeff Edler, a Republican from State Center, says elected officials have a responsibility to ensure tax dollars are being responsibly allocated. Under the Senate-passed bill, Iowans with more than 15-thousand dollars in assets that can quickly be converted to cash, like stocks or a savings account, would no longer be eligible for food stamps. A vehicle or a house would not be included in the asset calculation. A bill under consideration in the House sets up the same asset test, but also includes work requirements and a proposed ban on using food stamps to buy pop or candy. Democrats oppose the changes. Senator William Dotzler, a Democrat from Waterloo, says the proposals feed the fallacy that people getting government food and health care assistance are too lazy to work.
REMSEN UTILITIES REPORT
The State Auditor has released a report on operation of the Remsen Municipal Utilities, and the city of Remsen. Rob Sand says this covers findings of the Utilities receipt and disbursement of taxpayer funds. These findings address issues such as segregation of duties within the utilities, disbursements exceeding budgeted amounts and a questionable disbursement. This covers the 2021-22 fiscal years. Recommendations were made for each of the findings addresses.
Sheldon Police are asking the public for any information regarding a death in the community that is being treated as a homicide. A suspect has been arrested in the case. The Iowa Department of Public Safety says authorities at the O’Brien County Communications Center received a call of a deceased woman at a Sheldon residence. Police found the woman’s body inside the home. Friday, police in Flancreau, South Dakota, arrested a suspect in the case. He is 41 year old Nathaniel Byron Kessel of Rock Rapids, Iowa. He has been charged with one count of Murder in the First Degree, and Felon in Possession of a Firearm, both felony offenses. Sheldon Police and the state DCI are asking anyone with information about this incident to contact them.
A Moville, Iowa man is in custody facing charges after he allegedly assaulted hospital staff who were caring for him. Sioux City Police were dispatched to Mercyone and found 44 year old Alfred Gomez in a confrontation with medical staff. Police say Gomez was assaulting medical staff by stabbing them with a needle he had removed from his I-V, then broke the IV stand in pieces and tied the pieces to his wrists to use as weapons. When officers asked Gomez to stand down, he began throwing objects at them. Police then used pepper spray to subdue Gomez and take him into custody. Gomez sustained minor injuries and was treated by Mercyone staff. He was to be charged with multiple counts of assault including assault on a peace officer and criminal mischief.
IOWA AGRICULTURE IMPORTANT
Iowa is known for its many thousands of acres of fertile farmland which help to feed perhaps millions of people around the world, and a new report details just how valuable the agriculture industry is to the state. Brent Johnson, president of the Iowa Farm Bureau Federation, says the report just confirms what we already know, that agriculture is vital to our state’s economy and identity.
When that 96-and-a-half billion figure is trickled down to Main Street and other industries, he says it quickly more than doubles to nearly 222-billion dollars. Even through the past few years with the pandemic, Johnson says agriculture saw steady gains.
A U-S-D-A study found that between 1948 and 2019, land use for agriculture decreased by 28-percent, while land productivity grew nearly four times, and labor productivity grew more than 10 times. Johnson says farmers are growing significantly more food on less land.
Johnson, a fifth generation farmer in Calhoun County, says the organization continues to strive to find ways to help farmers adapt and improve.
Nationwide, the report shows the U-S food and agriculture sector directly supports nearly 23-million jobs, provides 927-billion dollars in wages and contributes over eight-point-six trillion dollars to the U-S economy, a 22-percent increase since the 2019 report. The annual “Feeding the Economy” report is being released by 25 food and agriculture groups. See the full report at: www.FeedingTheEconomy.com
PARENT’S RIGHT ACT
US Representative Randy Feenstra of Iowa’s Fourth District has voted for a Parents Bill of Rights Act, which affirms parents’ fundamental right to be involved in their children’s education. The House passed the bill, which outlines five key principles which apply to every school which received taxpayer funding. These rights include the right to know what their children are being taught; the right to be heard; the right to see a school’s budget and spending; to protect their child’s privacy and to keep their children safe. Feenstra also supported amendments which were included in the bill. They address notice of cyberattacks which may compromise student or parent information; that federal education funds be block granted to each state; and that parents are to be informed of plans to eliminate Advanced Placement and Dual Enrollment courses.