LEWIS AND CLARK EXPANDS
Hull and Sioux Center this week celebrated their connection to the Lewis and Clark Regional Water system. But technically, they were the first to receive Lewis and Clark water. Executive Director Troy Larson says back before the system became operational, The water system connected the two communities.
That connection wasn’t permanent, but it is now in use.
Sioux Center and Hull became the 19th and 20th communities to be connected to the system. The remaining three – Sheldon and Sibley Iowa, and Madison South Dakota, – should be connected by 2025.
Trial for David Jack Diaz, who is the accused in the death of a Sioux City woman in a motor vehicle accident, will take place September 12, in Plymouth County District Court. Diaz, 31, of Sioux City, plead not guilty this week to vehicular homicide and first offense OWI. Authorities say Diaz was driving south on US 75 at 81 miles per hour last June 7th, when he crashed into the rear of a car that had slowed to turn at C70 in Plymouth County. A rear seat passenger, 45 year old Ermiohne Hoswa of Sioux City, died at the scene of the crash. The driver, 22 year old Uzael Abraham of Sioux City, was injured. Diaz’ blood alcohol content was .159 percent.
LEGISLATIVE SESSION ENDS
The 2023 Iowa legislature wrapped up today with the Republican majority approving a series of their priorities. Senate Republican Leader Jack Whitver says they wanted to work on school choice, parental empowerment, and property taxes with the huge assessments coming. Whitver believes they were able to get all of those things accomplished and it was a very successful year. Democrats say Republicans have left two BILLION dollars in the taxpayer relief fund and even more tax revenue remains unspent and House Democratic Leader Jennifer Konfrst (KON-first) says it could have been used on key priorities, like water quality.
Republicans in the legislature have sent the governor a bill they say will secure Iowa’s first-in-the-nation Caucuses. It will require participants attend the precinct meetings in person. Democrats in the House and Senate opposed the bill, saying it will derail their plan to have mail-in voting for their party’s 2024 Caucuses. Senate Democratic Leader Zach Wahls (like “walls”) says the bill is petty, partisan and flagrantly unconstitutional.
Republicans like Senator Jeff Taylor of Sioux Center say New Hampshire’s secretary of state will move his state’s Presidential Primary ahead of Iowa’s Caucuses, if Democrats use mail-in balloting.
Taylor, who’s a political science professor at Dordt University, says mail-in voting raises all sorts of security issues.
Wahls says there’s no meaningful distinction between the straw poll that Republicans hold on Caucus night and the Democrats’ mail in concept.
Governor Reynolds has expressed support for the concepts in the bill.
PROPERTY TAX RELIEF PASSES
Governor Kim Reynolds says the 2023 legislative session has set Iowa on a new path, starting with what she calls transformational education reform. At the end of this month, low income parents of private school students can start applying for 76-hundred dollars in state money to cover tuition and other costs. Republicans passed that policy four months ago. The 2023 legislative session concluded shortly after 12:30 Thursday afternoon. A couple of hours later, Republican legislators gathered in the Capitol rotunda to watch Governor Reynolds sign a bill providing an estimated 100 million dollars in property tax. Democrats say they’re thrilled property owners, especially elderly Iowans, will see relief, but they’ll be monitoring implementation to make sure cities and counties aren’t forced to cut essential services.
PIPELINE SURVEY RULING
An District Court Judge has ruled that an Iowa law allowing hazardous liquid pipeline companies to enter private land to conduct surveys is unconstitutional. The ruling came in a lawsuit by Navigator against a landowner who wouldn’t let surveyors onto his land near the northwest Iowa town of Sioux Rapids. Omaha-based Navigator wants to build a pipeline that would capture carbon dioxide from ethanol and fertilizer plants and send it to another location to be stored underground. Navigator and Summit Carbon Solutions of Iowa have sued landowners unwilling to allow surveyors onto their property. A Navigator spokesperson issued a statement saying the the company plans to appeal the ruling.