Home News KLEM News for Saturday, May 6

KLEM News for Saturday, May 6


Iowa’s Legislature adjourned Thursday, working remaining budget bills, and reaching agreement on bills that differed between House and Senate.  Rep. Tom Jeneary of Le Mars said  one of the biggest bills passed before adjournment was a property tax relief bill.  This was written in light of large property tax assessments which were felt statewide.  Rep. Jeneary says the bill will reduce property tax levies to counties two to three percent if assessments grow beyond certain targets.  Plymouth County’s levies are $3.50 for General Basic and $3.95 for Rural Basic.  Cities will see similar rate reductions.  The General Basic City Levy in Plymouth County is $8.10.

State Senator Jeff Taylor of Sioux Center said one of the last bills passed in the Senate requires precinct caucuses to be held in person, rather than by remote connection.  Taylor said a plan to conduct Democratic Party caucuses remotely would turn them into primaries, which would run afoul of New Hampshire’s primaries.



Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Mike Naig says a successful water quality initiative demonstration project is expending into five more Iowa counties, including Woodbury, Ida, and Cherokee.  Naig made the announcement Thursday during an event in Cherokee.  The Iowa Department of Agriculture will work with farmers and landowners to use precision ag tools to identify, build and expand opportunities for forage-based crops where row crops are less profitable.  Since 2016, when the project launched in southwest Iowa, 32,500 acres of cover crops have been planted, 5200 acres of cropland have been converted to forage-based systems, and 32 grade stabilization structures have been constructed. The practices reduce soil erosion and improve water quality.



Sioux Center and Hull became the 19th and 20th communities to be connected to the Lewis and Clark Regional Water System. They waited 30 years for that connection, since it was first envisioned.  Executive Director of Lewis and Clark, Troy Larson, said While the costs seemed high at the time, the system has given great value to its members.

Lewis and Clark started with 59 member communities, but 36 dropped out before the system started construction.  Three remaining members – Sheldon and Sibley Iowa, and Madison South Dakota – should be connected by 2025.



A University of Iowa study finds some pregnant women in rural Iowa quit getting prenatal care when their local hospital closes its birthing center, even if prenatal care is still available. Tom Gruca, a marketing professor in the U-I’s Tippie College of Business, says they studied the impact of the recent closures of labor and delivery units at seven rural Iowa hospitals and found women seeking prenatal care fell from 83- to 79-percent.

The hospitals studied were in Clayton, Emmett, Hamilton, Hardin, Lucas, Osceola and Van Buren counties and they were the only labor and delivery unit in those counties before the closures. Gruca says prenatal care is exceptionally important.

In a worst case scenario, those problems can result in death for the baby, the mother, or both. In recent decades, Iowa has seen birthing centers close at dozens of hospitals, which Gruca calls “striking.”

The majority of those counties are rural, which means expectant mothers often face a long drive to get professional care. There are multiple reasons as to why a hospital may close its birthing center, but Gruca says most of them revolve around money.

As for the reduction in women seeking prenatal care, Gruca says one possible solution would be to set up a central source of information those mothers-to-be could access. Ideally, it would be a place where they could find health care professionals who provide the care they need, and who also accept their insurance.