Home News KLEM News for Monday, April 29

KLEM News for Monday, April 29


Majority Republicans in the just-ended Iowa legislature passed one of their biggest budget priorities: a reduction in the state income tax rate. State Representative Tom Jeneary of Le Mars says the uniform rate was reduced even less than what the governor proposed.


That’s lower than the 3.9 percent rate in the original bill.
There’s also rules in the bill to adjust property tax rates as property values change.
Rep. Jeneary says rules which trigger property tax cuts could adversely affect the budgets of smaller communities.


Rep Jeneary says this levy issue affecting small communities will require regular monitoring in the future.

Iowa lawmakers passed an 8.9 billion dollars budget, but will spend 88% of it. Rep. Jeneary of Le Mars explains how the surplus will be used.


Jeneary supports lower income tax rates, but he’s skeptical the plan will completely eliminate the state income tax.


Jeneary says in the future, the legislature might have to raise sales or property taxes if they can’t offset the income tax.

Elementary schools in Plymouth and Woodbury counties have been awarded grants to expand their before-school and after-school programs. Kingsley Elementary School, and two in Sioux City, Leeds and Irving elementary schools, will receive Learning Beyond the Bell grants from the Iowa Department of Education. The department is leveraging additional federal money to make 6 million dollars available for these grants. 67 school districts in Iowa will receive Learning Beyond the Bell grants.


The experts say at least 17 tornadoes touched down in Iowa on Friday afternoon and evening, including perhaps a half-dozen that are classified as E-F-2s, with winds up to 135 miles an hour. Meteorologist Craig Cogil, at the National Weather Service, says it may be several days before they have a complete tornado tally. Multiple teams are evaluating the damage, which Cogil says includes in-person surveys, as well as reviewing the radar data, satellite imagery, and videos.

The Omaha office issued 42 tornado warnings on Friday for its region of Nebraska and Iowa, while Cogil says the Johnston office issued perhaps another two dozen for western and central Iowa. He says they’re trained to handle such tense situations where seconds can mean a tremendous difference to anyone who may be in harm’s way.

There have been situations in recent years where National Weather Service staffers in Iowa had to leave their posts because tornadoes were heading directly for them.

Friday’s severe weather marks the second tornado outbreak in Iowa this month. On April 16th, there were 13 tornadoes that touched down in the state, so we’ve had roughly 30 twisters so far. Cogil says there’s no way to know what’s coming in the rest of the tornado season ahead.

He cautions, tornadoes can strike any time of the day or night and during any month of the year.



Local crews from Northwest Iowa Power Cooperative were dispatched following the tornadoes Friday to restore electricity to the southern part of the NIPCO system.

Angela Catton, manager of member relations and development at NIPCO, said crews worked through the weekend to restore power to areas where tornadic activity caused widespread damage and outages:


Catton says the local crews regrouped early Saturday morning, and men and trucks rolled out again to continue repairing several downed structures and lines:


Going into Sunday morning, Iowa ranked first in the nation with 52 reported tornadoes so far in 2024. Ohio was second and Nebraska third.

picture courtesy NIPCO



The 2024 Iowa Legislature adjourned ten days ago, after a 20-hour session to finish budget bills.  House 3rd District Rep. Tom Jeneary of Le Mars says there wasn’t time to consider a number of house priority bills.

One bill that did not pass was new rules on the use of eminent domain on carbon capture pipeline projects.


Rep. Jeneary has been opposed to this practice since state regulators were asked by pipeline companies to consider it.


Jeneary says this is one issue that will remain before lawmakers for years to come.



High school students got a chance to explore careers with the Iowa National Guard’s 185th Air Wing. Tech Sergeant Adam Allen is one of the guard’s recruiters.


Allen says most of the jobs are part-time, but there are also some 300 fulltime jobs as well.


Sergeant Bluff Luton senior Emmalie Gamble says the Air Guard is an option for her future.


Careers in the National Guard allow members to attend drill on training weekends, plus two weeks each year, while also attending college or working fulltime at a civilian job.



Motorists caught ignoring crossing gates and flashing lights and illegally driving across railroad tracks will see heftier fines.  These locations are called “quiet zones.” Trains approaching railroad crossings in these zones are not required to sound the horn, in an effort to reduce noise in urban settings. Senator Tom Shipley of Nodaway says doubling the fine for illegally crossing train tracks in an Iowa “quiet zone” will hopefully be a deterrent.


Cities are able to install flashing lights and gates to establish a “quiet zone” at a railroad crossing, but Representative Derek Wulf of Hudson says it’s expensive.


The fine, starting July 1st, will be five-hundred-20 dollars for illegally driving through a railroad crossing in a quiet zone when the warning lights are on. Fifteen Iowa cities have “quiet” railroad crossings, including Sioux City and Sergeant Bluff.