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Gazette Daily News Podcast, January 10
This is Stephen Schmidt from the Gazette digital news desk and I’m here with your update for Tuesday, January 10.
It'll hover above freezing for much of another day with cloudy skies Tuesday, which will remain a general theme for the week. According to the National Weather Service there will be a high near 36 degrees in the Cedar Rapids area with mostly cloudy skies. On Tuesday night it will be cloudy, with a low of around 28 degrees.
Emboldened by six years of conservative reforms under their belts and multiple elections that expanded their majorities in the Iowa Legislature, Republicans kicked off the 2023 state lawmaking session Monday by promising more conservative action — particularly on K-12 education and property taxes.
The 90th Iowa General Assembly met for the first time at the Iowa Capitol in Des Moines. In the coming months, legislators will consider hundreds of proposals to make changes to Iowa state law.
Republicans pledged action on three main topics: cutting property taxes, routing state funding for K-12 private school student tuition and expanding transparency in K-12 public education.
Republicans plan for a third consecutive year to work on legislation that would set aside state funding for private school tuition assistance. Previous attempts were supported by Gov. Kim Reynolds and passed the Senate, but stalled in the House. Some rural Republicans have not supported the idea of diverting money from public to private schools, for fear of how it would affect rural school districts.
However, during her successful 2022 re-election campaign, Gov. Reynolds supported challengers to incumbent lawmakers in her own party who did not support the private school tuition assistance bill she wants passed.
Iowa House Minority Leader Jennifer Konfrst, of Windsor Heights, reiterated the House Democrats’ position of putting “people over politics” — a message they unveiled during the 2022 campaign — and urged House Republicans to remember the wishes of their constituents.
Konfrst said Democrats will prioritize lowering costs for Iowans, legalizing marijuana, increasing funding for public schools and protecting abortion rights.
The two people who died in a 15-vehicle pileup outside Iowa City on Sunday morning have been identified as Junier Caballero Vernero, of Houston, Texas, and David Mosinski, of Wilton.
Vernero, 37, was a passenger in a semi-trailer truck, and Mosinski, 57, was the driver of a pickup. Eight other people were taken to a hospital with injuries resulting from the crash, according to Trooper Robert Conrad, an Iowa State Patrol public resource officer.
The crash, which involved nine semis and six other vehicles, happened about 5:40 a.m. Sunday on westbound Interstate 80 at the exit for Highway 1 into Iowa City. Iowa State Patrol said the area was fully covered in ice at the time of the crash.