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Gazette Daily News Podcast, March 15
This is Stephen Schmidt from the Gazette Digital News Desk, and I’m here with your update for Wednesday, March 15.
It'll be warm and breezy on Wednesday, almost enough to make you think Spring is coming soon. According to the National Weather Service there will be a high near 54 degrees in the Cedar Rapids area. Clouds will increase throughout the day, with wind gusts as high as 25 mph. Wednesday night the wind will die down just slightly, and the low temperature will come in around 44 degrees.
Collins Aerospace is pursuing a $22 million expansion of its northeast Cedar Rapids campus to begin the production of microchips.
The Cedar Rapids City Council on Tuesday awarded $1.05 million in financial incentives to support the project for Collins, a division of Raytheon Technologies, to renovate an existing building on its campus between Collins Road and Blairs Ferry Road NE.
The company will use the building to develop and manufacture microchip technologies for Collins Aerospace communications products, with production expected to grow.
To receive the financial incentives from the city, the company must retain 25 existing employees and create no fewer than 16 additional full-time employees. The at least 41 employees have to be paid at or above the high-quality jobs wage threshold of $25.20 an hour.
A roughly 1,600-page government reorganization bill filed by Gov. Kim Reynolds could be headed to her desk for her signature by the end of the week — without significant amendment.
The House Appropriations Committee on Tuesday passed House File 662, a companion to Senate File 514, on a largely party-line vote, with Republicans in favor.
Among other provisions, the bill would shrink the number of Cabinet-level state agencies from 37 to 16 and create more agency leaders who are appointed by the governor and subject to Iowa Senate confirmation, rather than being elected by state boards or commissions.
Democrats called the bill a “power grab” by the governor, arguing the bill will reduce government oversight and hurt the quality of government services for some Iowans.
Reynolds has said she's not trying to accumulate power, and that the move is intended to reduce the size and cost of government and to increase efficiency.
All diversity, equity and inclusion programs at Iowa’s public universities will undergo a “comprehensive” review, and no new DEI programs will be allowed to start during the review, the state board that governs the three schools announced Tuesday.
Iowa Board of Regents President Michael Richards issued the statement Tuesday as Republican state lawmakers are proposing legislation that would prohibit Iowa’s public universities from funding workers for diversity, equity and inclusion programs.
The proposal being considered in the Iowa Legislature would prohibit Iowa’s public universities from funding DEI staff positions, and would allow students, staff or alumni to take legal action over a violation.
Conservatives in Iowa — and across the country — have decried DEI programs as the teaching of liberal ideology to college students.