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Gazette Daily News Podcast, March 16
This is Stephen Schmidt from the Gazette Digital News Desk, and I’m here with your update for Thursday, March 16.
Don't forget your umbrella Thursday, although you might want to hang onto it tight. According to the National Weather Service there will be a 90 percent chance of rain in the Cedar Rapids area, with the highest probability of rainfall being between noon and 10pm It will also be windy, with gusts as high as 30 mph during the day, and up to 45 mph during the evening. The high temperature will be 45 degrees, with a low around 20 degrees. The main good news is more snow is being deemed unlikely this go around
Birth control pills, contraceptive patches and vaginal rings would be available to Iowans from a pharmacist without a prescription under legislation approved Wednesday by the Iowa Senate — including by Republican lawmakers who previously rejected the proposal.
If it becomes law, Iowa would join 17 other states and the District of Columbia in legalizing the dispensing of birth control without a prescription, according to the Guttmacher Institute, a nonprofit organization that researches and advocates on women’s reproductive health care policies.
The proposal covers only birth control, not drugs designed to induce an abortion.
Iowa Sen. Jeff Edler, a Republican from State Center who has been overseeing the bill, said during debate that the entire bill “continues to expand the access of health care to Iowans.” After debate, he declined a request to comment on the amendment that added birth control.
Senate Democrats were pleased to see and support the amendment.
House Republicans are scheduled Monday morning to hold a legislative hearing on their version of Gov Kim Reynolds’ maternal health care bill, House File 427, which still includes the birth control provision that the senate initially removed.
According to reporting from the Quad-City Times, federal approval has been secured for a train merger that is expected to deliver considerably more train traffic to several cities in Eastern Iowa.
The Surface Transportation Board, a federal regulatory authority, announced its decision Wednesday, clearing the way for the merger of Canadian Pacific and Kansas City Southern to create the first single-line freight rail network connecting Mexico, the United States and Canada.
This is the first major rail merger in 25 years, Chairman Martin Oberman said in a news conference Wednesday. The board determined combined rail lines would bring economic and environmental benefits to the country, which outweighed what he billed as minor local concerns.
The merger is expected to divert more than 64,000 truckloads from the roads to rail each year because of increased efficiencies of the single-line railway, which means train traffic is expected to gradually increase over several years along the route.