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Gazette Daily News Podcast, March 21
This is Stephen Schmidt from the Gazette Digital News Desk, and I’m here with your update for Tuesday, March 21.
Most of Tuesday should be cloudy, but on Tuesday night heading into Wednesday the chances for rain should pick up. According to the National Weather Service it will be mostly cloudy in the Cedar Rapids area for much of the day on Tuesday, with a high of 51 degrees. After 2 p.m. there will be a 30 percent chance of rain, while Tuesday night the chance will creep up to 50 percent. The low is expected to be near 40 degrees.
A prisoner and three staff members at the Anamosa State Penitentiary were taken to the hospital Saturday night after being exposed to an “unknown substance” at the prison.
At about 11:30 p.m., security and medical staff responded to a medical emergency in one of the prison’s living units and found a prisoner unresponsive in his cell, according to a news release from the Iowa Department of Corrections.
“Although staff did not observe any obvious substances when they entered the cell, the inmate appeared to be under the influence of an unknown substance,” the Corrections Department reported.
They transported the prisoner to a hospital, where his condition stabilized. The Corrections Department has since returned him to Anamosa.
Three staff who responded to the emergency and “were also exposed to the unknown substance” became ill and were seen by the on-site medical team.
Staff administered Narcan, a drug that reverses a drug overdose by blocking the effects of opioids, to the prisoner and the staff members as a precautionary measure.
The Corrections Department restricted movement at the prison Monday and prohibited visitors to allow a “large-scale search of the prison for illegal contraband” after two other incarcerated men were found unresponsive in their cells Sunday morning in, what the agency believes, is an unrelated incident.
Iowa House Democrats called for strong protections for abortion rights Monday, unveiling proposed legislation that would enshrine abortion rights in the state constitution and expand family planning resources.
In the bills they say they plan to: Amend Iowa’s Constitution to guarantee the right to an abortion and other reproductive health care, allow people to access birth control pills and some other forms of contraceptive without a prescription, extend Medicaid postpartum coverage from 60 days to 12 months, and restore family planning programs under Medicaid.
The effort, which comes after a deadline for most proposed bills to be passed out of a legislative committee, is unlikely to advance in the Republican-controlled Iowa House and Senate, but it’s one of a few key pieces of legislation House Democrats have announced this year to draw contrast with the majority party.