116 3rd St SE
Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52401
In the news
PALO SOLAR: The Linn County supervisors last week gave final approval to rezoning land near Palo for a utility-scale solar farm.
NextEra plans to have the two Palo projects operating by December 2024. Construction is projected to begin in the first quarter of next year. Alliant Energy is seeking state approval to buy the facility and operate it.
NextEra, which has operated in Iowa since 1999 and has 12 wind farms in the state, said it plans to invest $800 million in the project, including $50 million paid to landowners for voluntary easements over the project’s 30-year life span.
The Iowa Utilities Board has approved the projects.
UNIVERSITY BUDGET ASK: The Iowa Board of Regents, which governs the state's three public universities, is seeking $34.7 million in additional state appropriations next year, the largest requested increase in decades.
The board said the rate of inflation, including employee and labor cost, contributed to the high request. If approved, state funding for the regents' schools would increase to $610.5 million next year.
NEW POLITICAL ADS: The pre-election advertising blitz in Iowa picked up steam last week, with U.S. Reps. Mariannette Miller-Meeks and Ashley Hinson, both Republicans, and Republican Gov. Kim Reynolds releasing their first ads of the general election.
Hinson’s ad features an Iowa veteran thanking Hinson for pushing legislation to expand access to mental health services for rural veterans.
Reynolds’ ad focuses on her policy record, including eliminating retirement income tax and strengthening protections for law enforcement. “Here in Iowa, America still works,” the ad says.
Miller-Meeks’ ad highlights her background as an ophthalmologist, noting a medical residency brought her to the state and tells Iowans she “knows your life and fights your fight.” It’s backed by a $2 million buy and will air until Election Day.
Republican U.S. Sen. Chuck Grassley also released a digital ad accusing his Democratic opponent Mike Franken of lying to superior officers. In the ad, a short clip, Franken is shown saying he “inflated” the cost of a military operation in Burundi, fearing the U.S. would become bogged down in the African country.
SENATE TEAMWORK: U.S. Sen. Chuck Grassley said Senate Republicans need “teamwork” to flip the chamber to Republican control in 2022, after a public disagreement between Senate Republican leaders prompted questions about the party’s chances in the midterms.
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell ruffled feathers last month after appearing to doubt “candidate quality” in some Republican races, causing blowback from Sen. Rick Scott, who runs the GOP’s Senate campaign arm.
Grassley said Wednesday he thinks Republicans have “good candidates all over” and he believes the party will take control of the Senate after the November election.
They said …
"We just want to continue to stay focused on the fact that we're not out of the pandemic, and we could see a surge this fall of omicron or another sub-variant too. And what we've seen with the original vaccine is it's very protective against serious illness, hospitalization and death." — University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics Chief Pharmacy Officer Mike Brownlee on the importance new COVID-19 boosters
“I urge all eligible but unregistered Iowans to take just three minutes this month and register to vote. If you’re already registered, make sure the information we have on file is up to date.” — Iowa Secretary of State Paul Pate on registering to vote before the November election
Odds and ends
GOVERNOR DEBATE: Republican incumbent Gov. Kim Reynolds said Tuesday she has accepted an invitation to debate her Democratic opponent, Deidre DeJear, on Iowa PBS. The debate will be broadcast live at 7 p.m. Oct. 17.
GOP AGs BET BIG ON BIRD: The Republican Attorneys General Association contributed $1 million to Republican Iowa attorney general candidate Brenna Bird. Bird faces incumbent Attorney General Tom Miller, a Democrat and the longest-serving attorney general in the United States.
TRAIN MERGER: Quad City-area governments are split on a proposed railway merger between Canadian Pacific and Kansas City Southern that would increase train traffic in the area.
The Scott County supervisors last week sent a letter to the federal Surface Transportation Board in opposition to the merger, joining the city of Camanche in opposing the deal. The supervisors cited higher traffic and noise along the proposed route as a concern.
The city of LeClaire joined other area towns last week in accepting a $750,000 settlement to offset the potential effects of the merger.
IOWANS PRAISE QUEEN: Iowa politicians joined a chorus of global leaders in paying tribute to Queen Elizabeth, Britain’s longest-reigning monarch, who died Thursday at the age of 96.
Gov. Kim Reynolds said the queen was a “remarkable and steadfast woman who fought side by side with the United States through some of the Free World’s most trying times. I’ll always admire her fortitude, love of freedom, and tenacity that has inspired other women in leadership.”
“As queen, she was a tremendous source of stability and clearly loved the people she served. She’ll forever be a symbol of decency and humanity for the whole world. Queen Elizabeth II leaves a remarkable legacy of duty, honor and service,” Sen. Chuck Grassley said.
COVID-19 CASES DROP: Iowa’s new COVID-19 cases dropped to 4,176 in the week ending on Wednesday, down from 4,908 the previous week. The number of people hospitalized in the state increased a bit in that seven-day period, up to 270 from 265 the previous week.