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Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52401
In the news
First proposed new maps pop: A redistricting plan released this past week would make major changes to Iowa’s four congressional districts, including putting Linn and Johnson counties in what would become the new 1st District. No current members of the U.S. House are thrown into a district with another incumbent. However, the new map would put Democrats’ challengers in the current 1st and 2nd Districts into the same, new 1st District. The redistricting plan, which will be considered by legislators when they meet in special session Oct. 5, also redraws the 50 Iowa Senate districts and 100 House districts.
FLOTUS visit: First lady Jill Biden made a brief appearance at Des Moines Area Community College in Ankeny, where she stressed the need for the federal government to approve President Joe Biden’s proposals for child care assistance and an extension of the monthly child care tax credit.
Tweet trouble: Democrats and others blasted Iowa freshman Republican U.S. Rep. Mariannette Miller-Meeks for sharing a fake news article from a satirical online news website that falsely claimed Democratic President Joe Biden’s administration was withholding health benefits from unvaccinated veterans.
Afghan evacuees: Iowa is expected to receive 695 Afghan evacuees from the first group of arrivals to be resettled in the United States. The Iowa Department of Human Services said in a statement that it is working closely with several agencies to coordinate the resettlement of Afghan refugees in Iowa.
They said …
“Within Iowa, there are not too many pediatric ICU beds in the state.”
— University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics CEO Suresh Gunasekaran, on the surge of both COVID and non-COVID patients stressing Iowa’s health care system
“When we reject money, we’re impoverishing Iowans.”
— Iowa auditor Rob Sand, on a report that Iowa has only distributed 4.6 percent of emergency rental assistance funds it was allotted
Odds and ends
Honoring military: U.S. Sen. Joni Ernst and U.S. Rep. Ashley Hinson, both Iowa Republicans, are leading an effort to honor American military members who served in Afghanistan.
Derecho damage: Iowans lost an estimated $20 million in annual benefits from the state’s urban tree canopy that was damaged by the derecho in August 2020, according to a report from the Iowa Department of Natural Resources.
Gambling revenue: Iowans got a brief taste of college football last month, which helped boost legal sports wagering to $108.42 million, according to data issued by the state Racing and Gaming Commission.
The water cooler
SOS candidate: Eric Van Lancker, the Clinton County auditor, a previous president of the Iowa State Association of County Auditors and a Democrat, announced his campaign for Iowa Secretary of State.
Workforce roundtables: Iowa Workforce Development announced more than 25 workforce roundtables to be held across the state this fall in an effort to partner with business in addressing the state’s workforce shortage.
Broadband grants: Gov. Kim Reynolds and the Office of the Chief Information Officer on Tuesday announced 39 recipients of $97.5 million in Empower Rural Iowa Broadband Grant Program funds.
More in the news
Judge blocks ban on mask requirements: A federal judge ordered Iowa to immediately halt enforcement of a law passed in May that prevents school boards from ordering masks to be worn to help prevent the spread of COVID-19. Judge Robert Pratt said in an order signed Monday that the law substantially increases the risk of several children with health conditions of contracting COVID-19. Several parents and The Arc of Iowa, a group that defends the civil rights of people with intellectual and developmental disabilities, sued the state.
COVID death: An Iowa woman whose husband died from a breakthrough COVID-19 infection is blaming Americans who refuse to mask or get vaccinated. “It’s that kind of attitude that killed my husband,” Ardith Keplinger, whose husband, Gary Keplinger, of Mount Ayr, was buried this month, told the Des Moines Register.
Settlement funds: Iowa Attorney General Tom Miller said he wants financial proceeds from settlements with opioid manufacturers and distributors named in multistate lawsuits to be directed toward treatment, recovery and abatement efforts to address addictions that claimed at least 213 lives in Iowa last year.
Strike authorization: Deere & Co. employees under the United Auto Workers Local 865 union voted to pass strike authorization. The vote does not indicate that Deere employees will strike, just that they are now authorized to do so if they feel it is necessary amid contract negotiations, which started in August.