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Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52401
In the news
Court rules on mask mandates in schools: A new state law that prohibits Iowa schools from requiring all students or staff to wear face masks can go into effect after a federal appeals court Monday lifted a temporary injunction.
Two of the judges on a three-member federal appeals court lifted the injunction because they said it is no longer relevant, given the significant reduction in COVID-19 transmission in Iowa since the challenge was filed in fall 2021.
In May 2021, Gov. Kim Reynolds signed into law the legislation that prohibits Iowa districts from requiring students and staff to wear face masks at school.
Mobile homeowner protection: New, limited protections for Iowa mobile homeowners who rent their lots will become law after Gov. Kim Reynolds signed off on the legislation Tuesday. The new law requires an extra month’s notice of a rent increase or when a landlord cancels the lease agreement.
Advocates have said the new requirements do not go far enough to add protections for mobile homeowners, and thus do little to address the recent proliferation of out-of-state companies that have purchased mobile home lots and parks and increased rent and fees on tenants.
They said …
“I’ve been here 20 years, and this is probably the least amount of meetings we’ve had.” — Sen. Amanda Ragan, a Democrat from Mason City and a longtime member of the health and human services budget committee, about the budgeting process in the Legislature.
“This is a really big deal. As a farmer here in the state of Iowa, this bill means a lot to me. Ethanol means a lot to me.” — Will Cannon, a farmer and a member of the Iowa Corn Growers Association, about a law requiring gas stations to offer the E15 blend of ethanol.
Odds and ends
Senate race: Democrat Abby Finkenauer is headed to Iowa TV stations with her first campaign ad in Iowa’s U.S. Senate race. Finkenauer is a former congresswoman and state legislator from Cedar Rapids. She is one of three Democrats running in the June 7 primary.
Park damaged: It will cost over $200,000 to rebuild a Vinton park that was burned down last weekend in an apparent arson, according to a video posted to Facebook by the director of the Vinton Parks and Recreation Department.
Goats on the go: A herd of goats is working on clearing vegetation in a four-acre section along the access road at Tom Hanafan River’s Edge Park in Council Bluffs. The goats will need 15 to 20 days to complete the task.
Rare endorsement: In a maneuver rarely seen in Iowa politics, Gov. Kim Reynolds on Wednesday endorsed the opponent of a sitting state legislator and fellow Republican. On the first day Iowans could vote in the June 7 primary, Reynolds endorsed Barb Kniff McCulla, a Republican who is running for the Iowa House in the new 37th District, which includes portions of Mahaska, Marion and Jasper counties. Reynolds endorsed McCulla even though Iowa Rep. Jon Thorup, a state trooper from Knoxville who is serving his second term in the House, also is running in the district.
More in the news
State lawmakers move budget bills: The next, roughly $8.2 billion state budget is being crafted as state lawmakers returned to work Wednesday for the first time in more than two weeks.
It’s a signal that not only should state government receive in a timely fashion the plans for next year’s budget, which starts July 1, but also that state legislators are preparing to adjourn the 2022 legislative session.
Still unknown is the fate of one piece of legislation hanging over the session: Gov. Kim Reynolds’ proposal for taxpayer-funded scholarships for private school tuition assistance.
Guilty verdict: After just two hours of deliberation, a Hamilton County jury Monday found Michael Lang of Grundy Center guilty of first-degree murder for killing Iowa State Patrol Sgt. Jim Smith during a standoff at his home in 2021.
Silver City misdeeds: The former city clerk in Silver City is accused of misappropriating more than $66,000 of the town’s funds, according to a report released by the state auditor Tuesday. The report alleges that Artema Gray, who worked for Silver City in southwest Iowa from May 2017 to April 2021, made $61,730 in improper disbursements, including more than $42,000 in personal purchases using the city’s credit card.