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TRADE MISSION: Commodity group leaders and Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Mike Naig recently visited Mexico in an effort to increase exports of manufactured products and agriculture goods.
“Leading trade missions such as this opens doors for Iowa agriculture, deepens important relationships and allows us to explore new market opportunities for Iowa,” said Naig, a Republican running for re-election. “Mexico continues to be a critically important export destination for Iowa agriculture as our farmers remain focused on delivering quality, consistent and affordable products to customers around the world.”
Iowa companies exported $3.1 billion in goods to Mexico in 2021. Mexico is Iowa’s third-largest export destination overall and the second-leading export market for corn, pork and soybeans.
Iowa exported $824 million in corn, $451 million in pork and $350 million in soybeans to Mexico in 2021. In addition, Mexico is Iowa’s largest destination for animal feed and sugars. In 2021, Mexico imported $324 million in animal feed and $203 million in sugars from Iowa.
Mission participants included members of the Iowa Beef Industry Council, Iowa Corn, Iowa Pork Producers Association, Iowa Soybean Association, protein industry representatives and IEDA staff.
JUDICIAL NOMINATING COMMISSIONS: The Iowa House and Senate took up similar legislation making changes to the judicial nominating process for district court judges. However, the key difference could be a sticking point.
The Senate approved Senate File 2132 that would change the makeup of the commissions that nominate district-level judges. It would remove a judge as chair of the commission, and replace that person with an individual appointed by the governor. It was approved on a party-line 32-15 vote.
Sen. Nate Boulton, D-Des Moines, said the proposal weakens the concept of a fair and independent judiciary. Sen. Julian Garrett, R-Indianola, said judges as chairpersons have too much influence on the commissions, and said sometimes the judges chairing the commissions act inappropriately. He cited a recent example in Fort Dodge, where a judge was accused of favoring a candidate and presenting misleading information about another.
House File 2481 passed on a nearly party-line vote after it was amended to remove the language the Senate approved. It would increase the number of people recommended for appointment to the bench from three to five to give the governor more options, Rep. Steve Holt, R-Denison, said. It also would allow judges from a county contiguous to a judicial district where there is an opening to apply for the judgeship, which Holt said could increase the number of applicants.
Rep. Mary Wolfe, D-Clinton, said she was “hell no” on the bill until the language giving the governor more control of the judicial nominating process was removed.
However, she voted against the House bill, which was approved 58-33 with one Democratic vote.
— Compiled by the Des Moines Bureau