116 3rd St SE
Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52401
DES MOINES — Gov. Kim Reynolds’ nomination of Erik Helland to lead the state’s Public Employment Relations Board faces an uncertain future after a procedural vote Wednesday at the Iowa Capitol.
The nomination of Helland, a former Republican state lawmaker, was approved by the Iowa Senate’s committee on labor and business relations on a 7-4, party-line vote.
Governor’s appointees to state boards and commissions must be confirmed by a vote of approval from at least two-thirds of the Iowa Senate, or 34 votes.
If no Democrats in the Senate vote to confirm Helland’s nomination, it will fail.
“I have problems with his management style, his philosophy of leadership,” Sen. Todd Taylor, a Democrat from Cedar Rapids, said during Wednesday’s committee meeting. “And I have problems with the way the governor has handled this department.”
Taylor expressed concern about Helland drawing a higher salary on the board than the member he replaced, who was a woman and a Democrat. Taylor also cited the fact that the board is not politically balanced as required by state law.
The three-member board currently has only two members, both of whom are Republican. Reynolds has not appointed a third member to the board.
Helland has been serving on the board since Reynolds appointed him in 2020. The other current member is Jane Dufoe.
Sen. Adrian Dickey, a Republican from Packwood, said during the committee meeting that he believes Helland has been effective on the board and is “a fine fit” for the leadership position.
BOAT REGISTRATIONS: Iowa boat owners are reminded to update their registrations, which expire April 30.
The Department of Natural Resources expects Iowans to register more than 231,000 boats before April 30, when current boat registrations expire. Boat registrations are good for three years and registration fees go to support water trails, navigation enforcement, aquatic invasive species, and boater education and safety.
Boat registrations are handled by Iowa’s county recorders, and boat owners may bring their current registration to any recorder’s office when they renew. Nonresidents who register their boat in Iowa will go to the county where the boat is primarily used.
Owners who bought a boat from a private seller and are registering it in their name should bring the signed registration and to make sure the title is signed over to them, if applicable.
Only boats displaying a current registration are allowed to operate on Iowa waters.
PIKES PEAK: Pikes Peak State Park will undergo a major overhaul to improve the campground and main parking lot later this month.
Detra Dettmann of the Iowa Department of Natural Resources said the campground’s electrical system will be upgraded, space will be added between the camp pads as will some pull-through campsites. Full hookup campsites will be added, additional water hydrants will be placed throughout the campground, and there will be two dump stations. The overall number of campsites will remain about the same.
While the work in the park is underway, the main entrance will be closed.
For more information and to find out the current status of the closure, go to the Pikes Peak website.
Gazette Des Moines Bureau