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Stay with NPR and KIOS for the latest election news and results from Nebraska, Iowa, and around the nation.  You can find complete Nebraska results here, and Iowa results here.

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Record Highs Of Gambling In Iowa This Fall

Oct 12, 2020

The state of Iowa is setting records when it comes to sports betting.  The Iowa Racing and Gaming Commission says people bet more than 72-million dollars in September, up 43 percent from August.  Iowa's casinos kept about five-million dollars of that money, the state keeps about seven percent in tax revenue.

NE Covid Total Tops 44,000; IA Total Over 86,000

Sep 28, 2020
KTIV

The number of COVID-19 cases in Nebraska is now more than 44-thousand.  Officials confirmed 467 new cases yesterday, bringing the statewide total to 44-thousand-63.  There have been 470 coronavirus-related deaths in Nebraska during the pandemic.

Local organizers are gathering teams to help out in Iowa after devastating storms passed through last week. Omaha Rapid Response is sending groups to help in Central and Eastern Iowa where winds of over 100 miles-per-hour toppled trees, downed power lines, and knocked out power to around a quarter-of-a-million Iowans. WOWT reports local groups are also collecting things like batteries, non-perishable food items, and bottled water to bring to storm victims.

The National Weather Service issued a heat advisory for Lincoln yesterday in response to high temperatures. The advisory goes into effect when the heat index is from 100 to 104 degrees and there is a possibility of heat-related illnesses. To combat the hot weather, the CDC says to stay hydrated and wear light-colored clothing.

Iowa Gov's Pandemic Response Sinks Her Approval Rating

Aug 3, 2020

Doctors across Iowa are urging Governor Kim Reynolds to enact a statewide face mask mandate.  WHO-TV reports dozens of medical professionals gathered on the steps of the State Capitol Saturday and presented data they say proves masks can slow the spread of coronavirus.  Iowa is one of only three states in the country that don't have some sort of mask mandate.

Associated Press

Law enforcement across Iowa have the ok to crack down on people not practicing social distancing.  On Monday Governor Kim Reynolds approved penalties against Iowans for gathering in large groups.  Des Moines police say charging people for gathering in groups of ten or more will be a last resort.

The number of coronavirus cases in Nebraska is increasing.  As of last night, there were 368 confirmed COVID-19 cases and eight deaths statewide.  Douglas County has seen the highest number of coronavirus cases in the state with 145. The "Omaha World Herald" reports that Nebraska Governor Pete Ricketts spoke with Grand Island and Hall County officials during a conference call yesterday and promised state support during the pandemic.  Hall County has seen the second-most COVID-19 cases in the state with 45.

Reynolds Proclaims Statewide Emergency

Mar 18, 2020
Iowa Public Radio

Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds is issuing a State of Public Health Disaster Emergency. The proclamation implements temporary measures to reduce access to restaurants and bars to drive through or carry out only. It closes fitness centers, theaters, casinos, senior citizen centers, and day cares, and cancels or postpones any mass gatherings of more than ten people. It will allow state agencies additional flexibility to respond to COVID-19 in the state to support the work of public health. The proclamation is effective immediately and expires on April 16th.

Four states along the Missouri River are joining forces to look for ways to avoid the kind of flooding that caused millions of dollars in damage last year. Nebraska, Iowa, Missouri and Kansas are pooling their money to pay for half of a $400,000 study with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to measure how much water flows down the Missouri River. State officials hope to present a united front to federal officials to gain more influence over how the river is managed after devastating floods in 2011 and 2019.

Biden Holding CNN Town Hall Tonight From Grinnell College

Nov 11, 2019

Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden will be in Iowa tonight to participate in a CNN town hall.  It's taking place at Grinnell College and it begins at 8:00.  The former vice president will first hold a town hall on veterans issues today at 4:00 in Oskaloosa.  It'll be at William Penn University's Musco Technology Center Atrium.

 

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has announced the removal of four Superfund sites in Nebraska and Iowa from their national priorities list.

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — The Iowa Supreme Court has issued orders changing how the state court system conducts security assessments after two cybersecurity workers hired by state court administrators were arrested for breaking into the Dallas County Courthouse last month.

Chief Justice Mark Cady signed an order Thursday that prohibits physical break-ins of courthouses and entry outside of regular business hours as part of cybersecurity testing. Court administrators also must confer with local officials on systems testing.

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — A state panel has approved the latest bill for former Gov. Terry Branstad's continued fight against a jury verdict that found he discriminated against a former state executive.

The Iowa Executive Council approved payment Monday of a bill for over $488,000 to a Des Moines law firm. That raises the taxpayer costs of defending Branstad to $2.4 million.

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — Iowa State Auditor Rob Sand is proposing legislation requiring mandatory prison time for those convicted of theft involving public money.

Sand's proposal comes just days after an investigative story by Cedar Rapids television station KCRG that found only about 40% of Sands' special investigative audit reports dating to January 2017 led to criminal prosecution. KCRG calculated that meant no one has been held responsible for at least $8 million in improperly used public funds.

Two Arrested For Courthouse Break-Ins Had Clearance

Sep 20, 2019

(Dallas Co., IA)  --  Two men arrested for breaking into the Dallas and Polk County courthouses really were hired to do it.  A contract with the security company the men work for actually says they can pick door locks and break in to do security testing day or night.  The Iowa Court Administration has since issued a statement apologizing.  The men are still facing burglary charges in Dallas County.

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — More than 200 scientists from 38 Iowa colleges and universities have signed on to a climate change statement that warns of "sobering extreme heat projections" for the Midwest that will put people, livestock and pets at risk.

The statement released Wednesday says the World Meteorological Association identified July as the hottest month in more than 140 years of record-keeping.

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — An Iowa appeals court has rejected a Des Moines attorney's challenge to Gov. Kim Reynold's use of a businessman's private airplane, upholding previous rulings that Reynold's use of the flights did no real harm and were allowed by Iowa law.

The Iowa Court of Appeals said in a ruling filed Wednesday that a state court judge was right to dismiss the lawsuit filed by attorney Gary Dickey.

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — Providers of Medicaid services in Iowa say they're owed up to $1.4 million by an insurance company that left the Iowa Medicaid program two years ago.

Documents filed with the Iowa Insurance Division show AmeriHealth Caritas could owe as much as $1.4 million to Iowa hospitals, nursing homes and providers of mental health services.

Iowa 20th-Worst State For Burglaries

Sep 10, 2019

(Undated, IA)  --  Iowa is the 20th-worst state in the country for burglaries.  According to a study by Safe-Home-dot-org that uses FBI data, Iowa had a little over seven burglaries per one-thousand homes in 2017.  Neighboring Nebraska, Missouri, Illinois, and Minnesota all had less.  The data also shows the rate of burglaries across the country has fallen to 15 percent of all crimes committed.

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — The U.S. Agriculture Department has announced the award of $36 million to buy conservation easements on Iowa agriculture land damaged by flooding this year.

The funds are available through the flood plain easement component of the Emergency Watershed Protection Program. Iowa Natural Resources Conservation Service field offices are accepting applications through Oct. 18.

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — A Texas health and human services official has been named the new director of the Iowa Department of Human Services.

Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds says Thursday she appointed Kelly Kennedy Garcia to head the department that oversees the state's Medicaid program, mental health centers and child welfare services.

Garcia is now the deputy executive commissioner at the Texas Health and Human Services Commission. She oversees programs with more than 700 employees and a $1.4 billion budget.

Iowa DHS has more than 4,000 employees and a $7 billion budget.

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — Iowa's auditor says a state panel should stop paying appeal costs in a lawsuit filed against former Gov. Terry Branstad, who was found by a jury to have discriminated against a former state official.

Auditor Rob Sand says in a letter given Friday to the Iowa Executive Council that he will vote against any appeal costs in the lawsuit filed by former Iowa Workers' Compensation Commissioner Chris Godfrey against Branstad.

IOWA CITY, Iowa (AP) — An audit has found that the Iowa Department of Public Safety issued more than 5,800 licenses to private security workers over a two-year period without conducting required background checks.

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — Former Iowa Department of Human Services Director Jerry Foxhoven says he was unexpectedly asked to resign by the governor last month after he objected to the governor's request that he continue paying the salary of a woman moving from his department to the governor's office.

Foxhoven, who gained national attention last week after The Associated Press reported on his admiration for the late rapper Tupac Shakur, says he declined to approve paying the salary of Elizabeth Matney. She left DHS on May 17 to accept a job as Reynolds' adviser on health policy.

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — A group of nurses working at Iowa prisons and other state-run facilities who have not been paid overtime for two years have sued the state and Gov. Kim Reynolds.

The five women filing suit say the state is violating federal and state laws. They are seeking class-action status on behalf of as many as 700 registered nurses working for state agencies.

The state court lawsuit filed June 28 seeks an order requiring the state to pay overtime going forward, past unpaid compensation and other damages and costs.

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — A jury has awarded a former state workers' compensation commissioner $1.5 million, concluding the state and former Iowa Gov. Terry Branstad discriminated against him because he's gay and that a pay cut was retaliation for refusing to quit.

Jurors in the civil trial found Monday that  proved Branstad's attempts to get him to quit and cut his pay in 2011 were discriminatory and deprived him of his rights.

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — Iowa State Treasurer Michael Fitzgerald has returned more than $12,000 to the American Red Cross — one of thousands to see unclaimed property held by the state turned over to rightful owners.

Fitzgerald presented a check for $12,300 Thursday to the humanitarian assistance group.

Fitzgerald's office says more than $377 million in unclaimed property in Iowa is waiting to be claimed. That included more than $61 million in Polk County alone.

https://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2018/08/congress-finally-knows-the-difference-between-hemp-and-pot/566942/

Iowa is getting closer to officially legalizing the production of industrial hemp. The State House passed a bill 95-to-three yesterday that would set up a way to regulate the product and allow people to sell CBD products under certain stipulations.  Now the Senate must approve the bill before it can go to Governor Kim Reynolds' desk to be signed.  

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