- The Waldorf College Theatre Company's performance of The Tempest at Lund Pond on the Waldorf campus has been postponed to Tuesday, May 21 at 6:30 p.m. due to pending weather conditions. In case of rain on Tuesday, the performance will take place in the Atrium.:
- 5/21/13-Varsity game first Lake Mills High School baseball at Lake Mills will be played tonight-Varsity first at 5:45 pm; LMJV to follow.:
HEALTH CARE-IOWA Branstad unveils alternative to Medicaid expansion DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) – Gov. Terry Branstad says his health care proposal for some low-income Iowans will not provide the same benefits as an expanded Medicaid, but called his approach more fiscally responsible. Branstad on Monday unveiled Healthy Iowa, a revamped version of IowaCare, a state and federally funded program which provides limited benefits to about 70,000 low-income adults. The new plan would adjust eligibility rules and offer some additional coverage, including service in more locations. Branstad wants to get federal approval to set up Healthy Iowa instead of pursing a Medicaid expansion permitted under President Obama’s health care overhaul. He says his approach will better shield Iowa from federal fiscal changes. Democrats in the state Senate say the plan would provide people with fewer benefits at a higher cost to the state.
CASINO-CEDAR RAPIDS Voters to consider plan for Cedar Rapids casino IOWA CITY, Iowa (AP) – Voters in Linn County will decide Tuesday whether to support a plan to build a casino in downtown Cedar Rapids. A group of investors is pledging to spend $80 million to construct a casino along the Cedar River, near the city’s new convention and events center complex. Supporters say the plan would add another element to the city’s ongoing rebuilding after the 2008 flood, creating jobs and millions in revenue for government services and charities. But critics say Iowa already has enough gambling and the plan would siphon business away from the casino in Riverside, 35 miles south of Cedar Rapids, and others in Waterloo and elsewhere. If approved, casino supporters would seek to persuade the Iowa Racing and Gaming Commission to approve the first new casino license since 2010.
MEDICAL MARIJUANA-IOWA Medical pot bill likely dead in Iowa Legislature DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) – A proposal to legalize marijuana for medical use likely is dead for this session. A Senate subcommittee approved the bill Monday, but the panel’s chairman, Iowa City Sen. Joe Bolkcom, says the proposal likely won’t go further because there isn’t support for it in a full committee. The bill would allow patients with a qualifying condition, such as cancer, to get a prescription for medical marijuana. Nonprofit dispensaries could provide marijuana to eligible patients. Bill advocates with illnesses like multiple sclerosis and post-traumatic stress disorder testified Monday that marijuana was a better alternative to synthetic prescription drugs. Republican subcommittee member Sen. Joni Ernst opposed the bill, saying it would be difficult to ensure dispensaries wouldn’t sell marijuana to people without a prescription. A House subcommittee has rejected a similar bill.
WINTER STORM-IOWA Iowa DOT warns of winter storm’s effect on roads DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) – Transportation officials say snow and freezing drizzle from a winter storm could affect the morning commute for Iowa drivers. The state Department of Transportation says moderate to heavy snowfall from a winter storm will hit northeast and east central Iowa between Monday night and Tuesday morning. The National Weather Service says between 6 to 10 inches of snow is possible. Officials warn the second half of the winter storm could affect the Tuesday morning commute. Visibility could fall to a half mile at some points. The Iowa State Patrol says roadways along the Iowa and Minnesota border, as well as north central and northeast Iowa, will get covered with ice and snow.
PROPERTY TAXES-IOWA Republicans move forward with Branstad tax plan DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) – A commercial property tax proposal from Gov. Terry Branstad is moving forward in the Republican-majority Iowa House, while a very different plan has support in the Democratic-controlled Senate. Republicans in a House ways and means subcommittee on Monday approved legislation from Branstad that would gradually reduce taxable assessments for commercial property owners by 20 percent. Branstad’s plan, which is estimated to cost $350 million, would also slow the growth of residential and agricultural assessments. Senate Democrats have given committee-level approval to a plan that would gradually provide commercial property owners with a tax credit equivalent to a roughly 40 percent tax cut on their first $324,000 in assessed property value. Democrats say their $250 million plan would help small businesses more than Branstad’s plan.
ILLEGAL IMMIGRANTS-IOWA Iowa House panel drops illegal immigrant bill DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) – A bill designed to deter businesses from hiring illegal immigrants appears dead after a House panel opted not to vote on the proposal. Members of a House labor subcommittee decided to take no action Monday on the bill, which established punishments for businesses that knowingly hire illegal immigrants. The measure had been sponsored by 27 Republican lawmakers. Under the proposal, an employer in violation could have lost its business license and been forced to fire all illegal immigrant workers. Iowa contractors and businesses would have joined 27 other states that run employee documents through a federal electronic verification system. Subcommittee chairman Rep. Greg Forristall, of Macedonia, declined to hold a vote on the measure, saying he feared it would be costly for state and local governments to enforce.
SHOOTING RANGE INCIDENT Iowa officials investigate death at shooting range SWISHER, Iowa (AP) – Authorities in eastern Iowa say they don’t suspect foul play in a man’s death at a shooting range. The Johnson County Sheriff’s Office says deputies found Craig Lewis Utech, of Tiffin, with a gunshot wound Sunday afternoon at the Hawkeye Wildlife Shooting Range in Swisher. The 51-year-old was sent to the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics, where he was pronounced dead. Police say they don’t suspect foul play. Johnson County Sheriff’s Office Maj. Steve Dolezal says additional information about the shooting is not available. He could not say if the shooting is being investigated as an accident or a suicide. The Iowa State Medical Examiner’s Office is conducting an autopsy.
SENATE DEMOCRATS-MAJORITY Sick senator leaves Democrats without enough votes DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) – A senator is out of the Capitol recovering from heart surgery, leaving the Democrats without the majority they need to approve legislation. Senate staffers say Sen. Tom Courtney, of Burlington, had heart bypass surgery last week, and it is not known when he will return to work. Without Courtney, the Democrats hold a 25-24 majority in the Senate, one vote shy of the 26-24 majority needed to pass legislation on party-line votes. Lawmakers are about halfway through the legislative session, which is scheduled to finish May 3, though it could run longer.