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Iowa sheriffs dispute claim that they're not cooperating with immigration officials

Four Iowa sheriffs are among the city and law enforcement officials around the U.S. questioning the accuracy of a Department of Homeland Security report that lists jurisdictions refusing to cooperate with federal requests to detain undocumented immigrants.

The report was prompted by an executive order signed by President Donald Trump in January that called on the government to document jurisdictions that are not cooperating with federal efforts to find and deport immigrants in the country illegally.


Iowa Senate approves election law changes

DES MOINES — Iowa senators approved GOP-backed election law changes Thursday that proponents say will improve election integrity but that critics insist will suppress turnout and raise costs to county taxpayers.

Majority Republicans made several changes to a House-passed bill before voting 26-21 to pass House File 516 and return it to the House for consideration.

The bill was opposed by 20 minority Democrats and Ocheyedan independent Sen. David Johnson.

“The bill would require all voters voting at the polls to provide proof of eligibility, as well as all absentee ballot requests to contain a personal voter identification number on the request form,” said Sen. Roby Smith, R-Davenport, the bill’s floor manager.

“The public realizes that they have to show their photo ID to get on an airplane, buy a beer or open a checking account. This legislation is common sense,” he said.


Judge Tosses Iowa Water Works Case

WASHINGTON – A federal judge has dismissed a lawsuit by the Des Moines Water Works (DMWW) against three drainage districts in Northwest Iowa, prompting a huge sigh of relief from many in the agriculture sector.

The claim, citing the federal Clean Water Act, was dismissed for lack of standing considering the drainage districts’ limited status under Iowa law. U.S. District Court Judge Leonard Strand for the Northern District of Iowa, held that the state legislature was the proper venue to address issue.


Iowa bill would ban extra credit for school supplies

One Iowa lawmaker has had enough with extra credit being given to students who bring in Kleenex.

While it's unclear how widespread the practice is in Iowa schools, State Rep. Chip Baltimore, R-Boone, introduced legislation that would ban schools from issuing extra points to students who bring in school supplies.

"Is it going to be a world-changing piece of legislation? No," Baltimore told the Register. "But it's one small sign of how we are devaluing the educational process in this state and country."


23 undocumented immigrants arrested in Iowa, 86 total in Midwest

Twenty-three undocumented immigrants were arrested in Iowa last week as part of a federal targeted enforcement operation, according to a U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement news release Thursday.

The 23 in Iowa were part of 86 immigrants arrested in the Midwest, as the three-day ICE operation also covered Minnesota, North Dakota, South Dakota and Nebraska. The operation ended March 9, according to the ICE news release.

Fifty-two of the 86 arrested had prior criminal convictions, ICE said, while the remaining appear to have been arrested solely on their immigration status.


Iowa Senate backs constitutional cap on state spending

The Iowa Senate voted Thursday to approve a proposed amendment to the Iowa Constitution that would permanently place a lid on state spending.

Senate Joint Resolution 9 says the budget limitation would either be the lesser of 99 percent of the adjusted revenue estimate of the state's general fund for the following fiscal year or 104 percent of the net revenue estimate for the general fund for the current fiscal year.

The resolution was approved on a 38-10 vote. All "no" votes were cast by Democrats. The proposal has not yet been considered by the Iowa House.


Iowa House acts to protect electronic communication from search, seizure

DES MOINES — The Iowa House tackled constitutional issues Wednesday with measures to amend the Iowa Constitution to protect Iowans’ data on electronic devices and another calling for a convention of the states to impose fiscal restraints on the federal government.

The first, House Joint Resolution 1, would protect Iowans against search and seizure of electronic communications and devices without a warrant.

“Just as the government shouldn’t be able to go through your personal files without a warrant, it shouldn’t be able to access your electronic files either,” said Rep. Ken Rizer, R-Cedar Rapids. Iowa would be the fourth state to create such a protection. The amendment would update citizens’ search and seizure protections, “protecting our right to private communications and our right to data privacy,” Rizer said.


Iowa bill to keep volunteers secret may shield criminals, critics say

Iowa would make the names of public volunteers confidential under a fast-moving bill that critics warn could protect pedophiles and other criminals who are found working for government and public institutions in nonpaying positions, sometimes with children.

"Just think about that the next time a school volunteer is found to have been involved in molesting a child,” said Randy Evans, executive director of the Iowa Freedom of Information Council and the Register's former opinion page editor. "This is about accountability and public safety. The citizens of Iowa have a right to know who is performing government services on their behalf.”


DNR monitoring potential problems from unusually warm February | The Gazette

WARM FEBRUARY: February was the second- warmest in Iowa on record, prompting vegetation to come out of dormancy sooner than usual. That could intensify the dry conditions across south-central and southeast Iowa due to early evapotranspiration, according to a report prepared by the technical staff from the state departments of Natural Resources, Agriculture and Homeland Security, and U.S. Geological Survey.

Hydrologic conditions and drought have remained the same throughout the winter in Iowa. The wettest area of the state is far northern Iowa, receiving double the normal amounts for January and February, while the southeast one-third of the state remains dry.

Stream flow conditions are above normal across the majority of the state, except in parts of southern Iowa, which have decreased to normal levels.

For a thorough review of Iowa’s water resource trends, go to