News, State Feed

New Iowa governor names Adam Gregg 'acting' lieutenant

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — Seeking to avoid a legal fight over her power, Gov. Kim Reynolds named Republican attorney Adam Gregg as her administration's No. 2 leader Thursday but stopped just short of making him the official lieutenant governor.

Democratic Attorney General Tom Miller advised Reynolds this month that the Iowa Constitution would not give her the authority to name her replacement as lieutenant governor after she succeeded Gov. Terry Branstad, who resigned Wednesday to become U.S. ambassador to China.


Kim Reynolds, Iowa’s first woman governor, sets vision for her tenure

DES MOINES — Kim Reynolds wants the history books to remember her as more than just Iowa’s first woman governor.

In her first address to Iowans as the state’s governor, Reynolds on Wednesday at the Iowa Capitol said she hopes her tenure is “filled with great accomplishments” that relegate her milestone to secondary status.

“Becoming Iowa’s first woman governor is both humbling and exciting. I will do my best to serve as a role model for others to follow, and hope to emulate the finest qualities of those who led before me,” Reynolds said. “However, it is my responsibility, my challenge, to do my best, to give them the opportunity to write much more than, ‘She was Iowa’s first woman governor.’


10 things to know about Iowa DOT's new $3.5 billion five-year plan

The Iowa Transportation Commission has unveiled the draft of a new $3.5 billion, five-year plan to guide the development of the state's highway system between 2018 and 2022.

"We have a balance between what we call major interstate projects, enhancement projects for the non-interstate system, and a healthy investment in stewardship. Stewardship is really maintaining the system that we have," acting Iowa DOT Director Mark Lowe told The Des Moines Register.


Will Iowa lose its ag secretary? Northey says nothing firm yet

As reports swirl that Bill Northey, Iowa's three-term agriculture secretary, is slated to become the undersecretary of farm production and conservation, he says he's not ready to pack yet.

"I appreciate the kind comments and support from so many friends here in Iowa and across the country … but the appointment process can take time to unfold and it is important not to be overly presumptive," Northey said on Facebook today.


University of Iowa pitches $1,764 tuition increase for nonresidents

The Board of Regents Office has finalized a proposal it hinted at last month to further increase tuition for the upcoming fall and — in addition to a total 5 percent increase for all resident undergraduates — University of Iowa undergrads from outside the state will see a total 6.4 percent increase.


Judge refuses to block Iowa abortion law

DES MOINES — A Polk County judge denied a request Thursday for an emergency injunction blocking provisions of new abortion restrictions from taking effect when Gov. Terry Branstad signs them into law Friday morning.

However, attorneys for Planned Parenthood and the American Civil Liberties Union said they expected to file an appeal with the Iowa Supreme Court as soon as they receive District Judge Jeffrey Farrell’s written order in their hopes of halting implementation until the dispute can be decided at trial.

The judge issued a verbal ruling from the bench saying the plaintiffs failed to show the new law would create an undue burden by requiring a 72-hour waiting period for abortions at any stage of pregnancy. The bill passed by the GOP-controlled Legislature this year, Senate File 471, also requires an additional clinic appointment for women seeking abortions that the challengers say is unnecessary.


Cleaning up Iowa's beaches

You’ve packed a cooler, donned swim gear and slathered on sunscreen in preparation to hit an Iowa beach on a beautiful summer day.

But wait. What’s this?

It’s a notice saying swimming isn’t recommended because of high levels of disease-causing toxins produced by blue-green algae, whose blooms can be fed by fertilizer washing into lakes from nearby farms.

Iowa had a record 37 such advisories last summer at state park beaches, with some beaches, such as the one at Green Valley State Park in southwest Iowa, spending nearly as many weeks under a swim warning as weeks without.


Iowa fireworks lovers may soon get a bigger bang

MITCHELL — If outgoing Iowa Gov. Terry Branstad signs a bill legalizing the sale of fireworks in the state, things are going to get very busy at Flashing Thunder Fireworks Spectacular.

The Mitchell-based fireworks retailer and event producer already sells consumer-grade fireworks in other states, but has never been allowed to sell to Iowans.

At least, not unless Iowans bought their products in a state where the devices are legal.

“Obviously, it’s more business for us,” said co-owner Katie Mostek, of the possible law change. “We are a distributor of consumer fireworks, so we would gain some business by distributing to people that are selling it in the state of Iowa, and we would also set up retail locations to sell it ourselves.”

The Iowa House and Senate both passed legislation legalizing the sale of consumer-grade fireworks. That would include bottle rockets, firecrackers and roman candles.