News, State Feed

Lawmakers seek to change Iowa license plate law

Iowa, (WOWT) - Iowa lawmakers are looking at changing the rules regarding how license plates must be displayed in the state.

The proposed change would eliminate the law requiring a license plate on the front of a car.

The Iowa State Patrol said it was not taking a stance on the bill but that front plates do help with investigations.


Iowa man turns himself in after damaging 'Field of Dreams site'

DYERSVILLE, Iowa (AP) — A 20-year-old man has told authorities that he drove onto and damaged the Iowa baseball field made famous by the 1989 "Field of Dreams" movie.

Court records say Austin Pape, of Dyersville, is charged with felony criminal mischief in Dubuque County. His attorney, Todd Klapatauskas, said Thursday that Pape will plead not guilty but will work with prosecutors on resolution. He says Pape hasn't expressed any particular grudge toward the field. It sits 2 miles outside Dyersville — 142 miles northeast of Des Moines.


Proof that a forced-upon-us $10 an hour minimum wage mandate isn't needed to drive down the unemployment rate

CORALVILLE COURIER EDITOR'S NOTE:     We need to raise the minimum wage to drive down the unemployment rate, the all Democrat Johnson County Board of Supervisors told residents in 2015.....  We were fed a shovel full of horse manure... 

Iowa’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate decreased to 2.8 percent for December. The state’s jobless rate was 3.5 percent one year ago. The U.S. unemployment rate remained at 4.1 percent in December for the third straight month.

"Iowa businesses finished 2017 strong, bolstering payrolls by 7,100 jobs in December. Iowa factories have added 11,700 jobs in 2017," said Beth Townsend, Iowa Workforce Development Director. "With an unemployment rate at 2.8%, Iowa must address the shortage in skilled workers. It will take all hands on deck to sustain this economic growth including support from our partners in K-12, community colleges, universities, business and industry, economic developers and non-profits - all of whom participated in writing the Future Ready Iowa strategic plan. The plan will put Iowa in a position to create and sustain the skilled workforce we need now and in the future."

The number of unemployed Iowans decreased to 47,000 in December. The current estimate is 12,000 lower than the year ago level of 59,000.

The total number of working Iowans increased to 1,637,800 in December. This figure was 200 higher than November and 3,200 higher than one year ago.


Related Story:  How has the Johnson County Supervisors' minimum wage hike affected Johnson County?


Bill updates Iowa's data security protections

Data security breaches at big corporations, including Equifax and Target, spurred the Iowa Attorney General’s Office to seek changes to Iowa law to further protect consumers.

House Study Bill 526, discussed in a Judiciary subcommittee Tuesday, would update Iowa’s data breach notification act, which requires businesses, nonprofits and other entities hit by hackers to alert consumers and the state.

The update adds new categories of data, such as medical records. And although the law already requires reporting of information breaches “without reasonable delay,” the bill would add a 45-day maximum on reporting. Now, entities with encrypted data don’t have to report breaches, but HSB 526 would require higher level — 128-bit — encryption for this exemption.

“We wanted to make sure the laws on the books are protecting consumers sufficiently,” said Nathan Blake, an assistant Iowa Attorney General.


Traffic camera ban, regulation bills racing through Iowa Legislature

DES MOINES — Racing to get their legislation to the governor’s desk, an Iowa Senate subcommittee Thursday joined colleagues in the House to advance bans on traffic cameras.

The three-member Senate Judiciary subcommittee signed off on Senate Study Bill 3025 after hearing from law enforcement and cities that supported the continued use of the speed and red light cameras as tools for traffic law enforcement, as well as from civil liberties advocates who argued the use of the cameras denies Iowans due process rights.


Minors killed half million bees in Sioux City, police say

Two juveniles have been charged with killing more than a half million bees at a honey business last month in Iowa.

The juveniles allegedly destroyed 50 hives at the Wild Hill Honey business in Sioux City, exposing the hundreds of thousands of bees to bitter cold.

“All of the beehives on the honey farm were destroyed and approximately 500,000 bees perished in the frigid temperatures,” Sioux City police said in a release.

The names of the juveniles have not been released, but they are 12 and 13 years old, the Sioux City Journal reported. They’re charged with criminal mischief, agricultural animal facilities offenses and burglary.


Iowa Secretary of state kicks off voter education effort

DES MOINES — Secretary of State Paul Pate is launching a 99-county “Voter Ready” education effort to prepare Iowans for the soft rollout of the state’s voter identification law that goes into effect this year.

Already, 93 percent of Iowans eligible to vote are registered and 93 percent of them have driver’s licenses, which poll workers will begin asking voters to provide when they cast ballots. A U.S. passport, veterans and military ID, or a voter ID card issued by the Secretary of State Office also can be used as proof of identification.


Iowa’s state workforce shrinks nearly 15 percent in 10 years

An across-the-board budget cut, early retirement incentives and the closing of state institutions have been key factors in shrinking the state of Iowa workforce by nearly 15 percent — or 3,663 full-time-equivalent positions — over the past 10 years, a new report says.

The total full-time positions on the state payroll — not including those employed by the Board of Regents — has fallen to 20,721, according to a report from the nonpartisan Legislative Services Agency

Despite that decrease, personnel costs have increased more than 11 percent, or $200.5 million, during that time period.


Iowa City struggles finding balance near downtown for renters, homeowners

The median sales price for all homes in the Iowa City area market was $202,950 in November, the Iowa City Area Association of Realtors. That’s the highest in the state, ahead of $189,000 in the Des Moines area. The state median was $153,250, the Iowa Association of Realtors reported.


Safe travel around snowplows - Transportation Matters for Iowa | Iowa DOT

The hustle and bustle of the holidays is nearly over. As Iowans, we know what comes next. The seemingly long, cold, and dreary winter. Although some people, including many of our own Iowa Department of Transportation snowfighters, love to see winter in full swing, now is a good time to brush up on those winter driving skills around snowplows.

Craig Bargfrede, Iowa DOT winter operations administrator, says the main rule to keep both you and our drivers safe is, “Don’t crowd the plow.”