State News Feed

Iowa House speaker predicts GOP gains in 2016

An Iowa legislative leader is predicting that excitement being created by the Republican presidential nominating contest will help fuel gains in the state legislature, including winning control of the Senate now controlled by Democrats 26-24.

“We have an exciting year underway and I think next year is even going to be a greater year,” Speaker Kraig Paulsen, R-Hiawatha, said Thursday during a conference call from the Republican State Leadership Committee national meeting in Boston.

Paulsen, who chairs the group’s legislative caucus, the Republican Legislative Campaign Committee, conceded that the conventional wisdom is that Democratic turnout is better in presidential election years, he’s not sure that will hold true in 2016.

The 17-way race for the GOP presidential nomination “is quite possibly the most exciting nomination process in recent history,” Paulsen said. “On the Democratic side, you have a coronation.”


Iowa hits jackpot with $325 million in lottery sales | TheGazette

CEDAR RAPIDS — For the fourth year in a row, Iowa lottery sales totaled nearly $325 million, the Iowa Lottery announced Thursday.

The lottery also gave $74.5 million of those proceeds to state causes such as the Iowa Veterans Trust Fund and Vision Iowa, a program that creates tourism destinations in the state and builds and repairs schools.


Donald Trump promises Iowa fair kids helicopter rides -

Washington (CNN) Donald Trump's poll numbers may be soaring, but if he has his way next month at the Iowa State Fair, his campaign will be taking off in a different way.

The billionaire real estate mogul told The Daily Mail on Thursday that he is planning to bring his $7 million helicopter to the event so he can give free rides to children.

"We're going to fly it out to Iowa and I'm going to have it there," he told the outlet in his Manhattan office.

The helicopter, a Sikorsky that is one of three that he owns, seats 12 people comfortably, including the pilot, the Mail reported.


California animal activists charged with releasing minks from Iowa

Federal prosecutors in California have charged two animal rights activists with releasing hundreds of minks from a Keota farm, as well as terrorizing other farms in the Midwest and California, causing hundreds of thousands of dollars in damages during cross-country road trips in 2013.

Joseph Brian Buddenberg, 31, and Nicole Juanita Kissane, 28, both of Oakland, Calif., were charged with conspiracy to violate the Animal Enterprise Terrorism Act last Friday in U.S. District Court of the Northern District of California.


Iowa July Cooler Than Usual |

With the downpour of rain Iowa had in June, some feared July would be too cool.
State Climatologist Harry Hillaker says July as a whole is running two degrees cooler than usual so far.
But crops are still doing well compared to last year, which Hillaker calls a good year. Crops are doing better and development is pretty close to normal, despite slightly colder temperatures. He attributes that to getting crops in the ground in a timely manner this year.


Branstad Economy Results in 5th Lowest Unemployment Rate Nationwide

DES MOINES - Iowa’s unemployment rate dropped to 3.7% last month, the 5th lowest in America, as Governor Branstad's leadership gives businesses the confidence they need to invest in our state.

Chairman Jeff Kaufmann: “Governor Branstad has led this state and Iowa with an eye toward sustainable growth, resulting in broad based employment gains from Lyon County in the northwest corner to Lee in the southeast. Governor Branstad’s leadership stands in sharp contrast to the Democrat's tax-and-spend ethos, which would lead to higher taxes, higher spending, and higher unemployment for Iowans."


96 out of 99 Counties have seen a drop in unemployment since June 2014. -Source

KGAN: Iowa Unemployment Rate Drops

CEDAR RAPIDS, IA (CBS2/FOX28) - More and more Iowans are getting to work. New numbers out from Iowa Workforce Development show Iowa’s unemployment rate dropped last month to 3.7%; down from 3.8% in May. At this time last year, 4.4% of Iowans were unemployed. "For the fourth time this year, the unemployment rate is down," said Iowa Workforce Development Director Beth Townsend.  "As the low unemployment trend continues, encouraging gains are being seen in the retail sector; the business establishment survey added 3,000 retail jobs this month." Iowa is also ahead of the national unemployment rate of 5.3%.

2 days in Iowa: 2 parties, 2 big events, 15 candidates

DES MOINES, Iowa — Iowans have pretty much lost count of how many GOP "cattle calls" we've had during this presidential election cycle, but this weekend will be the first time all five Democratic contenders will appear on stage for side-by-side comparison.

Democratic activists are psyched up because Iowa is hosting the first showdown between their party's two leading contenders — Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders — at the state party's Hall of Fame Celebration on Friday night in Cedar Rapids.

Republicans will have their fun, too, as they audition 10 presidential candidates during Christian conservative activist Bob Vander Plaats' 8 1/2-hour Family Leadership Summit on on Saturday in Ames.


Iowa prison removes inmates from unit where prisoner escaped - The Daily Nonpareil

IOWA CITY, Iowa (AP) — Prisoners have been removed from a lockdown unit where an Iowa inmate managed to escape his cell despite strict security protocols, a prison spokeswoman said Tuesday.

All 12 offenders in the unit known as the A-Pod have been transferred elsewhere in the Iowa State Penitentiary complex in Fort Madison as a safety precaution, spokeswoman Rebecca Bowker said.