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In the news
Hart drops election challenge: Democrat Rita Hart withdrew her challenge of Iowa’s 2nd Congressional District election results, after months spent asking Congress to investigate Republican U.S. Rep. Mariannette Miller-Meeks’ victory. Miller-Meeks edged Hart by six votes out of nearly 400,000 cast. In making her decision, Hart cited a “toxic campaign of political disinformation to attack this constitutional review” of the race. Hart’s campaign had claimed 22 ballots were legally cast but not counted due to errors by election workers. Miller-Meeks and Republicans had argued Hart’s campaign should have taken up any issues in Iowa’s courts.
Shot taken: University of Iowa men’s basketball player Jordan Bohannon on social media advocated for legislation that would allow college athletes to profit from advertisers’ use of athletes’ name, image or likeness. A proposal failed to advance in the Iowa Legislature as lawmakers awaited a related U.S. Supreme Court ruling.
Student deaths: Two Iowa State University students died after members of the school’s crew club had an accident on a lake north of Ames. The students were practicing on a lake when their boat capsized.
Tax deadline: The Iowa Department of Revenue extended to June 1 the filing and payment deadline for 2020 individual tax returns and first-quarter estimated income tax payments for individuals.
Missing girl found: Human remains found in or near a small pond just north of DeWitt were confirmed to be those of Breasia Terrell, a 10-year-old Davenport girl who had been missing since July. Davenport police declined to offer any details about the ongoing investigation, but made it clear Terrell’s death is being investigated as a homicide. The lone person of interest in Terrell’s disappearance, Henry Earl Dinkins, is being held in the Clinton County jail on unrelated charges of violating the sex-offender registry. Dinkins, 48, has not been charged with any crime related to Terrell’s disappearance.
GDP grows: Iowa’s economy grew faster in the fourth quarter of 2020 and its pandemic-related losses were less severe than in many other states, according to a preliminary report on gross domestic product from the federal Bureau of Economic Analysis.
Mental health: The Iowa Senate Ways and Means Committee voted 10-5 along party lines to advance an overhaul of mental health financing by shifting the cost of regional services from Iowa’s 99 counties to the state.
Ethanol mandate: The Iowa House Ways and Means committee advanced Gov. Kim Reynolds’ proposal to require most gasoline sold in Iowa to contain at least 10 percent ethanol and diesel at least 11 percent biodiesel.
They said ...
“I think the future looks pretty good for getting Iowans vaccinated.”
— Gov. Kim Reynolds, on the state’s ongoing COVID-19 vaccine rollout, which will open to all Iowans this coming week
“A difference which makes no difference is no difference.”
— Iowa Rep. Ross Wilburn, D-Ames, quoting “Star Trek” while discussing legislation that would add reporting requirements for local governments about statehouse lobbying
Odds and ends
Biofuels suit: Iowa Attorney General Tom Miller submitted an amicus brief with the U.S. Supreme Court supporting the biofuels industry’s challenge of three federal small-refinery exemptions that could set a precedent for future exemption requests.
Lottery sales: Iowa Lottery CEO Matt Strawn said sales of lottery tickets are on pace to “significantly exceed” budget projections despite the COVID-19 pandemic.
Bottle bill: An Iowa Senate committee weighing proposed changes to the “bottle bill” enacted in the late 1970s to reduce roadside littering was told the issue is dead for this legislative session.
The water cooler
Democrats’ director: The Iowa Democratic Party named Erin Davison-Rippey its executive director. Davison-Rippey previously worked as state executive director and director of public affairs for Planned Parenthood Advocates of Iowa.
Reynolds rating: In what it called a “very early look” at 2022 gubernatorial races, fivethirtyeight.com rated Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds’ reelection “very likely.” No Democrat has officially declared.
COVID case: A new COVID-19 case at the Iowa Capitol was reported, the seventh case confirmed during the legislative session. The unidentified person was associated with the Senate.
Gazette-Lee Des Moines Bureau