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Iowa News

January 24, 2020

WASHINGTON (AP) — With all eyes on Democrats as they prepare to cast their ballots in Iowa’s kickoff caucuses, President Donald Trump’s reelection campaign is working to try to persuade Republican voters that they should turn out at their caucus sites, too. The push is complete with a presidential rally next week, GOP-led training sessions and a new video featuring the president’s daughter-in-law. It makes clear that the campaign is trying to avoid the optics of empty Republican rooms on caucus night juxtaposed with Democratic gatherings brimming with enthusiastic voters and keep the focus on Trump.


DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — Environmental groups and community activists rallied at the Iowa Capitol to push lawmakers to consider halting the growth of hog farms in the state. Food and Water Watch and Iowa Citizens for Community Improvement sponsored the Thursday event. They have sued the state, claiming it has violated its obligation to protect the Raccoon River from hog farm pollution. Activists at the rally called on lawmakers to consider a House bill introduced last year that would impose a moratorium on hog farm expansion. The bill sponsored by a group of Democrats was not assigned by Republican leaders to a subcommittee for discussion.


DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — A resolution amending the Iowa Constitution to declare there is no right to an abortion in the state has passed a Senate committee, making it eligible for floor debate. The measure passed Thursday with only Republican votes from the Senate State Government Committee. Republican Sen. Jake Chapman has long been disturbed by a 2018 Iowa Supreme Court ruling that gave women the right to control their bodies. He calls the decision judicial tyranny and says the amendment restores the people’s voice. The amendment must pass the legislature this year, again next year and then would go to voters as early as 2022.


ADEL, Iowa (AP) — The Iowa State Patrol says a California man has been arrested after a traffic stop along Interstate 80 southwest of Des Moines turned up more than 430 pounds of marijuana. Television station KCCI reports that a trooper stopped a sport utility vehicle on suspicion of a traffic violation Wednesday night and searched the SUV after smelling a strong odor of raw marijuana coming from inside the vehicle. The search uncovered three large duffle bags containing 258 pounds of THC edibles and five large duffle bags containing about 173 pounds of high-grade marijuana. The 32-year-old driver from Los Angeles was arrested.

Illinois News

January 24, 2020

CHICAGO (AP) — A 7-year prison sentence has been handed the operator of Chicago convenience store who sold illegal synthetic marijuana laced with rat poisoning. Fouad Masoud pleaded guilty last year to selling the illegal substance from his King Mini Mart on Chicago’s West Side. In sentencing Masoud on Thursday, U.S. District Judge Manish Shah said the emergence of greedy black-market profiteers selling K2 likely contributed to a public health crisis that contributed to hospitalizations and deaths. During the hearing, a victim testified he started urinating blood soon after smoking the synthetic pot he bought at Masoud’s store and was hospitalized.


DANVILLE, Ill. (AP) — Three men have been found dead in a central Illinois home in what police say may be a triple homicide. Danville police say they responded to a report of subjects down inside the residence. There they found the bodies of three men ranging in age from 60 to 67 years old. Vermillion County Coroner Jane McFadden identified the victims as 65-year-old Nathaniel Gentry; 60-year-old Anthony D. Jones and 67-year-old Cordell Reed Sr., all of Danville. In a statement, McFadden said autopsies of the men are scheduled for Friday.


CHICAGO (AP) — Chicago police have ended a program trying to predict people most likely to be victims or perpetrators of gun crime. That’s according to a watchdog report released Thursday that warned the department of serious flaws in the program. Chicago Police began using the method in 2012, using a formula developed by researchers at the Illinois Institute of Technology and backed by $3.8 million in federal grants. The formula created a list of people deemed most likely to commit or be victimized by a shooting. Police departments around the country have been criticized for similar programs aiming to predict where crime will occur and who is likely to commit it.


CHICAGO (AP) — Four hospitals on Chicago’s South Side have announced a tentative plan to merge into a single health care system. The $1.1 billion plan announced Thursday by South Shore Hospital, Mercy Hospital & Medical Center, Advocate Trinity Hospital and St. Bernard Hospital calls for the construction of one new hospital and a network of community health centers. The plan must be presented at meetings beginning next month in communities currently served by the hospitals. St. Bernard Hospital CEO Charles Holland says working individually, the hospitals won’t be able to provide sustained, quality care in some of Chicago’s most impoverished communities.

Wisconsin News

January 24, 2020

MADISON, Wis. (AP) — Wisconsin tax collections are expected to come in more than $818 million above projections made last summer, an increase that will fuel the push to cut taxes in an election year. Republicans who control the Legislature are discussing a tax cut, while Democratic Gov. Tony Evers has been more cautious and voiced concerns about meeting other priorities and warding against a future economic downturn. Any tax cut that the Legislature approves would have to be signed by Evers before becoming law. The nonpartisan Legislative Fiscal Bureau released the latest revenue forecast Thursday. The net increase to the state’s general fund is $452 million.


MADISON, Wis. (AP) — Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers’ plan to create a nonpartisan redistricting commission to draw the state’s electoral maps next year may put pressure on the Republicans who control the Legislature, but it won’t force them to change their plans for next year. Republican leaders showed no signs of taking a different approach to redistricting following Evers’ announcement of the plan during his State of the State speech Wednesday. The Legislature is empowered under the state constitution with redrawing maps every decade.  Advocates for nonpartisan redistricting say the Evers plan would force Republicans to consider more balanced alternatives.


MADISON, Wis. (AP) — A Republican lawmaker is accusing Democratic Attorney General Josh Kaul of bullying him into passing a bill designed to prevent backlogs of untested rape kits. Kaul has been pressing Assembly Health Committee Chairman Joe Sanfelippo to follow through on a pledge to hold a hearing on the proposal. He accused the lawmaker Thursday of spreading misinformation about the bill. Sanfelippo responded that the bill doesn’t address any “hair-on-fire emergency”  Kaul is trying to bully his way into setting the agenda for the health committee.


MADISON, Wis. (AP) — Gov. Tony Evers has called the Republican-controlled Legislature into a special session next week to take up an $8.5 million package of bills designed to help rural Wisconsin. The state is in the middle of a crisis that’s caused the loss of one-third of the state’s dairy farms since 2011. Republican Assembly Speaker Robin Vos said Thursday the bills would be referred to committees for hearings, but the Legislature will not be on the floor to vote on them next week. Vos was critical of Evers shortly after he unveiled the proposals, saying the governor had ignored rural Wisconsin until now.