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Regional News

February 25, 2021

Here is the latest Iowa news from The Associated Press

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — Iowa House Republicans have cast the final vote needed to send a bill to the governor that sharply limits early voting in the state, months after a general election overseen by a Republican secretary of state that saw record turnout and overwhelming victories by GOP candidates. Like states across the country with Republican legislatures, Iowa lawmakers said early voting must be reined in because of the potential for fraud, even after a successful election in a state with no history of problems. The House passed the bill Wednesday a plan approved by the Senate a day earlier, Democrats who are outnumbered in both chambers were left aghast but in no position to stop the changes.

IOWA CITY, Iowa (AP) — Iowa’s Democratic attorney general has installed the Republican governor’s lawyer into a high-level job in which he is defending his former boss’ policy agenda and management decisions in court. Weeks after joining Attorney General Tom Miller’s staff, Sam Langholz has participated in cases defending Gov. Kim Reynolds’ coronavirus restrictions, her law requiring a 24-hour waiting period for abortions, her denial of overtime pay to some nurses, and her administration’s ouster of a longtime public health spokeswoman. Miller and Reynolds announced Langholz’s appointment as an assistant attorney general for civil and appellate litigation in November.

AMES, Iowa (AP) — Police in Ames say an autopsy shows the death last month of a 21-year-old woman outside an Iowa State University sorority house was caused by acute alcohol intoxication and hypothermia. Emergency responders found the body of Olivia Chutich on the ground in the parking lot of the Delta Delta Delta Sorority the morning of Jan. 22. Chutich was the daughter of Minnesota Supreme Court Justice Margaret Chutich and Allina Health CEO Penny Wheeler. Investigators have said Chutich was last seen late the night before she was found and believe she had been lying in the parking lot for several hours before she was found. No foul play is suspected.

ATLANTA (AP) — Republican lawmakers pushing to spend public money to pay for private or home schooling say they are responding to parental frustration over lack of in-person schooling. Opponents of such vouchers say they will sap resources as schools try to help kids harmed by online school and other disruptions. There are fresh voucher proposals in states with already abundant subsidies for private and home schools and in states where there are none. Schools have been more likely to stay all-virtual in states controlled by Democrats. Yet the proposals appear more likely to pass in states controlled by Republicans.

 

Here is the latest Wisconsin news from The Associated Press

MOUNT PLEASANT, Wis. (AP) — Foxconn Technology Group says it has signed a deal with a California startup to build electric cars, conceivably at Foxconn’s facilities in Wisconsin. Details of the agreement with electric car company Fisker are expected in the coming months. However, Fisker chairman and chief executive Henrik Fisker tells the Wall Street Journal that Foxconn’s property in Wisconsin would be an “obvious” choice for producing the vehicles. The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reports that a statement by Foxconn did not specifically say that the project would wind up at its facilities in Mount Pleasant, but it did not dismiss the possibility.

RHINELANDER, Wis. (AP) — A Rhinelander hospital employee is accused of secretly videotaping an unclothed patient. The Oneida County Sheriff’s Office says the 31-year-old Three Lakes man was arrested on possible charges of capturing a representation of nudity without the consent of the person. Ascension-St. Mary’s Hospital issued a statement which said the employee has been suspended and that an internal investigation will be conducted. The Wisconsin Department of Justice’s Division of Criminal Investigation and Three Lakes police executed a search warrant Tuesday at a Three Lakes address.

MADISON, Wis. (AP) — Hunters and trappers have blown past Wisconsin’s wolf kill target, forcing an early end to the hunting season and angering animal rights activists and conservationists. The Department of Natural Resources opened a season Monday that was supposed to run through Sunday, with a kill target of 119 animals. It became clear Tuesday that hunters and trappers were on pace to exceed the limit, so the agency moved up the season’s end to 3 p.m. Wednesday. The department reported hunters and trappers had killed 178 animals at the close of the season. Hunters and trappers also exceeded state targets during the 2012, 2013 and 2014 wolf seasons.

MADISON, Wis. (AP) — Ballot drop boxes would not be allowed anywhere other than election clerk offices in Wisconsin under a new Republican-authored proposal in the state Legislature. Another bill unveiled Wednesday would require that only voters, not elections officials, could fill out information on absentee envelopes. The latest bills add to a growing list of GOP-authored measures addressing issues raised by former President Donald Trump and his supporters following President Joe Biden’s narrow win. The bills are all-but certain to be vetoed by Democratic Gov. Tony Evers, who has spoken out against GOP attempts to make absentee voting more difficult.

 

Here is the latest Illinois news from The Associated Press 

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) — The hand-picked successor to Democratic former House Speaker Michael Madigan’s seat abruptly resigned  under pressure from his sponsors, who accused him of unspecified “questionable conduct.” Edward Guerra Kodatt submitted his resignation to the House clerk Wednesday morning, just three days after he was chosen. In a joint statement, Madigan and Chicago Alderman Marty Quinn said, “After learning of alleged questionable conduct by Mr. Kodatt, it was suggested that he resign as state representative for the 22nd District. We are committed to a zero tolerance policy in the workplace.” Madigan held the seat for more than 50 years.

CHICAGO (AP) — Cook County State’s Attorney Kim Foxx is dropping her opposition to the parole bid of a man convicted in the 1967 shooting death of a Chicago police officer. Foxx in a letter to the state’s prisoner review board didn’t explain her reasoning in the case of 77-year-old Joseph Hurst. Hurst was sentenced to death but he was resentenced to 100 to 300 years in prison after the U.S. Supreme Court declared a moratorium on capital punishment in 1972. Foxx says Officer Herman Stallworth’s family strongly opposes parole. Foxx over the summer dropped her opposition to parole for another man convicted of killing another Chicago officer, but the review board denied that man’s parole.

BELLEVILLE, Ill. (AP) — One of two men charged in the 2019 fatal shooting of an Illinois State Police trooper in East St. Louis has changed his not guilty plea. The St. Clair County state’s attorney office says Al Stewart Jr. pleaded guilty Feb. 10 to armed violence, obstructing justice, and possession with intent to distribute cannabis charges. Trooper Nicholas Hopkins of Waterloo was wounded during an exchange of gunfire while serving the warrant for drug offenses in August 2019. He later died at a hospital. Christopher R. Grant, who lived at the home where the warrant was being served, is awaiting trial on a murder charge. Stewart’s sentencing is scheduled for Aug. 23.

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) — Former state senator and gubernatorial candidate Sam McCann has pleaded not guilty to federal charges alleging he illegally spent more than $200,000 in campaign funds on debts and personal expenses and to pay himself. The State-Journal-Register reports the 51-year-old Plainview Republican was appointed a public defender during a hearing Tuesday after he told a magistrate that he was unemployed, being supported by his wife and had more than $30,000 in credit card debt and loans. McCann was indicted Feb. 3 on charges of wire fraud, money laundering and tax evasion. He was a state senator from 2011 to early 2019,