DES MOINES (AP) — Iowa bankers have launched an advertising campaign calling for an end to credit unions' nonprofit status, which they say gives an unfair competitive advantage.
The move comes as Iowa's credit unions increase their market share.
The Des Moines Register reports that the Iowa Bankers Association has released digital, radio and television ads pushing for a leveled playing field between for-profit banks and nonprofit credit unions. The association says banks' 5 percent franchise tax on profits should also be levied on the state's credit unions.
Credit unions say they should remain exempt from the state's bank taxes. The Iowa Credit Union League is preparing to oppose any potential tax reform bill in the Legislature.
Republican Rep. Guy Vander Linden says he'd rather lower taxes for banks than levy new taxes on credit unions.
Reynolds keeping donations from firm that did pro-Saudi work
DES MOINES (AP) — Iowa's governor is keeping campaign donations tied to a firm that profited from a controversial lobbying blitz funded by Saudi Arabia.
Gov. Kim Reynolds in November returned a $100 contribution from executive branch appointees Kim and Connie Schmett, saying she disagreed with their side work as foreign agents. The couple collected $100,000 opposing a law allowing victims of the 2001 terrorist attacks to sue Saudi Arabia.
But her campaign kept several larger donations linked to the LS2Group, a Des Moines-based firm that received $76,500 from the same Saudi-funded work.
LS2Group executive Chuck Larson Jr. hosted a Reynolds fundraiser last summer. He and other LS2 employees gave thousands to Reynolds, and LS2Group's political arm gave $250.
Reynolds' campaign spokesman notes LS2Group is a private business while the Schmetts are state officials.
Connie Schmett was fined $250 last week by an ethics board for disclosure violations.
Top administrator is out at Iowa Secretary of State's office
DES MOINES (AP) — Iowa Secretary of State Paul Pate is confirming the recent and abrupt departure of his chief of staff.
The secretary of state's office tells The Associated Press that Mark Snell's employment ended Jan. 3. The AP had asked about Snell's departure three weeks earlier but spokesman Kevin Hall didn't provide information until Tuesday.
Hall says Snell was an at-will employee, which means he could be fired for any reason. He said no documents exist that would explain the reason for Snell's departure, and Snell didn't submit a resignation letter.
Snell had a $132,000-annual salary and had served as the top administrator since Pate took office in 2015. He hasn't returned a phone message seeking comment.
Pate, a Republican, is gearing up to run for re-election this year.
Legislation would ban smoking until age 21
SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) — Illinois Democrats want to raise the legal age for smoking or chewing tobacco from 18 to 21.
State Sen. Julie Morrison of Deerfield and State Rep. Camille Lilly of Oak Park say it will stop teenagers from starting a deadly habit.
The "Tobacco 21" measure would prohibit consumers younger than 21 from buying tobacco-based products including e-cigarettes and other nicotine products.
Bill Fleischli is executive vice president of the Illinois Petroleum Marketers Association. It represents gas stations and convenience stores.
Fleischli says the bill is "inconsistent." He says 18-year-olds should be allowed to smoke if they can vote or join the military.
Morrison and Lilly say 14 Illinois cities and counties have similar ordinances, including Chicago, Naperville, and Lake County.
Police: Man reports he was shot; later admits shooting self
DES MOINES (AP) — Des Moines police say a man who reported being shot in a drive-by shooting later admitted he had shot himself in the leg while cleaning a rifle.
The Des Moines Register reports that police were called to the 22-year-old man's home around 4 a.m. Tuesday. Arriving officers found the man lying on a couch with a gunshot wound to this thigh.
The officers say the man initially told them that someone shot at him three times from a car while he was at a nearby park. But the officers say his story continued to change. When officers searched his bedroom, they found blood on his sheets and several firearms, including a .22 rifle.
Officers say he later admitted accidentally shooting himself.
Police say officers took the firearms for safekeeping.
Senate votes to override veto on school funding measure
SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) — The Illinois Senate has voted to override Gov. Bruce Rauner's veto of a public-school funding measure.
The legislation is a cleanup of a landmark measure to revamp the state's school-funding system approved last summer. The Senate vote Wednesday was 38-17.
Lawmakers learned that a technical glitch in the original proposal produced funding levels that Democrats say weren't agreed to. It produced $46 million less for Chicago Public Schools than anticipated.
Rauner didn't object to fixing the funding levels. He used an amendatory veto to suggest streamlining the process for state recognition of non-public schools so they'll be eligible for a tax-credit program contained in the bill. The Republican announced Friday that he reached a compromise on the issue.
It now moves to the House.