DES MOINES (AP) — State lawyers representing Gov. Kim Reynolds say lawmakers lack the legal standing to bring a lawsuit challenging her use of a reserve fund to plug a budget hole.
Assistant attorneys general defending Reynolds and Department of Management Director David Roederer asked a judge Monday to dismiss the lawsuit, which alleges the two illegally transferred $13 million from the State Economic Emergency Fund in September. A hearing is set for next month.
Democratic representatives contend in the lawsuit that the fund is intended to cover unexpected drops in revenue and that the legal conditions weren't met for the Republican governor to use it.
Reynolds' lawyers argued that lawmakers lack standing because they haven't demonstrated "a personal interest at stake or an injury that is more than abstract."
Lawmakers' attorney Gary Dickey says it's disappointing that Reynolds would "attempt to hide behind procedural technicalities" after her office called the lawsuit politically motivated.
'Bachelor' star asks court to dismiss fatal accident charge
DES MOINES (AP) — An Iowa farmer-turned-reality television celebrity charged with leaving the scene of a fatal accident is asking the Iowa Supreme Court to dismiss the felony charge before it goes to trial.
Chris Soules, who appeared on "The Bachelor" and "Dancing With The Stars" in 2015, filed an appeal to the state's highest court on Tuesday.
Soules struck a farm tractor driven by a neighboring farmer on April 24 last year in northern Iowa where he lives. He called 911 and waited for first responders but left before police arrived. The tractor driver later died.
Soules contends Iowa law doesn't require fatal wreck surviving drivers to wait for police but state prosecutors say it does.
A judge declined last month to dismiss the charge, which carries a five-year maximum prison sentence.
Voters approve consolidation of 2 Iowa school districts
KEOSAUQUA (AP) — Voters have approved the consolidation of two southeast Iowa school districts after years of declining enrollment and changes to state funding.
The Hawk Eye reports that residents in the Harmony and Van Buren school districts voted Tuesday in favor of the districts' reorganization. About 72 percent of Harmony residents and 94 percent of Van Buren voters approved the measure to consolidate the districts.
The consolidation will allow the districts to share resources and offer more programming. Property taxes are also expected to drop.
The districts will continue operating under separate superintendents and school boards through the 2018-19 school year. A new board will be formed after July 1, 2019.
School building boundaries and bus routes will be decided during the next year.
Voters approve $25M bond for Iowa Central Community College
FORT DODGE (AP) — Voters have approved $25.5 million in bonds for Iowa Central Community College to finance building projects at the college's campuses across the state.
The Messenger reports that more than 67 percent of voters approved the bond issue Tuesday for building improvements and construction at campuses in Eagle Grove, Fort Dodge, Storm Lake and Webster City.
About $6 million of the bond money will build a student success center on the Fort Dodge campus to house a variety of student services that are currently scattered across campus.
College President Dan Kinney says the bond issue is about keeping young people in the area by investing in education. He says the college will begin consulting with architects to finalize the building projects and working with financial consultants to borrow the money.
Bill would limit terms of Illinois legislative leaders
SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) — A bill has been proposed at the Illinois General Assembly that would put term limits on four legislative positions.
The State Journal-Register reports that Republican Rep. Thomas M. Bennett of Gibson City has proposed the bill. It would limit the House speaker, Senate president and the minority leader in each chamber to 10 consecutive years in their roles.
Bennett submitted a similar bill in March, but it never left the committee. But last year, the chamber approved a resolution that limits the tenure of the Senate president and the minority leader to 10 years.
Democratic Sen. Julie A. Morrison of Deerfield sponsored that bill. She supports expanding the rule outside of the Senate, but says the change would be more effective as a constitutional amendment.
Illinois higher ed board asks state for $3.47B in funding
SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) — The Illinois Board of Higher Education has approved a state funding request that is $254 million more than last year but still below the amount they received in 2014-2015.
The (Champaign) News-Gazette reports that the board approved the $3.47 billion budget request Tuesday. That amount includes money for public universities, community colleges, grants and other programs for 2018-2019. The Illinois Legislature and Gov. Bruce Rauner will now consider it.
Public universities would get about $1.1 billion. That's up $24.1 million from this year. But Illinois public universities presidents had asked the board for another $100 million to restore funding to levels before the two-year state budget impasse.
Board executive director Al Bowman says the presidents' request is legitimate but the board believes its recommendation should "reflect the state's current financial situation."
Officials: 10-year-old girl killed in northwestern Iowa fire
GEORGE (AP) — Authorities have identified a person killed in a northwestern Iowa house fire as a 10-year-old girl.
The Sioux City Journal reports that Riley Meyer, a third-grader at Central Lyon Elementary School, died when her family's house in George burned early Sunday.
Central Lyon Principal Steve Harmon says counselors, religious leaders and others have been to the school to help students deal with grief.
Firefighters reported that the blaze took several hours to extinguish and that the effort was complicated by cold temperatures that caused water from the trucks to repeatedly freeze.
George is a village of about 1,000 people, located about 40 miles north of Le Mars.
Health chief requires FOIA from senator to release emails
SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) — Gov. Bruce Rauner's administration is requiring state lawmakers to jump through a public-records law hoop before turning over emails about a deadly Legionnaires' disease outbreak at the Illinois Veterans Home in Quincy.
Illinois Public Health Director Dr. Nirav Shah told a joint House-Senate Veterans' Affairs Committee Wednesday that Sen. Tom Cullerton's request for communication surrounding the crisis that has led to the deaths of 13 residents and sickened dozens more is subject to the Freedom of Information Act.
He used an exemption for "overly broad" requests to deny the request from Cullerton. He invited the Villa Park Democrat and Senate Veterans' Affairs Committee chairman to narrow the request.
But no public body is obligated to follow FOIA. The law itself presumes that all government records are public.
Mason City man sentenced to 50 years in shooting death
MASON CITY (AP) — A Mason City man has been sentenced to up to 50 years in prison after his conviction of killing a woman who was hit by a bullet he fired through his apartment door.
A judge Tuesday sentenced 61-year-old Larry Whaley, who was convicted of second-degree murder in the death of 19-year-old Samantha Teeter.
Whaley has said he fired into the door Dec. 2, 2016, because he believed two people he knew were breaking into his apartment, including one who Whaley said he felt threatened by the week before the shooting. Whaley said Teeter was not one of those two people and that her death was an accident.
State law requires Whaley to serve at least 35 years in prison before becoming eligible for parole.
Trudeau to start US tour with talk at University of Chicago
CHICAGO (AP) — Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is embarking on a four-day U.S. tour to discuss how public service can contribute to stronger economic and political ties between the two countries.
He was expected to appear Wednesday afternoon at the University of Chicago's Institute of Politics for a conversation with its founder and director, David Axelrod, who was once an adviser to former President Barack Obama.
Trudeau is also expected to meet with Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel and Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner.
After Chicago, he's scheduled to stop in San Francisco, where he's set to meet with local business leaders and entrepreneurs; and Los Angeles, where he'll speak at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Foundation and Institute.
The visit comes as talks to rewrite the North American Free Trade Agreement are underway.