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Regional News

Iowa News

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds is creating a Governor’s School Safety Bureau within the Iowa Department of Public Safety in an effort to avoid school violence experienced in other states. Her plan announced Tuesday includes hiring additional officers and creating a digital application and tip line for students to anonymously identify threats. Reynolds is asking lawmakers for $2 million to start the bureau and an ongoing $1.5 million annually to run it. She says Iowa can’t wait for something to happen to act. The proposal would add two state agents with cyber training to identify early threats.


MOUNT PLEASANT, Iowa (AP) — Democratic White House hopefuls are campaigning in the more than two dozen Iowa counties that went from supporting Barack Obama to Donald Trump in 2016. They hope showing up in counties Democrats lost will help prove they can take on Trump this year. Their visits may also help Democrats win back these counties in November by energizing Democrats and engaging disaffected Republicans. And they hope to win some delegates by focusing on these counties across the state.


IOWA CITY, Iowa (AP) — Defense lawyers for the man charged in the killing of University of Iowa student Mollie Tibbetts are asking for his trial to be delayed. Lawyers for Cristhian Bahena Rivera say they need to delay the Feb. 4 trial date so they have time to appeal a judge’s ruling that allowed key evidence to be used against their client. The Iowa Supreme Court will consider whether to take the appeal before trial. Rivera’s lawyers also say they want to depose several individuals recently added to the prosecution’s witness list, including Tibbetts’ boyfriend at the time of her July 2018 disappearance.


BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) — Iowa regulators have gone beyond their counterparts in North Dakota by requiring owners of the Dakota Access Pipeline to provide expert analysis to back up the company’s claim that doubling the line’s capacity does not increase the potential of a spill. Energy Transfer wants to double the capacity of the pipeline to as much as 1.1 million barrels daily to meet growing demand for oil shipments from North Dakota, and is seeking permission for additional pump stations in the Dakotas, Iowa and Illinois to do it.

Illinois News

CHICAGO (AP) — A class action lawsuit claiming Chicago Public Schools discriminated against black educators when it laid off teachers in 2011 has been dismissed. The 2012 lawsuit by the Chicago Teachers Union was filed on behalf of 630 black educators who were among 1,470 CPS employees who were laid off. The union alleged the layoffs disproportionately hurt black teachers because they made up a higher proportion of teachers dismissed.  Teachers union spokesman Ronnie Reese said Tuesday the union will appeal the judge’s decision. A little over 50% of the district’s teachers are white, 21.2 % are black and nearly 21% are black.


CHICAGO (AP) — Thomas Railsback, an Illinois Republican congressman who helped draw up articles of impeachment against President Richard Nixon in 1974, has died at age 87. Former Republican congressman and U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood confirmed the death on Tuesday. Railback died early Monday in Mesa, Arizona, where he lived in a nursing home in recent years. Railsback represented the 19th Congressional District for 16 years and was the second ranking member on the House Judiciary Committee when it was conducting the impeachment inquiry into Nixon.


CHICAGO (AP) — Officials say a computer error in Illinois’ new automatic voter registration system may have led to 545 non-U.S. citizens being registered to vote, 16 of whom cast ballots. The Illinois secretary of state’s office has acknowledged the mistake, saying it was an isolated incident. Officials are working to confirm how many people were mistakenly registered and canceling improper registrations. A group of Republican lawmakers has called for an immediate hearing into the issue, calling it a “serious breach” of voter protections. Illinois made automatic voter registration law in 2017, but it wasn’t fully in swing until last year.


WAUKEGAN, Ill. (AP) — An Illinois healthcare manufacturing company has temporarily closed because it couldn’t meet new state standards for ethylene oxide, a cancer-causing chemical. The Lake County News-Sun reports that Medline Industries in Waukegan is in the process of completing $10 million in upgrades designed to bring the plant into compliance with the state law. The facility closed about a month ago. Medline spokesman Jesse Greenberg says the company expects to start full operations in a few weeks once the equipment is tested.

Wisconsin News

MADISON, Wis. (AP) — Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers is laying out his policy agenda and goals for the year in his second State of the State speech to the Legislature. The speech Wednesday before a joint meeting of the state Senate and Assembly comes as the Democrat Evers and Republicans who control the Legislature have found little they can agree upon. Also, lawmakers plan to be in session very few days before adjourning for the year, decreasing the chances of much of substance getting done. Evers previously asked the Legislature to pass a series of measures, many of which have bipartisan support.


MADISON, Wis. (AP) — Vice President Mike Pence is coming to the Wisconsin state Capitol on Jan. 28 for an event in the building’s rotunda celebrating national school choice week. The visit announced Tuesday will take place exactly two weeks after President Donald Trump’s rally in Milwaukee. Pence visited Wisconsin three times last year, stopping in Eau Claire in May, Pleasant Prairie in October and Marinette in November. It will be Pence’s first visit to Madison, a liberal stronghold in battleground Wisconsin, since the 2016 campaign. Wisconsin is one of a handful of key battleground states.


MADISON, Wis. (AP) — A conservative law firm wants the Wisconsin Supreme Court to reverse a lower court’s order putting on hold a ruling that would have forced the removal of up to 209,000 people from the state’s voter rolls. Attorneys for the Wisconsin Institute for Law and Liberty asked the state Supreme Court on Tuesday to overturn a state appeals court Jan. 14 decision to place the original ruling on hold. It also asked the high court to undo the stay of a contempt order against the state Elections Commission that the lower court had issued after the commission failed to proceed with the voter purge.


MADISON, Wis. (AP) — Wisconsin insurance companies, healthcare providers and others have agreed to do away with prior authorization requirements for most patients, in the hope of speeding the prescription of drugs to treat people fighting substance abuse. The deal was announced Tuesday at the state Capitol. Those involved heralded it as a major advancement in the fight against addiction. Rep. John Nygren says the deal will expand the access to medication-assisted treatment to more than a million patients. Health insurers agreed to cover at least one product to treat opioid addiction without pre-approval from the insurance company.