DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — As lawmakers struggle to complete their work and adjourn the legislative session, some wonder whether the best way to deal with a contentious health debate is to skip the matter for now and hold a special session later.
It's been seven years since the Legislature held a special session, but they have been used sporadically over the years to address complex issues. The last time was in 2006, when the legislature returned in July to override a veto from then-Gov. Tom Vilsack of a bill that put new restrictions on the ability of local governments to seize private property. Other special sessions have dealt with tax votes and budget cuts.
In the past 50 years, lawmakers have joined for 15 special sessions. There were five years when two special sessions were called.
This time, some lawmakers think a discussion over whether to expand Medicaid may be too complicated to finish in the coming days in addition to work on taxes and education policy. Delaying the health care issue would allow for further debate among legislative leaders and the governor, with the full legislature called back when a compromise had been struck.
Lawmakers also received their final daily expense payments on May 3, so many are also eager to conclude the session.
House Speaker Kraig Paulsen, R-Hiawatha, said this week that he doesn't want to rush this process.
"It is more important to get it right than it is to get it fast. We want to be sure when we pass something it works for all of Iowa," Paulsen said.
SIOUX CITY, Iowa (AP) — The beef-processing company that makes the product that critics call "pink slime" continues to struggle more than a year after the initial stories on the lean bits of beef that Beef Products Inc. produced.
The Sioux City Journal reports (http://bit.ly/15YXsIhhttp://bit.ly/15YXsIh ) the Dakota Dunes, S.D., based company lost 80 percent of its business after the uproar over what BPI calls lean finely textured beef.
The meat BPI separated from trimmings and treated with ammonia to kill bacteria was widely used in hamburger, but consumers objected to it after media reports depicted it as unsavory.
The private company closed three of its four plants, scrapped expansion plans in South Sioux City and eliminated more than 700 jobs. Those won't return soon.
DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — A woman who used to work for the Iowa Senate Republican Caucus says she was fired after reporting sexual harassment, but GOP officials deny that.
Kirsten Anderson told WHO-TV in an interview that aired Sunday that she was fired Friday several hours after complaining about harassment from lawmakers and staffers. She had been communications director for the caucus.
Anderson says she provided documentation about the harassment to Republican leaders Friday and asked for their help in improving the environment.
Ed Failor Jr., who is an assistant to Senate Republican Leader Bill Dix, says Anderson was fired for failing to improve her performance.
Failor says Dix and other GOP leaders do not tolerate sexual harassment.
ARNOLDS PARK, Iowa (AP) — A northeast Iowa amusement park is reopening a historic roller coaster after a $250,000 rehabilitation of the attraction.
The Legend Roller Coaster roared back to life Saturday at the Arnolds Park Amusement Park, overlooking Lake Okoboji.
The Sioux City Journal reports (http://bit.ly/15YEjWIhttp://bit.ly/15YEjWI ) crews spent eight months on the quarter-million dollar renovation of the 1927 roller coaster. The park says it's the 13th oldest operating wooden roller coaster in the country.
Workers replaced wood supports, raised low points in the track and made repairs to concrete footings.
Mike May, of Spirit Lake, got an early ride on Thursday. The 68-year-old has been riding the coaster since he was 15 and says the ride is now much smoother.
Information from: Sioux City Journal, http://www.siouxcityjournal.comhttp://www.siouxcityjournal.com
DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — Raygun owner Mike Draper was wandering through the halls and classrooms of Roosevelt High School a few weeks ago, gathering information about the current state of local education.
"I have no huge sinister goal," he said. "Yet."
Now that's a promo.
The Des Moines Register reports (http://dmreg.co/182fXJbhttp://dmreg.co/182fXJb ) Draper, 30, isn't alone in his quest for knowledge. He was joined by Nadas musician Jason Walsmith, 38, and Voss Distributing owner Zac Voss, 36, as part of an effort put together by the Des Moines Education Association. The goal is to bring a diverse set of minds together to experience first-hand what school is all about these days. They were immediately debriefed by the DMEA's president at day's end and the reconnaissance work could turn into recommendations by the group of young professionals for improving creativity in students.
Other Des Moines young professionals will enter middle- and elementary-school settings before school is finished for the summer. Call it phase one of an invitation patterned after what is already happening in Cedar Rapids: Giving unique local voices the opportunity to impact educational excellence.
"When we advocate for issues, we need to have a shared vision with parents and community members rather than just a guess," said Andrew Rasmussen, president of the DMEA. "The novelty of this is that we are opening up the door for conversation and not coming up with a prescribed list of things we want people to accept."
Voss' return to the high school was, in fact, a return to his own alma mater. He sat in several different classrooms throughout the morning while shadowing students and their activities.