Newly Licensed Lawyers Won’t Have to Take Iowa Law Course

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — The state Supreme Court has decided that newly licensed lawyers won’t have to take a course on Iowa laws. The Des Moines Register reports that in an order issued Wednesday, Chief Justice Mark Cady said the requirement was too rigid. But he also said the court supported continuing legal education that focused on Iowa law and practice. The old course had been required of lawyers within a year of being admitted to the Iowa bar. It was criticized as time-consuming and unnecessary. Continue Reading

Iowa Exports Record $15 Billion Worth of Goods in 2014

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — The U.S. Department of Commerce says Iowa companies exported a record $15.1 billion worth of merchandise last year which contributed to the nation’s record export level exceeding $2.3 trillion. In the report released Thursday the government says machinery led Iowa exports totaling about $3.6 billion in value. That was followed by food and related products and agricultural products. Canada was the leading destination for Iowa products followed by Mexico, Japan and China. More than 3,300 companies — by far most of them with fewer than 500 employees — exported goods in the most recent report. Continue Reading

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Officials: Nearly 173K Iowans Possibly Hit by Data Breach

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — A state insurance official says nearly 173,000 Iowans may have been affected by the recent data breach at health insurer Anthem Inc.

Iowa Insurance Commissioner Nick Gerhart said Thursday that 172,727 policyholders in Iowa may have had their personal information compromised. The cyberattack into a database of more than 80 million people was discovered earlier this month. The health insurance provider says hackers gained access to names, birthdates, email addresses, Social Security numbers and other information of people who are currently covered or previously had coverage. Gerhart says Anthem will contact each person affected by the breach and inform them of available identity theft services and other protections. He says the Iowa Insurance Division continues to work with Anthem to monitor the situation. Continue Reading

Iowa House Panel OKs Bill that Would Legalize More Fireworks

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — A House panel has approved a bill that would legalize the sale of more fireworks in Iowa, a move that echoes action in the Senate. Members of a ways and means subcommittee approved the bill Thursday. It now heads to a full committee for consideration. The bill would require retailers to obtain a license to legally sell firecrackers, roman candles and other fireworks. Currently, state law allows only sales of sparklers or certain “novelty fireworks.” Continue Reading

No Serious Injuries in Western Illinois School Bus Accident

EAST MOLINE, Ill. (AP) — Officials say no students were seriously injured when a school bus rolled over in icy weather in western Illinois. Illinois State Police say the accident happened about 8:40 a.m. Thursday at the intersection of Interstate 80 and Interstate 88 in East Moline. Police say a small school bus from Geneseo was traveling eastbound on Interstate 80 when it hit an icy spot and rolled. Hospital spokesman Craig Cooper says 11 girls and one adult bus driver were taken to Genesis Medical Center in Silvis. Continue Reading

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It’s Official: Gas Prices to Rise 10 Cents/Gallon on Sunday As Governor Signs Tax Hike

It’s official: gas is going up ten cents a gallon on Sunday. Governor Terry Branstad has approved the bill increasing the state’s gas tax by a dime a gallon. “This is a bill that’s been developed with both the Republicans and Democrats working together,” Branstad says. “I know it’s not easy and I know that there are also people who feel strongly on the other side, but there is a critical need for additional funding for our roads and bridges in the state of Iowa.” Since the beginning of the year Branstad met personally with legislative leaders at least five times to discuss options for dealing with a 215-million dollar shortfall in meeting the critical needs of Iowa’s trnaportation infrastructure. Continue Reading

Speed Limit Could Rise to 75

While the gas tax is going up, the speed limit very well may be going up with it. A bill that would raise the speed limit to 75 miles an hour on many miles of interstate highways in Iowa has cleared its first hurdle in the state senate. Senator Randy Feenstra, a Republican from Hull, says 75 is the posted speed limit in neighboring South Dakota and the data he’s seen doesn’t indicate “an uptick” in traffic accidents and fatalities there. “We have done a lot of things on our interstates, specifically putting the wire in between the two roadways, that have made it a lot safer,” Feenstra says, “thus, hopefully, allowing it to have traffic go a little faster.” Feenstra signed off on the bill so it now is eligible for a vote in the Senate Transportation Committee. Continue Reading

Marshalls, TJ Maxx, Home Goods to Follow Walmart in Raising Starting Wages

NEW YORK (AP) — TJX Cos., the owner of T.J. Maxx, Marshalls and Home Goods stores, says it will boost pay for U.S. workers to at least $9 per hour. The announcement comes a week after Wal-Mart Stores Inc. said it would increase wages for its employees. Low-paying retailers are having a harder time retaining workers as the job market improves. A TJX spokeswoman declined to say what workers currently earn. A recent Credit Suisse report estimates TJX’s current hourly pay at about $8.24. Continue Reading

New University of Iowa Dormitory to be Largest on Campus

IOWA CITY, Iowa (AP) — The University of Iowa plans to construct a residence hall that will house more than 1,000 students and be 12 stories tall, making it the largest dormitory on campus. The Iowa City Press-Citizen reports that the university plans to open the 303,000-square-foot dorm in two years at the site of the old Iowa City water plant, overlooking the Iowa River. According to university officials, construction for the $95 million building is scheduled to start late this spring, and be completed before the fall 2017 semester. The new dorm will have twice as many beds as another residence hall that is being built on the university’s campus. Plans for new construction come at a time when the university is trying to make room for larger incoming classes, and increase its in-state recruiting. Continue Reading