Iowa’s Teenager “Sexting” Law Changing

Legislators are making another attempt to relax state laws for “sexting” between teenagers who are dating. Assistant Iowa Attorney General Sherri Soich  says, for example, a teenage girl who sends a racy photo to her boyfriend could be charged with a felony today. “Under the current law, it makes teenagers who are ‘sexting’ actually child pornographyers,” Soich says, “because under the definition of child pornography…if you produce a picture of a prohibited sex act involving a minor, then you are deemed a producer of child pornography.” Iowa’s attorney general began asking legislators in 2010 to change these laws, to make most cases of “sexting” a misdemeanor. Eric Tabor, another assistant attorney general, says young people sometimes do dumb things. Continue Reading


Illinois May Tax Soda

An Illinois lawmaker wants to tax soft drinks as part of an effort to promote healthy living. The Springfield bureau of Lee Enterprises Newspapers reports the legislation is being sponsored by Sen. Mattie Hunter, a Chicago Democrat. Her proposal would charge a penny-per-ounce surcharge on sugary drinks that are sold in sealed containers. Money generated from the levy would be used to pay for a variety of health services and educational efforts. But Hunter’s plan is already drawing criticism from the Illinois Coalition Against Beverage Taxes. Continue Reading


Subcommittee Votes to Legalize Fireworks in Iowa

A bill that would make it legal for adults to shoot off fireworks in Iowa has cleared a subcommittee in the Iowa Senate.  

Senator Wally Horn, a Democrat from Cedar Rapids, says the general public wants it… “I don’t know how many more fireworks will be set off if we pass this law than it is right now.” Novelty items like sparklers and snakes are legal to light in Iowa, but all other fireworks have been illegal in the state of Iowa since 1938. John Pederson, a lobbyist for the Iowa Professional Firefighters Association, says the group is “leaning against” legalizing consumer fireworks… Continue Reading


Suspicious Macomb Death

It’s still unclear what killed a Macomb man yesterday. At around 8am Sunday, police received a call stating that 43-year-old Ramone Doyle of Macomb was not breathing. The caller also said Doyle had been involved in a fight. Authorities responded to the 500 block of East Pierce Street and took him to McDonough District Hospital, where he was later pronounced dead. The fatality has been labeled “suspicious” and is under investigation. Continue Reading

Illinois Headlines by the Associated Press

WASHINGTON (AP) _ The New York Times is reporting that the National Security
Agency was involved in surveillance of an American law firm while it represented
Indonesia in trade disputes with the U.S.


The law firm is not identified in the document obtained by NSA leaker Edward Snowden. But the Times says the Chicago-based firm Mayer Brown was advising the Indonesian government on trade issues at the time the document was written last year. SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) _ Illinois Treasurer Dan Rutherford (ROOTH’-ur-furd)
says he has not read the report of an investigation into allegations of sexual
harassment and political pressure in his office, but a spokeswoman says he might
have read an executive summary. The Republican candidate for governor has
promised to release an outside review of claims made by an ex-employee in a
federal lawsuit filed last week. Continue Reading

Iowa Headlines by the Associated Press

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) _ Bob Vander Plaats, the standard-bearer for social and
religious conservatives in Iowa, has announced he won’t run for Iowa’s open U.S.
Senate seat.  

Vander Plaats said in a written statement yesterday that the timing
of a Senate run was not right for his family or his conservative advocacy group,
The Family Leader. DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) _ Lawmakers are considering a measure giving parents of
multiples more control over placing their children in the same classroom. The
bill would require school districts to adhere to a parent or guardian’s written
placement request for multiple birth siblings unless a school board decides
doing so would be detrimental to the children. DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) _ Des Moines police have identified a woman killed while
crossing a street by a driver who sped away. Continue Reading


More Snow Across Cornbelt, but Melting Could be Near

Many of us have been busy with our shovels and snow blowers again this weekend.  

National Weather Service Meteorologist Craig Cogill says the heaviest snow, 3 to 5 inches, fell over south-central and southeastern Iowa, but Henderson…Hancock…Henry…and McDonough Counties on the Illinois side of the Mississippi River all got about two inches of the white stuff. While winter has appeared unforgiving to many in the nation’s midsection, a climatologist says the next couple of months will dictate the season’s legacy on all-important sectors such as shipping and farming. Brian Fuchs works with the National Drought Mitigation Center at the University of Nebraska in Lincoln.   He says how much more snow is in store for the Midwest and how quickly it melts off will dictate whether it crimps barge traffic or growers. Continue Reading


Car Crashes into School Bus Near Monmouth

At about 7 O’clock this morning on Highway-67 (2 miles north of Monmouth), a northbound car slid out of control on the snow-covered road. The car, driven by Caitlin Volz, then collided with a United school bus. The car slid off the highway while the bus remained upright on the road. Some students were complaining of headaches and back pains and were transported to the OSF Hospital in Monmouth. Volz had to be extricated by the Monmouth Fire Department and was taken by ambulance to OSF as well. Continue Reading


IA House GOP Tries Adding Gun-Rights to Constitution

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — Iowa House Republicans are continuing their effort to amend the state constitution to add the right to bear arms.

Lawmakers debated the proposal in a House subcommittee Thursday. They did not vote to move the measure forward, instead pledging to have more discussions. The proposal from House Republicans would add language to the Iowa Constitution stating that the right to “acquire, keep, possess, transport, carry, transfer, and use arms to defend life and liberty” cannot be denied. Changing the state constitution is a multi-step process, which would require approval by the current General Assembly and then by the one elected in 2014. After that it would go to Iowa voters. Continue Reading