A roundup of legislative and Capitol news items of interest for Monday:
TRANSPORTATION PLAN: The Iowa Department of Transportation will hear public comments on the draft Iowa Statewide Transportation Improvement Program from 2 to 2:30 p.m. Aug. 17.
Public participation will be by conference call. The call-in number is 515-817-6093 and the conference ID is 232 696 476#.
A brief overview of the plan and its development process will be provided beginning at 2 p.m. and will be followed by time for comments and questions. If discussion is ongoing at 2:30 p.m., additional time will be made available to accommodate all comments.
The draft identifies all projects proposed to be authorized for funding provided by the Federal Highway Administration or Federal Transit Administration during federal fiscal 2022-25. It includes projects for state, county, city and federal transportation systems. Development of the program is required by federal law.
The draft can be viewed at https://iowadot.gov/program_management/stip/2022-2025_STIPDraft.pdf.
Comments on the draft can be provided at the meeting or by contacting Matt Chambers at 515-239-1409 or Matthew.Chambers@iowadot.us. Comments on the draft will be accepted through Sept. 7. Contact Chambers for a printed copy of the draft.
DRY CROP CONDITION CONCERNS: Ongoing drought conditions in parts of Iowa continue to raise concerns as the state’s corn and soybean crops progress through the 2021 growing season.
Iowa’s corn condition was rated 61% good to excellent, while 60% of soybean acres had that same good to excellent rating — which was relatively unchanged from last week. However, the latest drought monitor map showed 16 Iowa counties in areas of northwest and east-central parts of the state to be under extreme drought.
“As weather continues to keep us on our toes, we have seen extreme drought conditions expand across parts of northern Iowa,” Iowa Agriculture Secretary Mike Naig said Monday in conjunction with the latest weekly crop report issued by the USDA National Agricultural Statistics Service. “Forecasts show warm and dry conditions with a few scattered thunderstorms possible in the week ahead.”
Topsoil moisture levels were rated 51% short to very short, with some slight improvement in northwest Iowa but moisture levels deteriorating in central Iowa with 83% short to very short. Likewise, subsoil moisture in northwest and central Iowa was rated 84% or more short to very short.
According to state climatologist Justin Glisan, Iowa’s weekly precipitation totals ranged from a trace in Sioux City to 3.76 inches in Knoxville.
The statewide weekly average precipitation was 1.01 inches, which is slightly above normal.
GOVERNOR’S AIDE LEAVES: The person who served as Gov. Kim Reynolds’ policy adviser and legislative liaison has taken a job in the private sector.
Logan Shine of Adel has been named vice president of state government affairs for Iowa by Kinetic — a provider of broadband, entertainment and security services — as part of Windstream, a privately held communications and software company based in Arkansas.
During the 2021 legislative session in Iowa, Shine worked with the GOP-led Legislature to help pass a $100 million appropriation to build out Iowa’s broadband infrastructure.
“Logan’s experience in crafting a broadband program to help rural areas in Iowa is invaluable to Kinetic as we continue our multiyear $2 billion fiber investment and build out across our 18-state footprint,” said Brad Hedrick, president of the company’s state operations in Iowa.
HOWARD COUNTY DISASTER: Gov. Kim Reynolds on Monday issued a disaster proclamation for Howard County in response to severe weather beginning July 27.
The governor’s proclamation allows state resources to be utilized to respond to and recover from the effects of the severe weather, according to the governor’s office.
The proclamation activates the Iowa Individual Assistance Grant Program for qualifying residents — along with the Disaster Case Management Program — in Howard County for the July 27 severe weather.
The Iowa Individual Assistance Grant Program provides grants of up to $5,000 for households with incomes up to 200% of the federal poverty level. Grants are available for home or car repairs, replacement of clothing or food, and temporary housing expenses.
The grant application and instructions are available at https://dhs.iowa.gov/disaster-assistance-programs.
Potential applicants have 45 days from the date of the proclamation to submit a claim.
— Gazette Des Moines Bureau
Originally Appeared Here