KXEL Midday News for Fri. Jun. 26, 2020

KXEL Midday News for Fri. Jun. 26, 2020

TYSON FOODS IS FACING A LAWSUIT FROM THREE FAMILIES OF WATERLOO PLANT WORKERS WHO DIED IN THE COVID-19 PANDEMIC. IN THE FILING, THE PLAINTIFFS CLAIM TYSON OFFICIALS WERE AWARE THE VIRUS WAS SPREADING AT THE PLANT BY LATE MARCH OR EARLY APRIL BUT KEPT THAT INFORMATION FROM EMPLOYEES AND THE PUBLIC. THE SUIT ALSO ALLEGES THAT THE COMPANY KNOWINGLY PUT EMPLOYEES AT RISK AND LIED TO KEEP THEM ON THE JOB, WHILE FAILING TO IMPLEMENT SAFETY MEASURES, AND ALLOWING SOME SICK EMPLOYEES TO REMAIN ON THE PRODUCTION LINE.

IN THREE MONTHS FROM MID-MARCH TO MID-JUNE, THE STATE OF IOWA MISSED OUT ON MORE THAN 560 MILLION DOLLARS OF REVENUE. THAT’S A DROP OF MORE THAN 20 PERCENT FROM THE PREVIOUS YEAR OVER THE SAME TIME. SOME OF THE MONEY IS EXPECTED TO BE MADE UP WHEN INCOME TAXES ARE EVENTUALLY PAID; THE INCOME TAX DEADLINE WAS EXTENDED TO THE END OF JULY. STATE OFFICIALS SAY THAT MISSED SALES TAX REVENUE FOR THE STATE ACCOUNTED FOR LESS THAN 30 MILLION DOLLARS YEAR-OVER-YEAR, WHILE TAXES COLLECTED FROM CASINO GAMBLING WERE DOWN 72 MILLION.

DURING THE LEGISLATIVE SESSION, THE IOWA ASSOCIATION OF BUSINESS AND INDUSTRY TOOK INTEREST IN A DIVERSE RANGE OF ISSUES. THE ORGANIZATION’S J.D. DAVIS IS VICE PRESIDENT OF PUBLIC POLICY AND TALKED ABOUT ONE OF THEM–CHILD CARE. HEAR MORE ABOUT THE 2020 IOWA LEGISLATIVE SESSION DURING THE IOWA BUSINESS REPORT, SATURDAY MORNING AT 7 AND SUNDAY MORNING AT 11, ON NEWS/TALK 1540 KXEL.

STATE GUIDELINES HAVE BEEN RELEASED ALLOWING SCHOOLS TO REOPEN TO NORMAL ACTIVITIES AS OF JULY 1. THE REOPENING PLAN DOES NOT REQUIRE HEALTH CHECKS, FACE COVERINGS, NOR SOCIAL DISTANCING. THE IOWA DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION SAYS THE GUIDANCE WAS CREATED WITH THE IOWA DEPARTMENT OF PUBLIC HEALTH AND SCHOOLS MAY REQUIRE THEIR OWN STRICTER MEASURES. WATERLOO WEST TEACHER AND CITY COUNCILMAN JONATHAN GREIDER TOLD OUR COVERAGE PARTNERS AT TV-9 THAT THE STATE POLICY FALLS SHORT. THE IOWA STATE EDUCATION ASSOCIATION CALLS THE POLICY A “GAMBLE” ON THE HEALTH OF STUDENTS AND TEACHERS.

A PAIR OF DEMOCRATIC STATE LAWMAKERS SAID IOWA’S CORONAVIRUS TESTING PROGRAM MISHANDLED THEIR SAMPLES WHEN THEY RECENTLY TRIED TO BE TESTED. SEN. ZACH WAHLS AND REP. DAVE JACOBY, BOTH FROM CORALVILLE, SAID THAT THEY TRAVELED SEPARATELY TO THE CEDAR RAPIDS TEST IOWA SITE. BOTH WANTED TO MAKE SURE THEY WERE VIRUS-FREE AFTER THE RECENT LEGISLATIVE SESSION. THEIR SAMPLES WERE TAKEN ON DIFFERENT DAYS LAST WEEK. THEY WERE INFORMED SEVERAL DAYS LATER THAT THEIR SAMPLES WERE “DAMAGED” OR “UNUSABLE” AND HAD TO BE RETESTED.

SHELTERS, CABINS, AND SHOWER BUILDINGS ARE BEING RENOVATED THIS SUMMER AT PINE LAKE STATE PARK NEAR ELDORA. NEW PLUMBING, HEATING, AND COOLING, AS WELL AS FOUNDATION WORK IS PART OF THE PROJECT. AS PART OF THE RENOVATIONS, THE PINE LAKE CAMPGROUND WILL CLOSE FOR THE SEASON ON JULY 27TH, AND CABINS WILL BE UNAVAILABLE FROM AUGUST ONWARD.

IOWA’S CHUCK GRASSLEY AND JONI ERNST WERE PART OF A BIPARTISAN GROUP OF SIX MIDWESTERN SENATORS WHICH SENT A LETTER TO ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AGENCY CHIEF ANDREW WHEELER ON THURSDAY. THE LETTER EXPRESSED FRUSTRATION AND CONCERN THAT EPA CONSIDERING MORE THAN 50 EXEMPTIONS FOR SMALL REFINERIES, TAKING AWAY THE REQUIREMENT THAT THEY BLEND ETHANOL UNDER THE RENEWABLE FUELS STANDARD. THE SENATORS NOTED THAT THE EPA APPEARS TO BE TRYING CIRCUMVENT A JANUARY COURT RULING FOR THE BENEFIT OF REFINERS AT A TIME WHEN MORE THAN 100 BIOFUEL PLANTS HAVE HAD TO SLOW OR STOP THEIR OPERATIONS DUE TO THE ECONOMIC SLOWDOWN.

THE MEETING OF BUSINESS AND LEGISLATIVE POLICY WILL BE IN FOCUS THIS WEEKEND ON THE IOWA BUSINESS REPORT. BRAD HARTKOPF IS THE DIRECTOR OF PUBLIC POLICY FOR THE IOWA ASSOCIATION OF BUSINESS AND INDUSTRY AND WILL TALK ABOUT A STATE LAW TO LIMIT LAWSUITS WHICH CAN BE BROUGHT BY COVID-19 PATIENTS AGAINST RESTAURANTS, NURSING HOME, AND A VARIETY OF OTHER COMPANIES. HEAR MORE ABOUT THE 2020 IOWA LEGISLATIVE SESSION DURING THE IOWA BUSINESS REPORT, SATURDAY MORNING AT 7 AND SUNDAY MORNING AT 11, ON NEWS/TALK 1540 KXEL.

THE IOWA CREDIT UNION FOUNDATION AND THE UNIVERSITY OF NORTHERN IOWA WILL WORK TOGETHER TO TEACH HIGH SCHOOL STUDENTS ABOUT FINANCIAL LITERACY. THE ICUF ANNOUNCED 50 THOUSAND DOLLARS FOR THE PROJECT THURSDAY. UNI WILL CREATE A CONTINUING EDUCATION PROGRAM TO HELP EDUCATORS LEARN HOW TO TEACH FINANCIAL LITERACY CONCEPTS. IOWA HAS A FINANCIAL LITERACY REQUIREMENT FOR HIGH SCHOOL GRADUATION.