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    February 21, 2020

    Flood Relief Funding Approved, Increased Risk of Flooding This Year
    House Committee Increases Protections for Police and Firefighters
    Deaf and Hard of Hearing Student Assistance Bill Moves Forward
    Chronic Wasting Disease Preventions Passes Committee
    AARP Iowa Fraud Education Tour


    Flood Relief Funding Approved, Increased Risk of Flooding This Year

    With the legislature already approving $21 million in flood relief for the current year, January marked another month of wet weather across the state. January 2020 was the 38th warmest in 148 years of observational records. The 24-month period ending this January was the wettest two-year period in the history of records for the state.

    The National Weather Service issued the first Spring Flood Outlook this month and stated that there is an above-normal risk of spring flooding this year because of elevated soil moisture and above-normal streamflows. Soil moisture was rated as “Much Above-Normal Risk.”

    According to the Iowa Water Summary Update, this January also tied for the 20th snowiest January in the records. The Corps of Engineers is estimating that runoff from the Missouri River Basin and Sioux City could be 141% of the average.

    The additional $21 million in flood relief for the current year, will be appropriated to the Department of Homeland Security and Emergency Management to help 35 projects that are happening throughout the state at a cost of approximately $160 million. According to the Department of Homeland Security, the federal government will be providing an additional $90 million.

    To find out more or apply for flood recovery relief go to: https://www.homelandsecurity.iowa.gov/about_HSEMD/flood_mitigation_board.html.


    House Committee Increases Protections for Police and Firefighters

    A step was taken this week to increase health care protections for firefighters and police officers who are members of the “Municipal Fire and Police Retirement System”. The system covers police and firefighters from the forty-nine of the largest cities in Iowa. There are currently 8,608 members, 4,086 of them currently considered “active”

    The legislation, passed by the Iowa House State Government Committee, will provide more coverage for police and fire fighters who have injuries that occur over the length of their career and may not be the result of a singular incident. The changes will also impact for how long the benefits are for.

    In 1992, 87 local fire and police retirement systems were consolidated into one statewide system. Cities that have a population over 8,000 as of the 1990 census and have fire and police officers appointed under the civil service law participate in the 411 system.

    Unlike a lot of retirement systems, many members of the system do not receive social security benefits and the system serves as a disability system as well.


    Deaf and Hard of Hearing Student Assistance Bill Moves Forward

    A bill that creates language development milestones in both English and American Sign Language for deaf and hard of hearing children ages 1 through 8 has moved through the House Education Committee.

    Once the language development milestones are established, it will provide a tool to assess progress deaf and hearing-impaired children are meeting the milestones. These tools will help parents and educators identify the areas of development that are falling short so they can be addressed.

    Too many deaf and hard-of-hearing children come to school lacking language, or having very limited language at a critical time to learn. The bill tries to address deaf and hard of hearing children and their readiness to learn when they enter school. It will help them be ready to meet grade level benchmarks.

    The long-term impact of high-quality services that support equitable early language acquisition in deaf and hard of hearing children should reduce the incidence of language deprivation and less need for intensive remedial education services provided by the school.


    Chronic Wasting Disease Preventions Passes Committee

    Last week, the Department of Natural Resources (DNR) announced almost 7,000 deer tissue samples were tested for Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD) over the 2019-2020 deer hunting seasons. Unfortunately, 43 of the samples tested positive for CWD. New counties where deer tested positive were Woodbury, Winneshiek, Fayette, and Decatur. Those counties bring the total number of counties impacted by CWD to eight in Iowa. Deer have also tested positive in Allamakee, Clayton, Wayne, and Dubuque Counties.

    Chronic Wasting Disease, a neurologic disease that impacts deer, moose, and elk, was first reported in Iowa in 2013. The disease causes weight loss and ultimately death for infected animals. While the disease can spread animal to animal, it is not believed to be transferable to humans. Since 2013, 89 wild deer in Iowa have tested positive for CWD.

    In effort to prevent the spread of CWD the Natural Resources Committee passed HF 2240 this week. The bill adds Chronic Wasting Disease to the list of infectious diseases through the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship. The bill also allows the DNR and the Natural Resources Commission (NRC) to act to prevent the spread of infectious diseases in wild animals. The NRC can establish zones, establish special hunting seasons, prevent the artificial movement of wild animals, require samples of harvested animals, and limit the movement of carcasses in order to stop the spread of CWD or any other infectious disease in wild animals.

    The bill now moves to the full House for debate.


    AARP Iowa Fraud Education Tour

    This spring, the Iowa Attorney General will join AARP Iowa, county sheriffs, and the Iowa Insurance Division for a statewide tour to highlight fraud and abuse against seniors.

    The fraud education tour will offer tips to spot and avoid the top five Iowa scams and teach Iowans how to better protect themselves from financial exploitation, identity theft, investment fraud, and get real-time information from local law enforcement.

    Participates must be registered to attend. To sign up and find more information go to: https://www.homelandsecurity.iowa.gov/about_HSEMD/flood_mitigation_board.html Locations include:

    Winterset Public Library
    March 11, 2020 at 8:30 am – 10:00 am

    Indianola Public Library
    March 11, 2020 at 12:00 pm – 1:30 pm

    Pella Community Center
    March 12, 2020 at 8:30 am – 10:00 am

    Newton Public Library
    March 12, 2020 at 12:00 pm – 1:30 pm

    Marshalltown Public Library
    March 12, 2020 at 5:30 pm – 7:00 pm

    Fairfield Public Library
    March 24, 2020 at 9:00 am – 10:30 am

    Ottumwa Public Library
    March 24, 2020 at 12:30 pm – 2:00 pm

    Drake Public Library (Centerville)
    March 24, 2020 at 5:30 pm – 7:00 pm

    Chariton Community Center
    March 25, 2020 at 9:00 am – 10:30 am

    Osceola Public Library
    March 25, 2020 at 12:00 pm – 1:30 pm

    Harlan Public Library
    April 7, 2020 at 9:00 am – 10:30 am

    Council Bluffs Public Library
    April 7, 2020 at 12:00 pm – 1:30 pm

    Montgomery County YMCA
    April 7, 2020 at 5:30 pm – 7:00 pm

    Montgomery County YMCA
    April 7, 2020 at 5:30 pm – 7:00 pm

    Sioux City Aalf's Downtown Library (Gleeson room)
    April 21, 2020 at 12:00 pm – 1:30 pm

    LeMars Community Center Boardroom
    April 21, 2020 at 5:30 pm – 7:30 pm

    Carroll Pizza Ranch
    April 22, 2020 at 12:30 pm – 2:00 pm

    Algona Public Library
    May 5, 2020 at 5:30 pm – 7:30 pm

    Fort Dodge, The Vincent House
    May 6, 2020 at 5:30 pm - 7:30 pm