A roundup of state government and Capitol news items of interest for Monday. Sept. 9, 2019:
PRISON STAFF ASSAULT: Iowa Department of Corrections officials say a correctional officer was assaulted about 4 p.m. Sunday by an inmate at the Fort Dodge Correctional Facility in Fort Dodge.
The staff member was giving directives to an inmate when the inmate pushed the officer backward. The officer deployed pepper spray to try to subdue him.
The inmate tried to strike the officer with his fists, and the two fell to the ground, corrections officials said in a news release. The officer and another officer who was nearby attempted to subdue the inmate until additional security arrived.
The assaulted officer was bruised and sore but had no major injuries, according to the corrections department.
The inmate suffered no major injuries.
Prison officials said Monday the incident remained under investigation.
IOWA ECONOMIC INDICATORS STEADY: The Iowa Leading Indicators Index remained unchanged at 107.0 in July, which state Department of Revenue officials said Monday broke a streak of three consecutive months of negative changes in the index.
Half of the eight components contributed positively in July — the agricultural futures profits index, the Iowa stock market index, the national yield spread and diesel fuel consumption.
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Negative contributors were residential building permits, average manufacturing hours, average weekly unemployment claims (inverted) and the new orders index.
State officials said the annualized six-month index change improved to negative 0.8 percent in July from a revised minus 1.2 percent in June.
Iowa’s non-farm employment index has experienced 21 consecutive months of positive growth. However, state officials said the negative annualized six-month index value and other factors suggest that broad-based signals of weakness in the Iowa economy continue.
The goal of the department’s index is to signal turning points in the Iowa economy as measured by employment, according to the revenue agency, and the July report suggests employment growth in Iowa will weaken over the next three to six months.
The July index is available at tax.iowa.gov/july-2019-iowa-leading-indicators-index-report.
VAPING CESSATION FOR TEENS: The Iowa Department of Public Health is offering a special program for teens who want to quit using tobacco and vaping e-cigarettes.
The program, called My Life, My Quit, includes educational materials the health officials say are designed for teens and created through focus groups with teens. Teens can text or call a toll-free number (855-891-9989) dedicated for teens, or they can visit mylifemyquit.com for real-time coaching, according to public health officials.
Through the program, teens work with a coach who listens to and understands their needs, provides personalized support, and helps them build a quit plan to become free from nicotine.
The 2018 Iowa Youth Survey found that 22.4 percent of 11th-grade students, 8.3 percent of eighth-grade students and 2.4 percent of sixth-grade students use e-cigarettes.