A 70 percent raise?
The South Dakota House on Wednesday advanced a bill through which state lawmakers would receive a significant pay raise by linking their salaries to the state's median income, The Associated Press reported.
Today, state legislators are paid $6,000 per session, plus a per-diem allowance. The legislation under consideration would set their pay at one-fifth of the state's median income.
Using 2015 Census numbers, the proposed change would represent a raise of 70 percent for the state's 105 lawmakers to nearly $10,200, according to the AP story.
We don't begrudge lawmakers in South Dakota a raise (their salaries haven't been increased since 1998), but 70 percent?
Move out of the way, senator
Senator Ted Cruz, R-Texas, continues to block the Trump administration's nomination of Bill Northey, Iowa's secretary of agriculture, to a post in the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
In a letter sent on Monday, signed by Chairman Jeff Kaufmann and accompanied by a resolution approved by its 16-member state central committee, the Republican Party of Iowa joined elected Republican leaders from the state in asking Cruz to end his hold on Northey's nomination, The Journal's Des Moines bureau reported.
In a letter to Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds in November, Cruz said he is standing in the way of the nomination until he gets a meeting with President Trump to discuss federal ethanol regulations he opposes.
We share frustration in Iowa over the holdup on the nomination of Northey who is, as Kaufmann said in his letter, "... incredibly well qualified for this post ..." Simply put, Northey deserves better.
Move out of the way, Sen. Cruz, and find a different way to make whatever points you wish to make about ethanol.
No DACA solution
Almost six months after President Trump's decision to rescind President Obama's Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, program beneficiaries remain in limbo because of the inability by Congress to agree on a permanent solution.
Our hope was Trump's DACA decision would result in the kind of comprehensive legislation from Congress for which the issue of illegal immigration begs. The legislation should, we believe, protect DACA beneficiaries - individuals who were brought to this country illegally as children - so they may remain here legally for work and study. In our view, the unique circumstances in which they arrived through no fault of their own, their contributions to our nation and human compassion demand something more for DACA recipients than deportation.
Immigration, including DACA, was debated on Capitol Hill this month, but no bill advanced out of either chamber. Four immigration reform proposals failed in the Senate alone on Feb. 15.
"The Senate’s protracted debate last week deadlocked with a predictable flurry of finger-pointing and insults," Politico reported.
Moving in the right direction
The Iowa Board of Regents on Wednesday said it will raise resident undergraduate tuition by no more than 4 percent for the 2018-2019 academic year, The Journal's Des Moines bureau reported.
Although an increase, it's less than the resident undergraduate tuition hikes of 7 percent each year for the next five years proposed by presidents of Iowa State University and the University of Iowa last summer to members of a Regents task force studying tuition.
Tuition increases at the state's three public universities will be finalized this spring.
Battery Park lineup announced
A diverse lineup of acts awaits concertgoers at Hard Rock Hotel and Casino-Sioux City's Battery Park this year.
The schedule, announced on Tuesday, includes: Post Malone with 21 Savage, May 4; A Day to Remember with Beartooth and Silverstein, June 16; Kesha, June 29; Hard Rock Country Fest featuring Old Dominion with Walker Hayes and Brandon Lay, July 13; Incubus with The Struts, July 14; Tape Deck Takeover featuring Bobby Brown, Warren G, SugarHill Gang, Tone Loc and 2 Live Crew, hosted by Flava Flav, July 15; and Nickelback, July 24.
A unique addition to the local summer entertainment scene, Battery Park concerts have sold more than 70,000 tickets since they began in 2015.