Jason Clayworth
Feb 6, 2023 - News

Scoop: Iowa forfeits millions in federal emergency housing funds

An illustration of a band-aid made of money covering the U.S.

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Polk County is getting nearly $28 million more in federal pandemic emergency rent assistance forfeited by the state, federal documents show.

  • Another almost $17 million of Iowa's money was redistributed in late January to other states.
Linh Ta
Feb 3, 2023 - Business

New bill would legalize medical marijuana bud in Iowa


Drying marijuana plants at the Bud & Mary's production facility. Photo: Linh Ta/Axios

A new bill in the Iowa Senate would legalize the sale of dried cannabis within the state's medical marijuana program.

Driving the news: Senate Study Bill 1113 allows dispensaries to sell marijuana buds — the actual dried plant — as long as it's consumed through a vape.

Jason Clayworth
Feb 2, 2023 - News

Spike in synthetic narcotic deaths driving tougher Iowa drug laws

Data: Iowa Health and Human Services; Chart: Axios Visuals
Data: Iowa Health and Human Services; Chart: Axios Visuals

Iowa registered at least 178 synthetic narcotic deaths in 2022, according to provisional data from the state's Health and Human Services department.

  • That's down by as much as 35 from a 2021 peak but still at least 125% higher than five years ago.
Jason Clayworth
Jan 30, 2023 - News

Three Des Moines City Council members consider mayoral bid

A photo of Des Moines City Council members.

Des moines Mayor Frank Cownie, left, and Council members Connie Boesen and Josh Mandelbaum. Photos courtesy of the City of Des Moines

At least three Des Moines City Council members are considering a run for mayor this year, they tell Axios.

Driving the news: Frank Cownie — the longest-serving mayor in DSM's history — might seek a sixth term.

Linh Ta
Jan 27, 2023 - Politics

Iowa lawmakers back off severely restricting SNAP eligible foods

Illustration of a slice of bread with peanut butter in the shape of a worried face

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Iowa Republicans say they plan on amending a bill that would have severely restricted what food SNAP recipients could buy at the store.

  • After a debate yesterday morning, the bill will just restrict candy and non-zero calorie pop purchases, pending USDA approval.
Linh Ta
Jan 26, 2023 - News

Des Moines school board debates transparency of superintendent search

Tom Ahart

Former superintendent Tom Ahart announcing his resignation in 2022. Photo courtesy of DMPS

The Des Moines school board is considering if it should share the names of three superintendent finalists or keep it to one during its search.

  • DMPS plans to start the search and hiring process soon.

The intrigue: The board is facing a double-edged sword: If they require final candidates' names be disclosed, they could lose applicants who don't want their employer to know they're job hunting.

  • But on the other hand, students and parents don't get full knowledge of the candidates.

Lessons for Iowa's private schools, public cash proposal

Illustration of a red apple with a hundred dollar bill for a leaf. 

Illustration: Shoshana Gordon/Axios

Iowa lawmakers could pass a bill allowing parents to apply the state's $7,598 per-student allocation to private schools as early as this week.

  • It'll cost the state $341 million a year when fully implemented, according to estimates from Gov. Kim Reynolds.

Why it matters: About half of all states already have some form of a student voucher program.

Linh Ta
Jan 19, 2023 - Politics

No more sliced cheese, white rice under proposed Iowa SNAP bill

Illustration of a slice of bread with peanut butter in the shape of a worried face

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Iowa House Republicans are proposing restrictions on the state's SNAP benefits that could dramatically limit what foods recipients can get at the store.

Why it matters: The new bill introduces cumbersome rules that dictate what families can or can't buy at the grocery stores, said Luke Elzinga, spokesperson for DMARC, a local food nonprofit.

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