A roundup of state government and Capitol news items of interest for Wednesday, Oct. 25, 2017:
NEW TRAVEL GUIDE COVER: The cover of the next official Iowa Travel Guide will feature the Manchester Whitewater Park in Manchester. The cover image was chosen after a week of voting on traveliowa.com, the official website of the Iowa Tourism Office. In total, more than 5,300 votes were cast with the Manchester cover receiving 37 percent of the vote. Other images under consideration showcased Gray’s Lake Park in Des Moines, the Loess Hills in western Iowa and Downtown Mount Vernon. Iowa Tourism Office Manager Shawna Lode said Wednesday she is excited that the cover will feature the whitewater course, one of Iowa’s most unexpected destinations. The guide highlights breweries and wineries, Iowa’s best donuts, the top 50 events in 2018, bike trails, child-friendly museums and suggested travel itineraries. More than 125,000 guides are distributed annually to travelers from every state and around the world. Tourism in Iowa generates more than $8.06 billion in expenditures and $466 million in state taxes, plus employs 67,400 people statewide. View the winning cover.
IOWA PART OF SETTLEMENT: Deutsche Bank will pay Iowa’s largest pension fund more than $112,000, and make payments to any affected Iowa nonprofit organizations, as part of a $220 million settlement with 45 state attorneys general for fraudulently manipulating the benchmark interest rate that banks charge each other for short-term loans. The benchmark rate, called the London InterBank Offered Rate, or LIBOR, affects financial instruments worth trillions of dollars and has a widespread impact on global markets and consumers. Deutsche Bank defrauded government entities and nonprofit organizations throughout the U.S., among others, when they entered into swaps and other investment instruments with the bank without knowing that it was manipulating LIBOR—along with other banks on the U.S. Dollar-LIBOR-setting panel, according to the Iowa Attorney General’s Office. The probe revealed Deutsche Bank employees acted improperly in ways that did not reflect true borrowing rates.
CHANGING MARKETING PRACTICES: The Colorado seller of bottled water products that include “drinkable sunscreen” and mosquito repellent mouth sprays must reform what Iowa Attorney General Tom Miller alleged in a consumer fraud lawsuit were deceptive and unfair practices, through a court-enforced agreement reached in Iowa. District Court Judge Scott Rosenberg issued a consent order that bars Osmosis LLC and Harmonized Water LLC, of Evergreen, and company owner Benjamin Taylor Johnson, from making product claims in Iowa that are not supported by competent and reliable scientific evidence. The company does business as Osmosis Pür Medical Skincare. The consent order resolves Miller’s lawsuit, filed in March. As part of the resolution, the defendants deny liability but pay $70,000, which includes refunds to Iowa consumers and money to the state’s consumer education and litigation fund, according to Miller’s office. The consent order prohibits the defendants from making product claims that are not supported by competent and reliable scientific evidence. Miller said that most if not all of Osmosis’s medicine water products involved no reliable scientific testing, which created a public hazard.
NATIONAL STEM AWARD: Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds has received the national Stand Up for STEM award at the Million Women Mentors Summit & Awards in Washington, D.C, marking the first time the award has been presented at the national level. The Stand Up for STEM award recognizes individuals who go above and beyond to include girls and women in conversations about science, technology, engineering and math. Award presenters cited Reynolds’ ability to make a difference to the STEM movement in the United States through her deep commitment, enthusiasm and expertise. STEM-related employment is projected to increase 16 percent from 2010 to 2020, totaling more than 8.5 million jobs but only about 25 percent of STEM workers are female. “Girls and young women need to understand the vast opportunities that await them in STEM-related careers,” Reynolds said. “We must join together to inspire, nurture and engage America’s girls and young women to passionately pursue STEM careers.”