A roundup of state government and Capitol news items of interest for Monday:
ROBERTS GETS JUDGESHIP: Gov. Kim Reynolds announced Monday she has appointed Tamra Roberts of Tipton as a district court judge in Iowa’s 7th Judicial District, which includes Cedar, Clinton, Jackson, Muscatine and Scott counties. Roberts currently practices law with the Beine & Roberts Law Firm in Tipton and serves as judicial magistrate for Cedar County. She previously has served as assistant Cedar County attorney and an assistant attorney general for the Iowa Attorney General’s Office, representing the Child Support Recovery Unit of the Iowa Department of Human Services. Roberts received her undergraduate degree from Central College and her law degree from the William Mitchell College of Law in St. Paul, Minn.
DRY WEATHER CONDITIONS: A second consecutive month of below-normal precipitation in Iowa has about 36 percent of the state rated as abnormally dry, according to the latest Water Summary Update prepared by officials in the state’s agriculture, natural resources and homeland security/emergency management agencies and the U.S. Geological Survey. July averaged 3.35 inches of rainfall around the state, which was 1.15 inches below normal, according to the survey. June and July together were 2.3 inches below normal for rainfall, but officials said the past 12 months nonetheless were the fourth wettest on record. “It seems surprising that after the wet winter and spring that we would be thinking about drought conditions, but recent dryness has pushed parts of the state in that direction,” said Tim Hall, the Iowa Department of Natural Resources’ coordinator of hydrology resources. “So far, streamflow and shallow groundwater are at normal levels, but we will continue to monitor those conditions.” Iowa temperatures last month averaged 75.1 degrees, or 1.5 degrees above normal, ranking this as the 51st warmest July. A review of Iowa’s water resource trends can be found at www.iowadnr.gov/watersummaryupdate.
IOWA WOMEN TO BE HONORED: Four new inductees have been named to the Iowa Women’s Hall of Fame. Officials with the Iowa Commission on the Status of Women announced the 2019 class will include the Honorable Ruth B. Klotz of Des Moines, Mona Kadel Martin of Davenport, Ione Genevieve Shadduck, Ph.D., of West Des Moines and Florine Mary Schulte Swanson of Galt. In its 45th year, the hall is designed to honor the achievements of Iowa women. Mary Beth Tinker, now of Washington, D.C., will be the recipient of the Cristine Wilson Medal for Equality and Justice at this year’s ceremonies Aug. 24 in Urbandale. As of this year, the commission will have inducted 180 women into the Iowa Women’s Hall of Fame and presented 32 individuals with the Cristine Wilson Medal. The Iowa Women’s Hall of Fame is held in conjunction with Women’s Equality Day, Aug. 26, which commemorates the day in 1920 when American women obtained the right to vote.
NEW PUBLIC BOARD OFFICERS: Members of the Iowa Public Information Board have selected Renee Twedt of Story City to serve as chairwoman and Julie Pottorff of Des Moines to serve as vice chair for the next year. Twedt, a former Story County treasurer, was appointed in 2016 by former Gov. Terry Branstad as a government representative on the board for a term that ends in 2020. Branstad also appointed Pottorff, a retired Iowa Department of Justice official, as a public representative on the board for a term that also ends in 2020. The state board was created in 2012 to provide a free, efficient way for Iowans to receive information and resolve complaints related to Iowa’s open meetings and public records laws. According to the board, most complaints are settled informally with the board staff negotiating a compromise that satisfies both parties, reduces community conflict and results in increased government transparency. In addition, board staff members conduct training sessions for state, county and city officials.