IOWA CAPITOL FOCUS
House unlikely to OK Senate-backed wage theft bill
DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - Civil rights groups and some Democrats in the Legislature say Iowa has a wage theft problem and it needs to be fixed.
Wage theft can include underpayment of wages, theft of tips, and unlawful deductions from paychecks. It's most common in low-wage jobs often employing immigrant workers.
Senator Bill Dotzler, a Waterloo Democrat says it's an epidemic involving up to 1,000 workers a year in Iowa. He's proposed a bill that holds employers responsible and forces them to tell workers up front in writing how much they'll get paid and what deductions will be taken from their checks.
The bill passed the Democratic-led Senate but it's expected to die in the House Labor Committee where majority Republicans contend it would be too costly for honest businesses.
IOWA GOP CHAIRMAN
Iowa GOP chairman surprises with plan to resign
DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - The chairman of Iowa's Republican Party will step down later this month once a replacement can be chosen.
The Iowa GOP said Saturday that A.J. Spiker had submitted his letter of resignation. The party will chose a new chairman on March 29th.
Spiker plans to become a political adviser to U.S. Senator Rand Paul's political action committee. Rand Paul is a potential 2016 presidential candidate, and Spiker had previously backed Paul's father, now retired Texas Congressman Ron Paul.
Spiker became chairman in 2012 after tea party conservatives and Paul supporters worked at the precinct level to take control of the state GOP leadership.
On Saturday most of the GOP state convention delegates chosen were moderate candidates who back Governor Terry Branstad.
MENTALLY DISABLED WORKERS
Company slow to pay judgment for disabled workers
DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - Federal and state officials are having trouble collecting the multimillion-dollar judgments a Texas company was ordered to pay for mistreating 32 mentally disabled workers at an Iowa labor camp.
The Des Moines Register reports Henry's Turkey Service of Goldthwaite, Texas has yet to pay nearly $6 million in fines and judgments against the company and Kenneth Henry.
A jury agreed last year that Henry's discriminated against its employees, who were hired out to work at an Iowa turkey processing plant. The initial verdict was the largest in the history of the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, which brought the case.
So far, federal officials have collected assets worth between $30,000 and $40,000, and they're collecting about $3,500 in monthly lease payments on land owned by Henry.
VOLUNTEER POTHOLE PATROL
Volunteers help fill potholes in Waterloo
WATERLOO, Iowa (AP) - The streets of Waterloo are a bit smoother now thanks to the efforts of a group of volunteers who spent part of their weekend filling potholes.
The Waterloo-Cedar Falls Courier reports the volunteers filled about 400 potholes Saturday in their first weekend of work
The volunteer pothole crews will help the city's streets recover from this rough winter.
The volunteer crews have been used most every year since 1993 although they haven't been needed after the last couple mild winters.
Scott Jordan organized the volunteer crews that focused on filling potholes around schools.
Fifteen-year-old Olivia Jordan joined her dad on the crew Saturday to help fix some of the pop-spilling potholes she's encountered and give back to the community.
Iowa authorities identify inmate who died
WATERLOO, Iowa (AP) - Iowa authorities have identified the 34-year-old Waterloo man who died in the Black Hawk County Jail.
The Black Hawk County Sheriff's office says James Terrell Taylor died Friday evening after being found unresponsive in a cell.
The State Medical Examiner performed an autopsy on Taylor Sunday, but the cause of death wasn't released because toxicology tests are still being done.
The Iowa Division of Criminal Investigation will conduct an independent investigation of the death.
Taylor was arrested hours before his death on two warrants for failing to appear at court hearings. He had previously been charged with drug possession and operating a vehicle while intoxicated.
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