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(Des Moines, IA) -- Judges in state and federal court are being asked to temporarily block the state from enforcing its ban on mask mandates in schools. Fran Parr of Council Bluffs is the mother of twin boys in the first grade. She filed a lawsuit in state court last month, arguing schools have a duty to protect students from the coronavirus. During a Thursday hearing in Polk County District Court, Parr's attorney, Daniel McGinn, said it is unreasonable for state lawmakers to forbid local school boards from requiring masks. He said it serves no educational, medical or scientific goal and was just enacted for political reasons. A federal judge in Des Moines will hear legal arguments today (Friday) from a group of parents of children with disabilities who are challenging Iowa's ban.

(Des Moines, IA). -- Governor Kim Reynolds is responding to President Joe Biden’s new COVID-19 mandates announced Thursday. The expansive rules mandate that all employers with more than 100 workers require them to be vaccinated or tested for the virus weekly, Reynolds says in a statement that “President Biden is taking dangerous and unprecedented steps to insert the federal government even further into our lives while dismissing the ability of Iowans and Americans to make healthcare decisions for themselves. Reynolds says she trusts in Iowans to make the best health decisions for themselves and their families. It’s time for President Biden to do the same.

(Des Moines, IA). -- Iowa farmers who want to enroll in either of the two major U-S-D-A conservation programs have until month's end to submit their paperwork. Kate Hansen, a policy associate with the Center for Rural Affairs in Nevada, says the deadline is October 1st for both the Conservation Stewardship Program and the Environmental Quality Incentives Program. Farmers who are interested in signing up for these programs should contact the Natural Resources Conservation Service in their county.

(Des Moines, IA). -- The Legislative Services Agency has announced that the first proposed plan for reconfiguring legislative and congressional districts will be delivered to lawmakers at 10 a-m next Thursday. The boundaries for congressional districts and for Iowa House and Senate districts are being redrawn to account for population shifts that are shown in the 2020 Census data. Three public hearings are scheduled after the maps are released, to give Iowans a chance to weigh in on the plans, then the bipartisan Temporary Redistricting Commission must submit its report on the maps to the legislature. After all that, a Special Legislative Session will convene -- probably in early October -- so the Iowa House and Senate can approve or reject the proposed maps.

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