(Des Moines, IA) -- There's court hearing today in Des Moines in the fight over Iowa's controversial fetal heartbeat law (Friday). A Polk County judge is being asked to throw out the law that bans abortions if a fetal heartbeat can be detected by an ultrasound. Planned Parenthood of the Heartland and the Emma Goldman Clinic of Iowa City say argue the state law is unconstitutional. The high court ruled earlier this year that abortion is a fundamental right under the state's constitution. The fetal heartbeat law is on hold as the lawsuit continues in the courts.
(Decorah, IA) -- A review by the U-S Postal Service confirms that 29 uncounted absentee ballots in a northeast Iowa House race were mailed on time. A judge ordered re-examination of 33 absentee ballots without postmark dates in House District 55 after Democratic challenger Kayla Koether (KAY'-tur) filed a lawsuit. Postal workers used a bar code scan to determine 29 ballots were sent on or before the November 5th deadline. Koether lost a recount to Republican incumbent Michael Bergen by just nine votes. She said in a statement Thursday "there's no reason those Iowans should not have their votes counted." It's unclear what will happen now that it appears Koether received more votes that Representative Bergen. Another court hearing or an appeal to the Iowa House are possible options for Koether.
(Orange City, IA) -- A religious activist who burned L-G-B-T-Q books from the Orange City Public Library is being charged with fifth-degree criminal mischief. Paul Dorr from Rescue the Perishing of Ocheyedan (oh-CHEE'-din) burned the four childrens books on Facebook Live in October to protest Orange City's Pride Festival. In the video, Dorr read aloud from the books and said, "Two Boys Kissing. Orange City Library. That one won't be going to the children anymore" before tossing it into a fire. Dorr admitted to borrowing what he called "the shameful and wicked" books. A court hearing on the misdemeanor charge is January 22nd in Sioux County.
(Urbandale, IA) -- Iowa L-G-B-T-Q advocates are mourning the loss of an Urbandale man who helped establish marriage equality in the state. One Iowa says long time music teacher David Twombley died Thursday at age 77. Twombley and his partner Larry Hoch were one of the plaintiff couples in the Iowa Supreme Court case that legalized same-sex marriage in 2009. They married after the decision and lived together until Hoch's passing in 2016. One Iowa said in a statement, "our state's movement for equality would not be where it is today without David Twombley, and we will keep him in our hearts as we fight to carry on his legacy."
(Chicago, IL) -- A Chicago man is facing first-degree murder charges in the September 30th shooting death of a man in Des Moines. Police say 29-year-old Tyrone Hughes, Junior was arrested on a warrant in Illinois Tuesday and is awaiting extradition to Iowa. Investigators say Hughes is accused of fatally shooting 28-year-old Aaron Ross while he was sitting in a car with his girlfriend and two children. Detectives say a police dog found a wallet near the scene with Hughes' Illinois driver's license inside and a debit card from a man he later admitted to robbing.