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Iowa News

IOWA CITY, Iowa (AP) – A man has been given two years of probation for kicking a dog while working as a groomer in Iowa City. Court records show Lucas Van Orden V was sentenced Monday on the misdemeanor animal abuse charge. Authorities say Van Orden kicked the dog July 9, breaking some of its ribs and bruising its lungs. The dog has recovered since.

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) – A panel of House lawmakers has approved a bill that would prevent Iowa judicial courts from applying foreign law to state cases. The American Civil Liberties Union of Iowa says the bill mirrors anti-Sharia legislation passed in other states, though Sharia law is not directly referenced in the bill. The GOP-led House Judiciary Subcommittee agreed Monday to support the bill. It now heads to a full committee.

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) – Iowa’s largest state employees union has filed a lawsuit challenging a new law that eliminates most collective bargaining rights for public workers. The American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees Iowa Council 61 filed the lawsuit Monday in Polk County District Court. It seeks an order halting immediate enforcement of the changes. The lawsuit argues that the law violates language in the Iowa Constitution that ensures equality to citizens.

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) – Gov. Terry Branstad has defended allowing a lobbyist to attend a private bill signing of the state’s new collective bargaining law. Branstad told reporters Monday that Drew Klein of Americans for Prosperity witnessed the Friday signing because the lobbyist asked. Members of the press inquired about the event and were told it was private. Branstad defended the media’s exclusion from the signing by saying he’s accessible through events like weekly press conferences.

Wisconsin News

MADISON, Wis. (AP) – The field of candidates running for Wisconsin state schools superintendent is being narrowed. Three candidates are on the ballot Tuesday for the post as Wisconsin’s top education official running the state Department of Public Instruction. The two highest vote-getters will advance to the April 4 general election. Incumbent Tony Evers is running for a third term. He’s being challenged by consultant John Humphries and former Beloit Superintendent Lowell Holtz.

WAUKESHA, Wis. (AP) – A judge has ruled a second Wisconsin girl’s statements to police will be admissible at her trial on charges she tried to kill a classmate to please a fictional horror character called Slender Man. The judge also denied a bid by 15-year-old Anissa Weier to move her trial. Last week, the judge made similar rulings against 14-year-old Morgan Geyser. Both girls were 12 when prosecutors say they stabbed classmate Payton Leutner¬† in 2014. Payton survived.

WAUSAU, Wis. (AP) – A north-central Wisconsin woman has pleaded no contest in a crash that killed a bicyclist in 2015. Fifty-five-year-old Lorie Ann Miller of Rib Lake was found guilty of homicide by negligent driving after entering her plea Monday. As part of the plea agreement, Miller likely will serve nine months in jail and nine years on probation. A prosecutor says the family of the victim, 52-year-old Donna David of Marshfield, does not agree with the plea deal. Sentencing is set for May 16.

PITTSFIELD, Wis. (AP) – Authorities have released the names of two people found dead following a house fire in northeastern Wisconsin last week. The Brown County Sheriff’s Office identified the victims as 49-year-old Allen Renier and 41-year-old Molly Brochman. Firefighters were called early Friday to the home in the Town of Pittsfield. Firefighters and investigators were not able to search the home for hours because of fears the house would collapse. The cause of the fire remains under investigation.

Illinois News

ATHENS, Ga. (AP) – Activists are combatting what many see as a surge in white nationalism across the United States. And they’re doing it by helping members quit groups including the Ku Klux Klan and skinhead organizations. A watchdog group estimates U.S. hate groups have around 100,000 members. A leading aid organization, the Chicago-based Life After Hate, is composed of people previously involved in hate groups. A director says former extremists understand the draw of white nationalism and can help others quit.

NORMAL, Ill. (AP) – Illinois State University is asking the public to weigh in on the institution’s future. The Pantagraph reports the school is asking for community input on the challenges ISU is facing and what the university should look like in 15 to 20 years. People are invited to complete a survey online by Feb. 24. The university is updating its strategic plan.

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) – The Abraham Lincoln Presidential Museum plans to unveil an exhibit chronicling the history of the rivalry between the Chicago Cubs and the St. Louis Cardinals. Museum officials say “Cubs vs. Cardinals: The Rivalry” was developed with the help of both teams and the National Baseball Hall of Fame. The exhibit opens March 24 and seeks to animate the stories associated with one of baseball’s celebrated rivalries.

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) – Students at the University of Illinois Springfield will now have a free ride between campus and downtown during the weekend. The State Journal-Register reports shuttle service started in January. The 16-person shuttle runs hourly between 10 p.m. and 2 a.m. on Friday and Saturday nights. The Student Government Association is funding the service with $3,000. Association President Austin Mehmet says Downtown Springfield Inc. and three local bars are contributing another $3,000.