Here is the latest Iowa news from The Associated Press
ATLANTIC, Iowa (AP) — A woman from Atlantic who tricked people into thinking her daughter had cancer is avoiding jail time. A judge has sentenced Leatha Slauson to five years of probation and ordered her to continue mental health treatment. Donations for Slauson’s five-year-old daughter poured in after she pulled the hoax on Facebook.
CORALVILLE, Iowa (AP) — Officials say a previously convicted child sex offender has been arrested for violating his sex offender registry regulations. Police records say 45-year-old Kenneth F. Orr was arrested Monday at Coral Ridge Mall in Coralville for being within 300 feet of the mall’s ice rink and the Iowa Children’s Museum. Iowa law prohibits sex offenders from being within 300 feet of any place intended primarily for the use of minors.
WASHINGTON (AP) — Freshman Republican Sen. Joni Ernst says the newly empowered GOP-led Congress heard the voters’ message in November and will work to change the direction in Washington. Ernst delivered the GOP response to President Barack Obama’s State of the Union address Tuesday. In excerpts released in advance, the Iowa senator says Republicans will make Washington focus on Americans’ concerns. She is criticizing Obama’s health care law as a failed policy.
DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — A bill has been introduced in the Iowa Legislature that would force casinos to comply with the state’s smoking ban. Casino floors in Iowa are now exempt from following a 2008 law that prohibits smoking in public places. A bill sponsored by Sen. Herman Quirmbach, of Ames, would eliminate that exemption. The bill could face strong opposition from the casino industry. A spokesman for Republican Gov. Terry Branstad says the governor favors such a measure and would sign it into law.
CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa (AP) — A north-central Iowa man has been sentenced to nine years in federal prison after pleading guilty to drug use and illegal firearm possession charges. Officials say 32-year-old Mark Harken, of Aplington, received the prison term. The sentence comes after his August 2014 guilty plea to one count of being a felon and illegally using methamphetamine while in possession of firearms and ammunition. Harken said he had five firearms, including one semi-automatic rifle.