Iowa

One morning a year ago, federal immigration agents swept into the Midwest Precast Concrete plant in Mount Pleasant, Iowa, and arrested 32 men who were working there illegally.

"I was in the car eating when all of a sudden they all arrived," one worker tells NPR. "They took me out of the car and put handcuffs on me and on everyone else too. They even had a dog." The worker did not want his name used because his case is being heard by a judge.

The longest-serving Republican in the Iowa Legislature announced he is switching to the Democratic Party, citing increasing discomfort with Republicans' stance on many high-profile issues and his unwillingness to support President Trump in the 2020 election.

Rep. Andy McKean said Tuesday that the Capitol is much more partisan than when he was first elected in 1978 and that the Republican Party has changed.

"I think the party has veered very sharply to the right," McKean said. "And that concerns me. It's a bit further than I would care to be."

The Iowa caucuses are still nine months away, and with at least 20 Democrats either considering a run or officially declared, many of them are looking for ways to stand out in the crowded field. One tried-and-true way: show up in voters' homes.

At first glance, Storm Lake, Iowa, doesn't seem like the sort of place that would attract Democratic presidential candidates.

The town of 10,600 sits in the highly conservative northwest corner of the state. In 2016, Donald Trump collected 4,903 votes in surrounding Buena Vista County, compared with Hillary Clinton's 2,856 votes.

In parts of the Midwest, floodwaters are starting to abate. But elsewhere, they're still rising.

In Iowa and Nebraska, hundreds of homes are flooded. There are lakes where fields and roads should be. Local police departments are sending out motorboats instead of squad cars.

Updated at 2:11 a.m. ET Tuesday

House Republican leaders moved Monday to remove Rep. Steve King, R-Iowa, from two committees as a punishment for his recent comments in a New York Times interview where he was quoted questioning why the terms "white nationalist" and "white supremacist" are considered offensive.

The warden at the women's prison in Iowa recently instructed her corrections officers to stop giving out so many disciplinary tickets for minor violations of prison rules, like when a woman wears her sweatshirt inside out or rolls up her sleeves.

It's a small thing. But it's also part of a growing movement to reconsider the way women are treated in prison.

Updated at 2:07 p.m. ET

A judge in Iowa has placed a temporary injunction on the state's "heartbeat law," one of the most restrictive abortion measures in the United States. The controversial new law bans nearly all abortions once heartbeat activity can be detected, at about six weeks of pregnancy, and was slated to take effect July 1.

Less than two weeks after Iowa adopted a law banning most abortions after about six weeks of pregnancy, Planned Parenthood and the ACLU of Iowa have filed suit, seeking to prevent the law from taking effect.

Scheduled to take effect on July 1, Iowa's law is one of the most restrictive abortion measures in the U.S. The measure was signed by Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds on May 4, days after it was approved by the state legislature.

Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds signed one of the country's most restrictive abortion bills into law on Friday.

The so-called "heartbeat" legislation bans abortions once a fetal heartbeat has been detected, at about six weeks of pregnancy. Exceptions are made in cases of rape, incest or medical emergency.

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