Regular unleaded gasoline prices continue to rise at service station islands in Iowa.

AAA survey information cited by the state Department of Agriculture & Land Stewardship indicated gas prices in Iowa rose 7 cents to $2.59 a gallon, marking the fourth consecutive week of increases. Gas prices were up 7 cents a gallon from the previous week but down 89 cents from a year ago.

The national average on Tuesday was $2.67 per gallon, up 3 cents from last week’s price. Also, retail diesel fuel prices in Iowa were up 2 cents on the Tuesday report with a statewide average of $2.74 per gallon.

One year ago diesel prices averaged $3.81 per gallon in Iowa. On the heating fuels, the average price for natural gas in Iowa rose 10 cents to $2.86/MMbtu.

SENATE ACTION: The Iowa Senate voted 48-0 Thursday to confirm four of Gov. Terry Branstad’s appointments to state boards and commission.

Senators agreed to confirm Michael Coleman as a member of the Iowa Board of Corrections, Robert Felderman to the Real Estate Examiners Board, Sharon Krause to the State Soil Conservation Board and Dan Gannon to the Commission of Veterans Affairs.

Also Thursday, the Senate Ways and Means Committee approved a bill that would extend and expand renewable energy tax credits for solar, biomass and other renewable energy activities.

Sen. Rob Hogg, D-Cedar Rapids, the bill’s manager, said it was unknown how much the tax credits would cost and whether there would be money in the state budget to fund them.

HISTORIC TAX CREDITS: The Iowa Department of Cultural Affairs has awarded more than $38 million in state historic preservation tax credits for 20 different projects in 11 communities across the state.

The department action marks the first historic preservation tax credits awarded since new legislation that strengthened the program was signed into law last year and comes during Historic Preservation Month in May.

The State Historic Preservation and Cultural & Entertainment District program offers a tax credit of 25 percent of qualified rehabilitation costs of historic buildings that are on or eligible for the National Register of Historic Places.

Total investment in the projects – including qualified and non-qualified rehabilitation costs – is $164,761,391.

None of the grants went to North Iowa communities.

IOWANS BUCKLING UP: Iowa Department of Public Safety officials say recent crash data shows that motorists are buckling up more during the day than at night.

The Click It or Ticket campaign across Iowa is focusing on heightened seat belt enforcement and state officials say a more defined focus of seat belt enforcement will take place between the evening/overnight hours of 6 p.m. and 5:59 a.m. due to the significant number of violators and fatal crashes during this time period.

Over the last 10 years, Iowa has averaged 5.3 traffic fatalities during the three-day Memorial Day holiday weekend. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, nearly half of the 21,132 motorists who were killed on our nation’s roadways in 2013 were not wearing seat belts.

QUOTE OF THE DAY: “It’s wrong when TIF (tax increment financing) is used to pirate the tax base from neighboring communities. That’s not economic development.” – Sen. David Johnson, R-Ocheyedan, during a Senate floor speech decrying an effort to use TIF financing for a wind turbine project that spanned two school districts and proposed to allow one district to pull tax revenue away from a neighboring school district.

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