This week in the Iowa Legislature

The second week of the 2024 legislative session began a day later than usual; the Capitol was closed on Monday for both MLK Jr. Day and so legislators could participate in their local Caucus. Throughout the rest of the week, legislators focused on subcommittee and committee work. No floor debate has occurred in either chamber to date. This Friday, January 19th, is the final day for individual legislators to submit bill requests. We fully expect the subcommittee and committee pace to pick up next week as they are only four short weeks from the first funnel deadline.

An issue that garnered a lot of attention at the Capitol this week is the Governor’s proposal to reform the structure of the state’s Area Education Agencies (AEAs) and how they are funded. Individual legislators have received hundreds of communications from constituents on this issue, and we understand the Governor’s office has received thousands. In response to the high public engagement, Governor Reynolds released a statement indicating her AEA plan would be amended to a more modest proposal. You can read her statement in this press release.

Caucus Night

Despite the mounting anticipation for caucus night, only 14.4% of Iowa’s 752,000 registered Republicans turned out to vote on Monday evening. Estimates indicate 111,000 voters showed up to the thousands of caucus locations and voted. In comparison, 2016 had a record turnout of 187,000 voters, 2012 had 122,000, and 2008 had 118,000. It was also the coldest caucus day in Iowa history. Whether or not the forecast kept voters at home, Trump prevailed with more than 50% of the vote. Florida Governor Ron DeSantis won 21%, and former South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley secured a close third with 19% of the vote. Trump’s decisive victory in Iowa cements his place as the frontrunner for the Republican presidential nomination.

To win the Republican nomination, a candidate must win at least 1,215 delegates. Of Iowa’s 40 delegate votes, Trump secured 20, DeSantis collected 8, Haley won 7, and Ramaswamy snagged 2. Following the Iowa results, Vivek Ramaswamy dropped out and endorsed former President Trump, and former Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchinson also suspended his campaign.

Presidential candidates now move on to New Hampshire, where the first in the nation primary will be held on Tuesday, January 23rd.

Governor’s Budget by Category

Governor Reynolds released her overall proposed state budget last week. The chart below outlines the increases or decreases per budget area. These proposals do not include the Transportation budget, which is not funded by the general fund.

Department Governor $ Proposed Increase or Decrease Estimated Change
Admin and Regulation $189.8 M +$36.3 M $4.5 M below the dept. request
Agriculture and Natural Resources $39.95 M +$2.7 M $400,000 below dept. request
Economic Development $34.6 M -$10 M

(Standing expected to increase by $700,000.)

$600,000 above dept request
Education $1.07 B +$80 M

(standing expected to increase by $350 M)

$280 B above dept request
Human Services $2.2 B + 130 M

(standing expected to increase by $18 M)

Justice Systems $614.2 M + $55 M

(standing expected to increase by $18 M)

$12 M above dept requests
Judicial Branch $216.2 M + 23 M  


Senator Jochum to Retire

Senate Minority Leader Pam Jochum announced she will not run for re-election in the Iowa Legislature. She has been serving Iowans since 1993, serving eight terms in the House, and four terms in the Senate. Jochum is the current Democratic leader and hopes to “pass the torch to the next generation of leaders who will champion a brighter future for Iowans.” Her accomplishments include transforming the Port of Dubuque, the Veteran’s Memorial on Schmitt Island, flood mitigation across Iowa, the creation of the Children’s Health Insurance Program (HAWK-I), increasing the minimum wage, and creating the SAVE program that provides funding to renovate school buildings or grounds when necessary.

We expect further notable retirement announcements to come over the next couple of months before the March filing deadline.

Looking Ahead

The third week will be the legislature’s first full week of work. We expect the pace to quicken in both chambers with a full committee and subcommittee schedule set for the first full week of committee work. A list of scheduled committees and subcommittees with their virtual access information can be found at the provided link.

Bills of Interest

Advocacy Strategies continues to ensure that every bill pertaining to you will be tracked. Along with this email report each week you will see a button with a link to your bill tracker chart developed by our bill tracking system, AdvoKit. Please review this and confirm your declared bills are correct. Please let us know if any changes need to be made.

Our ability to best represent you is based on quick and open communication. Once the legislative session progresses further, our requests for bill declarations will increase substantially. We ask you to let us know your organization’s position on each bill within 24 hours of your receiving daily bills in AdvoKit so we can respond accordingly.