This week in the Iowa Legislature
It was a very busy fourth week at the Capitol with new bills being introduced daily and priority legislation swiftly being moved through the process. This included legislation to increase supplemental student aid, restrict gender identity education and acknowledgment in public schools, and cap medical malpractice noneconomic damages. The pace is constant, and we don’t expect it to slow anytime in the next four weeks as we head to the first funnel deadline and begin discussions on a multitude of other issues.
State Supplemental Aid
A proposal to increase State Supplemental Aid or SSA for public K-12 school funding increased from 2% to 3% for Fiscal Year 24 following negotiations between the Governor, House, and Senate. The bill passed the House and Senate Education Appropriations subcommittees earlier in the week on partisan votes then Senate File 192 passed out of the Iowa Senate on a bipartisan vote Thursday afternoon. The 3% increase is higher than the 2.5% increase Gov. Reynolds’ recommended. Democrats argued Republicans only increased SSA funding to address a property tax error that would leave school districts with substantially less revenue and the proposal will not solve the lack of resources in public schools. The bill moves to the House Appropriations Committee next and is expected to pass the House sometime next week.
Property Tax Error
The Iowa Senate unanimously passed SF 181, fixing a state tax error that would have caused property taxpayers to pay up to $127 million more in property taxes. A mistake in a 2021 state law caused the miscalculation of multi-unit residential property taxes, but municipal officials are now tasked with making cuts in city and county budgets as they passed budgets based on those previous projections last year. This issue is far from resolved, but one they are hoping to finish this next week
Next week is expected to look very similar to this week with an intense number of subcommittee and committee meetings with some floor debate sprinkled in. We expect the House to take up SSA and possibly Tort Reform early in the week. We were told to expect tort reform to move forward in the House this week, but it is clear they are still working to garner enough support to bring the bill to the floor. Friday, Feb. 10th is the last day for legislators to request individual bill requests.
As always, we encourage you to virtually tune into subcommittee and committee meetings as they arise on the issues you are tracking. A list of scheduled committees and subcommittees with their virtual access information can be found at the provided link.