This week marked the 50th day of the 100-day legislative session. The first funnel deadline has passed and the second funnel is coming up soon. Debate is picking up in both chambers as the House and Senate work to advance priority legislation. You can access the House and Senate journals at the legislative website to see which bills were passed and the votes of each legislator: www.legis.iowa.gov. Here is an update on where House Republican priorities currently stand:
Child Care: HF 771: Expanding the child care tax credit to more families – Passed House in 2019; HF 2593 and HF 2594: Incentivizing employers to offer and expand child care to their employees – On debate calendar; HF 2424: Addressing the cliff effect to ease Iowans off of government assistance – On debate calendar; HF 2270 and HF 2271: Increasing child care assistance provider rates to increase access – On debate calendar; HF 2488: Creating a public-private partnership child care workforce matching grant program – On House calendar; HF 2595: Incentivizing developers to build high quality and safe day care facilities – On debate calendar.
Broadband: HF 2213: Extends the Iowa Cell Siting Act to streamline regulations and deploy 5G faster – On debate calendar; HF 2520: Establishes broadband expansion as an economic development tool and reduces installation costs for providers – On debate calendar; HF 2459: Empower Rural Iowa which will provide broadband grants and authorizes more accurate mapping – In Appropriation; HF 2575: Exempts broadband grants from state income tax – On debate calendar; HF 2442: Creates a study on internet exchange points to establish Iowa as a Silicon Prairie – On debate calendar.
Education: SF 2142: Increased investment in general aid for K-12 schools by $85 million – Sent to the Governor; SF 2164: Additional $7.65 million in funding for rural school transportation costs – Signed by the Governor; SF 2164: Reducing per pupil inequity in the school funding formula by $10 per student ($5.8 million) – Signed by the Governor; HF 2532: Helping train teachers to deal with disruptive student behavior and make classrooms safe– In Appropriations.
Health Care: HF 2551 and HF 2553: Prescription drug transparency – On House calendar; HF 2138: Capping out-of-pocket insulin costs – On House calendar; HF 2383: Retaining Iowa health care professionals – Passed House; HF 2197: Exposes health care professionals-in-training to rural areas – Passed House; HF 2192: Increased access to health care services through telehealth – On House calendar.
K-12 Education Funding Package: This week, the House and Senate finalized K-12 funding for the upcoming school year. Iowa’s schools will receive almost $100 million in new money for the 2020-21 school year, with additional resources specifically targeted towards critical needs like rural school transportation costs and per pupil equity. Since 2011, investment in Iowa’s schools has grown to an all-time high of nearly $3.4 billion annually, an increase of almost $1 BILLION over the last decade. K-12 funding makes up around 43 percent of Iowa’s budget, making it the top spending priority each year. Under Republican leadership, school funding has never been cut, student achievement ranks among the best in the nation, class sizes are decreasing even with growing enrollment, and Iowa teacher pay is highly competitive when compared to other states and adjusted for cost of living.
High School Graduation Rate: Iowa’s high school graduation rate climbed to a record high of 91.6 percent in 2019.91.6 percent of students in Iowa’s Class of 2019 graduated within four years, up from 91.4 percent in the Class of 2018. Since 2011, Iowa’s four-year graduation rate has increased 3.3 percentage points overall including those from diverse backgrounds, according to new data from the Iowa Department of Education.