Last week, the Iowa state Senate passed a 1.1% increase in state financial aid to school districts for the 2017/18 academic year. They also voted to defund Planned Parenthood and create a state family planning services program. Both bills go over to the House now. Morning Edition Host Clay Masters spoke today with Statehouse Correspondent Joyce Russell about the week ahead.
Lawmakers have already broken the law on school funding. They’re supposed to approve the 2017/18 school aid last year. There’s a public hearing on the bill today. Normally, public hearings are held in the evening when it’s easier for people to get to the capitol.
“Democrats are unhappy about that,” Russell reports. "As of Friday afternoon, there was no one registered to speak in favor of the bill.”
It’s in the Governor’s best interest to sign the bill to defund Planned Parenthood. The longer the bill is out there, the more time for critics to denounce it, Russell says. The Senate bill would create a new state-run facility that does not provide abortions. The Associated Press reported some health clinics that could see an increase in patients say they have not heard anything about the system that could take effect within months.
The governor’s collective bargaining bill hasn’t taken center stage… yet. Gov. Branstad’s plan to create one healthcare program for public workers will still come up. House Speaker Linda Upmeyer (R- Clear Lake) says the healthcare change and other changes in arbitration for public workers is still a top priority for the GOP.
Other bills to keep any eye on this week include water quality and voter ID. Governor Branstad introduced his water quality bill last week and Secretary of State Paul Pate’s Voter ID bill got filed last week. “Democrats had been complaining that they wanted to see the bill,” Russell says.