4 Takeaways as First Month Ends at Iowa Statehouse

Jan 29, 2018

The first month of the 2018 legislative session comes to a close this week. Here are a few takeaways from IPR Statehouse Correspondent Joyce Russell:

Senate bill makes deeper cuts to the budget than the governor’s plan, and now it’s up to the House. The main job of the legislature is passing the budget for the next fiscal year. “Again this year, first they have to make cuts in this year’s budget,” says Russell. “Because it was built on revenue estimates that did not materialize.” The governor recommended $27 million in cuts. Senate Republicans have nearly doubled that with $52 million in cuts. The House still has to weigh in.

Changes to Iowa gun laws are poised to take place again this session. There’s a Senate bill that would get rid of permits to acquire and carry weapons. It’s a move gun safety advocates might argue is as significant as part of last year’s gun bill, which included the “stand your ground” provision. In the House, a gun rights constitutional amendment is under consideration.

Don’t expect anything else regarding water quality in 2018. It was a surprise last week a water quality bill was passed in the House and Senate so quickly. Legislators and the governor say they have passed a long-term sustainable source for water quality funding. Environmentalists and Democratic critics say it’s not nearly enough.

This could be the year traffic cameras are no more. There are separate bills in the House and Senate to outlaw speed cameras.