Jan. 23: Four Things to Watch at the Statehouse This Week

Jan 23, 2017

Bills at the Iowa statehouse are still in the very early stages but IPR’s Joyce Russell is keeping watch on everything. Here’s what she says is worth noting:

The top priority right now is cutting more than $100-million from this year’s state budget. “As we’ve said,” Russell says, “Agencies including the Regents will have to come up with some significant cuts even though the year is half-over.”

Regents cuts. The cuts to the Regents universities are some of the most controversial cuts the governor has proposed. The president of the Board of Regents said last week he’s hoping the legislature doesn’t approve such a big cut. “We still don’t know what Republicans are going to do with the governor’s proposed education cuts,” Russell says.

K-12 Schools are anxiously waiting for funding levels.  It does look like lawmakers will follow the law and decide on basic state aid in the first 30 days. The law also requires that they pass funding for the following year but it looks like that law will be disregarded again, Russell reports. The governor is calling for a 2% increase for next year

The bill to eliminate funding for Planned Parenthood is scheduled for its first hearing. This bill is sponsored by all 29 Republicans in the Iowa Senate. “Fortunately they scheduled this for one of the larger committee rooms because interest will be intense,” Russell says.