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State Government News

Gov. Reynolds to Sign K-12 Funding Bill

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John Pemble / IPR file
Lawmakers sent the governor an education funding bill last week. She's expected to sign it.

UPDATE: Gov. Reynolds office Monday announced she would sign education bills Tuesday morning at the Statehouse.  Those bills were among the topics discussed earlier Monday on IPR's Morning Edition.  That conversation between Clay Masters and State Government Reporter Katarina Sostaric is below.

The Iowa legislature has sent an education spending bill to the governor. There’s been a lot of talk from lawmakers about changing public assistance and last week we had a sudden resignation of a Democratic state senator.

Gov. Kim Reynolds is expected to sign off on the legislature’s education funding. There’s a total of 90 million new dollars in the K-12 funding bill on the governor’s desk. Part of that is a 2.06 percent increase to base per-student funding. Democrats say it’s not enough (they wanted a 3 percent increase). Republicans call it historic investment. “Some school advocates say it’s enough to keep going for now but many districts have been on a budget-cutting trend for several years,” Katarina Sostaric reports. Republicans and Democrats agreed on funding to help districts that have disproportionality high transportation costs and others that have lower per-student funding than other districts.

Republicans continue to look at creating work requirements for public assistance. There are two bills on the agenda in the Senate Labor Committee Monday. One would require eligibility of people on public assistance programs to be checked at least twice as often as it is now. As well as one for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance program, commonly called SNAP. Senator Jason Schultz, R-Schleswig, wants to consider some changes to a bill that would require some people on food assistance who are exempt from federal work requirements to work.

The debate is shaping up over Gov. Reynolds’ birth control proposal. Reynolds issued a proposal last week that would allow women to obtain birth control directly from pharmacists without going to a doctor first. Republican Representative Shannon Lundgren, R-Peosta, says she still has a lot of questions but told a local TV station it’s a good concept. Democrats are very open to it. Sen. Janet Petersen, D-Des Moines, has tried to do this before and it failed to pass.

A special election will soon be set for a Senate district in Cedar Falls. Four-term Sen. Jeff Danielson abruptly announced his resignation on Thursday with a one-sentence letter to Senate and House leaders. He will soon announce he has a new job lined up that won’t allow him to stay in the senate. He also resigned from the Cedar Falls fire department because of an ongoing conflict between the department and city officials. The governor will have to call a special election. Danielson’s district is Cedar Falls and part of Waterloo.