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Jan 31: Last week at the Iowa Legislature

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MADELEINE KING
/
IPR
Get caught up on the latest on the legislature here.

Republicans have the state government trifecta again this year, meaning they control the Senate, House and governor’s office. But that doesn’t mean they agree on everything. This was made evident last week when all three released their tax plans.

Here's what went on at the Capitol last week:

Iowa House, Senate Republicans release tax plans
Iowa House and Senate Republicans released their tax plans last week, setting the stage for negotiations with each other and with the governor. The House GOP is following Gov. Kim Reynolds' call for a 4 percent flat income tax, while the Senate GOP wants a flat tax of 3.6 percent. They also agree on ending state taxes on retirement income and tax breaks for retired farmers, too.

One way the three plans differ is when it comes to corporate taxes. The governor wants to implement cuts over time, depending on how much money the state is bringing in. The state Senate wants to cut the corporate rate, but also get rid of some tax credits that benefit businesses, and the House doesn’t have corporate tax changes in its plan at all.

Iowa lawmakers advance bill that would allow use of ivermectin on COVID-19 patients
A House subcommittee advanced a bill allowing FDA-approved drugs for off-label use on patients who are terminally ill or on life support, which would allow use of ivermectin on COVID-19 patients. The measure doesn’t just apply to COVID-19 patients, but the Republicans who proposed this heard from people who wanted to give their family members ivermectin when they had the disease and weren’t allowed to. This bill would allow for that, even though the FDA has said to not use ivermectin to try to treat COVID-19.

COVID-19 positivity rates and hospitalizations are rising across the state and legislative proposals are targeting vaccine requirements
Some key lawmakers in the House say we should expect to see a bill soon that would restrict the ability of employers to require vaccinations. The bill’s sponsor has said there could be some high profile people testifying in support, like Robert F. Kennedy, Jr., who has spread false information about vaccines. It's not clear how far this bill would go in the legislature as some top Republicans say the issue of vaccine mandates needs to be solved at the federal level.

What else we're watching:

Senate bill would let Iowa governor pick majority of district judicial nominating commissioners
A bill that would allow the governor to appoint a majority of the members on regional judicial selection commissions advanced in the Iowa Senate.

Lawmakers advance Gov. Reynolds' bill requiring E15 at more fuel pumps
A bill that requires Iowa fuel retailers to sell gasoline with higher amounts of ethanol at more of their pumps advanced in the House last week.

Bill to let ATVs and UTVs drive on Iowa highways is moving forward in the legislature
A bill that would allow people to drive ATVs and UTVs on county and state highways advanced in the Iowa House of Representatives last week.

Mental health reform is receiving bi-partisan support in Iowa House of Representatives
Mental health legislation on the move in the Iowa House of Representatives.

For even more on Iowa politics and legislation, subscribe to the Political Sense weekly newsletter.

Katarina Sostaric is IPR's State Government Reporter
Clay Masters is Iowa Public Radio’s Morning Edition host and lead political reporter.