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March 7: Last week at the Iowa Legislature

Gov. Kim Reynolds gives her Republican response to the State of the Union address with the illuminated Iowa Capitol Building in the background.
Courtesy the Office of the Governor
Gov. Kim Reynolds gives her Republican response to the State of the Union address with the illuminated Iowa Capitol Building in the background.

Last week, Iowa joined ten other Republican-led states in banning transgender girls and women from playing on girls’ and women’s sports teams. Some of these other states face lawsuits regarding the bans, and it’s likely Iowa will, too.

Here's what else is going on:

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

Transgender girls and women now barred from female sports in Iowa
Gov. Kim Reynolds signed a bill into law Thursday that prohibits transgender girls from participating in girls’ sports in K-12, community colleges and colleges and universities. It takes effect immediately. Democrats and LGBTQ advocates say the law attacks a small, marginalized group of students over competitiveness claims that they say are exaggerated.

Iowa governor signs law to phase in a 3.9% flat income tax
Gov. Kim Reynolds signed a major tax cut package into law Tuesday, completing her top priority for the legislative session just hours before she was scheduled to deliver the Republican response to the State of the Union address. A 3.9 percent flat personal income tax will be phased in by 2026. Next year, state taxes on retirement income will be eliminated. There are also some new tax breaks for retired farmers and people retiring from employee-owned companies. The corporate tax rate will be reduced over time, along with reductions in some business tax credits. This is estimated to cost the state nearly $2 billion when it’s all fully phased in.

In the Republican response, Reynolds blames Biden for inflation and division
Reynolds offered Republicans’official response to President Joe Biden’s State of the Union address Tuesday night. In her speech, she criticized Democrats for high inflation and took credit for reopening schools before many other Democratic-led cities and states.

What else we're watching:

Iowa House passes bills aimed at improving child care access

The Iowa House has passed two bills aimed at expanding access to child care. One would allow people receiving child care assistance to enter into agreements with providers to pay some extra money. The second bill that passed would allow 16- and 17-year-olds to care for school-age kids at a child care center without an adult in the room. Democrats opposed it, saying minors should be supervised.

COVID-19 vaccine bill passes in the Iowa House

A bill passed in the Iowa House would prohibit K-12 schools from requiring students to be vaccinated against COVID-19. The ban would also apply to child care centers, community colleges and public and private universities. If passed into law, the rule would remain in effect until July of 2029. The bill passed by a vote of 57 to 36 with two Democrats joining Republicans to send the bill to the Iowa Senate.

For even more on Iowa politics and legislation, subscribe to the Political Sense weekly newsletter and check out the weekly podcast Under the Golden Dome.

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