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Iowa's 2022 legislative session has ended. Here's what passed and what didn't

Iowa state capitol on an overcast day.
Madeleine C King
Iowa’s 2022 legislative session ended shortly after midnight Wednesday morning.

Iowa’s 2022 legislative session ended shortly after midnight Wednesday morning, five weeks after the target date for adjournment. Here are some of the major bills that passed and failed to pass.

Already signed into law 

Tax cuts: Republicans passed their number one priority for the year earlier in the session. The law signed March 1 will phase in a 3.9 percent flat income tax by 2026, eliminate taxes on retirement income starting next year, and reduce the top corporate income tax rates over time.

E15: Gov. Kim Reynolds signed her bill into law last week that requires Iowa gas stations to sell gas blended with more ethanol.

Trans athlete ban: Reynolds signed a bill into law in early March that immediately banned transgender girls and women from competing on sports teams that align with their gender identity.

Mobile homes bill: A new law requires more notice for rent increases and lease terminations in mobile home parks. But mobile home residents who have been fighting for more protections say it’s not enough.

Passed the legislature 

Cuts to unemployment benefits: Republicans approved Reynolds’ plan to cut the maximum duration of unemployment benefits by 10 weeks and require claimants to accept a lower-paying job offer more quickly. They left out a provision that would’ve added a one-week waiting period to receive benefits. Lawmakers also passed a separate workforce bill that included provisions for recruiting health care providers and waiving fees for veterans.

Tax breaks for diapers, teacher bonuses: A wide-ranging tax bill would eliminate the sales tax on child and adult diapers and on feminine hygiene products starting in 2023. It would also ensure Iowans don’t have to pay state taxes on bonuses the governor gave to teachers, child care workers and police officers.

Banning school COVID-19 vaccine mandates: Republicans passed a bill barring colleges, schools and daycare centers from requiring kids and students to get the COVID-19 vaccine.

No more open enrollment deadline: On the last day of the session, Republican lawmakers introduced and passed a bill to eliminate the March 1 deadline to apply for open enrollment to a different school district. GOP leaders said this gives parents more choices in their kids’ education, but Democrats said removing the deadline could make it difficult for school districts to budget for the next school year.

Bottle bill changes: The bill would allow grocery stores to reject bottle and can returns under Iowa’s 44-year-old bottle and can deposit program. It would also increase the handling fee paid to redemption centers and grocery stores that continue to participate in the program, and it would allow for mobile redemption systems.

Three child care bills: These would allow 16- and 17-year-olds to care for kids at a child care center without additional adult supervision, allow child care workers to care for more toddlers, and allow parents who receive child care assistance to pay more for care.

Pharmacy benefits managers: The final bill to pass this session would prevent PBMs from taking back money they already paid to pharmacies. Lawmakers say this is necessary to keep small-town pharmacies running, and that they want to do more on this issue in the future.

Hunting deer with semi-automatic rifles: In the final hours of the session, Republicans passed a bill to create an antlerless deer season in January during which hunters could use semi-automatic rifles. Supporters said this would allow more efficient guns to be used to reduce the deer population. Democratic opponents of the bill said this would be very unsafe because semi-automatic rifles can be lethal over a much longer distance.

Didn’t pass the legislature

Private school scholarships: Reynolds has been pushing for state-funded scholarships for private schools, but there weren’t enough House Republicans on board to pass the bill. She and other leaders say they want to work on this next year.

Obscene books in schools: House and Senate Republicans passed different measures they said would address some parents’ concerns about certain books in schools being inappropriate for students. They didn’t reach an agreement on this after the bill that included private school scholarships and the Senate’s ideas for school transparency died in the House.

Eminent domain moratorium: The Iowa House passed a bill that would block the use of eminent domain for proposed carbon pipelines until early next year. The Senate did not pass it. A key lawmaker said he received assurances from the Iowa Utilities Board that eminent domain would not be approved before the next legislative session.

Postpartum Medicaid expansion: A Senate bill to provide public health insurance coverage for Iowans for up to a year after they give birth failed to pass in the House. Iowa currently provides 60 days of Medicaid coverage after childbirth. Lawmakers did approve part of the bill that would fund anti-abortion pregnancy centers.

Time limit on child sex abuse lawsuits: The Iowa Legislature again refused to give survivors of child sex abuse more time to bring lawsuits against their abusers.

Katarina Sostaric is IPR's State Government Reporter