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Listen: Lawmakers debate tax ballot measures, liability protections for armed school staff

Iowa lawmakers’ per diem payments to cover their expenses during the legislative session run out after Tuesday. But once again, the session won’t end on time.

Lawmakers must approve a state budget before the session can end. House and Senate budget proposals have been going through the committee process, but lawmakers haven’t yet announced a final agreement.

Lawmakers still want to pass tax cuts before the session ends

House Speaker Pat Grassley says Republicans are still aiming to move forward with legislation that would speed up existing tax cuts.

Separately, a proposed constitutional amendment that passed out of the Senate last week would require a two-thirds majority in the Legislature – rather than a simple majority – to raise personal or corporate income taxes. Another proposed constitutional amendment would require a single rate for personal income tax in the state. To make changes to the state constitution, the Legislature would have to pass these resolutions again next year, or in 2026, and have voters approve the measure.

Making it easier to arm school staff

Republicans in the Senate passed a bill last week with the goal of making it easier for schools and colleges to arm staff. It also establishes qualified immunity for staff who carry guns. The measure now goes back to the House, where Speaker Pat Grassley says they expect to pass the bill, sending it to Gov. Kim Reynolds’ desk.

Governor’s plan to eliminate or merge 40% of state boards and commissions still alive

The Iowa Senate passed its version of the governor’s plan last week and the House is likely to review that legislation this week.

Democrats in the Senate said they’re opposed to the proposal because it cuts important voices like the Children’s Mental Health Board and commissions that help elevate the issues of underrepresented groups. Republicans said the bill will improve government efficiency.

Iowa Boy Scouts face April 19 deadline 

Last week, the Senate unanimously passed a bill that would help Iowa victims involved in the national Boy Scout child sex abuse settlement get their full payout. Iowa’s strict time limit on suing perpetrators of child sex abuse means Iowa survivors could get a smaller fraction of the money they’re owed by the Boy Scouts of America compared to victims in other states.

House Speaker Pat Grassley says they’re considering passing the legislation, but that he has concerns about passing a significant policy change so late in the session.

Child sex abuse victims have been pushing for the removal of time limits on lawsuits against their abusers, but House Republicans have refused to make that change for years.

To read more about what happened this week at the Iowa Capitol, follow our liveblog and sign up for IPR’s weekly newsletter, Political Sense, for Statehouse updates sent directly to your inbox. 

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Katarina Sostaric is IPR's State Government Reporter