The Iowa Legislature concluded the 2020 session on Sunday, June 14th after a more than ten-week hiatus due to COVID-19. The disruption of the session put on hold passage of some bills, but I’m confident most will be addressed next session.
The legislature passed many bills that were priorities, such as making child-care more affordable and increasing access to providers, increasing access to telehealth, promoting the expansion of high-speed internet to rural Iowans, making it easier for local governments to provide emergency medical services (EMS) to residents, and almost $100 million more for K-12 education.
The state legislature keeps spending for fiscal year 2021 at 97.16% of the amount permitted, under the 99% limit, with a FY2021 ending budget balance of $311.3 million. Also, the Cash Reserve Fund will be at $587.8 million and the Economic Emergency Fund will be at $195.9 million. These funds will be at the amount required by Iowa law, which equals 10% of the General Fund budget. Additionally, the Taxpayer Relief Fund will have an estimated $105.9 million for FY 2021.
The COVID-19 virus pandemic created a more difficult situation for the rest of this year and most likely the next few years. Fortunately, due to strong fiscal discipline, the state budget is in good shape because of common sense spending practices for the last several years, enabling Iowa to withstand economic hardships.
COVID-19 is not the only issue weighing heavily on people’s minds. The inexcusable action of a law enforcement officer (LEO) in Minneapolis has ignited protests and unfortunately provided an excuse for some to vandalize, loot, injure, and even kill others. The protests are justified but the violence is absolutely not under any circumstances. We Republicans at the State House are committed to our LEO 100%, and I and others will be working on ways to get more funding to them in 2021. The fantasy of a few to abolish or defund police forces will not happen in Iowa.
Law enforcement officers are just like everyone else. They are not perfect – nobody is. They are trying their best to protect the citizens and deserve our respect and support.
The Republicans work very hard to keep commitments, and with the help from the people of Iowa, we will continue to do our very best to do what’s best for Iowans. Thank you, people of District 75 for allowing me to represent you in the Iowa State Legislature, it’s truly an honor and I’m so proud of you!