Hello District 84 from the State Capitol!
The 2023 Iowa State Legislative session adjourned sine die on Thursday, May 4th at about 12:30pm. Sine die is Latin which basically means a specific day to assemble has not been set (for this year).
There are dozens of bills that were passed by both chambers and already signed by Governor Kim Reynolds. One of the most important was HF718 – the property tax relief bill that the House passed on May 2nd and was signed into law on May 4th. This is a somewhat complex law but the main points are it provides $100 million in relief, including new exemptions for Iowa seniors and veterans.
Signed into law is SF538, which prohibits children under 18 from undergoing surgeries to remove any healthy reproductive organs or being prescribed puberty blockers or hormone therapy intended to change the characteristics of their sex. This law also prohibits sexually explicit books in school libraries.
SF514 increases the efficiency of state government by shrinking state agencies from 37 to 16. This will reduce the number of cabinet-level departments while maintaining all of the services currently provided to Iowans.
SF561 is the HHS Appropriations bill and has been sent to the governor, and some highlights are it increases funding for Medicaid rates and substance abuse. This increase will total over $35 million including federal funding. The bill also increases $15 million to Iowa’s nursing homes for their workforce and residents with additional needs. This bill also funds four annual family medicine obstetric fellowships every year. If the doctor agrees to one year fellowship, there must be a commitment to practice in rural and underserved Iowa areas for five years. The legislature also passed the midwifery bill, HF265, which creates the licensure of midwives. Bethany Gates of Vinton is a midwife and spent countless hours promoting this at the Capitol.
SF560 is the FY 2024 Education Appropriations bill that is awaiting the governor’s consideration. Among many other changes, it is reigning in the divisive and misleading Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) bureaucracies at the Regent Universities that misuse taxpayer money by imposing ideological conformity and silencing conservative voices. The bill also creates a new Iowa Workforce Grant & Incentive Program to fund scholarships for Iowa students studying to fill high-demand jobs in the state.
SF542 is the Youth Employment bill that has passed the legislature and is under the governor’s consideration. This bill makes changes to work activities for those that are from 14 to 18 years old. Teenagers need this experience to learn a work ethic and responsibilities, which also builds their self-esteem.
SF418 has been signed into law and prohibits Iowa’s public funds from investing in companies that are owned or controlled by Chinese military or government services. A sidenote – as of 2022, Iowa was one of six states that ban foreign ownership of farmland, but it’s possible to unfortunately cheat and go around that ban by purchasing U.S. corporations that own agricultural land.
There are hundreds of bills that have been passed by each chamber and hopefully those signed by the governor will make Iowan’s lives better. It’s impossible to list and comment on all of the bills we passed, so I apologize for leaving so many out. Even though we adjourned for the year, I will still check my emails frequently throughout the rest of the year. Please email me at Thomas.email@example.com if you have any questions, comments, or concerns that need to be addressed.
I hope this finds you healthy, please be careful, and have a great week!