This week marked the second funnel deadline at the legislature. With some exceptions, including tax and appropriation bills, legislation had to pass at least one chamber and the other chamber's subcommittee and committee process in order to stay alive.
All in all, we'd call where we stand now a mixed bag. There's a lot of troubling legislation that is most likely dead this for the year (although it could pop back up next year). We are deeply grateful to legislators who looked seriously at these proposals — things like Medicaid work reporting requirements and school vouchers — and saw that they were at best going to do little to improve the lives of Iowans, and at worse, cause a lot of damage. There's also some good stuff that's still alive — like a long-needed funding increase for Early Childhood Iowa. That $1 million appropriation has passed the House, but will now move to the Senate, which has set lower spending targets.
Now, there is also a lot of damaging legislation still alive, including proposals to cut state and local taxes. These include a nearly $90 million elimination of the inheritance tax that will not benefit a single surviving child, grandchild, parent or grandparent — but will benefit nonresidents—and new limitations on local property tax decisions.
Mike Owen, executive director of the Iowa Policy Project, spoke on tax issues at the Moral Mondays session this week at the Capitol. Moral Mondays is a collaborative project of over 25 progressive Iowa organizations, including CFPC, to support the moral good sought through policies that advance Iowa values like equality, fairness and justice. Moral Mondays highlights a new policy issue at noon each Monday during session.
Below is a table summarizing the status of select issues we're following this session. Got thoughts or questions? We also want to hear from you. You can email policy director Sheila Hansen or give us a ring at 515-280-9027.
Iowa poised to keep more foster youth in families
Kids belong with families. By implementing the Family First Prevention Services Act, Iowa can make considerable gains in helping foster youth grow up in stable family settings. The second installment in our two-part podcast series on foster care in Iowa, Anne Discher sits down with Janee Harvey, Kayla Eckerman and Angelica Cardenas to discuss the federal legislation — and what it means for Iowa. Listen here.
A new data snapshot from the Annie E. Casey Foundation (referenced in the podcast) finds that children in the care of Iowa’s child welfare system are already more likely than ten years ago to be placed in families, as opposed to group homes or other settings. Iowa can keep up the progress by implementing of Family First. Learn more about the data via ourblog.
Will the legislature address child care?
Finding quality and affordable child care is a struggle for many Iowa families. Despite increased discussion on the issue, legislative solutions have stalled at the Capitol—and the opportunity for action during session is quickly narrowing. The Center's Sheila Hansen gives an update on child care, including what to expect as we look ahead. Watch here.
Want to go deeper? Curious about the status of key bills? The Center maintains a bill tracker to outline the specific legislation we are following this this session.
Find your legislator
Not sure who represents you? With 50 senators and 100 representatives, it can be hard to keep tabs. Visit our Legislator Lookup tool to find out who represents you in the state house and senate, biographical information about each one and a link to their legislative websites, which list contact information and committee membership. All you need to do is enter your home address and zip code.