Notes from the Iowa Capitol
Here's a brief dispatch on the week from center policy director Sheila Hansen:
Those much-anticipated budget targets were finally released this week. Budget targets, given by the party leadership, provide direction to each of the appropriations committees’ budget chairs on how much they can appropriate to various state departments.
Both chambers finally released all their budget bills, with one exception: health and human services. We are hearing the HHS bill—which governs many critical services for children and families—will come out as soon as Monday. The education budget includes status quo funding for three important early-childhood programs: Early Childhood Iowa, Shared Visions and Early Head Start. Look for a more detailed breakout in our next update.
These steps bring us closer to adjournment. But the question still remains: how can Republicans still consider a tax cut and meet the targets while avoiding cuts to vital services?
In other business, the Senate only worked a couple of days this week. After debating a couple of bills on Thursday morning, the House reconvened at 10 p.m. to debate SF 2311, a controversial utilities bill. They had to vote to suspend the rules to debate on bills and amendments after midnight. Did you know that legislative video streaming also shuts down at midnight? You can only listen to debate – you can’t watch it online. There were 50 amendments, so it was a long debate that ended only when members passed the bill at 5:15 a.m. Friday morning.