The legislative session has officially ended. Here are a few highlights from the session coming to a close.
The House and Senate Republicans reached agreement on the fiscal year 2022 budget. The general fund budget will spend $8.1185 billion in the year beginning July 1. Once again, House Republicans ensured the state spends less than it collects in revenue. The budget spends 97.66 percent of the ongoing revenue the state is expected to collect in fiscal year 2022.
As vice chair of the Justice Systems Appropriations committee, we increased funding for the Department of Corrections and the Department of Public Safety by record amounts. The Department of Corrections received a $20.5 million increase in funding, while the Department of Public Safety received a $10.4 million increase. The budget also allocates $2.5 million for the new Public Safety Equipment fund.
A priority of House Republicans and of constituents from District 95 was reducing property taxes statewide. The House voted to reduce property taxes by almost $100 million by phasing out the mental health property tax levy and creating long-term sustainable funding to support Iowa’s community-based system to support local mental health providers.
The Iowa House also passed the Administration and Regulation budget containing $100 million for broadband internet expansion. The Iowa House has made it a priority to not just increase broadband speeds, but make sure Iowans in “broadband deserts” get connected to broadband internet.
A variety of legislation was passed strengthening Iowa’s Constitution. The Iowa House passed new language for a Constitutional Amendment that would return the Constitution to being neutral on abortion rights. The language will need to pass the next General Assembly as well, before heading to the ballot for Iowans to have the final say. SJR 7, also known as the freedom amendment, would add language in the Constitution that protects the fundamental right to keep and bear arms. Iowan’s will have a final say on this issue on the ballot in 2022.
Thank you to everyone who has supported me through my first term here at the Iowa House. Stay connected with me by finding me on Facebook, using the contact information provided on my website, or by contacting my legislative email. As promised, I will continue to work with the constituents of District 95 to ensure I am taking your voice to the Iowa House.