Week five of the 2020 legislature continued at a rapid pace. One subcommittee to highlight this week was for SF 2176, a bill I sponsored in the Senate. SF 2176 is a companion bill to HF 2350, a bill Representative John Landon, R – Ankeny, sponsored in the House. SF 2176/HF 2350 are bills designed to help communities in rural Iowa attract new veterinarians. SF 2176 would provide new opportunities for veterinary students who meet the criteria set forth to be eligible for student loan repayment options. Iowa needs to maintain a competitive environment to ensure we attract high-quality professionals to our food animal producing areas of the state. This bill passed out of subcommittee in both chambers and will head to each chamber’s committee for consideration.
This week in the Senate we passed SF 2164 and SF 2142. These bills would mean approximately $90 million in increased funding for Iowa schools. As I have mentioned in the past, these bills appropriate an amount that is responsible and sustainable.
SF 2164 was our transportation and per pupil equity bill. Passing this bill is a continuation of the promise Senate Republicans made to fix the inequities within the educational funding system. We believe a student should not receive less funding because of where they live. This bill is now on its way to Governor Reynolds for her signature.
Senate Republicans are proposing two amendments to the Iowa Constitution.
The first amendment is to ensure only U.S. citizens can participate in elections held in the state of Iowa. SSB 3113 is a short, simple proposal. It amends Article II, Section 1 of the Iowa Constitution to state, “only” a United States citizen is eligible to vote in Iowa elections. The bill also conforms to the 26th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, which was ratified in 1971, lowering the voting age to 18, with an exception for a primary election.
The second amendment, which passed the Senate this week, SJR 2001, will allow the people of Iowa, not unelected judges, to decide how Iowa regulates abortion.
We are also continuing the work on how to best fund Iowa’s mental health regions and providers. As Iowa’s mental health regions continue to provide existing services, as well as create the new service standards expected of them, we must ensure a sustainable and responsible funding source. I appreciate all of the input brought forth by constituents and stakeholders on this issue.
Next week is our first funnel week of the year, meaning priority legislation, with the exception of bills in Appropriations, Government Oversight, and Ways and Means, must be moved out of committee by next Friday.