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Week six marks the first deadline of the session. All policy bills must be out of committee in either the House or the Senate in order to be considered this year. Appropriations, tax, and Oversight bills do not have to meet this deadline.


One of the first things we must pass each year is funding for our K-12 schools. The Senate decided to accept the House bill this year. All education funding totals over half of our state budget. This year we will increase that funding by nearly $160 million.

This bill provides increased funding for transportation and equalizing per pupil spending. I appreciate those additions since they are especially helpful in rural schools. With the passage of this legislation, Iowa will be spending $7,413 per student, not including local and federal dollars allocated to K-12 education.  The number doubles when we throw in all sources of funding.

The governor requested some changes be made to unemployment rules to help address the workforce shortage impacting nearly every part of the economy. SF 2275 implements a one week waiting period before receiving benefits and moves the duration from 6 months to 4 months. We want to encourage work over government payments for the sake of the economy and the psychological well being of individuals and their families.

SSB 3146 is aimed at fairness in school sports. It requires that only biological female students may participate in girls’ sports. This bill acknowledges the biological differences between males and females, ensuring all athletes have an equal opportunity to accomplish their athletic goals.

Religious freedom has been a passion of mine for many years. This week, we passed SF 2170 out of committee and placed it on the list eligible for floor debate. It ensures that religious conduct is not treated more restrictively than businesses, meaning you can’t prohibit churches from meeting when casinos or big box stores are allowed to be open. It also establishes that government cannot burden a person’s free exercise of religion unless there is a compelling government interest. This bill makes sure that religion is treated as important as any other right in this country. The House has also passed the same bill through subcommittee but removed the most important part in committee. I am hoping the Senate can pass the amended version and send it to the House.

Author: Dennis Guth

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