Iowa House Speaker Pat Grassley conducted his weekly media availability on Friday morning. Grassley said the House spent the week trying to run through as many bills as they could.
“We continue to pass legislation trying to address the childcare issue that exists in the state,” he said.
The House also passed a bill dealing with telehealth and parity regarding payment.
“Our caucus is a very rural caucus,” Grassley said. “We represent 97 of the 99 counties and so all across the state we feel like this increases access to mental health services.”
Grassley was asked what “mid-term” grade he would give the Iowa House now that the first funnel has passed.
“I was kind of a C student, so I know we’re much better than that,” he said. “We came in here with an agenda of moving things as quickly as possible obviously with COVID. We were in a situation where we wanted to make sure we kept things moving as fast as possible.”
Grassley pointed to a bill passed early in the session requiring an option for 100 percent in-person schooling. He talked about the supplemental state aid bill and a bill dealing with some one-time expenses for schools as well.
The chamber has also focused on childcare bills.
“So I feel good about where we’re at,” he said. “There are a lot of things though as we move forward that still have to be addressed.”
Among those items, Grassley highlighted a proposal from Gov. Kim Reynolds dealing with the Renewable Fuel Standard and broadband.
Grassley was asked about the Senate’s bills that passed this week addressing criminal justice and policing.
He said he wants to make sure there are no unintended consequences in the bill that doesn’t allow cities to reducing funding for police unless other city departments are reduced as well.
The Iowa Senate is also moving forward with a plan to eliminate the income tax triggers as well as phase out the state’s inheritance tax.
Grassley said there are a lot of “unanswered questions” that exist right now.
“First and foremost we need to get an answer on whether what the feds passed — the state’s taking that money — if you even have the ability to pass tax cuts,” Grassley said. “There was an article in the Wall Street Journal here just last week that questions that. So, I think we need to have some clarity on what that would look like first.”
Grassley expressed concern about the Senate’s proposal.
“The House has been hesitant to remove the triggers, but next week during the REC, that may take care of itself,” he said. “With the inheritance tax piece, I know we have interest with that within our caucus, but I think it comes with a $90-$100 million price tag. And if the triggers were to be eliminated at the same time, I think we’d have to be just very careful in the decisions that we’re making. We’d like to work towards that, but you know, they may be a little bit more aggressive and we wouldn’t be interested at this point.”