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The Legislative session has reached week thirteen and now, we are starting to move budget bills. This week, the Iowa House Appropriations Committee passed many of our budget bills including the bills for Justice Systems, Agriculture and Natural Resources, Infrastructure, Admin and Regulation, the Judicial Branch, and Transportation. Soon, we will be debating these bills in front of the full House and sending them over to the Senate.

As a former chair of the Appropriations Committee, the budget is one of my favorite things to dig into and work on. As we move forward with the budget over the next couple of weeks, I’ll be sure to include some of the highlights in this newsletter.

Budget Highlight #1: $20 Million New Dollars for the Department of Corrections
The Iowa House’s Justice Systems budget bill includes $20.474 million new dollars for the Department of Corrections. This is the biggest increase to the Department of Corrections’ budget in over a decade. It’s important to our caucus that we are providing adequate support for our public safety officers.

We feel confident from budget conversations between the Iowa House and the Department of Corrections, that this $20 million increase would allow them to not only retain every worker they have but fill many of the unfunded vacancies that exist in the current budget.

Budget Highlight #2: $9.4 Million Increase in Funding for the Department of Public Safety
The Justice Systems budget also included a $9.4 million increase in funding for the department of public safety. This increase is also the largest for the department in a decade.

Additionally, the budget includes an additional $2.5 million for a Public Safety Equipment fund. The Rebuild Iowa Infrastructure Fund budget also allocates $2.5 million to the Public Safety Equipment Fund, bringing the total to $5 million. This fund will ensure the Department of Public Safety has the most up-to-date equipment and can stay on top of equipment maintenance.

Iowa House Republicans were elected to our nine-seat majority on a platform that included strong support of our law enforcement and we are keeping that promise to our constituents through our policy and budget decisions.

Author: Pat Grassley