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Last week, the Iowa Legislature concluded our work for the 2021 Legislative Session.

It was a marathon week, with debate lasting into the late hours of the night each day. However, the long hours were well worth it as we were able to get many of our priorities over the finish line.

As we leave the statehouse, there are certainly many accomplishments to be proud of.  When we began session, I laid out in this very newsletter several priorities for our caucus. We were fresh off the campaign trail and in electing Republicans to represent 97 of Iowa’s 99 counties, Iowans had just sent us a message – loud and clear – on the direction they wanted to see for the state of Iowa.

They gave us an agenda; get kids back in school, support law enforcement, expand access to child care and broadband internet and deliver a responsible budget. So, we got to work.

Almost immediately upon returning to the Statehouse, we passed a bill to require schools to offer parents the option of sending their children for 100% in-person learning.

We passed an expansive bill to increase protection and support for law enforcement while giving them additional tools to keep our communities safer.

We allocated an increase of $20.5 million for the Department of Corrections and an increase of $10.6 million for the Department of Public Safety. The largest increases for each of those departments in a decade.

Because of the conservative and responsible budgeting principles from House Republicans over the last decade, our state was in a strong enough fiscal position to not only fund our priorities but deliver significant tax relief for Iowans.

In our tax relief package, we included income tax cuts for hardworking Iowans, a phaseout of the inheritance tax, additional workforce housing credits, and much more. And we did it in a responsible way to maintain the state’s fiscal stability.

The last thing I’d like to highlight is the House’s leadership on expanding access to affordable, quality child care. We passed over ten bills addressing the problem from all angles.

We were successful in seeing many of those bills become law. Specifically, we doubled the income eligibility for child care tax credits from families making $45,000 a year to $90,000. We eliminated the “cliff effect” so families can take a promotion and accept a pay raise without losing their child care assistance all at once.

I could go on and on listing accomplishments from this session, from protecting the Second Amendment, free speech in schools, life, and election integrity, to expanding access to broadband, mental health services, and telehealth, but I’ll leave it here for now.

Now, it’s time we head back to our districts to listen to our constituents and receive additional instructions. I look forward to hearing from all of you over the coming months to help us set the agenda for next session. I will continue to keep in touch during the interim, and I hope you will do the same.

Thank you for allowing me the pleasure to serve all of you in House District 50 for another session.

Author: Pat Grassley