This week in Iowa politics | Senate passes 3 percent increase in state funding for schools, house expected to vote next week

It’s been another busy week at the Iowa Capitol, here’s some of the highlights from this week.


Jerod Ringwald

The Iowa House convenes during the first day of the 90th Iowa legislative session at the Iowa State Capitol in Des Moines on Monday, Jan. 9, 2023. The house swore in Pat Grassley as speaker of the house.

Liam Halawith, Politics Editor

The Iowa Senate passed a bill to increase the state’s allowable budget growth for school funding to 3 percent, half-a-percent more than Gov. Kim Reynolds budget recommendation.

Iowa Senate Democrats proposed several amendments to the bill to increase the allowable growth percentage to 5.9 percent.   However, all amendments failed to gain majority support.

The Iowa House Education Committee recently advanced similar legislation out of the committee. Currently, the companion legislation is on the House debate calendar and is expected to be brought to a vote early next week when the House reconvenes.

The increase is offset by the state’s decrease in the allowed property tax levy for local educational funding that was enacted by the state in 2013. The program seeks to replace property tax income for local school district’s with state funding.

The new increase would bring the state’s cost per-pupil to $7,635 per year provided to Iowa’s public school districts.


Gov. Reynolds allocated unspent federal coronavirus relief funds to the state’s veteran trust fund program

Reynolds approved a $440,000 transfer of funds on Tuesday. The funds originate from the state’s leftover federal funding for COVID-19 relief from the American Rescue Plan Act passed in 2021. The funds are set to be used to disburse already approved grants to Iowa’s veterans and non-profits assisting veterans in the state.

The Iowa Veterans Trust Fund was suspended because of insufficient fund balance after the program obligated more money than appropriated by the Iowa Legislature. The program currently receives around $500,000 annually in appropriations to assist Iowa veterans. The backlogged application from March 3, 2021 to Nov. 3, 2022 will now begin the disbursement process after the new funds become available.

“I’m pleased that this funding will finally provide veterans the financial assistance they were approved to receive,” Reynolds said in a news release Tuesday morning. “We owe Iowa’s veterans a debt of gratitude and we must ensure that the services we offer them are available when needed.”


Iowa House Education Committee passes a bill to prohibit regent universities from investing taxpayer dollars in Chinese owned and operated businesses.

The Iowa House Education Committee approved and recommended a bill that would prohibit Iowa’s public universities from investing taxpayer dollars in Chinese owned and operated businesses.

The bill requires the Board of Regents to create a list of approved businesses that have been proven not to have ties to the Chinese government.

The bill is part of a rise in Conservative action to investigate America’s competitiveness with its adversary. Rep. Ashley Hinson, who represents Northeast Iowa in the U.S. House of Representatives has also pioneered and supported similar legislation in Congress.

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