Politics Notebook | Gov. Kim Reynolds signed a 1500-page state government restructuring bill into law

The massive bill will reduce the number of state cabinet agencies in Iowa from 37 to 16. The restructuring is the first reorganization of the state’s executive branch in over 40 years. Also, the Iowa House passed a bill increasing school transparency requirements and prohibiting books with sexual content.


Jerod Ringwald

Gov. Kim Reynolds delivers her 2023 Condition of the State speech at the Iowa State Capitol in Des Moines on Jan. 10, 2023.

Liam Halawith, Politics Editor

Gov. Kim Reynolds signed a bill on Tuesday that reorganizes the state’s executive branch reducing the number of cabinet agencies from 37 to 16, consolidating the number of directors that directly report to the governor and decreasing administrative costs.

Senate File 514 is the first major restructuring in over 40 years and reduces the state’s administrative costs by around $12 million per year, according to the non-partisan Legislative Services Agency.

During the signing, Reynolds said that the massive bill will take time to implement but once completed will streamline the Iowa government.

“I’m not saying there won’t be bumps,” Reynolds said during the bill signing ceremony on Tuesday. “I mean, this is a huge undertaking, but we’re going to do it right. We’re going to get it right. And if we need to slow down any, you know, any of the alignments to make sure that we’re taking all of that into account, we’ll do that.”

Democrats argue that the bill removes necessary oversight measures and called it a power grab by the governor.

“House and Senate Republicans refused to fully vet this bill or exercise any oversight on the governor’s office,” Senate Minority leader Zach Wahls, a Democrat from Coralville, said in a statement Tuesday. “Now it’s law, and Iowans will be living with the consequences for decades to come.”

Iowa House passes curriculum transparency, book review bill

Reynolds’ curriculum transparency bill passed a divided vote, 55-42, in the Iowa House on Tuesday. The bill now heads back to the Iowa Senate after being amended during the House floor debate.

Senate File 496, if signed into law, would require schools to:

  • Post all curriculum and instructional materials on the school website for parents to review.
  • Prohibit all instruction on sexuality and gender identity in kindergarten through sixth grades.
  • Post all books in the school library periodically and allow parents to petition to remove a book.
  • Prohibit books with sexual content.