Overview of top priorities for the Iowa Legislature for 2022

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Lawmakers will meet for the first time in 2022 on Monday, January 10. Leading Democrats and Republicans on Tuesday gave an overview of what was on the table.

DES MOINES, Iowa – The 2022 Iowa Legislature will meet on Monday, January 10. Ahead of the session’s kick-off, leading lawmakers gave reporters a snapshot on Tuesday of what tops their list for 2022.

Gov. Kim Reynolds has said the public will hear his full program for 2022 during next week’s condition of the state. However, she described some of the main issues she plans to tackle.

“This includes, among other things, another round of tax cuts,” Reynolds said. “A comprehensive workforce program and, of course, continuing education reform. I think this next session represents another opportunity for us to come together as one state, to accomplish great things and to continue to lead this nation. “

The state ended the fiscal year with a surplus of $ 1.24 billion and $ 1 billion in reserves, according to the governor.

“It’s thanks to conservative budget practices, a diverse and open economy,” added Reynolds.

The governor added that the state will likely wait to work on any legislation regarding vaccination mandates until the Supreme Court rules on OSHA’s federal mandate for major employers and healthcare workers.

Reynolds says resolving the workforce crisis remains high on her list, adding that the Iowans will learn more about her plans during her condition of state.

“It has been a priority of mine since day one,” the governor told reporters. “I’ve always said we have more job vacancies than unemployed people right now. Yesterday we had 78,627 job vacancies and 61,600 unemployed Iowans.”

The governor also stressed that income tax reform was a top priority.

“We have to do it in a fiscally responsible manner and fiscally responsible and how we do it. We have to make sure that we can maintain it. We have to watch our spending,” she said. “But more importantly, we need to make sure that we can still fund the priorities that are important to Iowa’s public safety education. And I think we’ve shown that we can do that.”

Meanwhile, Parliamentary Minority Leader Jennifer Konfrst said she and other Democratic lawmakers were concerned about how the state would offset this funding, especially if the tax was removed altogether.

“There have been a lot of headlines about reducing and eliminating income tax altogether, but little talk about how we’re going to pay for it and what we need to eliminate,” Konfrst said. “Because if you want to eliminate income tax, you also have to decide if you are going to increase property and sales taxes. Or if you are going to go ahead and get rid of the Department of Education, funding K -12, the Department of Corrections, the Department of Public Safety, there are choices, decisions are made here. “

Reynolds says she’s hosted a few roundtables with concerned parents across the subway who have reached out to issues regarding curriculum in schools. By specifically raising questions about certain books that they consider controversial.

Senator Amy Sinclair, R-Allerton, believes lawmakers will tackle this issue which she says are working to add more transparency to education.

“If parents don’t want their 12-year-old to consult a book that might contain inappropriate, age-inappropriate, and potentially obscene material, they should be given an opportunity to reject it before their student gets their hands on them. on it, ”she said.

Sinclair says specific legislation has not been finalized.

Democrats have raised questions about this type of reform, especially its impact on the current teacher shortage.

“A lot of the ideas that have come up don’t make it easy for teachers to get into the classroom,” Konfrst said. “Threatening them to put them in jail, charge them with crimes for books and also talk about removing books. Remember that when you take a book for a child out of the library, you take it out for every child in the library. . “

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