January 8 marked the kickoff of the 2024 Iowa legislative session. Over the next 100 days, the Iowa Capitol will be bustling with activity, as critical issues are debated, and new policies are established. While the list of issues will continue to grow and evolve as the weeks move ahead, policy leaders have outlined some key topics and proposals that will be amongst a long list of items debated this session.
- State Budget- The process of setting the state budget is long (see the full process, here), but the legislature is tasked with approving appropriations bills that outline spending for government agencies and programs for the next fiscal year (FY25, starts July 1, 2024). Budget discussions generally start from the Governor’s budget proposal, which is submitted to the legislature alongside the Condition of the State address (FY25 budget proposal summary, here)
- Tax Reductions- The Governor’s proposal (HSB543/SSB3038) would reduce the flat income tax rate over the next two years, lower the unemployment tax paid by employers, and allow childcare centers to classify for the residential property tax rates.
- Education Reform- The Governor’s proposal (HSB542) proposes to increase minimum salary requirements for teachers, increase reading instruction trainings for new teachers, grant program for new charter schools, and restructure special education funding and services currently provided by the Area Education Agencies (AEA). Another proposal from the Governor would expand existing high school work-based learning and training programs.
- Access to Healthcare Resources- The Governor’s proposal would develop the Thrive Iowa program to create a network of public and private service providers, realign the current 13 behavioral health system regions, investment of the state’s opioid settlement funds into treatment and recovery programs, expand Medicaid coverage for new mothers, extend paid parental leave for state employees, and expand access to hormonal contraceptives.
- State Regulations- The Governor’s proposal would implement the recommendations from a task force created last year to significantly reduce the number of state boards and commissions, and require all regulations be reviewed on a rolling five-year basis.
- Foreign Land Ownership- The Governor’s proposal would require disclosure of landholdings and ownership structure with Secretary of State, along with increased fees for failing to do so, along with an annual report from the SOS on foreign land holdings.
Other relevant topics that are also very likely to be up for debate this year:
- Changes to the funding mechanism for Iowa’s Grain Indemnity Fund
- Iowa Utilities Board process for granting eminent domain
- Improved access to mental health resources
- Support for rural emergency and first responders
At Landus we are committed to working on the topics and issues most important to YOU, our farmers, our customers, our employees, and our communities where we call home. Help us carry your voice and your priorities forward by taking a few minutes to let us know your thoughts here, or send me an email anytime at Elizabeth.Thompson@landus.ag.