4 Takeaways Going into the Week at the Legislature

Mar 21, 2016


There are more deadlines this week that will force bills forward or fall flat. Morning Edition Host Clay Masters talked with IPR Statehouse Correspondent Joyce Russell and has these takeaways.

1.       Leaders in the Iowa legislature have new state revenue projections that will impact the budget. “It’s a little bit inside baseball,” says IPR Statehouse Correspondent Joyce Russell. Both the Governor and Democratic Senate will have to scale back their budgets based on the new numbers. Iowa Department of Management Director David Roederer said a roughly $7.35 billion projection for the fiscal year that begins in July is lower than Branstad's office anticipated when he released budget recommendations in January. The Revenue Estimating Conference says one reason for the scale back is because of low commodity prices impacting Iowa agriculture income.

2.       Oversight of private boarding schools will likely get approved. Oversight committees in both the Iowa House and Senate are working on bills to create new oversight for private boarding schools. It stems from an investigation into Midwest Academy in Keokuk where the school, run by out-of-state corporation, was accused of abusing children. It fell through the cracks of state government oversight in both the state departments of Human Services and Education.

3.       Oversight of privatized Medicaid management looks fuzzy. Democrats put up a bill to put some protections in place for patients under the new system but it didn’t pass last week’s deadline. “Republicans are accusing Democrats of playing politics with it,” Russell says. “However, one Republican on the Committee said that the GOP would also be offering something for Medicaid Oversight.”

4.       Advocates for medical marijuana will be back in the spotlight. There will be a rally at the capitol this week for a bill that would legalize production and distribution of marijuana in the state for medical purposes. The bill as it has passed the House Commerce Committee is quite limited.