Republicans in the Iowa House say one of their top priorities in the next legislative session is supplemental state aid for Iowa school districts. That’s according to Speaker Linda Upmeyer, a Republican from Clear Lake, who met with reporters after her caucus discussed legislative priorities on Thursday.
Upmeyer says ideally, the amount of money Iowa schools will receive from the state will be set within the first 30 days of the 2017 legislative session.
"We know schools need that," she says. "We need to make sure we get that to them in a timely fashion. The last two years I think we’ve had that as maybe the first bill out of the house."
Upmeyer adds she’s not sure how much aid schools will receive, until revenue estimates come out next week.
Iowa law requires the legislature to set supplemental state aid two years in advance. Both that's not likely to happen as Upmeyer says there isn’t enough data to predict revenue so far in the future. She hopes to remove this requirement.
Upmeyer also talked about working with a new governor. Lt. Governor Kim Reynolds will be taking over for Terry Branstad, who President-elect Trump has picked to be the U.S. Ambassador to China.
Linda Upmeyer says she has a good working relationship with Reynolds, who she describes as personable and energetic.
"She has work side-by-side with Governor Branstad for six years," says Upmeyer. "I expect there will be a smooth transition. Certainly she had her own ideas, certainly she has her own priorities. But I think it will be a smooth transition and not a lot of surprises."