Under the Golden Dome: Gains for Guns & Nonpublic Schools 3/23/2018

Mar 23, 2018

Last year Rep. Matt Windschitl authored a bill greatly expanding gun rights in Iowa.  It includes making it legal to carry a concealed pistol in the Capitol with a permit, and a stand your ground provision allowing people to use deadly force if they feel threatened.

This year he authored a resolution to add to the state constitution an amendment that would make it more challenging to pass gun restrictions in the future.  He floor-managed a three hour debate in the House, where it passed. It also passed in the Senate.  The resolution has a long way to go as it needs to pass in both chambers again during the next general assembly.  If it succeeds, it has to be approved on a voter ballot, which potentially could happen in 2019.

A long awaited de-appropriations eliminating $35 million from this year’s budget passes both chambers. It contains a measure that would make it legal for a governor to transfer money from an Economic Emergency Fund should the state’s budget come up short when the legislature is not in session.  The controversial aspect of this part is it makes this retroactive.  In September, Gov. Reynolds transferred $13 million from the fund to the general fund, but some legislators say this was illegal and filed a lawsuit. This bill will result in the lawsuit being dismissed.

In February the House Education Committee failed to advance a bill that would give parents some state money to pay for nonpublic school education for their children.  Now the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee has a similar bill.  It would provide around $4,000 per pupil through an education savings account to be administered by parents. It would not apply for students currently enrolled in private schools or homeschool education.