2023 Iowa Legislative Session - Week 2 Summary
The Governor’s priority education savings accounts bill took huge steps forward this week in both the House and Senate. On Tuesday, the House held a public hearing to allow both supporters and opponents of the bill to advocate on the bill. More than a hundred individuals signed up to speak for up to two minutes each. The bill, now House File 68 passed out of the House Education Reform committee the next day. The Senate version of the bill, now Senate File 93 passed out of Senate Education and then Senate Appropriations Committee on Thursday. Both the Senate and House bills are eligible for floor debate next week.
Veterans from across the state descended upon the Capitol Wednesday to participate in the 2023 Iowa Veterans Day on the Hill. Governor Reynolds, Lieutenant Governor Gregg, and the Chairs and Ranking Members of the Veterans Affairs Committees addressed the crowd to honor Iowa’s veterans. In related news, lawmakers in both chambers have introduced legislation to increase annual funding for the Iowa Veterans Trust Fund. The Fund currently receives $500,000 a year to help Iowa veterans pay for medical care, job training, housing, and car repairs. For the first time in a decade, the Fund ran out of money as a result of increased costs and expanded eligibility. House Study 21 would increase the annual allocation to $800,000 and Senate File 82 would double the current allocation to $1,000,000.
Cybersecurity issues were a focus of the Senate Technology Committee this week. The Committee is new this year and chaired by Senator Chris Cournoyer. Aaron Warner, Chief Executive Officer, ProCircular and Doug Jacobson, Director, ISU Center for Cybersecurity Innovation and Outreach spoke about the ramifications of cybersecurity breaches. The House Economic Growth and Technology Committee chaired by Representative Ray Sorensen has filed several study bills relating to various aspects of cybersecurity including two bills which were considered this week in subcommittee, HSB 13 which creates cybersecurity-related criminal penalties and HSB 15 which creates a cybersecurity unit within the state Office of the Chief Information Officer and requires reporting by governmental subdivisions of cybersecurity incidents.
The House formally began the budget setting process with six appropriation subcommittees meeting this week. The purpose of this week's meetings was to review the Governor’s proposed budget which was released last week. The Governor proposed an overall budget of $8.5 billion which is a 3.3 percent increase over the current fiscal year's budget. While appropriations work generally occurs towards the latter part of session and after the March meeting of the Revenue Estimating Conference, these meetings allow for presentations and discussions on budget needs. Each subcommittee will submit their recommended budget to their chamber’s full Appropriations Committee and the overall fiscal year 2024 state budget will start to take shape.
In the Know
This new legislative session comes with a large number of new faces at the Capitol. In total, 53 newly elected lawmakers were sworn in this legislative session. Fourteen of those new members are in the Senate, while 39 are in the House. Seven new state senators previously served as state representatives and one new state representative previously served in the Senate. With the new members, Republicans have secured a supermajority in the Senate with 34 of 50 members and have a 64-36 majority in the House. This means that of the 150-member Legislature, nearly two-thirds are Republican. To learn more about the new members, please see the document linked HERE which provides biographical information about all new members.
BrownWinick Government Relations
To view additional summaries from the 2023 Iowa Legislative Session or to learn more about BrownWinick’s Government Relations Team, visit our Lobbying and Public Policy team page.