Jan 5, 2022 - Politics

Iowa Legislature: What to expect in the 2022 session

Gov. Kim Reynolds speaks at a press conference
Gov. Kim Reynolds attends a pre-session press conference on Jan. 4, 2022. Photo: Linh Ta/Axios

Gov. Kim Reynolds and key Iowa lawmakers shared their legislative priorities during a news conference Tuesday — giving a preview of what to expect this session.

  • The Republican trifecta continues as conservative lawmakers have heavy sway in what bills are prioritized and passed.

Below are some of the major issues this year and where state lawmakers stand:

Taxes

House Speaker Pat Grassley and Republican Sen. Amy Sinclair said they want to lower individual income tax, pointing to the state's $1.24 billion budget surplus.

  • The Senate wants to reduce the rate and while some lawmakers may call for ultimately eliminating the income tax, "it doesn't happen overnight," Sinclair said.

House Minority Leader Jennifer Konfrst said that while everyone wants reduced taxes, focusing on income tax means "millionaires and billionaires" are getting cuts.

Of note: Both the House and Senate are not prioritizing cutting corporate or sales tax.

Education

Reynolds and Republican lawmakers said they support legislation that creates more "transparency" about what books are in schools and allows parents to weigh in on what their kids learn.

Sinclair, who chairs the Senate Education Committee, also said lawmakers are drafting legislation aimed at recruiting and retaining school staff. Details are TBD.

House Speaker Pat Grassley and Sen. Amy Sinclair
House Speaker Pat Grassley and Republican Sen. Amy Sinclair speak during a pre-session press conference. Photo: Linh Ta/Axios
Vaccine mandates

The governor and Republican leaders said they encourage Iowans to get vaccinated, but they do not support a mandate, arguing that it will further strain the workforce shortage crisis.

  • They are waiting to see how the federal mandates play out in court before deciding if Iowa should take action.
  • If a mandate does happen, expect to see conservative lawmakers draft legislation.
Abortion

Reynolds and Republican lawmakers said they are waiting to see how federal and state lawsuits addressing abortion play out before pushing legislation.

Workforce shortage

Reynolds is waiting to release details on her workforce package, but expect to see a policy that attempts to push more unemployed people into work.

  • While Republicans are pushing against mandates, Konfrst pointed out that COVID is taking people out of the workforce, including staff in schools.
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