Jan 4, 2023 - Politics

Iowa Legislature 2023: A preview of session priorities

Illustration of the Iowa State Capitol building with lines radiating from it.

Photo illustration: Allie Carl/Axios. Photo: Joe Raedle/Getty Images

Iowa Republicans are heading into the 2023 legislative session with a larger majority in both chambers and have already promised to debate major changes to education and property taxes.

Driving the news: The session starts Jan. 9 and Republican lawmakers will have their best opportunity this year to pass previously failed bills, including Gov. Kim Reynolds' "school choice" bill.

Here are some of their 2023 legislative priorities:

๐Ÿ“š School vouchers: Reynolds' school scholarship program is expected to be front and center again this year.

  • The law would allow low and middle-income students to leave their public school district and take their state funding with them ($5,359 per child) to use towards a private school.
  • The Iowa House has created a new legislative committee focused on large, education reform changes after the bill failed multiple times in the chamber last session.
  • The committee will be led by three Republicans, including House Speaker Pat Grassley, and two Democrats, according to Iowa Public Radio.

๐Ÿ’ฐ Property tax reform: After reforming income tax last session, Republican leaders say they're considering cutting property taxes, which are used to help fund local cities and schools, according to Iowa Public Radio.

  • Democratic leader Zach Wahls told the Register that he's also willing to look at reforming property taxes, but he wants to do it "with a scalpel, not a chainsaw."

๐Ÿฅ Abortion: Don't expect any major decisions on abortion restrictions in the Legislature soon.

Republican leaders say they're waiting for more concrete language to emerge from the Iowa Supreme Court regarding how far they're allowed to restrict abortions before moving forward, according to Radio Iowa.

โ›ฝ๏ธ Carbon pipelines: Republicans say they expect to consider new rules regarding carbon pipelines and eminent domain in the state, but don't expect an outright ban, Grassley told Radio Iowa.

๐Ÿƒ Legalizing cannabis: Don't expect any law to pass this year allowing the legalization of recreational marijuana. While Democrats said they approve of it, Republican lawmakers said they don't envision it moving forward.

๐Ÿ”ซ Gun rights: Republican leaders say they're planning to expand gun rights this session, though they did not share specifics, KCCI reports.

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