The Latest: Iowa lawmakers gavel in for new session
Jan. 08, 2018
DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — The Latest on the first day of the latest session of the Iowa Legislature (all times local):
The Iowa Legislature has formally launched its latest session.
Legislative leaders from both chambers gaveled in shortly after 10 a.m. Monday at the state Capitol. The day is expected to be focused mostly on ceremonial speeches.
Republicans who hold majorities in the Senate and House will set the agenda for the session, and they've indicated that overhauling Iowa's tax code will be high on their to-do list. A proposal has not been shared publicly.
Any plan to cut taxes must be balanced with Iowa's roughly $7.2 billion budget, which has been below projections in recent years. That's led to multiple reductions to government spending.
There's also growing pressure for legislators to address ongoing problems with the state's privatized Medicaid program. Health care providers and patients have complained about reduced services. State officials have defended the program.
Iowa lawmakers are back at the state Capitol for a legislative session that's expected to be dominated by a GOP-led effort to cut taxes despite a constrained budget.
The Republican-controlled chambers will convene Monday morning for a mostly ceremonial day of speeches by legislative leaders. They have roughly 100 days to approve a budget and pass legislation that will be on voters' minds in this year's midterm election. All House seats and half in the Senate are up for grabs.
GOP legislators indicate that overhauling Iowa's tax code will be a top priority. They have yet to provide details, though tax cuts are expected to be part of the plan.
A nonpartisan agency estimates Iowa's roughly $7.2 billion budget has a shortfall of about $37 million, which could force cuts to programs.