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The 2023 Legislative Session Could end soon

The Iowa Legislature could wrap up the 2023 session as early as this week. But before lawmakers head home, they have to finalize a budget.

Where the budget negotiations stand going into the week

A $2.1 billion health and human services budget that would increase funding for nursing homes, mental health and substance use disorder treatment was passed by the Iowa Senate Thursday and advanced by a House committee.

Lawmakers are also advancing several of Gov. Kim Reynolds’ requests for funding, including funding to start a medicine and obstetrics fellowship for new doctors who agree to work in Iowa for five years and more money to aid Iowans in the adoption process. A separate request from the governor to put money into anti-abortion pregnancy centers has been scaled back and the Legislature still has to decide on Reynolds’ plan to expand birth control access and paid parental leave for state employees.

What else happened last week

Lawmakers sent a bill to Reynolds’ desk that will limit the state auditor’s ability to access certain state information. Under the legislation, the state auditor could not take state agencies or officials to court if they refuse to provide records the auditor considers necessary for an investigation.

An Iowa Senate panel tabled two ethics complaints against lawmakers. One complaint from Iowa Citizens for Community Improvement alleges Sen. Michael Bousselot, R-Ankeny, has a conflict of interest because of financial and personal ties to one of the pipeline companies. That was unanimously dismissed, as was a complaint against Sen. Molly Donahue, D-Cedar Rapids, regarding Facebook posts about the conservative group Moms for Liberty.

Work to do: What’s left at the Legislature

Lawmakers are still considering a few bills that could go to the governor before the 2023 session ends. That includes a proposal to roll back some child labor regulations, new rules for the Iowa caucuses and a measure aimed at providing property tax relief.

Source: Iowa Public Radio