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Gazette Daily News Podcast, January 11
This is Stephen Schmidt from the Gazette digital news desk and I’m here with your update for Wednesday, January 11.
Commuters should watch out for some patchy fog Wednesday morning, but the day should be sunny and pleasant overall. According to the National Weather Service after 11 a.m. the fog will depart in the Cedar Rapids area, leading to sunny skies with high near 45 degrees. The wind will be calm for most of the day. Wednesday night it will be cloudy and wind will pick up a bit, with a low of around 28 degrees.
Tuesday marked the beginning for what Governor Kim Reynolds hopes will be the year legislators push through many of her long standing conservative policy initiatives.
The governor’s office unveiled her budget proposal Tuesday, and the governor also delivered her annual Condition of the State address to the Iowa Legislature.
The state would spend just shy of $8.5 billion in the coming budget year, an increase of 3.3 percent over current spending.
Included in her budget suggestions was money set aside for private school tuition assistance and funding for a Republican initiative that supports pregnant women. The latter initiative would come online as Republicans hope to also restrict abortion in the state this session.
Not mentioned was more property tax cuts, which Republicans in the Iowa House have expressed interest in pursuing this session.
Gov. Reynolds used her sixth Condition of the State address and larger Republican majorities in the Iowa Legislature to double down on — and expand — her push for school choice legislation.
Reynolds outlined a new plan to devote more public tax dollars to subsidize private school tuition, stating Iowa parents need more choices for their children’s education.
Reynolds’ new proposal would devote the entire state per-pupil funding dedicated to every K-12 Iowa student -- $7,598 in the form of an education savings account -- to students who choose to attend private school.
The program would be phased in over three years, prioritizing kindergarten and low-income students in the first two years. In the third year, all private school students would be eligible for the savings accounts.
Iowa Republican U.S. Sen. Chuck Grassley, who was elected in November to his eighth term in the Senate, injured his hip and will undergo surgery, his office announced Tuesday night.
“He is otherwise in good spirits and is expected to make a full recovery,” his office said in a statement.
His office did not explain how the 89-year-old senator injured his hip or describe the nature of the surgery.
Grassley was sworn into the new term Jan. 3, becoming the longest-serving member of the U.S. Senate. He appeared Monday at the opening day of the 2023 session of the Iowa Legislature, where his grandson is speaker of the Iowa House.