116 3rd St SE
Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52401
Iowa lawmakers have a chance to do some good and minimize harm in the last few weeks of the 2021 session.
The Legislature is expected to adjourn on or around April 30 and the legislative agenda has been whittled down by the funnel process. Bills still eligible for debate include some common-sense proposals that enjoy broad bipartisan support.
This week, the Iowa Senate passed a bill to expand a program offering incentives to broadband internet developers, meant to boost access especially in Iowa’s underserved rural areas. It’s one of Gov. Kim Reynolds’ priorities and it got unanimous approval in both chambers, demonstrating that sharply divided lawmakers still can come together to pass practical policy solutions.
Other grounds for bipartisan agreement include expanding child care assistance and availability, opening voluntary preschool enrollment to more children, divvying up COVID-19 aid and expunging some non-violent felony records. Those bills are still eligible for debate and we urge their passage.
Even after they’re passed, many of the state’s priorities depend on funding. Taxing and spending bills are exempt from session deadlines, and Iowans should pay close attention to budget discussions in the session’s final days.
With our to-do list also comes a not-to-do list.
Majority Republicans this year introduced a series of divisive bills pandering to far-right culture warriors. Some of those have been quashed by the legislative timeline, but others are still alive.
We urge lawmakers and the governor to reject a proposed constitutional amendment limiting abortion rights, a proposal to block tax incentives over perceived censorship, a package of new protections for police officers and a measure to allow landlords to turn away public assistance recipients.
Those are solutions in search of problems and they would badly harm Iowa’s reputation as the state vies to bring in new businesses and residents.
Lawmakers get to choose how this legislative session will be remembered. It can be the one where petty bills made our state a national embarrassment, or the one where reason finally prevailed in the end.
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