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Much Work Remains for Iowa Lawmakers

DES MOINES, Iowa — There’s still a lot of work to be done at the Capitol this legislative session but Iowa lawmakers are running out of paid days to finish that work.

Monday marks the 99th day of this year’s session. However, lawmakers are only paid for their first 100 days of work. If they are still working on Wednesday — lawmakers will be working overtime with no pay.

Legislators still have a long list to work through including passing a budget for next year, a tax reform bill, and possibly banning traffic cameras.

The Iowa Senate hasn’t yet taken up a 20-year extension of a one-cent statewide sales tax that could mean $16 billion more for Iowa schools.

The Iowa House overwhelmingly passed it last month 95 to 3.

“These dollars will just guarantee that they can make long term strategic plans as a school board and then in cooperation obviously with administrators to set these long terms goals with that dedicated source of funding. So I think that’s what that is here, this is protected, that is only what this is to be used for in the long term,” said Rep. Ashley Hinson, a Republican from Marion.

Republicans have talked about protecting public school education as they’ve had to make emergency budget cuts in other areas since revenue wasn’t what they had hoped.

But some Democrats say that while Republicans may not have cut schools’ money, they haven’t given them enough of a yearly increase.

“Six out of the last seven years have been the lowest amount of funding that schools have received historically in Iowa. So we are seeing the effects of that. We can’t help but see the effects of that. So I know that talking to my superintendents and principals, they’re making very tough decisions about how to continue to provide the high quality of education that we are receiving in this state and that we want to continue for the future,” said Sen. Rita Hart, a Democrat from Wheatland.

The two lawmakers, who appeared on The Insiders with Dave Price over the weekend, also discussed whether the statehouse environment has improved any for women following sexual harassment discussions.