Washington Evening Journal
111 North Marion Avenue
Washington, IA 52353
By State Sen. Jeff Reichman
May. 9, 2023 10:41 am
The 2023 legislative session ended, Republicans have allocated $8.517 billion for the next budget year, spending only 88.25 percent of ongoing revenue. Responsible budgets have been a key principle since Republicans took the majority in 2017, and have allowed us to fund important priorities, like an extra $107 million to K-12 schools this year.
Education continued to be a focus throughout the following months. We passed protections for parents and ensured their voice was heard in Iowa classrooms, gave more flexibility to Iowa schools to help districts best meet the needs of their schools, and provided common-sense guidance to ensure boys use the boys’ bathrooms and girls use the girls’ bathrooms and locker rooms in Iowa’s K-12 schools.
We also passed a number of bills focused on health care. Senate File 538 protects children from irreversible, life-altering gender transition surgeries until they turn 18. We passed Senate File 75 to help stabilize rural hospitals and help keep hospitals open in communities that desperately need them. House File 161 put caps on noneconomic damages in medical malpractice lawsuits to help make Iowa a more affordable state for doctors to practice and help make health care more available. Additionally, we created a new OB/GYN fellowship program, with an investment of $560,000, for four fellows to expand maternal health in the state and allocated over $1 million to the More Options for Maternal Support (MOMS) program in Iowa.
Expanding Iowa’s workforce was also a priority this session, which is why we passed Senate File 318, establishing the Iowa Office of Apprenticeship to help more people develop the skills they need to be successful in industries that are experiencing workforce challenges. We also passed bills to help ease restrictions and barriers to the workforce for teachers who want to come to Iowa to teach, give more opportunities to learn responsibility and the value of work to teenagers, and put a cap on noneconomic damages in commercial vehicle accident lawsuits to help keep costs down in such an important industry.
I appreciate all those who reached out throughout these last few months to voice their opinion and ask questions on legislation. I am proud of all the work we have done this session to move the state in the right direction and make it a better place for Iowans and their families. We truly accomplished some great things this year, and I look forward to getting back home.
Thanks to help from my clerk, Blaine Watkins of Donnellson, I have completed my congratulations letters to local 2023 school graduates and will be personally delivering them this week.
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