The Rozenboom Report – May 5th, 2023

by Senator Ken Rozenboom

The 2023 legislative session ended this Thursday at 12:04 PM, and it was another remarkable year for those of us that believe in limited, pro-growth government. Our 2024 budget allocates $8.517 billion for the next budget year, spending only 88.25% of ongoing revenue. This stands in stark contrast to the disgusting and dangerous budgeting practices of Washington, D.C.

Parental choice in education was always been a goal of mine, one that seemed out of reach only a few years ago. But today this became a reality when the Governor’s office reported that applications for Students First Educations Savings Accounts (ESAs) will be accepted starting May 31, 2023. The Students First Act was signed into law earlier this year and will provide state funding for eligible students who attend accredited nonpublic schools starting in the 2023-2024 school year.

The State Board of Education today adopted administrative rules that specify definitions for the program, eligibility requirements for participation, parameters for the application process, and program administration and accountability. For more details you can go to the ESA webpage.

This was a major piece of legislation that gives all parents additional options for their child’s K-12 education, improves student achievement in Iowa, and improves the quality of education in both public schools and private schools. That legislation was soon followed by our K-12 public education funding bill, which again provided record funding by allocating an additional $107 million over last year.

Later in the session we passed the Parental Rights and Education Transparency bill to ensure parents could be more directly involved in their children’s education. We gave more flexibility to Iowa schools to help districts best meet their needs, we gave teachers additional tools to achieve better control of student behavior, and provided common-sense guidance to ensure boys use the boys’ bathrooms and girls use the girls’ bathrooms and locker rooms.

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. HF161 puts 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, leading to the passage of Senate File 318. This legislation establishes 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.

And in this final week we gave Iowans relief from the ever-increasing burden of property taxes! HF 718 implements structural property tax reform and protects Iowans from those massive jumps in property taxes they feared, especially when they received their new assessments this year. The new legislation automatically reduces tax rates when assessments rise, it consolidates and simplifies more than a dozen different levies, and it empowers taxpayers by giving them additional transparency on the taxes and spending of local governments. The projected property tax savings are expected to be $100 million annually.

With the 2023 session now history, we’re all glad to take a few days off, get back to our families and to our other jobs. It is indeed an honor to represent you all in the Iowa Senate!

Posted by on May 5 2023. Filed under Local News, Politics. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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