Hemp farming & sports betting big winners in Iowa legislature

4 The Record

Iowa’s legislative session ended about a month ago.

Governor Kim Reynolds is putting her finishing touches on it by signing and vetoing bills waiting for her to act.

Of course the biggest task every year is the budget.

Education is always a huge component.

It’s more than $3.2 billion for primary education.
    
That will come out to be about $90 million in new money for schools covering supplemental state aid, differences in transportation costs and other differentials regarding per student spending.
    
There will be $575 million for higher eduation.
    
Tuition at the University of Iowa and Iowa State University will be almost four percent higher next year.
    
The almost $2 billion spending plan for health and human services brought some angst from Democrats.

They’re upset that any group with connections to abortion will be denied sex education grants and that state or local governments won’t have to pay for gender change surgery. 

Here are the outcomes of some other high-profile issues that came up for debate this session.

Some key things that passed include the legalization of sports wagering, allowing the commercial production of industrial hemp, modifications to increase access to medical marijuana — however, that’s still waiting for Governor Kim Reynolds’ signature at air time — and the creation of a children’s mental health system.

Significant measures that did not make it this session include restoring voting rights for convicted felons — it was a priority of the governor — and getting tougher on animal abuse. It cleared the house, but failed in the senate.

Nothing got done to change the law regarding traffic cameras despite more debate this session and no changes were made to shore up the privatized Medicaid system despite acknowledgements from both parties that some are needed.

All of this means you can expect to see some significant changes in Iowa pretty soon.

We talked about some of those with two people who were in the middle of it in Des Moines.

Democratic State Representative Cindy Winckler and Republican State Representative Gary Mohr joined 4 The Record for a conversation.

Hemp

The expectation is that farmers will be able to start planting the crop next year.

Both voted for it.

Winckler and Mohr discussed what impact they expect from this for the state’s economy.

Sports betting 

Another measure you both supported that is now the law is being able to bet on sports. Casinos are gearing up to handle that activity.

Iowa didn’t adopt taxes on the revenue and license fees as high as other states have like new jersey for example.

Mohr and Winckler talked about how much money this can mean for the state government and what the likelihood is that these taxes could change in the future to enhance the state’s budget.

Watch the full conversation in the video above.

Local 4 News, your local election headquarters, is proud to present 4 The Record, a weekly news and public affairs program focused on the issues important to you.  It’s a program unlike any other here in the Quad Cities. Tune in each Sunday at 10:30 a.m. as Jim Niedelman brings you up to speed on what’s happening in the political arena, from Springfield, Des Moines, Washington, D.C. and right here at home.

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