Governor Kim Reynolds’ broadband expansion proposal is gaining ground in both chambers. Last Tuesday the Senate unanimously passed HF 848, which would establish a grant framework to rapidly extend broadband access to underserved rural areas. Two days later, House Republicans moved to fund the program, earmarking $100 million in their Administration and Regulation appropriations bill, HF 867.
The House proposal is $50 million less than what Reynolds requested. During her Condition of the State address in January, Reynolds called on lawmakers to appropriate $450 million over the course of three years, or $150 million per year. Senate Republicans have not yet responded to the House bill.
Following the second legislative funnel deadline earlier this month, lawmakers will now turn most of their attention toward crafting a budget for the fiscal year that begins July 1. So far the Senate has introduced three budget bills: Transportation, Infrastructure, and Capitals (SF 592), Administration and Regulation (SF 594), and Economic Development (SF 595).
On the House side, Republicans have introduced six appropriations bills in addition to Administration and Regulation: Agriculture and Natural Resources (HF 860), Justice Systems (HF 861), Rebuild Iowa Infrastructure Fund (RIIF) (HF 862), Judicial Branch (HF 864), its own Transportation, Infrastructure, and Capitals measure (HF 863), and Education (which has not yet been assigned a bill number).
Nearly all the existing House and Senate budget bills passed out of their respective Appropriations Committees last week, making them eligible for floor debate. The House Education funding measure is scheduled for consideration in Monday’s Appropriations Committee meeting. Lawmakers have yet to introduce a Health and Human Services funding bill or the catch-all Standing Appropriations, or “Standings.”
While the Senate GOP released a broad budget target of $7.999 billion late last month, leadership did not break it down into specific line items for each major appropriations bill. House Republicans have not yet released their own budget targets. The Senate proposal would increase the FY22 budget by $195 million, which would spend 94% of projected state revenues. Under the Iowa Constitution, lawmakers can appropriate up to 99% of estimated revenue.
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