DES MOINES, Iowa (WHO) — It took more than a month of extended time but the 2022 legislative session ended in the early morning hours on Wednesday.
The Iowa Senate sent over the last budget for the year to Governor Kim Reynolds’ desk for her signature, and both chambers adjourned sine die.
The standings budget was the final one passed by both chambers. Through an amendment to the bill, filed by Republicans, the open enrollment deadline of March 1 for students in the state was removed, allowing them to enroll at any time. Also on that amendment, there is a section that prohibits election offices from accepting funds from private entities.
“The whole point of the open enrollment process is we have heard from the House and from others totally fine with public money for public schools so we wanted to get parents more options if they are not happy with the school they are in to transfer to a different public school,” said Senate Majority Leader Jack Whitver, (R) from Ankeny. “So obviously with the other school choice pieces not passing this year, we thought that was a logical step to continue to allow parents to have as much choice as possible while staying in the public school system.”
Speaker of the House Pat Grassley commented on the work from the 2022 session and Gov. Reynolds’ school vouchers bill, and the failure to get it passed this session. He also talked about Gov. Reynolds supporting a rural House Republican’s opponent in the primary; where the incumbent was not in favor of private school vouchers.
“Well I think that is obviously the Governor’s prerogative and what I would say whether it was the Governor, the party chairman, a constituent back home, back to what I just said, at the end of the day ultimately as Republicans; it was the Governor’s choice to do that,” said Speaker Grassley, (R) New Hartford. “But at the end of the day ultimately as Republicans, we have to be united in our front come November.”
The disagreement on the Governor’s school voucher bill is what stalled the session more than a month ago. The House Minority Leader said that Iowans are paying the price because of this disagreement.
“The fact that the Governor and Senate really wanted school vouchers and didn’t get them led to some sort of petty cuts over on the Senate side just to punish House Republicans and House Democrats,” said House Minority Leader Jennifer Konfrst, (D) from Windsor Heights. “And you know who is getting punished? Iowans. Iowans are the ones paying the price because of these political games between these two chambers.”
Governor Reynolds now needs to sign the budgets for the next year to make that funding official. The session officially closed just after midnight on Wednesday morning. Senate Majority Leader Whitver said there had been no discussions of a special session anytime in the future.