The Iowa legislature convenes for the 2018 Session on Monday. It's the 87th Iowa General Assembly. Republicans hold a 58-41 edge in the State House of Representatives and a 29-20-1 majority in the State Senate.
State Representative Michael Bergan from Decorah says the water quality bill, income tax reform, and the budget will be the primary focal points of the session.
Bergan says there is an estimated budget shortfall of $35 million. Governor Kim Reynolds is expected to make a budget recommendation on Tuesday. After that, other proposals will be taken for cutting the budget.
Governor Reynolds is also expected to make a recommendation on state aid to local school districts early in the session. Bergan says, "K-12 funding was held harmless from budget reductions during the 2017 session, and the Governor has indicated the same will be true in 2018. With limited new money available, allocation may be somewhere between a 0 to 2 percent increase in funding. The House will make no changes to IPERS."
In regards to Medicaid, Bergan says the legislature will continue its ongoing work of mitigating and addressing issues that face funding and delivery. Lawmakers will review recommendations from the governor and will also look at alternatives to address the growing Medicaid population and the rising costs of service.
Finallly, Bergan expects the Legislature to address funding options for the Iowa Water Quality Bill.