Iowa Legislature convenes - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Iowa Legislature convenes

DES MOINES (KWWL) -- The 84th Iowa General Assembly began Monday in Des Moines and already some business is underway. 

As the Iowa House of Representatives and governor's office transition into Republican power, it seems budget cuts are in the top of this year's to do list for the legislative session.  And as bill start being considered, eastern Iowa legislators say they'll work to protect areas they see as most important.

With the pounding of the gavel, the 84th General Assembly got underway.  Old and new legislators alike took their annual oath of office, and the looming agenda for this session will weigh heavily on money matters.

"Iowans should fully expect that Republicans were serious and intentional in what we said in our campaigns and preparation for the legislative session. We are not going to spend more than we take in and in order to do that we will have to cut the budget," said Scott Raecker, (R) House Appropriations chair.

And if that holds true, Democrats say their goal will be fighting for funding to support their key initiatives.

"We want to make sure we're looking at how we can grow the economy, create jobs, and make sure we meet our transportation and education needs are met," Andrew Wenthe, (D) Hawkeye.

But whatever bills do come before the legislature, both parties say they're committed to working together and doing what's best to move Iowa forward.

As for formal business so far, Kraig Paulsen, a Hiawatha Republican, has been sworn in as house speaker.  In other business, the first bill, House study bill one, has already been introduced.  It contains the hotly contest cut of funding for universal preschool.  The bill is now in committee discussions.  It also includes funding for a taxpayer relief program and services for the mentally ill.  House Republicans hope to have it approved and on the governor's desk within weeks.

KWWL Reporter:  Kera Mashek

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