Iowa legislature adjourns; analysts call session 'predictable' - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Iowa legislature adjourns; analysts call session 'predictable'

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WATERLOO (KWWL) - After 109 days, the Iowa legislature is done with the 2014 session.

House representatives are back in their respective hometowns, while the Senate finished one vote early Friday morning.

Some would argue their "do-nothing" session yielded a lot of new legislation, with overarching themes of the money trail and the state's economy.

One bill that passed with bipartisan support was freezing tuition at Iowa's three state universities: University of Iowa, Iowa State and the University of Northern Iowa. The Iowa House and Senate passed nearly a $1 billion education budget bill, freezing tuition for in-state undergraduates for a second consecutive year. 

UNI students said nowadays, that's good news.

"I have to pay for college myself so I need a summer job and, knowing that, I won't have to work as many hours," said Tommy Draus, a freshman at UNI. "I'll still have to work, but it's great."

Another way in which lawmakers worked toward making Iowa more competitive was through the passing of the Home Base Iowa initiative, one of Gov. Terry Branstad's priorities he outlined in his Condition of the State address earlier this year.

Home Base Iowa aims to attract veterans to live and work in the state, while also making their pensions exempt from the state income tax.

A bill that lacked support this session was the effort to ban traffic cameras on Iowa roads and highways. It's been an ongoing issue in the legislature for the past several years, but a ban failed yet again.

Eastern Iowa drivers said they have mixed emotions about the cameras.

"I think they're just using them for money, to earn money for the cities. That's my opinion," Beverly VanHauen said of Cedar Falls.

Other drivers said they don't believe the cameras are effective.

"I think they should be banned," said Megan Guldenpfennig, a Cedar Falls student. "I don't really see a point in them. Especially when they have the sign right before you head into the town to slow down because there are speed cameras there."

Overall, five of Branstad's seven priorities passed this legislative session.

Political analysts call this session "predictable," but suspect the upcoming November elections to considerably impact the 2015 session.
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