What are Iowa lawmakers discussing this legislative session?

Lawmakers say recovery from the coronavirus will be a first priority but there will also be other issues they want to prioritize that could impact Western Iowa residents. Two state representatives who represent Council Bluffs open up about what comes next during an era of polarized politics.
Posted at 6:41 PM, Jan 12, 2021
and last updated 2021-01-12 19:41:48-05

COUNCIL BLUFFS, Ia. (KMTV) - In a Republican-controlled House and Senate, State Rep. Brent Siegrist is returning to the Iowa House of Representatives after leaving in 2002.

The Republican promises civility but expects both parties to fight over spending since Iowa has a large surplus of $1.1 billion.

"In other words it's like your savings account. If you save that money on ongoing things, and eventually you have to keep finding money for it. Democrats say you have all his money in savings, we need to spend it," Siegrist said.

Democrat Charlie McConkey is prioritizing providing adequate childcare.

"That's something we need to work on, we've done a little on it, but there's no incentive, the tax breaks we give, the companies to establish their own day care center," McConkey said.

Siegrist also has his own ideas on the issue.

"Childcare tax credits or making sure what we call the cliff, when you start to make a certain amount of money, your childcare support stops and you fall of the cliff, we have to graduate that," Siegrist said. "As you move up the economic strata you still get to receive some childcare assistance from the government but it's less the more you make."

Improving workforce initiatives like broadband access in rural areas and ushering a safe return to schools will also be top priorities in the legislature. Siegrist says generally in any given session, a couple thousand bills get introduced. In the end, generally 200 get passed.