The 2009 session of the Iowa Legislature adjourned on early Sunday, April 26. Legislative leaders said the session was dominated by the deepening national recession.
“Despite these difficult times, we chose to be bold. I’m proud of our effort this year to help put Iowans back to work. We took bold action to modernize our economy, create good-paying jobs, and help unemployed Iowans get the skills they need to succeed in today’s global economy,” said House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy of Des Moines.
“This Legislature will be remembered for our bi-partisan plan to protect children from dangerous sex offenders. We listened to law enforcement from every corner of Iowa who wanted a smarter, stronger, and safer law for our kids and grandkids,” said House Speaker Pat Murphy of Dubuque.
“We had to make many tough decisions this year,” said Senator President Jack Kibbie. “And in the end, we balanced the state budget without raising taxes, spent less money than we did last year, and put $400 million in the state’s rainy day fund.”
“What will this session do for Iowans? It will put people back to work and give the Iowa economy a big shot in the arm,” said Senator Majority Leader Mike Gronstal. “Communities across the state will quickly see an increase in jobs, stepped up flood recovery, and long-term economic improvements.”
The leaders said the highlights of the 2009 session include:
· Budgeting responsibly and keeping Iowa’s fiscal house in order: Next year’s budget is balanced, and sets aside $400 million for the state rainy day funds.
· Recovering from the deepening national recession: The Legislature approved a bold economic initiative to create good-paying jobs across the state. Iowa’s $715 million effort – combined with federal stimulus funds — will fund transportation projects, public buildings, disaster recovery and prevention, wastewater and water improvements, and initiatives on housing, energy, and broadband access.
· Building Iowa’s alternative energy economy: The Legislature approved the third phase of the Iowa Power Fund, a four-year, $100 million initiative, and approved other legislation to expand the production of Iowa-grown alternative energy, help family farmers, and make our state more energy independent.
· Rebuilding after historic natural disasters: The Legislature approved several initiatives which will help communities recover from last year’s tornadoes and record-setting flooding. We also invested in major flood prevention measures.
· Making health care more affordable and accessible for all Iowa children: The Legislature took the next big step toward making affordable health care coverage available to all by expanding health insurance to 30,000 currently uninsured Iowa kids in the next year.
· Maintaining our commitment to quality teachers and higher student achievement: The Legislature continued Iowa’s progress by increasing investment in Iowa’s public schools, including increasing teacher quality, improving student achievement, and making higher education more affordable.
· Protecting Our Kids from Sexual Predators: The Legislature worked together to protect Iowa’s children by making Iowa’s sex offender laws smarter, tougher, and safer. We’ve given law enforcement the power to keep dangerous child sex offenders away from schools, day care centers and other places children gather.