2019 Iowa Legislative Session Recap

The 2019 legislative session is a wrap. The House and Senate both adjourned for the year on Saturday afternoon. Unfortunately, in the last few days of session, we saw extreme overreach from the majority party. 

  • Senate File 634, which capped local governments' budgets at two percent, pitting public services against public employees, passed in the dead of the night.
  • House File 766, the Health and Human Services budget, was amended to discriminate against transgender Iowans by blocking their access to necessary medical care.
  • Senate File 638 was amended during the last hours of the legislative session to give the Governor more say in our courts, reducing the power of the Judicial Branch.
  • There was no legislation that put a check or oversight on our disastrous privatized Medicaid system.
  • Little was done for safe staffing levels in our state facilities. Please see an overview of the state budget below. Also note that due to mid-year budget cuts in the last couple of years, this budget is still behind where we need to be in order to safely provide essential services to Iowans.
  • Iowa House majority leadership forced a vote on these extreme bills to end the legislative session on Saturday.  

We did see some small wins, like preventing legislation that would reduce unemployment benefits and expand reasons to be denied unemployment not be moved. Ultimately, Iowa’s elected officials need to hear from the Iowans who affected by their actions. As the legislative session closes, please remember to stay engaged and continue to develop and build relationships with your state legislators who write the laws that affect us all. You can find your legislator here: www.legis.iowa.gov/legislators/find

Health & Human Services Appropriation, HF 766 - SENT TO GOVERNOR

  • $149,000 increase to Department on Aging
  • ZERO increase to Office of Long Term Care Ombudsman
  • $620,000 increase to Department of Public Health
  • $75,000 increase to Department of Veterans Affairs
  • $35.7 million decrease to Department of Human Services
    • $60.8 million decrease for Medicaid
    • $2.4 million decrease for SNAP
    • $1.4 million increase to Medical Contracts
    • $1.2 million increase to State Training School at Eldora
    • $2.0 million increase to the two Mental Health Institutes
    • $1.3 million decrease to the two State Resource Centers, due to federal match rate increasing
    • $1.2 million increase to CCUSO
    • $6.3 million increase to Field Operations
  • Moves the oversight of executive directors of Boards of Medicine, Nursing, Dental, and Pharmacy to the Department of Public Health
  • Exclusions for transgender Medicaid healthcare coverage

Justice System Appropriation, SF 615 - SENT TO GOVERNOR

  • $4.1 million increase to Department of Corrections
    • Includes funding to address OSHA violation on Radios at ISP
  • $450,000 increase to Public Defender Office
  • $39,490 increase to Civil Rights Commission
  • $407,768 increase to Attorney General
    • Removes right of Attorney General to join out of state lawsuits without consent

Judicial Branch Appropriation, SF 616 - SENT TO GOVERNOR

  • $3.6 million increase to Judicial Branch operations

Economic Development Appropriation, SF 608 - SENT TO GOVERNOR

  • $138,000 decrease to Iowa Workforce Development
  • $275,000 increase to Department of Cultural Affairs
  • $2.9 million shifted from Unemployment Compensation Fund to IWD for field offices, increase of $1.2 million from 2019

Education Appropriation, House File 758 - SENT TO GOVERNOR

  • $11.8 million increase to Department of Education
  • $13.5 million increase to Board of Regents
  • $80,000 increase to Department for the Blind
  • $50,000 increase to Iowa Public Television

Ag & Natural Resources Appropriation, Senate File 609 - SENT TO GOVERNOR

  • $366,000 increase to Department of Natural Resources
  • $304,000 increase to Department of Agriculture

Administration & Regulation Appropriation, HF 759 - SENT TO GOVERNOR

  • ZERO increase to Department of Commerce
  • ZERO increase to Department of Human Rights
  • ZERO increase to Department of Inspections and Appeals
  • ZERO increase to Auditor of the State
  • ZERO increase to Secretary of State
  • ZERO increase to State Treasurer
  • $248,000 increase to the Governor/Lt. Governor’s Office
  • $250,000 increase to Department of Administrative Services
  • $1 million increase to Department of Revenue
  • $1.4 million increase to Department of Management

Transportation Appropriation, Senate File 600 - SENT TO GOVERNOR

  • $15.2 million increase to Transportation, Infrastructure, & Capitals


Thank you to all of those who stepped up and took action this legislative session. We will continue to stand up for workers’ rights at the Capitol and in every community in our state.


In Solidarity,

Danny Homan, President

AFSCME Council 61