Iowa lawmakers meet for legislative forum

Iowa lawmakers discuss issues and budget

Iowa lawmakers met at the Bridge View Center in Ottumwa to discuss priorities they haven't been able to check off their to-do lists. State Senators on panel were Mark Chelgren, R-Ottumwa, and Ken Rozenboom, R-Oskaloosa. State Representatives present were Mary Gaskill D-Ottumwa, Curt Hansen, D-Fairfield, and Larry Sheets, R-Moulton

State Rep. Gaskill says it's been a slow year due to differing opinions on how to prioritize the state's budget. She said transportation was the easiest budget to pass, however, the human services budget is in jeopardy because of the strong and differing opinions on how to handle Medicaid expansion.

Rep. Gaskill said jobs and education are her top priorities. She hopes the House and the Senate can come to an agreement on the education reform bill and to have it on Gov. Terry Branstad's desk as soon as possible. The House's version of the bill calls for a two percent growth to education funding, and the Senate currently favors a four percent increase to the budget.

"I would love to see the four percent," State Rep. Mary Gaskill D-Ottumwa said. "I voted for it this last week to increase to four percent because these last two years, there have not been any increases for school districts, so I'm hoping at least there will come to some sort of resolution about that."

The Conference Committee is working to get an education reform bill through congress before the legislative session ends early next month.