Lawmakers OK $6 billion bill that funds schools


May 22nd, 2013 by Ric Hanson

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — The Iowa Legislature has approved a bill that calls for nearly $6 billion in spending on a variety of programs and initiatives over the next two fiscal years. Lawmakers in both the House and Senate passed the bill Wednesday. It will next move to Gov. Terry Branstad. The bill spends $2.9 billion each fiscal year with $2.6 billion annually of that on basic school funding.

Other items include $29 million to help counties adapt to a regionalized mental health care system. It also establishes a new tax credit for farmers who donate excess produce to food banks. Along with budget items, the so-called standings legislation includes new policy items like more comprehensive background checks for school employees. Another provision requires hospitals to perform congenital heart disease screenings on newborns.