Top 5 takeaways from Iowa’s 2017 state legislature.

Iowa State Capitol

Iowa State Capitol

Shannon Mccarty

The 87th Iowa Legislature General assembly has ended, and out of the 1,653 bills introduced 107 bills were completed. Here is a look at some of the key issues introduced in this year’s session.


Iowa lawmakers made history creating the tightest fiscal budget since Gov. Terry Branstad returned as governor in 2011.

The total budget for the fiscal year beginning July 1 will be $7.24 billion. As a result, Iowa State University lost nearly $9 million in state funding.

ISU plans to absorb the budget cuts by holding off on certain updates, leaving certain faculty positions open and delaying the purchase of computer software for various campus buildings.

In addition, ISU’s Leopold Center for Sustainable Agriculture will be closed from the legislature’s efforts to keep the state agriculture and natural resources budget flat.

“The budget cuts and the cuts of entire programs are a hard hit,” political science professor, Steffen Schmidt, said.

Medical Amnesty

Iowa State’s Student Government president, Cole Staudt, introduced a bill to state legislatures that would grant immunity to minors who need or report emergency assistance for overconsumption of alcohol.

The bill passed unanimously on both the Iowa Senate and the House subcommittees. The Senate altered the original bill by removing opioid protection. Whether the bill will go into effect will not be determined until next session.

Staudt told the Iowa State Daily after the news broke he is hopeful the opioid protection will be put back into the bill and become law during the state’s next session.   

Gun Rights

Republican Iowa legislatures successfully expanded gun rights by providing a “stand your ground” provision making it legal for a law-abiding person to use deadly force before retreating.

The bill also legalized short-barreled rifles and short-barreled shotguns. In addition, the House file allows for the carrying of a concealed weapon in the Iowa Capitol and extends permits to carry weapons from one year to five.

Women’s Health

The Iowa Department of Human Services has been directed to create a state family services planning program to replace the Medicaid Iowa Family Planning Network Waiver.

The switch will take place July 1. Eligibility requirements will be the same, except applicants who provide abortion services will not qualify for funding, effectively defunding Planned Parenthood.

Lawmakers also approved the ban of most abortions after a pregnancy reaches 20 weeks.

Medical Marijuana

In the last moments of this year’s General Assembly, Iowa’s cannabis oil program was expanded.

With the passing of the bill marijuana will be able to be grown in Iowa and dispensed as oil for those in need. Gov. Branstad he will most likely sign the bill as long as there are no unintentional consequences that would allow for recreational use.