(The Center Square) – A 1,500-page bill to reduce the size of Iowa’s government is headed for Gov. Kim Reynolds’ desk.
The Iowa House passed the bill in a 58-39 vote March 15. The Senate passed it 34-15 March 7.
“For decades, Iowans have seen state government grow beyond its means,” Reynolds said in a statement. “Today, the Iowa House joined me and the Iowa Senate to declare an end to bloated bureaucracy. We are making government smaller, more efficient, and more effective. We are saving taxpayer dollars and putting Iowans' needs first. This transformational legislation will put Iowa in the best position to help our state thrive.”
The bill, SF514, reduces cabinet-level departments from 37 to 16 and eliminates a net 205 funded full-time equivalent positions.
Iowa Workforce Development will eliminate 63 funded full-time positions and four unfunded full-time positions, decreasing costs by about $4.2 million annually. Iowa Workforce Development hasn’t identified whether the positions currently are filled or unfilled.
Through changes associated with transforming the Department of Inspections and Appeals into the Department of Inspections, Appeals, and Licensing, the bill eliminates 20 positions and decreases the department’s expenditures by about $1.4 million.
The Attorney General would have exclusive jurisdiction to prosecute election-related crimes. Currently, county attorneys may also prosecute these crimes.
The Consumer Advocate no longer has to be an attorney, and the Office of the Consumer Advocate becomes administratively supported by the Iowa Utilities Board.
The Iowa Department for the Blind’s director, who’s currently selected by the three members of the Commission for the Blind, whom the governor appoints, would be appointed by governor, subject to confirmation by the Senate. The governor will appoint a Director of the Department for the Blind on or before July 1, 2023, to be effective July 1, 2023.
Rep. Jane Bloomingdale, R-Northwood, led the bill in the House, where Democrats unsuccessfully proposed many amendments.
Iowa Department for the Blind Director Emily Wharton said at a subcommittee meeting that she believes she won’t be able to keep her job if the bill passes, but Bloomingdale said the governor’s staff has said Reynolds will retain Wharton, Des Moines Register reported.
Rep. Mark Cisneros, R-Muscatine, Rep. Zach Dieken, R-Granville, Rep. Mike Sexton, R-Rockwell City, Rep. Mark Thompson, R-Clarion and Rep. Charley Thomson, R-Charles City, sided with Democrats in voting against the bill.