Iowa Senate OKs miscellaneous budget

DES MOINES (AP) — The Iowa Senate approved spending legislation Monday that provides funding to the public safety retirement fund, among other measures.

In a bipartisan vote, senators agreed the retirement fund would get about $9 million the current fiscal year and $5 million annually in years after.

The funding is part of the so-called standings appropriations bill. Senators approved the bill on a party-line vote, 26 to 21, and it now moves to the House for review.

The standings legislation includes a series of budget items that are built into law, like basic school funding, as well as some new fiscal and policy items.

Also in the bill is a one-time $5 million funding in the current fiscal year for the Department of Transportation to provide grants to local government for vehicle purchases.

In addition to spending items, the bill includes a number of policy proposals. Those items include a proposal to require that newborns be screened for congenital heart disease.

The standings bill is traditionally viewed as the last opportunities to move legislation during the session.

“This is only the first step in a tortuous route that is the standings bill,” said Sen. Robert Dvorsky, D-Coralville.

Senate Republicans failed to amend the bill to require criminal background checks for motorized food vendors like ice cream truck drivers and prohibit traffic enforcement cameras.

“There’ve been so many abuses by cities and counties in the State of Iowa in regard to traffic cameras,” said Sen. Brad Zaun, R-Urbandale, who sponsored the amendment.

Since the first camera was installed in 2004, cities and counties around the state have installed at least 65 more.

Senate Democrats rejected the amendment saying prohibiting the cameras would tie the hands of local governments who want them.