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Lawmakers Look to Wrap Up Legislative Session Next Week

CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa (CBS2/Fox28) -- Iowa lawmakers are trying to wrap up the 2013 legislative session. They’ll get back to work in Des Moines Monday, with the hope of hammering out some key decisions by the end of the week. Republicans and Democrats will need to find common ground on three key issues – education, commercial property taxes, and Medicaid expansion. “Obviously it’s a really high priority for Democrats in the Senate to expand Medicaid,” said Democratic Sen. Rob Hogg.

Governor Terry Branstad wants Iowa to opt out of the federal plan for Medicaid, so he proposed an alternative called the “Healthy Iowa” plan. It’s still a sticking point between the two parties. “One of the things we're looking for is for house Republicans and Governor Branstad to come our direction on that issue,” said Hogg.

The education debate has dealt with funding, along with assessing student achievement, and teachers evaluations - issues that Hogg hopes they’ll iron out this week. “The differences have been narrowing week by week, and I’m very hopeful that we can get that done,” said Hogg.

The last big thing is commercial property taxes. Some lawmakers want to see tax cuts to bring in new business to the state. But Hogg says some Democrats want to make sure those cuts won’t jeopardize the budget for other key programs. “I think there is a chance we can get them done this week, but it's going to require both sides to compromise,” said Hogg.

(AP contributed to this report)
 
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