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IA Lawmakers Begin New Session

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) -- The Iowa Legislature is opening the 2014 session of the 85th General Assembly with the modest goals of approving a budget and pursuing legislation on issues like Internet access, bullying and veteran support.
   Lawmakers kicked off the session Monday. They begin reviewing Gov. Terry Branstad's budget plan Tuesday.
   The session is expected to be less substantive than last year, when lawmakers reached agreements to cut taxes, invest in education and expand low-income health care. This year the session has fewer scheduled days and it is an election year for many lawmakers, so they are likely to be motivated to finish quickly.
   The state expects a sizable budget surplus of nearly $900 million, but Branstad says most of the money is needed to pay for the policies approved last year.

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