Republican Governor Kim Reynolds has approved a new law that forbids groups like political parties, unions and campaign organizations from having paid staff or volunteers collect and mail absentee ballots for voters. There are also new restrictions as to which Iowans may help another Iowan return their absentee ballot to the county auditor’s office.

House Speaker Pat Grassley says voters support the election law changes Republicans have made.

“Here in the House we’ve been in the majority for 10 years and we’ve done things like voter ID — maintained the majority,” Grassley says, “just last summer, before the Election, (we) passed further election integrity measures.”

Democrats oppose these new restrictions. Senate Minority Leader Zach Wahls of Coralville says the new law is based on false claims about the 2020 election.

“It continues to be the case of Donald Trump lying to his party,” Wahls says, “and Republican leaders repeating that lie…to try to advance that narrative across the United States.”

Governor Reynolds approved seven separate budget bills yesterday as well. One bill provides a $21 million spending boost to the state prison system. The move comes after two Anamosa prison employees were beaten to death in the prison infirmary. Two inmates have been charged with their murders.

The bill she approved for education-related spending provides a small budget increase for the 15 area community colleges, but no additional money for the three public universities.