Week 16 Legislative Update

The 2022 Iowa Legislative Session

Week of April 25th, 2022

This Week in the Iowa Legislature

We are officially in overtime! The House and Senate came in for a few days this week to tie up loose ends on some of the Governor’s priorities including biofuels, unemployment reductions and workforce. After the passage of these three bills, the Governor’s agenda has nearly been completed except for her education priorities.

On Tuesday the Iowa Legislature approved the Governor’s biofuels bill (HF 2128) which will require many gas stations in the state to sell fuel with higher levels of ethanol. The bill requires gas stations that open after January 1, 2023, to sell E-15 from at least half of their dispensers. Existing stations with suitable infrastructure must sell E-15 from at least one dispenser by the year 2026, and if a station upgrades its facility it’s required to offer E-15 from at least 50% of its dispensers.

 Another major agreement was reached after months of contention between the two chambers on the Governor’s unemployment benefit reduction proposal (HF 2355). The bill will reduce the number of annual unemployment benefits from 26 to 16 weeks. In March, the Senate amended the bill to include a one-week waiting period before a person could start collecting unemployment benefits. The bill then stalled until Tuesday when the House refused to concur with the Senate’s amendment. Later in the day, the Senate voted to retract their amendment and concur with the House version—eliminating the one-week waiting period in the bill.

Finally, the House passed the Governor’s workforce omnibus bill (SF 2383) which supports several workforce-related programs. The bill removes some inspection requirements for manufactured housing, introduces reporting requirements for workforce learning programs, updates a loan forgiveness program for rural doctors, and waives some fees for veterans. The bill was altered from an original proposal which prohibited cities from adopting building codes of their own.

The lynch pin keeping the legislature in session is education reform. The Governor has insisted private school scholarships/vouchers and transparency make it to her desk this session. We understand the House doesn’t have the votes to pass the bill, thus the gridlock continues.

 

Budget Process

And yet another week passed with no action on the FY23 budget. As negotiations continue, we understand the House and Senate are $80 million apart on budget issues and it’s all tied to the final negotiations on the education proposals mentioned above. We expect the Senate to move budget bills quickly when a final legislative deal is announced.

Below is the updated chart outlining each individual budget bill, its number, and where it is in the overall process. This chart will be updated each week until the legislature adjourns.

 

Bill Number Department Status House Target
HF 2565 Admin & Reg Assigned SENATE subcommittee 3/29  $50.2 million
HF 2560 Ag & Natural Resources Assigned SENATE subcommittee 3/29 $54.1 million
HF 2564 Economic Development Assigned SENATE subcommittee 3/29  $49.4 million
HF 2575 Education Assigned SENATE subcommittee 3/31 $1 billion
HF 2578 Health & Human Services Assigned SENATE subcommittee 4/12 $2.1 billion
HF 2558 Judicial Branch Assigned SENATE subcommittee 3/24 $200.6 million
HF 2559 Justice Systems Assigned SENATE subcommittee 3/24 $633.8 million
HF 2579 Rebuild Iowa Infrastructure Fund (RIIF/TIC) Assigned SENATE subcommittee 4/12 $171.7 million
HF 2557 Transportation Passed SENATE committee 4/13 $416.1 million
N/A Standings N/A  

 

Looking Ahead

After this week’s progress, we expect negotiations on education policy to continue before finishing up with the state budget. The Senate is scheduled to come back in on Monday, but it is unclear if rank-and-file House members will return before an agreement is reached on education issues. We are hearing adjournment could come as early as next week or that it may come after the June 7 primary elections. As always, we will continue to keep you posted as they make progress.