The 2020 Iowa Legislative Session
Week of January 20, 2020
This week in the Iowa Legislature
Despite having Monday off for the MLK holiday, this didn’t slow the Legislature down. We were surprised with the unexpected fast pace they kicked off the second week with by moving bills quickly through subcommittees. Additionally, unlike years past, they are re-assigning bills from the 2019 session for consideration as opposed to waiting for new bills to be introduced. Friday, 1/24, was also the final day for individual bill requests to be made. Both Democrats and Republicans were busy filing bills on issues of importance to them and their constituents in hopes they will be drafted and considered before the first funnel deadline in only 4 short weeks.
Like years past, legislators spent most of their day on Wednesday with Veterans from across their district as they filled the Capitol for Veterans Day on the Hill. Week 2 was not a dull one by any stretch of the imagination. Subcommittees were meeting in earnest as though there was a pending funnel week. This has provided nearly all committees with bills to consider in full committee this week. Budget subcommittees were also meeting and hearing presentations on issues of importance.
A few of the more controversial bills getting the attention of legislators and the media this week include paying college athletes, capping insurance co-pays on insulin, and the No Right to Abortion, SJR 21, passed out of the Senate State Government Committee on a party line vote on Thursday. If it passes both chambers, this Constitutional amendment affirms that the State of Iowa does not secure or protect a right to abortion or require the funding of abortion. Although this bill passed out of committee last year, it didn’t make it to the floor.
Finally, Gov. Kim Reynolds announced plans for the establishment of a new state bureau that will help school districts and police identify and respond to threats. The Safety Bureau will operate under the umbrella of the Department of Public Safety. The mission will include training schools and police to identify intruders, weapons and other threats. There will also be a reporting tool such as a phone app and an anonymous tip line for concerned citizens.
With the first couple weeks of session behind us, we will see more bills begin to move through the process as this is the shorter session of the biennium. This coming week will be a full week of meetings and we expect legislators to continue to hold a significant number of subcommittees as they vet issues and move bills through committee. Note that the Legislature will not meet Monday, February 3rd due to the Iowa Caucuses. We encourage all Iowans to partake in this community engagement.
Dates to Note
- February 3: Iowa Caucuses, no session
- February 21: First funnel deadline (6th week)
- March 20: Second funnel deadline (10th week)
- April 21: 100th calendar day of the session; legislators’ per diem expires