Week 5 Legislative Update

Legislative Update

The 2020 Iowa Legislative Session

 

Week of February 10, 2020

This week in the Iowa Legislature

It was a busy week in the legislature with subcommittee and committee work as they moved into high gear to pass bills through to make the Friday, Feb. 21 pending funnel deadline. Additionally, there was limited floor debate to move the supplemental funding bill for Glenwood and flooding to Governor, which became the first bill she signed into law this session, on Thursday.

 

Both chambers also debated SF 2142, State School Aid, but have different priorities and spending limits in their bills. The chambers are in discussions in an effort to resolve their disagreements and deliver the final bill so schools can certify their budgets for the coming fiscal year. When this is done it will signal how budget targets will move forward, and likely give an indication on how quickly they might adjourn.

 

IWILL: Natural Resources and Outdoor Recreation trust fund

On Wednesday Governor Reynolds held a press event reviewing her tax reform proposal called Invest in Iowa Act. During the press event she announced her intention to meet with Iowans over the next month to discuss the plan and get feedback from across the state. The proposal is in response to the push to increase the 1-cent sales tax for the IWILL initiative. She has outlined 3 main goals:

  1. To make Iowa income taxes more competitive,
  2. To fund water quality and outdoor recreation programs, and
  3. To make the MH funding more reliable and equitable.

The Governor has introduced companion bills in both chambers which have been sent to the Ways and Means Committees.  Senator Chapman is chairing SSB 3116  and Representative Hein is chairing HSB 657. In her bill 3/8 of the one cent sales tax increase will go to support the Natural Resources and Outdoor Recreation trust fund. Governor Reynolds said the sales tax will fund $100 million in water quality projects and $55 million in outdoor recreation projects. The bill reduces income tax brackets down to four by the 2023 tax year, increase family income eligibility for the EITC to $90,000, creates a new tax credit for preceptors, ends the water excise tax, and exempts both feminine hygiene products and diapers from the sales tax. The plan has been highly criticized by supporters of the IWILL initiative because it supplants current water quality and trails funding and changes the formula supported by voters among other concerns. The Governor has committed to going to all 99 counties to drive this initiative forward.

In other news, early in the week Iowa Democratic Party Chair Troy Price announced he was stepping down after the 2020 caucus debacle. By the end of the week, retiring Representative Mark Smith of Marshalltown was selected to serve as the new party chair. Also, Senator Tom Greene of Burlington officially announced at the beginning of the week that he would not be seeking re-election, choosing to be a one-term senator.

Looking Ahead

We have finally arrived at the Frist Funnel week of the session. We are not sure the pace can get any quicker than it has been, but we do anticipate some early mornings and late nights to get the committee work done before the pending deadline on Friday, although we anticipate both chambers will finish their work on Thursday. Don’t be surprised when bills that were dead rise again and subcommittees happen without any notice.

Dates to Note

  • 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