Week 6 Legislative Update

Legislative Update

The 2020 Iowa Legislative Session

Week of February 17, 2020

This week in the Iowa Legislature

The end of the 6th week of session came to a close and along with it the first funnel deadline came and went. The House and Senate committees passed over 200 bills during the week, which is about par for funnel. Subcommittees consumed large portions time on Monday and Tuesday but dissipated shortly thereafter. To be expected, the parties caucused extensively before each committee meeting and then voted on bills to keep them alive. The purpose of the first funnel is to narrow the list of bills legislators will continue to consider. With the passing of this funnel, hundreds of bills are wiped out (well over half of all bills introduced) for further consideration.  As always, some high-profile bills that you’d expect, passed committee, as well as others that we not expected at all.

Senator Whitver issued a statement outlining the priorities of the Senate Republicans that have cleared the first legislative hurdle and will continue to move through the process. These include Senate Resolutions No Right to Abortion and Voting Age;  bills to oversee welfare programs;  several priorities for the caucus including Discharge Of A Sentence, Non-Economic Damages and Classroom Behavior; and several bills supported by Governor Reynolds including Moveable Barbershops, Out-of-State License Holders, Broadband Changes, Future Ready Act and Supplemental Appropriations, which has already been signed into law.

The House on the other hand has moved forward bills in a number of other priority areas including legislation to make childcare more affordable, expand broadband access and dealing with disruptive behavior in the classroom.

 

Looking Ahead

With the first funnel behind us, a new phase of the session begins. The public policy focus will shift from committees to the chamber’s respective floors.  And those floors will be busy.  They have hundreds of bills to consider, many of which require passage from a committee in the opposite chamber to make the second funnel—which falls on March 20, the end of the tenth week of session. Mostly, however, legislators will caucus a lot of the next few weeks and voting on bills from their seat in the chamber.

We expect legislators will turn to begin their budget work in the Appropriations committees and tax bills in the Ways & Means committees here in the next few weeks as they anticipate the budget projections from the Revenue Estimating Committee on March 12. This will allow them to set their budget targets and move into full gear on finalizing their FY21 budgets.

If you are looking to get time with legislators to talk about your organization’s pending priorities, the next few weeks are ideal as they will be in the chambers and largely available during scheduled floor debate.

Dates to Note

  • March 12: Revenue Estimating Committee
  • March 20: Second funnel deadline (10th week)
  • April 21: 100th calendar day of the session; legislators’ per diem expires