Advocacy Strategies Legislative Update

Legislative Update
The 2022 Iowa Legislative Session
Week of February 14, 2022
This Week in the Iowa Legislature
The first funnel deadline is behind us, but it was a much different funnel week than in years past. We’re happy to report our team, and many of your bills, made it out alive! Unlike past years, when the legislature only focused on subcommittee and committee work, the House and Senate found themselves in floor debate and releasing their budget targets. All this activity appears to be earlier than “normal” signaling a run at an early adjournment. (Fingers crossed)

Governor Reynolds Signs SSA Bill into Law

After weeks of discussions on the level of Supplemental State Aid (SSA), the Senate gave into the House and the Governor and agreed to provide a 2.5% per pupil increase. Both chambers passed the bill on a party line vote and Governor Reynolds signed it into law on Thursday. The increase will provide an additional $159 million for K-12 education, tipping education spending over $3.6 billion for FY23.

The House Tax Bill Passes with Bipartisan Support

On Wednesday afternoon after a shorter than expected debate, the House passed their tax bill (HF 2317) with a bipartisan vote of 61-37. The bill’s highlights include a 4% flat tax and no tax on retirement income. The House’s tax plan is different from both the Governor’s and Senate’s proposals as it doesn’t include corporate tax cuts. This is another indication the House is serious about adjourning early. The House suggested much more work needs to be done before a bill is sent to the Governor, but they are eager to start this conversation with the Senate. Democrats maintain the cuts help high-income taxpayers more than poor and middle-class Iowans.

House and Senate Republicans Release Their FY 2023 Budget Targets

On Tuesday Senate Republicans surprised us all with a bold move by announcing their overall budget target for FY23, which matches the Governor’s, but doesn’t spend it the same way. The total increase of $283 million includes $160M for K-12 schools and $70M for mental health spending 90% of allowable growth. On Wednesday House Republicans answered their call and announced their overall budget target in addition to their individual budget targets. Their proposal only increases the FY23 budget by $148.9 M with the majority of the increase going towards state school aid. Regardless of which proposal prevails, the FY23 budget will surpass the current $8.2 billion budget.

Election Bills Move Full Steam Ahead

Less than a year after major election reforms, both chambers are considering further election reforms. Election reform bills which passed through their committees in each chamber on party line votes would change absentee voter ID requirements before the 2022 general election, ban private funding for elections, and set a statewide standard for recounts. Democrats maintain the changes will be detrimental to voters.

Key Initiatives
On Monday the AS team and Mark Wyatt discussed HF 2333, IBC’s yield to bikes in crosswalks bill, with Representatives Gerhold and Bradley. Both told us they would request Transportation Committee Chairman Brian Best schedule a subcommittee for the bill before the funnel deadline this week. Then on Tuesday Best informed us the bill would be offered as an amendment to HF 2015, IBC’s standardizing penalties bill, on the floor rather than running the bill through the funnel deadline.

On Wednesday the Senate Natural Resources Committee debated and passed SSB 3134, DNR Land Purchases, on a party-line vote of 7-5. The bill would cap the price the DNR, or a county conservation board, can pay for various parcels of land (timber, non-tillable pasture, cropland) based on the Iowa farmland value survey. It would also allow a person to take an income deduction of the difference between the sale price and the capped price if the sale price is less than the capped price. A diverse group of conservation and recreation stakeholders oppose the bill due to the impacts on public land acquisitions, so it is unclear if this bill will be debated by the full Senate. There is not a House companion, and we will keep you updated on the bill’s prospects.

Dates to Note

Mar. 18 – Election Filing Deadline
Second Funnel Deadline
Apr. 19 – 100th Day of Session

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