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As this was the first funnel week of the 2021 legislative session, both chambers focused their efforts on committee work. Despite already passing a massive number of bills through committee in the first seven weeks of the legislative session, the legislature moved an impressive 149 bills out of committee this week. Those bills are now considered “funnel proof” and are eligible for further consideration this legislative session. Bills that did not make it out of a committee in either the House or the Senate are effectively “dead” and cannot be considered for the remainder of the legislative session. Two caveats: 1. Ways and Means bills are funnel proof and are eligible for consideration the entirety of a legislative session. 2. Any language can reappear as an amendment to another bill or be included in an appropriations bill. Meaning–everything is fair game until sine die.
Paycheck Protection Deductions Bill
The House debated one bill this week on Wednesday due to the time-sensitive nature of the bill, SF364 the Paycheck Protection Deductions bill. The bill was passed by the Senate and the House added language that provides $115 million in tax relief related to the COVID pandemic:
- $90 million of the $115 million will be offset by a transfer to the General Fund from the Taxpayer Trust Fund
- $25 million will come out of the ending balance
- Transfers another $12.8 million from the Taxpayer Trust Fund to cover the impacts on FY2022 for those costs
- The pandemic unemployment exemption in the bill has a $100 million impact
- The remaining reductions are from COVID grants and the Federal Paycheck Protection program
Dead or Alive?
Cedar Rapids Gazette journalist Rod Boshart published a summary of bills that are dead and alive. Read his full list on the Gazette’s site. Included below are bills most interesting to Iowa businesses.
Bills that are still alive and eligible for consideration in 2021
- Increase state K-12 education funding by $36.5 million next fiscal year (SF269)
- K-12 schools must offer in-person classroom instruction option (SF160)
- Provide state-funded “students first” scholarships for children attending private schools (SF159)
- Remove permit requirement, enacting “constitutional carry” gun laws (HSB254/SF535)
- Prohibit contracts with or incentives to tech companies that censor online content (SF402/HF633)
- Amend Iowa Constitution to say there is no right to abortion (SJR2)
- Eliminate state funds for municipalities that “defund” police (SF479)
- Bar employers from requiring employees to be vaccinated against COVID-19 (SF193)
- Expand broadband grant program (SF390)
- Expand affordable housing options (SSB1142/HF178)
- Amend Iowa Constitution with gun rights statement (SJR7)
- Change election laws relating to early and absentee voting (SF413)
Bills that are “dead”
- Reinstate the death penalty for certain crimes against minors (kidnapping, sexual abuse offenses, or murder) (SSB1004)
- Eliminate Iowa income tax and raise state sales tax to 11 percent (SF149)
- Establish a COVID-19 oversight committee to review government expenditures (HF689)
- Provide “religious freedom” protections for businesses (SF436)
- Allow parents of elementary students to opt out of gender identity instruction (SF167)
- Implement 1-year hold on certain Iowa Supreme Court decisions to allow legislative oversight (HF109)
- Ban law enforcement from racial profiling (HF130/HF356)
- Prohibit public colleges/universities from mandating face masks and eliminate Iowa tuition grant funds for private schools that do mandate (HSB162)
- Raise state cigarette tax by 50 cents to $1.86 per pack (HF733)
- Lower some penalties associated with marijuana possession (HF163)
- Require nursing homes to allow visitors even in health emergency (HF571)
- Remove gender identity as protected class under Iowa Civil Rights Act (HF272)
- Require transgender individuals to use the bathroom corresponding to the sex on their birth certificate in elementary and secondary schools (SF224)
Governor Reynolds announced she is joining with 22 other governors to oppose the new standard in President Biden’s stimulus bill for how federal funds would be allocated to states.
Governor Reynolds received her COVID vaccination during her news conference on Wednesday.