Tuesday, April 20 marked the scheduled 100th day of session, and with it, per diems expire for legislators. We are now officially into overtime. It is difficult to discern when the legislature will adjourn sine die. Chambers remain at a stalemate on policy priorities and the fiscal year 2023 budget.
As was the case the last few weeks, the primary reason for the impasse is the failure to reach a consensus on the Education Savings Accounts (ESA) issue (see Governor’s bill (SF2369) outlined in the Week 13 update). In addition to ESAs, the legislature has yet to finalize action on major issues including:
- Unemployment insurance
- Renewable fuels
- Bottle bills
- Tort reform/medical malpractice
- Medical freedom/COVID-19 vaccines
- Pharmacy benefit manager issues
With no agreement on ESAs, negotiations and discussions on the above topics have not taken place in earnest. This week, the only legislative activity took place on the Senate floor, as it passed a number of non-controversial bills and featured a number of retirement speeches honoring outgoing senators.
The Senate remains aligned with Governor Reynold’s budget targets. The House budget is about $70 million above the Senate and the Governor’s. The budget process is not moving forward (as reflected in the chart below) despite the fact that chambers will have to bridge a $70 million difference between the proposed Senate and the House target for fiscal year 2023.
Soil Temperature Update
Soil temperatures are not helping efforts to close the legislative session. According to the Iowa State University Iowa Environmental Moisture Network, in the southern and western counties, we have seen a slow rise in temperatures. Some of the temperatures in the northern counties have dipped from last week and are not yet into the 40s. Again, according to Iowa State University, it is recommended to begin planting corn and soybeans when the soil temperature is at 50 degrees Fahrenheit.
Bills Signed by Governor
The Governor has signed a total of 35 bills this legislative session; there are more than 94 bills pending enrollment by leadership/the Governor’s signature.
Next week will be the first full week that legislators will go without receiving per diems and working without their clerks. It will be clear early in the week if a deal has been reached. If not it is likely that chamber leaders will again send their members home early. If a deal has been reached, expect the legislature to work late nights and through the weekend to bring the session to a close.
“I’m not going to make predictions on what that looks like other than to say we’re not close to getting out of here at this point,” Senate Majority Leader Jack Whitver, R-Ankeny, told the Des Moines Register in an April 7 interview.
Date to remember: June 7, 2022 (less than 7 weeks away) The June primary – members with primaries are eager to get back to their districts and begin their campaign efforts.
Below, find the complete list of the bills awaiting enrollment/message to the Governor and those bills that have been signed by the Governor this session.