Today, April 28, is the final day of paid work for Iowa lawmakers, their clerks, and Capitol staff. The House and Senate pages decorated boxes for the legislators they assisted this year to help them clear their desks for the summer. As is tradition, they stacked the boxes as high as possible in the chamber, reaching from the floor to the gallery. The cafeteria now closes and lawmakers are largely on their own for work as they head into overtime.
Week 16 brought movement on many budget bills, and there was an energy of impatience as legislators, lobbyists, and staff alike are itching to wrap up the legislative session. The Senate debated on the floor every day, while the House met for gavel-in, gavel-out sessions.
This weekend, your Government Relations team will celebrate the Drake Relays, where high school, college, and professional athletes compete in a track and field meet on the Blue Oval.
On Monday, the Senate approved a bill on captive insurance companies (SF 549). The lowering of the premium tax rate is expected to reduce insurance premium revenues annually and the reduction to the general fund is expected to reach about $20 million in FY 2029. The bill now goes back to the House.
The Senate also approved Pharmacy Benefits Manager reverse auctions (SF 554), with only one Senator voting against it. The bill allows local governments to have control over their prescription drug policies while also making sure state and local governments secure the best price on prescription drugs. To move forward, the bill will have to move out of House Appropriations or Ways and Means before it can go to the House floor.
The Senate sent a bill limiting the State Auditor’s access to personal information to the Governor on Wednesday on a party-line vote. Senator Bousselot, who managed the bill, said that the bill is needed to prevent the State Auditor from accessing personal information that is not needed for an audit. Current State Auditor Rob Sand said the bill will allow government entities to hide records that are needed for audits, and Democrats believe fraud will increase as a result.
Human Trafficking Penalties
The Senate sent a bill (HF 630) increasing the penalties for human trafficking down to the Governor on a unanimous vote.
Tax Reform Activity
Focus turned to the budgets in Appropriations Committees, but Senate Ways and Means Committee Chair Dan Dawson’s property tax bill may still be decided before the end of session. SF 569 passed the Senate last week, and now awaits consideration by the House Ways and Means Committee.
The bill caps cities’ levy rate at $8.10 per $1,000 in taxable value, with caveats. Counties’ general service levy rate would be limited to $3.50 per $1,000 of assessed taxable value. The limit for rural county services would be $3.95 per $1,000 of value. Counties wanting to go above those limits would have to win approval from voters in a special levy election. Democrats have been mostly supportive of these efforts to provide relief to taxpayers.
Simultaneously, the House version of property tax reform passed the House and awaits consideration by the Senate Ways and Means Committee. If Senator Dawson and Representative Kauffman reach an agreement next week, the bills could move to the Governor’s desk.
The Senate worked on budget bills on the floor this week. On Tuesday, Agriculture and Natural Resources Appropriations (SF 558) and the Transportation, Infrastructure & Capitals (SF 576) were approved; both were received by the House and moved through House Appropriations Committee on Thursday and now await approval by the full chamber.
The Senate also approved the Health & Human Services budget (SF 561) on a 32-16 party-line vote, which has a House companion moving through the budget process. Democrats used floor debate to criticize the budget process this year, citing the lack of public subcommittees on all budget bills, and the lateness of amendments from Republican leadership.
The bulk of the House’s work this week happened in Appropriations Committee on Thursday. They approved four budgets that will go to the House Floor on Monday:
- HSB 248 Health & Human Services
- SF 557 Administration & Regulation
- SF 558 Agriculture & Natural Resources
- SF 576 Transportation, Infrastructure & Capitals
|Administration & Regulation||SF 557||AMENDED & PASSED Senate 4.26||PASSED House Committee 4.26|
|Agriculture & Natural Resources||SF 558||AMENDED & PASSED Senate 4.25||PASSED House Committee 4.26|
|Economic Development||SF 559||(shell bill) in Senate 4.4|
|Federal Block Grants||HF 709||AMENDED & PASSED House 4.13||PASSED Senate Committee 4.24||AMENDED & PASSED Senate 4.25|
|Health & Human Services||SF 561||AMENDED & PASSED Senate 4.27|
|HSB 248||PASSED House Committee 4.26|
|Education||SF 560||(Shell Bill) In Senate 4.4|
|Judicial Branch||SF 562||(Shell Bill) In Senate 4.4|
|Justice Systems||SF 563||(Shell Bill) In Senate 4.4|
|Transportation, Infrastructure & Capitals||SF 576||PASSED Senate Committee 4.24||PASSED Senate 4.25||PASSED House Committee 4.26|
The Senate Ethics Committee heard complaints against Senator Bousselot and Senator Donahue on Wednesday. Iowa Citizens for Community Improvement filed a complaint for a conflict of interest against Bousselot for chairing the subcommittee on the Pipeline Rules bill (HF 565) even though he previously worked for a company that would be affected by the legislation. The complaint against Donahue regarded a social media post she made about the organization Moms for Liberty. The Committee dismissed both complaints.
National Delegation Update
The US House approved a bill to lift the debt ceiling on a 217-215 vote after concessions were made to midwestern congressional members on biofuels and ethanol. The four Iowa Representatives (Miller-Meeks, Hinson, Nunn, and Feenstra) were part of that group. Governor Reynolds released a statement of support for Iowa’s Congressional members:
“I commend the members of Iowa’s Congressional Delegation for their steadfast efforts to stand up for biofuels throughout the negotiations on the House debt limit package. Their commitment helped protect an industry that contributes over $6 billion to Iowa’s economy and accounts for over 60% of Iowa’s corn. I want to thank Speaker McCarthy for working with the delegation to find a compromise that continues the conversation while recognizing the importance of biofuels to our country.”
Executive Branch Update
On Thursday, the Governor signed five bills into law:
- HF 316: A bill for an act relating to value-added products or services offered by insurers or producers.
- HF 570: A bill for an act relating to assault including assault on pregnant women and domestic abuse assault, and providing penalties.
- HF 656: A bill for an act establishing the dentist and dental hygienist compact.
- SF 135: A bill for an act relating to registered interior design and providing penalties.
- SF 193: A bill for an act relating to the removal of human remains by a removal technician.
As we move toward the end of the 2023 legislative session, the Governor will sign bills in bulk since she has accomplished most of her priorities this year. Policy pieces like these will move to her desk for signature before the budgets are finalized.
Bills Signed by Governor
At the end of Week 16, the number of enrolled bills has nearly doubled. Last week, 52 bills had been enrolled and sent down to the Governor. Now, the count sits at 103. Enrolled bills must be signed within three days during the legislative session, but the Governor has 30 days to sign after the session adjourns. She also has the option to pocket veto; any bill not signed within the allotted timeframe is automatically vetoed.
Twenty-five bills and resolutions have been signed into law by the Governor to date. A complete list of enrolled bills and enactment dates can be found here.
|Bill||Description||Signed by the Governor|
|HF 68||Establishing an Educational Savings Account Program in Iowa||1/24/2023|
|SF 192||Establishing SSA (School Supplemental Aid) for FY 2024||2/7/2023|
|SF 153||Single-trip permits for a vehicle of excessive size in emergencies||2/15/2023|
|HF 161||Limitations on damages in medical malpractice||2/16/2023|
|SF 181||Property tax calculation fix for residential assessments||2/20/2023|
|HF 113||Child welfare representation||03/22/2023|
|HF 133||Voluntary debt cancellation notice||03/22/2023|
|HF 202||Makes it a serious misdemeanor to use fire, destructive devices, or explosives recklessly to endanger property or safety.||03/22/2023|
|HF 205||Barrel tax revenues collected on beer.||03/22/2023|
|HF 257||Strikes the current list of third-party CDL testers and authorizes the DOT to adopt rules restricting the scope of third-party testers.||03/22/2023|
|HF 337||Allows the use of any federally approved refrigerant so long as the refrigerant is used according to federal safety standards.||03/22/2023|
|SF 154||Adds specified hydro-excavation equipment to the list of vehicles exempt from size, weight, load, and permit requirements.||03/22/2023|
|SF 157||Authorizes certain persons to administer the final field test of an approved driver education course.||03/22/2023|
|SF 482||Prohibits a person from using a toilet that does not correspond to the person’s biological sex in K-12 schools.||03/22/2023|
|SF 75||Affects ambulatory surgical centers and rural emergency hospitals.||03/28/2023|
|SF 262||Creates consumer data protections and provides civil penalties.||03/28/2023|
|HF 316||A bill for an act relating to value-added products or services offered by insurers or producers.||04/27/2023|
|HF 570||A bill for an act relating to assault including assault on a pregnant person and domestic abuse assault, and providing penalties.||04/27/2023|
|HF 656||A bill for an act establishing the dentist and dental hygienist compact.||04/27/2023|
|SF 135||A bill for an act relating to registered interior design and providing penalties.||04/27/2023|
|SF 193||A bill for an act relating to the removal of human remains by a removal technician.||04/27/2023|
Budget conversations are happening rapidly. Senators can be seen crossing the rotunda to the House and vice versa. Policy issues are being narrowed down and the final deal is close to being cut. Property tax proposals remain on the table and could still move forward. It seems all but certain the legislative session will wrap up sometime next week. The question now is, which day? When the chambers move to adjourn sine die, Dentons Davis Brown will issue our comprehensive annual newsletter to clients
The full 2023 Session Timetable can be found here.