Iowa Senate completes action on significant workers compensation reform
Senate Republicans provided all 29 votes in favor of HF 518, a package of significant reforms in the state’s workers compensation system, on Monday night. As no amendments to the bill were approved, the measure now heads to the desk of Governor Branstad and he will most definitely sign it, as the measure was one of his highest 2017 Session priorities.
Proponents hailed its passage as the first significant reform of the system in nearly a century and as necessary, given the state’s move over the last 10 years from having some of the nation’s lowest cost workers compensation costs to the middle of the pack.
The bill was be signed Thursday at 4:50 pm in the Governor’s formal office.
Legislation enforcing a statewide minimum wage heading to the Governor
The Iowa Senate approved HF 295 early this week and cleared the last legislative hurdle necessary to enforce a statewide minimum wage level. The bill preempts local governments from setting a minimum wage that is different from that set in state law (four Iowa counties had taken such an action over the last year).
HF 295 also prevents local governments from enacting ordinances at odds with state law on consumer merchandise (think NYC proposed ban on big sodas) and packaging materials (think efforts to ban use of Styrofoam take home boxes used by restaurants). This was signed by Governor Branstad on March 30.
Governor Branstad releases his revised budget recommendations for FY18
Amid softening state revenue growth and a March 14 revenue estimate from the Revenue Estimating Conference (REC) that reduced expected revenue for FY18 by $191 million, Governor Branstad provided the General Assembly with a revised budget recommendation. Iowa’s state budget law requires the Governor to submit a revised budget if the March REC estimate is LOWER than the December estimate (and he must do so within 14 days of the release of the March estimate).
House and Senate leaders have been waiting for these recommendations prior to making public their own set of budget targets for FY18. Those legislative budget targets are likely to be announced at some point Thursday or Monday.
The Governor’s new budget calls for just a $24 million increase in state general fund spending for FY 18 (above FY17), which is an increase of only 0.33% (essentially, he is calling for a flat budget). Given the fact that a K-12 school aid spending increase of $40 million was approved by the General Assembly and signed by Governor Branstad nearly two months ago, the revised budget means there will need to be $26 million in CUTS to the remainder of the state budget in the coming fiscal year to make it balance.
Efforts on Behalf of Community Bankers of Iowa