Overview / Major Events
The conclusion of this week marks the start of a two-week marathon of subcommittee and committee work as the first major legislative deadline arrives on February 15. Legislative rules require that most policy legislation must clear subcommittee and full committee by this date in order to remain eligible for further consideration.
That said, the arrival of the first funnel does not necessary spell doom for those issues that fail to clear this hurdle. Issues can often be reconstituted in a form eligible for consideration by the Ways and Means or Appropriations committees (as these are exempt from funnel deadlines), added as amendments to related bills that DID clear the funnel, or packaged in the ever-popular Standings Bill at the end of the session that often becomes a catch-all for a variety of left over bills.
The next funnel deadline is March 15, by which time bills must have passed in one Chamber and cleared committee in the other.
Governor Reynolds signs Water Quality legislation
This week Governor Kim Reynolds signed her first piece of legislation as Iowa’s governor. Joined by a huge crowd of water quality supporters, Governor Reynolds made the $282 million package Iowa’s newest law of the land. She said:
The Governor also made it clear that the signing of Senate File 512 did not mean the end of the water quality debate, but instead marked another positive step in the state’s ongoing effort to promote water quality.
Senator Matt McCoy leaving Senate to seek seat on Polk County Board of Supervisors
State Senator Matt McCoy announced this week that he is seeking a seat on the Polk County Board of Supervisors in 2018 and will not seek reelection to his Iowa Senate seat.
Senator McCoy has been a constant figure at the State Capitol for more than 20 years, serving in both the House and Senate and in the majority and minority. His decision to challenge long-time incumbent Democrat John Mauro in his upcoming race will have major implications for the Democratic gubernatorial primary, as this race will likely result in a major uptick in voter turnout in this Polk County district.
With Fred Hubbell and Nate Boulton both calling Polk County home, one or both of them could get a nice bump as the McCoy / Mauro race will generate an immense amount of campaign activity.
School Funding Debate starts in Iowa House
With the state revenues predicted to grow slowly again in the upcoming fiscal year, House Republicans started the process of moving legislation to provide a $32 million increase in state funding to K-12 schools for FY19. That $32 million represents a one-percent increase in funding and is about $20 million less than proposed by Governor Reynolds in her budget.
However, to keep things in context, during the revenue crunch that has hit most of the Midwest due to low commodity prices, Iowa has been able to spare K-12 schools from any cuts and has instead provided annual funding increases (and fully funded those increases despite necessary cuts in other areas of state government to balance the budget).
Efforts on Behalf of Community Bankers of Iowa: