by CBI Lobbyist
Overview / Major Events
The first legislative funnel of 2016 has arrived and all House and Senate policy committees have finished their first round of work for this session. The dust is still settling on those bills that made the cut and those that are dead for the year (will have a more robust picture of this in next week’’s newsletter).
The next funnel deadline occurs in only three weeks (March 11). In the next three weeks those policy bills that cleared their committee of origin must be passed on their respective chamber floors and then passed out of a committee of the other chamber (meaning Senate Files must pass the full Senate and a House committee; House Files must pass the full House and a Senate committee) in order to remain eligible for the year.
Governor Branstad’s Water Quality Initiative Clears House Agriculture Committee
Governor Branstad made it clear in his Condition of the State message that his legislative agenda would consist of one main item, and that item is his initiative to find a long-term significant source of funding for water quality projects in Iowa. HSB 601 is the Governor’s bill and it cleared the House Agriculture Committee earlier this week and now will move to the House Ways and Means Committee.
The bill would extend the current penny of sales tax dedicated to school infrastructure for an additional 20 years (that tax is scheduled to be repealed in 2029 and this bill would extend that repeal date to 2049) and would capture a portion of the tax growth that is generated by that penny and use it to fund water quality initiatives in Iowa. If adopted, the bill would provide billions of additional dollars to both schools for infrastructure needs and to provide support for the state’s nutrient reduction strategy and other significant water quality efforts.
Enhance Iowa Legislation Moves in Iowa Senate
The Senate Economic Growth Committee today passed SSB 3094, a bill that would provide significant new resources to support quality of life investments throughout the state of Iowa. SSB 3094 would create a new Enhance Iowa Fund and would replace the current Vision Iowa Board with a new Enhance Iowa Board (made up of Iowans with economic development and workforce development experience) that would administer up to $25 million a year to support major new investments in quality of life projects.
As Iowa businesses struggle to find skilled workers to fill thousands of current job openings, leading recruitment experts point to the availability of quality of life amenities as a key to attracting and retaining skilled workers. The Enhance Iowa Fund is designed to give Iowa communities new tools to support creative ideas to add amenities and attractions to their communities to enhance the local quality of life.
The bill now moves to the Senate Appropriations Committee for further consideration (and a companion bill is currently under consideration in the House Economic Growth Committee).
Efforts On Behalf of Community Bankers of Iowa