Overview / Major Events
Leaders of the House and Senate made major progress on budget negotiations and announced they had agreed on a global budget number. While details of how that number will be divided remain, the agreement on the size of the FY20 budget removes a major obstacle to an on-time adjournment. In fact, there is a growing belief that Session could conceivably adjourn by late next week or into that weekend (which would be a week early). However, it will not take much of a hiccup to move the timetable back to the original schedule.
Bi-Partisan Deal Reached on Sports Betting
This week a bi-partisan deal was reached on legislation that would allow existing Iowa casinos to operate sports betting operations in both their physical facilities and through the use of mobile applications. The deal also included the respective leaders of the House and Senate—meaning passage in both Chambers looks a near certainty.
What’s In the Legislation?
What’s NOT in the Legislation?
Iowa Set to Join States Growing, Processing, and Selling of Industrial Hemp
After a number of years of work, a group of Representatives and Senators appear to have agreed on legislation that will legalize the growing, processing, and selling of industrial hemp (and products made with legally grown hemp). Late last year the federal government passed the U.S. Hemp Farming Act of 2018 that set federal standards and guidelines through which states could enact their own hemp programs.
This week the Iowa Senate passed SF 599, a bill that creates a process through which Iowa farmers can legally grow and sell an industrial hemp crop. Additionally, the bill would immediately allow for the retail sale of a whole host of hemp-derived products (as long as the hemp used was legally grown and processed). On Thursday the House Appropriations Committee was slated to pass identical legislation to SF 599 and I would anticipate a vote in the full Iowa House next week.
Children’s Behavioral Health System
The Iowa Senate gave final approval to legislation that would create the nation’s first behavioral health system exclusively for children. This legislation was sponsored by the Office of Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds and marks the accomplishment of one of her primary legislative goals for 2019.
Among the many components of the bill sets a minimum number of crisis residential beds be available for children and creates a mobile crisis response mechanism for those children with need. The bill received bi-partisan support in both Chambers (83-14 in the House and 46-2 in the Senate).