Overview / Major Events
With the completion of Week 6 of the current legislative session, there remain but two weeks of legislative work before policy bills face the first funnel. Policy bills must clear at least one committee in one chamber by March 6 to remain eligible for discussion the remainder of the session. Exempt from the funnel requirements are bills that deal with taxation or that spend state funds.
Gas Tax Drama Takes Center Stage
Companion bills in the Iowa House and Senate cleared their final committee hurdles this week and will be eligible for debate by the full House and Senate early next week.
Late last week the bills were approved in the respective House and Senate Transportation Committees. Once approved at the full committee level, these “study bills” were renumbers as official House and Senate Files. Here are the new numbers: SSB 1168 is now SF 257 and HSB 129 is now HF 351.
Here are the major components of SF 257 / HF 351:
- Legislative intent: 100% of the additional revenue generated by the bill shall be used for critical road and bridge construction projects.
- Prohibits the use of these additional funds to pay for debt service—interest on bonds, loans, or other indebtedness incurred on or after the effective date.
- Raises permit fees for heavy haul loads.
- Increases by 10 cents the rate of the excise tax on motor fuel.
- Provides an incentive for the use of biodiesel blended as B-11 or higher.
- Will raise more than $200 million annually in new road revenue.
View the Iowa Legislative Bill Tracker.
However, on the House side, the process required significant maneuvering to secure the votes necessary to clear the House Ways and Means Committee. House Speaker Kraig Paulsen took the extraordinary step of replacing two Republican members of the committee who were NO votes with other members committed to vote YES.
Representative Jake Highfill was permanently removed from the committee and placed on the House Appropriations Committee for the duration of the year. Representative Brian Moore was named to the committee and will continue to serve in that capacity.
Representative Zach Nunn was temporarily removed from the committee and will rejoin the committee next week. For the specific committee meeting at which the fuel tax vote took place, House Speaker Paulsen placed himself on the committee and provided the deciding vote in favor of the bill – with the bill passing on a 13-12 vote and moving to the House Debate Calendar.
It is currently believed that both the Senate and the House will attempt to provide final passage of the bill on Tuesday of next week (2/24) and send it to Governor Branstad, who is expected to sign it. To pass each chamber, the bill needs a constitutional majority of all members – meaning it will take 26 (of 50) votes in the Senate and 51 (of 100) votes in the House.
Another important development this week was the news that Senate Minority Leader Bill Dix publically endorsed raising the fuel tax for the first time and announced he would vote for the bill when it reaches the Senate floor.
Efforts on Behalf of Community Bankers of Iowa:
- Facilitated and participated in the annual CBI proclamation ceremony with Governor Branstad, Lt. Governor Kim Reynolds, and members of CBI’s Leaders of Tomorrow group during their day at the Capitol.
- Developed and executed the program for the LOT group during their day on the hill and provided presentations from Rep. Chip Baltimore, Senator Chaz Allen, Rep. Nancy Dunkel, and Rep. Chris Hall.