State Capitol Report 
Issue 1 |
January 21, 2018   
Tuesday, January 30, 2018
4:30 - 7:30 p.m.
Iowa State Fairgrounds * Animal Learning Center
Des Moines, Iowa
Join the Iowa tourism and economic development industry to showcase the positive impact we make on the state of Iowa, and share your story with State Legislators.
*Snow date February 6, 2018
Legislative Session Update

Welcome to the 2018 Iowa Legislative Session, the Second Regular session of Eighty-Seventh Iowa General Assembly. The session officially began on Monday, January 8, 2018 (the second Monday of January, as directed by the Iowa Constitution). This is scheduled to be a 100-day session, with a target adjournment date of Tuesday, April 17, 2018 (however, sessions often go beyond the target date).
Adjutant General Orr _backed by Senate President Jack Whitver_ Governor Kim Reynolds and House Speaker Linda Upmeyer_ L to R_  addressing a joint session of the Legislature about the Condition of the Guard_ January 11_ 2018
Adjutant General Orr (backed by Senate President Jack Whitver, Governor Kim Reynolds and House Speaker Linda Upmeyer, L to R)  addressing a joint session of the Legislature about the Condition of the Guard, January 11, 2018
Since this is the second year of a two-year assembly, all bills from last year are technically alive again. The first year of an assembly is usually the year in which heavy lifting on policy issues occurs, while the second year becomes more focused on issues that appeal to voters, since elections are held in the November of the second year.
There have been a total of seven special elections in this General Assembly, culminating with this past Tuesday's House District 6 election which saw Jacob Bossman winning a seat that was vacated by former Representative Jim Carlin's election to the Iowa Senate. Despite all the jostling around, the balance of power has remained the same in the Iowa Legislature - Republicans control the Governor's Office, the Senate by a margin of 29 to 20 (with one independent), and the House by a margin of 59 to 41.
The first week of the legislative session is always filled with organizational and ceremonial activities, including three speeches delivered to a joint convention of both the House and the Senate. On Tuesday, January 9, Governor Kim Reynolds delivered her Condition of the State address, her first and the first such speech ever delivered by a woman in Iowa. Governor Reynolds outlined her priorities for the session, which included the following:
  • Water Quality - Governor Reynolds said a water quality bill is the first bill that she wants to sign as Governor.
  • Broadband - Provide more broadband access to rural Iowa.
  • Tax reform - She said she'll pursue personal income tax reform for the middle class and remove federal deductibility (along with corresponding rate cuts so taxpayers don't see an increase in their taxes). The Governor also plans to establish a tax force to review corporate tax credits and income taxes with a goal of proposing changes next year.
  • Medicaid managed care - The Governor still supports the move to Medicaid managed care and believes the new directors of the Department of Human Services and Medicaid can fix some of the mistakes that were made during implementation.
  • Mental health - She talked about a new partnership with Des Moines University and the National Alliance on Mental Illness on a program to train providers to better identify and treat mental illness. She also recognized the need to strengthen resources for more mental health treatment services.
  • Opioid abuse prevention - The Governor supports efforts to strengthen initiatives to prevent opioid abuse, including increasing the use of the Prescription Monitoring Program by providers
  • Education - The Governor proposed expanding 529 plans to apply to K-12 education. She also promotes the Future Ready Iowa Initiative, which better links high-school kids to career opportunities in the skilled-trades.
On Wednesday, January 10, the Legislature heard from Iowa Supreme Court Chief Justice Mark S. Cady about the Condition of Iowa Courts. Then on Thursday, Adjutant General Orr of the Iowa National Guard delivered an address about the condition and readiness of the Guard.  
The First Spouse Doll Display Case in the South Hallway of the First Floor of the Iowa State Capitol.  In the center stands the new doll representing the First Gentleman_ Kevin Reynolds
The First Spouse Doll Display Case in the South Hallway of the First Floor of the Iowa State Capitol.  In the center stands the new doll representing the First Gentleman, Kevin Reynolds
Friday, January 19, marked the 12th day of the legislative session, and its first major deadline - All individual bill requests by legislators had to be turned in by the end of the day. Bills can still be submitted by committee chairs and by leadership. Legislators will spend the next four weeks working on policy bills in preparation for the next major deadline, the first funnel on February 16th, when any non-tax or spending bills that have not been passed by committee will die for the year.
State Budget
Along with her Condition of the State speech, the Governor delivered her proposed budget to the Legislature (which includes both the upcoming FY 2019 as well as proposed adjustments to the current FY 2018). Governor Reynolds proposed about $27 Million in cuts to FY18 to help close a remaining shortfall. The cuts include a $10 million cut to Medicaid, $5.1 million from the Regents Universities, $3.4 million from the Department of Corrections, $3.3 million from the Department of Human Services, $1.8 million from Community Colleges, $1.6 million from the Judicial Branch, and numerous smaller reductions spread across State government. The Governor urged swift enactment of the FY2018 reductions in order to give agencies as much time as possible to find the savings.
For Fiscal Year 2019 (which begins July 1, 2018), Governor Reynolds is proposing an overall state General Fund spending of $7.4465 Billion compared to FY18's $7.2505 Billion, an increase of $196 million or 2.7 percent. The Legislature will use the Governor's budget recommendations as a guide as they develop the state budget that they will eventually enact into law. However, no further action is likely to take place on the budget until after the March meeting of the Revenue Estimating Conference when legislators will gain a clearer picture of how much revenue is available for allocation in the next fiscal year.
Of interest to tourism, the Governor's FY2019 budget contains the following:
  • IEDA Administration (which includes the tourism office and regional funding) - Cut by $119,581 (to $13,280,419)
  • REAP - The Governor proposes STAYING AT $12 million for FT 2019 (this was cut by $4million last year, from $16m)
  • DNR Administration - Cut by another $123K (to $11,176,438)
  • Tourism Marketing - This is the line item that, if left uncapped, totals between $1.1 and 1.3 million.  Last year, it was capped at $900k, and this proposal would reduce that cap by $9,000 (to $891,000).
  • Level funding (at $6.235m) for Park Operations & Maintenance
  • Level funding (at $5m) for Community Attraction & Tourism and for Regional Sports Authorities ($500K)
  • Restores $1m to Low Head dams (was zeroed out last year)
  • Level funding for both Lake Restoration & Water Quality ($9.6m) and for State Park Infrastructure ($2m)
  • Increase trails back up to $2.5M (from $1m last year)
You can download and view the Legislative Service Agency's in-depth review of the Governor's budget proposal HERE.
Tourism Industry Budget and  
School Start Date
Two Issues You Should be Talking with Legislators About Now
Tourism Funding - The Legislature is predicted to release a deappropriation bill any day now to make cuts to the current Fiscal Year 2018 (which ends June 30, 2018). The Governor's proposal includes a cut of $119K to IEDA and $9,000 to Tourism Marketing, both of which would be tough on the industry. However, there is a very good chance the Legislature will propose cutting MUCH DEEPER. Possibly a cut of over $300,000 to the IEDA Administration Budget AND $150,000 to Tourism Marketing. We should see the bills soon, but these are the rumblings that have been bounced around. SPEAK UP NOW FOR TOURISM!!
School Start Date
On the night before the start of the legislative session, we were made aware that school administrators were making calls to legislators in the hopes of altering the school start date law that was just settled in 2015 with legislation to set the earliest school start date at August 23.
At the time of 2015 law change, the tourism industry and supporters were pushing for post-Labor Day as the earliest start date while school administrators wanted to maintain the local control to start in early August or possibly even late July. August 23 represented a compromise. During the discussion back then, it was made very clear that in two out of every seven years, the 23rd of August would fall on a Thursday or a Friday (as it will in 2018 and 2019). Now that those years have arrived, school administrators have apparently decided they do not like the law. As such, they have asked legislators to "fix" it.
On Thursday, two new bills were introduced to alter the school start date. SF 2063 by Senator Randy Feenstra would allow schools to start on the Wednesday before the 23rd if the 23rd falls on a Thursday or Friday. SF 2064 by Senator Mark Lofgren would change the law to allow school to start on whichever is earlier, August 23rd or the Monday after the State Fair. TFI is registered in opposition to both of these bills.
Please take some time to reach out to Governor Reynolds and your legislators about this. The school start date law represents a compromise that required give and take from both sides. If you have local data that you can share, that would be critical. Data could include revenue numbers from museums and attractions, numbers from the city pool, etc.
To weigh in with Governor Reynolds, click HERE
To find out who your legislators are, click HERE
To find a list of the Senators, click HERE
To find a list of the Representatives, click HERE 
Bills Being Tracked for TFI
This is a list of the bills being tracked for TFI.  The online bill list is updated constantly, just go to 

Bill# Title Status
Summary | Details
House Natural Resources Committee

Reallocates REAP funding.
Nonreversion/Reallocation of State Funds
Summary | Details
House Appropriations Committee

Requires up to 10 percent of funds appropriated to a state entity that remain unencumbered or unobligated at the close of the fiscal year shall not revert to the general fund
Sales Tax Collection
Summary | Details
House Ways & Means Committee

Amends definition of "retailer maintaining a place of business in this state" for the collection of sales tax from out-of-state retailers.
Bottle Bill Repeal and Replace
Summary | Details
House Ways & Means Committee

Repeals the beverage containers control law and replaces it with new recycling, litter control, and community enhancement programs.
The WISE Solution for Water Quality
Summary | Details
House Ways & Means Committee

A permanent $180-200 million/year that flows into the Natural Resources and Outdoor Recreation Trust Fund, at least 60% of which would have to be used for specific water quality.
School Calendar Start Date
Summary | Details
Senate Education Committee

Allows a school district or accredited nonpublic school to start its school calendar on the Wednesday before August 23 if August 23 falls on a Thursday or Friday.
School Start Date
Summary | Details
Senate Education Committee

Makes the earliest school start date August 23 or the Monday following the closing day of the annual Iowa state fair, whichever occurs earlier.
Forest Reservation Property Tax Exemption
Summary | Details
Senate Ways & Means Committee

Lowers the property tax exemption for forest reservations.
Water Quality/Wastewater Treatment
Summary | Details
Senate Floor, Second Time

Modifies existing wastewater treatment program, establishes new water quality programs, and creates a water service excise tax and sales tax exemption.
DRAM Shop Revision
Summary | Details
Senate Commerce Committee

Limits the liability of an alcoholic beverage licensee or permittee for certain alcohol-related injuries.
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