Travel Federation of Iowa
Final 2020 Legislative Update | Issue #7 | June 17, 2020
The Iowa Senate and House adjourned sine die for the year at 1:32pm and 1:38pm, respectively, on Sunday, June 14th, after a week and a half of late nights, early mornings, and an all-night Senate debate session. 
Sine die brings to a close the Second Regular Session of the 88th General Assembly, one that included a 78-day pause right in the middle of session (March 17 – June 2) due to a virus pandemic. This session saw a healthy State budget get turned upside down due to closures and tax payment extensions and a large infusion of federal dollars to help Iowa (and all states) respond to medical and other needs. This session saw lobbyists and members of the public have to address legislators in bill subcommittees from a microphone in the gallery above the House and Senate floor. Video of this session shows some legislators wearing masks and protective visors and some wearing none, and it shows a House and Senate floor sparsely populated with legislators and very few staff. 
This session also saw a police reform bill ( HF 2647 ) get introduced by bipartisan leadership in both chambers, passed by committee in both chambers, and debated and passed unanimously by both chambers, ALL IN THE SAME DAY. The bill bans the use of chokeholds by Iowa law enforcement, bans the hired of officers who have been fired for brutality, allows the Attorney General to prosecute abuse by an officer, and requires all officers to undergo annual de-escalation and racial profiling training. Governor Reynolds signed HF 2647 into law the morning after it was introduced.
All-in-all, it was a strange time to be working in the building, and while it was a experience that we’ll never forget, I hope it’s one we won’t ever need to repeat.
Next Steps
The Governor now has 30 days to take action on the bills sent to her in the last few days of session. However, she is predicted to expedite the process this year and try to have most bills signed into law (or vetoed/line-item vetoed) by the end of the fiscal year on June 30. Many policy bills take effect at the start of the fiscal year, unless otherwise noted in legislation, so departments will need to get ready to start working toward implementation right away. 
Publication Note
This will be the final legislative update of the session. However, we will continue to update the Bill Tracker as the Governor takes action on legislation. 
This microphone in the Senate gallery allows lobbyists and members of the public to address the subcommittee on a bill. Previously, this action would take place in small meeting rooms around the Capitol.
VICTORY on Hotel/Motel at last!

The bill ( HF 760 ) that TFI has pursued for four long years, alongside Clinton County officials, that would fix the hotel/motel issue is headed for the Governor. As a reminder, under current law, the hotel/motel tax is assessed on the first 30 days of a hotel stay. Stays longer than 30 days, make the entire stay exempt from tax. HF 760 changes the tax assessment period to 90 days and stipulates that stays of 91 or more days would still pay the tax on the first 90 days.  The bill also makes non-profit lodging providers (such as Ronald McDonald House) exempt from the hotel/motel tax.
This bill has been a colossal struggle to get passed, despite the overwhelming floor vote totals (93-4 and 47-2 in the latest round) on each bounce between the chambers. It was pronounced dead by legislative leadership multiple times due to disagreements over how it would be enforced. Each time, Senators Chris Cournoyer and Carrie Koelker and Representative Norlin Mommsen found a way to breathe life back into this legislation. Those three legislators and a handful of like-minded supporters were the key to getting this bill across the finish line.
In recognition of the blood, sweat and tears that Senator Chris Cournoyer poured into getting HF 760 passed, some of her colleagues in the Senate played a prank on her by briefly voting NO on HF 760 before changing their votes to YEA and passing it 47-2. As stressful as the Capitol work is, moments like this are definitely appreciated.
This Session's ONLY Conference Committee - HF 760
The FY2021 Budget

While they chose to work on a number of policy bills, when the Legislature returned to the Capitol on June 3rd, the only thing they HAD to do was enact a budget for State government for Fiscal Year 2021 (July 1, 2020 through June 30, 2021). 
The budget typically requires ten appropriations bills created by seven subcommittees of the House and Senate Appropriations Committee. Those bills are detailed, have tables and explanations of the spending line items, and the public is allowed to speak in the subcommittee meetings.
The COVID-19 pandemic made the normal process impossible this year. The drafting of the different appropriations bills, the subcommittees required, and debates that would be required for each of those bills would have kept the Legislature in session for much, much longer.  
What the Legislature did during the abbreviated session was to wrap all appropriations into three bills –
HF 2644 – The Transportation Appropriations Bill - allocates gas tax revenues for road projects and other DOT expenditures
HF 2642 – The Rebuild Iowa’s Infrastructure Fund (RIIF) Bill – allocates revenues derived from gaming (which obviously took a hit when casinos were closed from mid-March until recently)
HF 2643 – The Omnibus Continuing Resolution Bill – This bill allocates the vast majority of State government for the upcoming fiscal year. Borrowing a page from the federal government, this bill essentially funds everything at the exact same levels as the previous year, with a few exceptions. 
For TFI , the status quo nature of HF 2643 should guarantee the same level in FY 2021 for the following: 
  • $13.3 million for IEDA Administration
  • $448,403 for County Endowment Funding – Dept. of Cultural Affairs grants
  • $900,000 for Tourism Marketing from gaming receipts
  • REAP - $12 million – This bill also contains a provision that extends REAP by two years by replacing the sunset date of 2021 with 2023.
  • Allows the State Fair to issue and sell revenue bonds this year to offset losses incurred by not holding the State Fair this year
The RIIF Bill saw some challenges from casino closures, so cuts were made in some areas. Here’s what we found:
  • $1 million (level) for Great Places
  • $5 million (level) for Community Attraction and Tourism (CAT)
  • $500,000 (level) for Regional Sports Authorities
  • $1 million to DNR for State Park Infrastructure (was $2 million in FY 2020)
  • $8.6 million to DNR for Lake Restoration & Water Quality (was $9.6 million in FY 2020)
  • $250,000 to DNR for Water Trails & Low Head Dams (was $500,000 in FY 2020)
  • $1 million to DOT for Recreational Trails (was $1.5 million in FY 2020)
  • $1.06 million (level) for County Fairs
The House Appropriations Committee meets in the Iowa House Chamber.
COVID-19 Liability

One of the biggest priorities for the Legislature during the return was to pass legislation ( SF 2338 ) that would provide liability limitations from potential COVID-19 lawsuits for a broad range of businesses, provided they followed public health guidances.
Senate File 2338 was an existing bill in the House Commerce Committee bill that had already been through the Senate and was awaiting consideration in committee in the House. The Legislature opted to amend that bill into the “COVID-19 Response and Back-to-Business Limited Liability Act” which would prohibit individuals from filing a civil lawsuit against a business against the case involves certain factors, such as intention to cause harm or actual malice.
The Legislature began work on SF 2338 on their first day back (June 3), and had it headed for the Governor’s desk by June 10, on a partisan 52-44 House vote and 31-18 Senate vote. The Governor is expected to sign SF 2338 into law. SF 2338 would apply retroactively to January 1st, 2020.

Governor’s Economic Recovery Task Force

We are still awaiting word on how the Governor wants to proceed with the Economic Recovery Task Force she has described. We know she and her staff had to divert their attention to the Legislative Session over the past two weeks in order to give the House and Senate their input on the budget and remaining policy issues, but we assume they will be refocused on the Task Force in the days ahead.

Iowa Reinvestment Act
House File 2641 ( Link ) is a massive tax bill passed by both legislative chambers that includes a bunch of provisions that did not have time to run through the abbreviated session as separate bills. One of the provisions in that bill, Division IX, reauthorizes the Iowa Reinvestment Act, a program administered through IEDA that allows cities to create a special district where the hotel/motel tax can be used to create economic growth. The division also allows current Iowa Reinvestment Act projects from the original program to have some payment flexibility, given what the pandemic has done to hotel/motel receipts across the country.  

To Go Drinks Made Permanent
Before the pandemic arrived, House File 2540 was simply proposing to make it easier for nonprofits to conduct a charity beer, spirits, and/or wine event. When the pandemic ordered bars and restaurants closed, Governor Reynolds allowed them through emergency declaration to sell To Go drinks in order to move some of their alcohol inventory rather than having it sit on the shelves awaiting reopening. This past week, the Legislature amended HF 2540 to allow the To Go drinks provision to become permanent law. This bill passed overwhelming (House 96-0, Senate 44-4) and it headed to the Governor for her signature. 

Firearm Preemption
Legislation ( HF 2502 ) to limit the ability of cities to regulate guns advanced during the abbreviated session. The bill would prevent a local government from banning guns on the local government’s property unless that local government can provide screening and security. The Iowa League of Cities and several organizations voiced concerns about this legislation, given the cost of hiring security for all city buildings. The bill is headed to the Governor’s desk for her review. 
Since over half of each Chamber’s gallery was closed to the public, TV monitors were set up in the basement and on the first floor rotunda of the Capitol to allow lobbyists and members of the public to watch floor proceedings. 
TFI Bills of Interest - Bill List
HF2259 Human Trafficking/Lodging Certification Summary | Details Sent to Governor
This bill a llows lodging providers to voluntarily provide employees with human trafficking prevention training beginning January 1, 2022.  

HF2389 Rulemaking Process Summary | Details Sent to Governor
This bill makes changes to the rulemaking process for executive branch agencies.

HF2455 Deer Hunting Summary | Details Sent to Governor
Allows a hunter who wounds a deer while hunting to use a dog to track and retrieve the wounded deer.

HF2502 Local & Judicial Firearm Regulation Prohibited Summary | Details Sent to Governor
This bill makes changes to current law regarding carrying weapons in public buildings.

HF2540 Beer, Spirits & Wine Charity Event + To Go Drinks Summary | Details Sent to Governor
This bill authorizes a nonprofit entity to conduct a charity beer, spirits, and wine event.

HF2641 State Taxation Summary | Details Sent to Governor
This bill includes many provisions related to state taxation.

HF2642 Infrastructure (RIIF) Budget Summary | Details Sent to Governor
Appropriates an additional $66.6 million from gaming revenues to various infrastructure projects in fiscal year 2021.

HF2643 Omnibus Continuing Resolution Summary | Details Sent to Governor
Extends the current year's budget for another year, with a few changes.

HF2644 Transportation Budget Summary | Details Sent to Governor
Makes appropriations for fiscal year 2021 to the Department of Transportation.

HF2647 Policing Reform Summary | Details Signed
This bill limits the use of chokeholds by police, allows the Attorney General to investigate and prosecute police misconduct, requires annual training on de-escalation techniques and bias prevention, and prohibits the hiring of police officers who have been fired or quit amidst police misconduct charges.

HF599 Youth Hunting Summary | Details Sent to Governor
Allows any person under age 16 to hunt without a license while accompanied by a parent, guardian, or a competent adult who has parental permission and who has a valid hunting license.

HF716 Deer Hunting Summary | Details Sent to Governor
Allows a person 20 years of age or younger to hunt using a pistol or revolver under certain conditions.

HF760 Hotel/Motel Tax Exemption Summary | Details Sent to Governor
Exempts local hotel/motel tax beginning after 90 consecutive days of lodging.

SF2134 Canned Cocktail Manufacturing Summary | Details Signed
This bill allows beer manufacturers to manufacture canned cocktails.
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