Travel Federation of Iowa
2020 Legislative Update | Issue #1 - Start of Session | January 25, 2020
The Second Regular Session of the 88th Iowa General Assembly officially began at 10:00 am on Monday, January 13th, 2020. The Iowa Senate and House gaveled in for what is scheduled to be a 100-day session that is set to finish on Tuesday, April 21st. However, as you know, the target adjournment date is simply the date on which legislative per diems cease, rather than a hard deadline for the session.
Senator Charles Schneider gives opening remarks on January 13
Senate President Charles Schneider gives opening remarks
January 13, 2020

Legislative Leadership

The House began the year with an entirely new leadership team. Former Speaker Linda Upmeyer announced during the Fall that she would not be seeking reelection in November 2020 and would be stepping down from the position before the 2020 session. Upmeyer had served as Speaker of the Iowa House since January 2016. She was the first woman to serve in that role in Iowa, and her and her father, former Speaker Del Stromer, became the first father/daughter team to serve in that capacity in any State in US History.
Upmeyer’s announcement sparked a wholesale change in leadership as House Republicans chose the Chair of the House Appropriations Committee Pat Grassley (New Hartford) as the new Speaker, House Speaker Pro Tempore Matt Windschitl (Missouri Valley) as the new Majority Leader, and Majority Whip John Wills (Spirit Lake) as the new Speaker Pro Tempore. Speaker Grassley selected Rep. Gary Mohr (Bettendorf) to serve as the new Chair of the House Appropriations Committee. 
In the Senate, aside from some committee shuffling, most positions stayed the same during the off season, with a few exceptions. The biggest move was Senator Randy Feenstra (Hull), Chair of the Ways & Means Committee and architect of the Senate’s last few large tax bills, stepping down to ensure he has adequate time to focus on his race for Congress. Senate Commerce Committee Chair Jake Chapman (Adel) was appointed as the new Chair of Ways & Means. Senator Dan Dawson (Council Bluffs) was then appointed Chair of the Senate Commerce Committee.   
Joint Convention of the House and Senate to receive the Condition of the Judiciary report from acting Chief Justice David Wiggins on January 15
Joint Convention of the House and Senate to receive the Condition of the Judiciary report from acting Chief Justice David Wiggins - January 15, 2020
Legislative Calendar
Here are some key dates for the 2020 Legislative Session:
  • January 13: First Day of the Iowa Legislative Session
  • January 14: Governor's Condition of the State Speech/Release of Budget 
  • January 24: Final day for legislators to sponsor bills (request bill drafts)
  • February 3: Iowa Caucuses (no session; legislators back in district)
  • February 21: First "Funnel" Deadline - House bills must be voted out of House committees; Senate bills must be voted out of Senate committees; all other bills are dead.
  • March 20: Second "Funnel" Deadline - House bills must be voted out of Senate committees; Senate bills must be voted out of House committees; all other bills are dead.
  • April 21: 100th Day of Session (target date to end session)
  • 30 days after end of session (May 21, if they end on April 21): Governor's Deadline to Sign Legislation into Law
  • June 2: Primary Election 
Legislative Leaders’ Opening Comments on the Start of the 2020 Legislative session
Opening Comments from Leaders of the Iowa Senate
Senate Majority Leader Jack Whitver’s Opening Remarks for the Session ( Link )
Senate President Charles Schneider’s Opening Remarks for the Session ( Link )
Senate Democrat Leader Janet Petersen’s Opening Remarks for the Session ( Link )
Opening Comments from Leaders of the Iowa House
Speaker of the House Pat Grassley’s Opening Remarks for the Session ( Link )
House Majority Leader Matt Windschitl’s Opening Remarks for the Session ( Link )
House Speaker Pro-Tempore John Wills’ Opening Remarks for the Session ( Link )
House Democrat Leader Todd Prichard’s Opening Remarks for the Session ( Link )
The Governor’s Condition of the State Address
On Tuesday, January 14th, the second day of the Legislative Session (as is the custom), Governor Reynolds delivered her Condition of the State address to the Iowa Legislature, which included her Budget Recommendations. You can find a bunch of information from the Governor’s office HERE , but here are some highlights.
The main five themes to the Governor’s plan for the year are:
  • Building Tomorrow's Economy Today
  • Preparing a Future Ready Iowa
  • Supporting Strong & Healthy Families
  • Empowering Rural Iowa
  • Changing Lives Through Second Chances

In terms of overall numbers, the Governor’s Budget for FY 2021 would anticipate a total of $8.474 billion in incoming revenues, an estimated $264 million increase over FY 2020’s $8.210 billion in revenues. First, the Governor’s Budget would appropriate an additional $111 million in supplemental FY 2020 dollars (the current fiscal year). The $111 million would be allocated mostly to Medicaid ($89 million) and Flood Relief ($20 million) with the balance being directed to State Children’s Health Insurance (Hawki - $1.7 million) and the Glenwood Resource Center ($333k).
Fiscal Year 2021 (begins July 1, 2020)
For FY 2021, the Governor recommends $8.088 billion in spending, leaving on the table an ending fund balance of $387 million. That $8.088 billion would be an increase over FY 2020 (as originally appropriated, before the supplemental mentioned above) of $454 million. The $454 million in new spending would be allocated toward Medicaid ($167 million), State School Aid (2.5 % increase = $95.7 million), Mental Health & Disability Services Regional Services ($80.6 million), State Children’s Health Insurance ($21.8 million), the Regents Universities ($15 million), Broadband Grants ($10 million), and a number of other priorities. The non-partisan Legislative Services Agency (LSA) has produced a summary of the Governor’s Budget that is available HERE .
Invest In Iowa Act
The Governor’s budget is also built around the centerpiece of her Condition of the State Address, the Invest In Iowa Act, the boldest initiative she has ever brought before the Iowa General Assembly. The proposal is being drafted now, so we don’t know all the details, but the broad strokes are these:
  • Increase the State Sales Tax by 1%, raising an estimated $540 million per year
  • Fully fund the Natural Resources and Outdoor Recreation Trust Fund that voters approved in 2010
  • Provide an overall tax reduction for Iowans
  • Cut individual income taxes by an average of 10%, lowering the highest bracket from 8.5% to 5.5% by 2023
  • Reduce property taxes by lowering the per capita county mental health levy from $47.28 to $12.50, resulting in $771 million less in collected property taxes
  • Increase the Early Childhood Development and Child and Dependent Care tax credit by doubling the maximum net income amount for eligibility from $45,000 to $90,000
  • Eliminate the triggers from a previous tax cut bill – Instead of requiring 4% revenue growth for the tax cut to take effect, future tax cuts would be locked in
The Legislature’s progress on the budget will have to wait until they determine whether or not they will pass the Governor’s bold proposal, as many of the items contained within the Trust Fund and other areas of the budget have been zeroed out in the Governor’s general fund allocations (since they would be picked up under the revenues generated from the sales tax increase). All 150 legislators and most of the lobbyists in the Capitol are anxiously awaiting the release of the Invest In Iowa Act so we can start providing feedback.
Hotel/Motel – 30 to 90 days
Many of you will recall that TFI’s priority bill ( HF 760 ) to change the hotel/motel tax from 30 days to 90 days passed both the House and Senate (twice) last year, but unfortunately in slightly different versions. Since it’s the second year of a two-year General Assembly, HF 760 is alive again, so legislators are working to get the bill ironed out and across the finish line. A few procedural hurdles stand in the way that is slowing down this process. 
The best thing that TFI members can do to help us stay on track is to reach out to your legislators and tell them that you would really like to see this bill finalized so it can be implemented as soon as possible. We hope to have good news in the next update.
School Start Date
We have not yet seen any proposals that would move the school start date earlier, however it is still very early in session. This is a great time though to point out to your legislators that this year’s late Labor Day (Sept. 7) will mean there will be two full weeks between the start of the school and Labor Day. For attractions that depend on summer months, those is a lot of lost revenue, and in turn, is a lot of lost revenue to the State for priorities like education.   
TFI Bills of Interest - Link
HF2014 Nonresident Deer Hunting Licenses Summary | Details House Natural Resources Committee
This bill requires 500 deer hunting licenses be reserved for nonresidents who have made a reservation with a registered hunting guide company.

HF2037 Bicycle Lights and Reflectors Summary | Details House Transportation Committee
This bill requires bicycles be equipped with specific lights and reflectors.

This bill requires a driver to safely pass a bicyclist traveling in the same direction

This bill allows new or existing onsite daycare facilities to qualify as a project under the high quality jobs program.

This bill prohibits state funds paid to school districts from being used for professional development activities at an amusement park itself.

This bill modifies state and local hotel and motel tax exemptions.

HF2109 Charity Beer and Wine Event Summary | Details House State Government Committee
This bill authorizes a nonprofit entity to conduct a charity beer and wine event.

HF2110 Quad Cities Regional Metropolitan Authority Summary | Details House State Government Committee
This bill establishes the Quad Cities Regional Metropolitan Authority Compact.

HF566 Criminal Trespass Summary | Details Senate Unfinished Business Calendar
Establishes penalty for trespassing while hunting, fishing, or trapping.

HF599 Apprentice Hunter Licenses Summary | Details Senate Unfinished Business Calendar
Allows a person who is at least nine years old to purchase a license with an apprentice hunter designation. 

Allows a person 20 years of age or younger to hunt using a pistol or revolver under certain conditions.

HF749 Snowmobile Permits and Fees Summary | Details Senate Ways & Means Committee
Eliminates a requirement that a resident snowmobile operator must obtain a user permit and raises annual snowmobile registration fee.

HF760 Hotel/Motel Tax Exemption Summary | Details House Floor, Bouncing Bill
Exempts local hotel/motel tax beginning after 90 consecutive days of lodging.

HF771 Child & Dependent Care Exemptions Summary | Details Senate Ways & Means Committee
Creates an income tax exemption for money paid to child and dependent care providers.

This bill includes promotional play receipts in adjusted gross receipts through June 30, 2024.

This bill adds requirements to state Transportation Commission membership.

This bill allows cities to establish land banks.

SF203 Private Fishing Summary | Details Senate Floor, Second Time
Allows a person to fish on a private lake or pond without a license. 

This bill requires lodging providers to secure a sales tax permit when renting lodging.

This bill allows native wine manufacturers to have up to two class "C" permits.

This bill creates a scenic byways enhancement fund.

Exempts a person hunting on private property from additional restrictions caused by the establishment of a refuge area or restricted area by DNR for any wild goose.

This bill repeals provisions requiring travel agencies and travel agents to be registered.
Your Bill Tracker
Click above to see status of important bills, or create your own report with our custom download.
Town Halls & Public Forums
Find a local event with your state or federal elected officials here. Three weeks are shown at a time on this website.