Travel Federation of Iowa
Legislative Update | Issue #7 | April 16, 2021
Keep Hammering

To those of you that responded to this week's alert, THANK YOU. We are not out just yet, but time is short and the $5 million funding we are requesting is not yet in the final mix. Legislators are talking about it, and that's a good thing right now.

If you haven't reached out yet to your legislators, we need your help. If you have done so, we need you to keep doing so. If every person reading this alert can go out and recruit a handful of people to weigh in with the same message, we can get this done. Every hotel, museum, event center or any other tourism venue in your area has reason to call or email legislators in support of the marketing funding. Make sure they are doing it, and make sure their employees, board members, and customers are dialed in too.

We need your every voice to be saying the same thing to every legislator:

We ask that you transfer $5 million from the state’s beer and liquor control fund to IEDA to support statewide tourism marketing and programming.

As we close out Week 14 of the legislative session, we are definitely in the home stretch. Monday, April 19th will be Session Day 99 out of the 110-day scheduled session. Per diems run out on Friday, April 30th, and they almost always go beyond the deadline, but usually not far beyond it.
When Will It End?
Predicting the final day of session is always difficult, but this year may be harder than most. The chambers are not in agreeing on much at this point. Most of the eleven budget bills have been introduced by both chambers, but there are some glaring differences in funding. There is also not yet agreement between the chambers on the overall budget numbers, which makes it impossible to start debating the individual budget bill and leaves previously passed tax bills (like SF 576 and SF 587) in limbo.  
Budget Bills
Out of the eleven budget bills that need to pass this year, eight of them now have a version in each chamber. Two of them have a version in only one chamber - the Health & Human Services Budget bill and the Federal Block Grant Appropriations bill. The one remaining appropriations bill that still has not been introduced, and likely won’t until we’re near the end, is the Standing Appropriations Budget bill, which typically becomes a catch-all bill for last minute policy and spending provisions. 
Bill numbers change as the legislation moves forward, but here are the current budget bill numbers as of Friday, April 16:
All of these bills with an HF or SF number (the vast majority) are on their chamber’s calendar and can be debated at any time once a deal is in place. If they stick to the deal made early in session, the Senate will vote first on their version of Admin/Reg, Economic Development, Health, Transportation, and Standings. The other six bills will start in the House.
The Closedown Deal
If the House and Senate can lock in deals soon on all the outstanding policy bills and budget bills, and start churning through the pile of legislation, they have a chance at adjourning for the year (“sine die”) on or just before the Friday, April 30th regular end of the session. However, that is a very big IF at this point. 
Every step of the way will require caucus meetings so each party in each chamber can walk through the bills and understand the line items and amendments. That process takes some time. People outside the building, when logging on to the Legislature’s website from home, will see a lot of blank screens that say “At Ease for Caucus” over the next few weeks.  
Sand in the Gears
What can delay a closedown deal? A whole host of issues, existing and yet to be discovered. First, we have already talked about the budget and the differences that need to be ironed out there. 
Next, we know the Senate and the Governor are insistent on passing legislation to repeal the “tax triggers,” thereby allowing the 2018 income tax cuts to take effect regardless of the State meeting revenue requirements. The House is reluctant to repeal the triggers due to the uncertainty about State revenues.
The Senate has also passed a repeal of the estate tax (SF 576), and a second tax bill (SF 587) that includes state funding for regional mental health services, a repeal of the backfill to cities and counties, and a repeal of the charitable conservation tax credit. The House has expressed reluctance to consider that bill this session.
The House and Senate also have a number of smaller issues on which they differ, such as the House repeatedly passing telehealth legislation that the Senate has been unwilling to consider.  Another example - This week, eleven House Republicans signed on to an amendment to the Justice Budget bill that would enact the so-called “Religious Freedom Restoration Act,” a bill that died in the first funnel and whose passage has caused some states to lose NCAA tournaments and other large national conferences and events. Navigating through issues like these typically add time to the session as legislative leaders try to get their members all on the same page. Expect more similar surprises in the next few weeks.
Publication Note - This publication, which typically comes out every two weeks during session, will NOT be published two weeks from now IF it looks like the Legislature could adjourn in the near future. If that is the case, we will instead wait and publish AFTER they adjourn for the year. In the mean time though, keep an eye out for timely alerts requesting you to take action.
Redistricting Update
The Iowa Supreme Court issued a statement (Link) on redistricting this week implying they will “cause the state to be apportioned into senatorial and representative districts” by asking the Legislature to follow the process in Iowa law and have new district maps by the end of the calendar year. As you’ll recall, this was prompted by the US Census Bureau announcement earlier this year that they would not be able to get states their raw census data until the end of September. Iowa’s constitution requires the Iowa Legislature to redraw the state’s legislative districts by September 1, with enactment by September 15 (or the Supreme Court is charged with that role).
By stating that they will kick the job back to the Legislature if the data comes in too late, the Supreme Court is keeping with Iowa’s model redistricting law that has a non-partisan staff draw the lines without regard to politics and existing incumbents. Prepare yourself for an October special legislative session!
The Budget and Tourism
Keep your advocacy focused on the $5 million to IEDA for Tourism Marketing! It isn’t in any of the budget bills yet, but we are continuing to chip away at it and every call you make and email you send helps that cause. 
Here is how the rest of the budget is looking:
The Economic Development Appropriations bill (HF 871 & SF 595) has the following: 
  • Level funding for IEDA Operations ($13.319m) in the Senate bill and a $50,000 cut in the House version
  • Level funding to Cultural Affairs, Great Places, Community Cultural Grants
  • Level funding of $500,000 to Regional Sports Authorities
  • An increase of $286k in regional tourism marketing funds (to $1.186 million) in the House version (Senate has level funding at $900k)
  • A new $1 million transfer of Beer & Liquor Control Funds in the Senate version to IEDA for tourism marketing, requiring an RFP for a statewide effort to leverage public and private partnerships  

The Rebuild Iowa’s Infrastructure Fund (RIIF) bill (HF 862 & SF 600) currently has many differences between the House and Senate, with the House allocating roughly $15 million more than the Senate bill. Here are some of the highlights for you:
  • Both versions contain $5 million for the Community Attraction & Tourism (CAT) program
  • The House version increases Water Trails and Low Head Dam funding by $750,000 (to $1million); the Senate has level funding at $250k
  • The House version restores trail funding to $1.5 million; the Senate keeps at last year’s cut level of $1 million
  • The House version increases state park infrastructure funding by $1 million (to $2 million); Senate provides level funding at $1 million
  • The House provides $1 million more than the Senate for Lake Restoration/Dredging/Water Quality ($8.6m vs. $9.6m)
  • The House version has $98k for a human trafficking hotel/motel training system 
  • The Senate version provides $1.5 million in sports wagering proceeds towards a Sports Tourism Program that was passed in the 2016 Enhance Iowa bill but never funded. That language is expanded to make the professional sporting events eligible for the funding.
  • The House provides $250k to community forestry to repair derecho tree damage
The Agriculture and Natural Resources Appropriations bill (HF 860 & SF 598) contains the following:
  • Both versions have level funding $500,000 going toward Hungry Canyons and $40,000 going to the Loess Hills Alliance
  • Both versions have level funding for the Resource Enhancement and Protection (REAP) program ($12 million with $1 million from the Open Spaces account allowed to be used by the DNR for State Park Maintenance)
  • The House version extends REAP’s expiration date by three years (from 7/1/2023 to 7/1/2026) 
  • The House version adds $1 million for State Park Operations (to $7.235 million); the Senate has level funding
Senate Tax Bill Now Contains Hotel/Motel
Last issue, we broke down for you the 51-page tax bill (SF 587) that, at that time, was about to be passed by the Senate. The highlights of it were that it provides state funding for mental health, eliminates the property tax backfill to cities and counties, removes the tax triggers that require a certain level of state revenue before the 2018 income tax cuts can take effect, eliminates the Charitable Conservation Contribution Tax Credit, and makes other changes.  SF 587 was passed, 30-17, by the Iowa Senate on April 6th.
Prior to passage, in order to help offset losses that might occur for public transit providers like Des Moines Area Regional Transit (DART), the Senate passed an amendment that made several fixes to the mental health parts of the bill and allows transit operators to pursue a transit hotel/motel tax of up to five percent. It would have to be voted upon by the citizens. 
You can view more information about the provision by going HERE (starts on page 10).  You can also view the actual bill language by going to the Bill Link HERE; scroll down to page 44, start reading at line 25 and continue through line 2 on the next page.  
This language has probably a slim chance of getting enacted this year since the House has signaled some reluctance to take on the bigger sections of this bill during this session. However, we wanted to be sure you saw the language, in case you want to react to your legislators in favor or opposition. This language might become a vehicle for next year’s bill.
TFI Bills of Interest - Bill List
HF142 Sale and Use Tax Refunds Summary | Details House Ways & Means Committee
Makes changes to sales and use tax refunds.

HF384 Off-Site Drinks Summary | Details Senate Unfinished Business Calendar
Requires mixed drinks, wine, liquor, beer, and wine sold by class "C" licensees for off-site consumption be in original, unopened containers.

HF493 Low-Speed Electric Bicycles Summary | Details House Floor, Second Time
Changes definition of "low-speed electric bicycle" and modifies regulations related to low-speed electric bicycles.

HF558 Amusement Ride Training Summary | Details Sent to Governor
Establishes a minimum age and training requirements for attendants who control amusement rides.

HF730 Vehicle Rental Unfair Fees Summary | Details Senate Floor
Prohibits vehicle rental companies from blocking or charging a customer's credit card in excess of the estimated total daily or weekly charges and rental deposits stated in the rental agreement.

HF768 Alcohol Licensing Summary | Details Senate Unfinished Business Calendar
Authorizes ABD to grant up to two of each license/permit to a native distillery, beer manufacturer, brewery, or wine manufacturer.

HF785 Amusement Concessions Summary | Details Senate Unfinished Business Calendar
Makes changes to definitions related to amusement concessions and licensing.

HF789 Manufacturing 4.0, Tourism Funding and Other IEDA Programs Summary | Details House Ways & Means Committee
Makes provisions related to Manufacturing 4.0, tourism funding, and other IEDA programs.

HF822 Lobbying Activities Summary | Details Senate Unfinished Business Calendar
Places requirements for local government lobbying and contracts.

HF846 Snowmobile/ATV Transfer Fees Summary | Details Senate Ways & Means Committee
Waives transfer title fees for snowmobiles and ATVs for surviving spouses.

HF848 Governor's Broadband Proposal Summary | Details Sent to Governor
Makes provisions related to broadband service availability and administration of the empower rural Iowa broadband grant fund.

Eliminates the requirement that a resident snowmobile operator must obtain a user permit to operate a snowmobile on public land, public ice, or a designated snowmobile trail.

HF860 Agriculture/Natural Resources Budget (House Version) Summary | Details House Appropriations Committee
Makes appropriations for agriculture and natural resources for FY2021-2022.

HF862 Infrastructure/RIFF Budget (House Version) Summary | Details House Appropriations Committee
Makes appropriations for infrastructure for FY2021-2022.

HF871 Economic Development Appropriations (House Version) Summary | Details House Appropriations Committee
Appropriates funds for economic development for FY2021-2022.

HSB195 Pandemic Relief Deductions Summary | Details House Ways & Means Committee
Excludes certain COVID-19 related grants from individual and corporate income taxes and allows certain deductions related to the paycheck protection program loan forgiveness.

Repeals individual income tax and increases the state sales and use tax.

SF169 Promotional Play Receipts Summary | Details Senate Floor
Makes changes to promotional play receipts governing gambling games and sports wagering.
SF356 Agricultural Tourism Promotion Act Summary | Details House Unfinished Business Calendar
Creates the Iowa Agricultural Tourism Promotion Act.

SF364 Paycheck Protection Program Summary | Details Senate Floor, Second Time
Fully conforms Iowa tax law to federal law regarding money received from the federal paycheck protection program for all taxpayers.

SF475 Statewide Tourism Marketing Summary | Details Senate Appropriations Committee
Transfers funds to IEDA from the beer and liquor control fund to more than double IEDA marketing efforts and supports a statewide tourism marketing organization.

Creates a local hotel and motel tax account and board to administer locally imposed taxes.

SF542 Alcohol Renewal Fee Rebate Summary | Details Senate Ways & Means Committee
Requires ABD to provide a renewal fee rebate to holders of an annual license/permit to sell alcoholic beverages for on-premises consumption who renewed in CY2020.

SF548 Advertising Device Regulation Summary | Details Signed
Modifies regulations and requirements relating to advertising devices along highways.

SF549 Governor's Renewable Fuels Bill Summary | Details Senate Ways & Means Committee
Makes provisions related to renewable fuel.

SF587 Mental Health Funding/Backfill Elimination/Triggers/Conservation Summary | Details House Ways & Means Committee
Makes several changes to state and local government financing, programs, and operations.

SF592 Transportation Budget (FY 2022) Summary | Details Senate Floor
Appropriates funds for transportation services and agencies for fiscal year 2022 (which begins July 1, 2021).

SF595 Economic Development Appropriations (Senate Version) Summary | Details Senate Floor
Appropriates funds to various state departments and for a statewide tourism marketing campaign.

SF598 Agriculture/Natural Resources Budget (Senate Version) Summary | Details Senate Floor
Agriculture/Natural Resource budget for FY2021-2022.

SF600 Infrastructure/RIIF Budget (Senate Version) Summary | Details Senate Appropriations Committee
Appropriates funds for infrastructure/RIIF for FY2021-2022.

Makes provisions regarding state taxation.

SSB1242 Governor's Economic Development Budget Summary | Details Senate Appropriations Committee
The governor's budget for economic development authority, department of cultural affairs, Iowa finance authority, public employment relations board, and department of workforce development for for FY2021-2022 and FY2022-2023.

SSB1246 Governor's Transportation Budget Summary | Details Senate Appropriations Committee
The governor's budget on transportation and other infrastructure appropriations for FY2021-2022 and FY2022-2023.

Excludes certain COVID-19 related grants from individual and corporate income taxes.

Modifies current property tax exemption for fairgrounds.
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