Travel Federation of Iowa
Legislative Update | Issue #4 | March 6, 2021
Tourism Funding Increase In Both Chambers

Action in the House Economic Growth Committee on the final Thursday of funnel week ensured that both the House and Senate have live rounds that include the new $5 million line item funding for tourism. The committee met Thursday morning to take up and unanimously pass HSB 233 (Link) which also contains adjustments to IEDA tax credit allocations, creation of the Manufacturing 4.0 Technology Fund, and creation of the Energy Infrastructure Revolving Loan Program. HSB 233 will receive a new House File number and will be immediately referred to the House Ways & Means Committee for further consideration.
In the Senate, legislation (SSB 1171) to make changes to licenses at the Alcohol Beverages Division was amended in State Government committee to include a new $7 million line item for tourism, along with authorization for the IEDA to use $2 million of that new funding for a statewide nonprofit tourism organization. That bill was renumbered as SF 475 (Link) and is awaiting consideration by the Senate Appropriations Committee. 
While it’s great news that we have a major tourism funding boost in both chambers, we have a LONG way to go to get this passed. We need the industry to step forward on this and be talking with your legislators! 
The IEDA currently spends about $1.94 million on tourism and marketing, so replacing that with $5 million or more would be game-changing for the industry. Contact your legislators today and tell them you support higher funding for tourism, an industry that got hammered during the past year. Tell your story!!
We have reached the halfway point of the 2021 legislative session. Weeks 7 and 8 are now behind us and Monday, March 8th will mark Day 57 of the 110-day scheduled session.  It has been a wild ride, so far, and it is sure to get crazier as the weeks click by. 
First Funnel
Legislators rushed to hold subcommittee hearings and committee meetings this week to get ahead of the first major "funnel" deadline of the 2021 legislative session. The funnel is the way that legislators narrow the list of bills that can be discussed. Bills that did not make it out of committee before the end of this week (Friday, March 5) are technically "dead" for the rest of the year. Lawmakers moved more than 50 bills through committee JUST ON THURSDAY ALONE. 
**Since this is the first year of a General Assembly though, bills that die in the funnel will be eligible for action next year, AND some bills that die in the funnel may also re-appear as amendments to other bills late in the session. Don’t let up on your advocacy!
Pre-Session Prediction Off Target
In the first update, we warned you that leaders had told us this session would be very focused and there would not be as many bills introduced. That was clearly not an accurate prediction. As of Friday, March 5th, the end of the 8th week, legislators have introduced a whopping 1,925 bills. This consists of 838 Senate bills (averaging roughly 16.8 bills per Senator) and 1087 House bills (averaging roughly 10.9 bills per Representative).  About half of these bills didn't make it out of committee in time to beat the deadline.
It is important to note that bills that deal with oversight (Government Oversight Committee), spend money (Appropriations Committee), or deal with taxes (Ways & Means Committee) are exempt from the legislative deadlines, because they tend to come up later in the legislative session once lawmakers turn from policy toward fiscal issues. 
Here are a few issues that survived the first funnel cut:
  • The "Back the Blue" bill that supports law enforcement by enhancing penalties for rioting, allows police officers to sue people who file false reports against them, and protects police officers that accidentally hit protesters with their car. (SF534SF476)

  • Vaccine changes that include allowing dentists and podiatrists to give COVID-19 vaccines to adults, but do not allow businesses to require their employees get COVID-19 vaccines and vaccinators to update the state's immunization registry. 

  • The Governor's "Broadband Bill" to expand access to fast reliable Internet access to all areas of Iowa. (SF390)

  • "Permit-less Carry" gun bills that would allow people to own and carry guns without a permit. (HF756)

  • Election changes that will shorten time for early voting, require mail-in ballots to be received by Election night, limit who can hand deliver your ballots, and set limits on what county auditors can and cannot do. This bill SF413 is already on its way to the Governor.

  • Overhaul of the state's 42-year-old Bottle Bill in an effort to get bottle and can redemptions out of grocery stores and another attempt to get rid of all traffic cameras.

  • Constitutional amendments on guns, abortion, voting age, and gubernatorial succession. (SJR7HJR5HJR7SJR15). 

  • An end to day light savings time - Iowa would not "fall back" every Fall, and "spring forward" every Spring if this bill passes.

  • Major changes to child care to increase access to child care tax credits, encourage employers to pay for or build child care facilities for their employees, and help families gradually come off of child care assistance (rather than suddenly losing it all).(HF141HF230HF292HF302HF370HF230HF712

  • Additional and more frequent asset tests and income verification in order to continue receiving food assistance (SNAP), Medicaid, and family support (FIP). (SF389)

  • School vouchers that allow kids to attend private schools paid with taxpayer funded scholarships, and a new hybrid charter school program. (SF159)

  • Legislation to allow the Legislative Council to review the constitutionality of Presidential Executive Orders and forward them to the Attorney General to take action. (HF481)

  • A bill that stops all taxpayer funds from supporting technology companies like Google and Facebook, if they censor free speech. (SF 402)

  • Public schools in Iowa would be required to provide annual first amendment rights training to all staff and students. (HF744)
Died in the Funnel
There were many bills that didn't make the cut, including controversial bills that limited access to information at libraries, stopped schools from allowing students to use the bathroom that aligns with their gender identity, banned health care providers (including mental health professionals) from treating individuals with gender dysphoria, ended tenure at Iowa colleges, expanded medical marijuana use and legalized "magic mushrooms," reinstated the death penalty, added vaping to the state's Smokefree Air Act, and limited the number of times a US Senator and US Representative could run for office.
Second Funnel
Legislators now have until April 2 to vote on the surviving bills, and get them out of committee in the opposite chamber. This "second funnel" requires a House bill to be voted out of the House, and then out of a Senate committee before April 2. This procedural hurdle can be overcome if identical bills are passed by committee in both chambers.
This next two weeks will be filled with long days of debate, with committee meetings picking up in the final two weeks before the second funnel deadline. Stay tuned and remember you can watch or listen to live or taped debates at
REC Meeting
In the middle of this flurry of work is the March 19 Revenue Estimating Conference (Link) meeting when a group of three economists review how much money the state has taken in since the start of the fiscal year on July 1, 2020. They then predict how much money the state has to spend in its budget for the next fiscal year (which begins July 1, 2021). The Legislature will start their budget process using the LOWER of the two estimates from this meeting and the REC meeting from last December. 
The Temporary Redistricting Advisory Commission (Link) has been holding video conference meetings the last few Mondays. The role of the commission is to assist the Legislative Services Agency in its duties to draw a redistricting map and to hold public hearings on a new map. The commission still has little clarity over how that process may change this year, since the US Census Bureau has notified states that they won’t have the necessary data available until September 30th. 
The Iowa Constitution requires the Iowa Supreme Court to “cause the state to be apportioned” if the Legislature has not approved a map by September 15. Whether legislators can meet in a special redistricting session in October, or if instead the Supreme Court will need to take control of districting, has yet to be determined.
NOTE ABOUT BILL TRACKER LINK AT THE BOTTOM:  The default setting is on "active bills," which are those that made it through the funnel. You can see the bills that died and are no longer active by switching the list to "Inactive." Remember it is updated daily, but we are now fully caught up from the whirlwind of funnel week.
COVID Relief Bill
This week, the Iowa House passed SF 364 (Link), a COVID-19 relief package for Iowa taxpayers and businesses affected by COVID-19. The bill provides $128 million in tax relief to Iowans by exempting pandemic-related grants and unemployment benefits from state income tax. This will be funded by a combination of the remaining monies within the Taxpayer Relief Fund for FY 21 and some of the State’s remaining ending fund balance.
Iowa Economic Development Authority (IEDA) and Iowa Finance Authority (IFA) Director Debi Durham presented to the House Economic Development Appropriations Subcommittee on Wednesday, February 24th. Her presentation can be found HERE.
Big Tech Censorship
A lot of attention has been paid this past week to legislation (SF 402 and HF 633, both to be renumbered soon) that addresses big tech companies from removing controversial posts. Both chambers passed a bill out before the funnel deadline that allows them to continue working on this issue. 
The Senate’s bill would prohibit state and local governments from awarding incentives or benefits to companies that censor online. The House’s bill would prohibit such companies from preventing a user from creating or interacting with constitutionally-protected speech on its website. Expect to see more discussion on this topic in the weeks ahead.

Iowa’s Scenic Byways
On February 23rd, the House passed HF 486 (Link), 93-0, which provides the option to Iowans when renewing their title registration to donate $1 or more to the Scenic Byways Enhancement Fund. Iowa has 14 scenic byways that currently receive $500,000 annually through the Transportation Commission for corridor management, signs, and marketing. The bill has been referred to the Senate Transportation Committee and is awaiting action by a subcommittee consisting of Senators Brown, J. Smith, and Zumbach. 
TFI Bills of Interest - Bill List
LIVE Bills – Bills we are tracking for you that survived the first funnel and can continue to be worked on this session.

HF142 Sale and Use Tax Refunds Summary | Details House Ways & Means Committee
Makes changes to sales and use tax refunds.

HF273 Winter Recreational Activities Protections Summary | Details House Floor
Makes a person who owns a commercial property immune from civil liability for voluntary winter activities if the owner shows that the injury resulted from the risks inherent in such activities.

HF346 Lobbying Activities Summary | Details House Floor
Places requirements on lobbying activities of political subdivisions.

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

HF486 Scenic Byways Enhancement Fund Summary | Details House Floor
Creates a scenic byways enhancement fund.

HF493 Low-Speed Electric Bicycles Summary | Details House Floor
Makes changes to low-speed electric bicycle regulations.

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

HF60 Nonresident Deer Hunting Summary | Details House Floor
Reserves 500 nonresident deer hunting licenses for individuals who have made reservations with a hunting guide company.

HF730 Vehicle Rental Summary | Details House 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.

HF762 Snowmobile/ATV Transfer Fees Summary | Details House Ways & Means Committee
Waives transfer title fees for snowmobiles and ATVs for surviving spouses.

HF768 Alcohol Licensing Summary | Details House Floor
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 House Floor
Makes changes to definitions related to amusement concessions and licensing.

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.

HSB233 Manufacturing 4.0, Tourism Funding and Other IEDA Programs Summary | Details House Floor
Makes provisions related to Manufacturing 4.0, tourism funding, and other IEDA programs. *Will soon get a new HF number.

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 Agriculture Committee
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.

SF390 Governor's Broadband Proposal Summary | Details Senate & House Floors
Makes provisions related to broadband service availability and administration of the empower rural Iowa broadband grant fund.

SF420 Recreational Use of Private Land Summary | Details Senate Floor
Amends definition of private land available for public recreational use and amends definition of "recreational purpose."

SF465 Littering Offenses Summary | Details Senate Floor
Adds revocation of certain privileges upon conviction of a littering offense.

SF475 Statewide Tourism Marketing Summary | Details Senate Floor
Transfers funds to EDA from the beer and liquor control fund to support a statewide tourism marketing campaign.

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

SF542 Alcohol Renewal Fee Rebate Summary | Details Senate Floor
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 Senate Floor
Modifies regulations and requirements relating to advertising devices along highways.

Makes provisions related to renewable fuel.

SF555 Vaccinations/Immunizations Summary | Details Senate Floor
Makes several provisions related to vaccinations and immunizations.

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.
DEAD Bills – Bills we are tracking for you that died in the first funnel. Since this is the first year of two-year General Assembly, these bills all come back to life next January. These bills can also be turned into amendments that get added to other bills, so don’t let up on your advocacy efforts!

HF132 Remote Continuing Education Credits Summary | Details House State Government Committee
HF184 School Sports Participation Summary | Details House Education Committee
HF213 Local Entertainment Surcharge Summary | Details House Local Government Committee
HF411 Passing Bikes/Bike Lights Summary | Details House Transportation Committee
HF639 Distilled Spirits Direct Shipping Summary | Details House State Government Committee
SF11 State Transportation Commission Summary | Details Senate Transportation Committee
SF224 School Bathroom Access Summary | Details Senate Education Committee
SF70 Violations Against Bicyclists Summary | Details Senate Transportation Committee
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Town Halls & Public Forums
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