Travel Federation of Iowa
Legislative Update | Issue #2 | February 6, 2021
The Capitol Dome on a foggy Wednesday morning
Fast & Furious
Not sure if that term has been coined before, but if not, I’m claiming it. That would describe Weeks 3 & 4 at the Capitol. The pace that is normally reserved for funnel week has been the norm since Week 2 at the Capitol, due partly to the constraints the COVID has put on meeting space area in the Capitol combined with a reality among legislators that we need to be making headway on priority bills because a COVID outbreak at any time could suspend the session.
Monday, February 8th will be the 29th day of the 110-day scheduled session, almost a third of the way. In Week 3, we saw the Legislature focus on 100% in-person schools and parental choice of schools, constitutional amendments on gun rights and restricting abortions, and hearings on the First Amendment rights at the Regents universities. 
Week 4 got cut short due to weather, but the week still saw some debate, a lot of subcommittee meetings on bills and the introduction of many of the Governor’s initiatives, including her housing bill, justice reform package and tax proposal. The Governor’s Housing bill and Broadband bill each had their first subcommittee meeting.
As we climb into Week 5, the Legislature looks poised to take up childcare bills in the House, K-12 education funding in both subcommittee and full committee in both chambers (possible floor debate too), and continue working on broadband, housing and many other issues. 
COVID at the Capitol
Meanwhile, COVID cases at the Capitol continue to climb with one House legislator reporting four cases this week with individuals associated with the Iowa House and that seven of their colleagues were in quarantine. Most legislators and lobbyists are wearing masks and the two chambers are avoiding joint meetings to limit exposure. 
The Iowa House did make national news this week when a dispute over rules enforcement was reported in the Washington Post (Link). At the beginning of the legislative session, Speaker of the House Pat Grassley was asked whether the Iowa House would institute a mask mandate in the chamber. He said he would not because it could not be enforced. Rep. Wessel-Kroeschell (D-Ames) wore jeans for floor debate this week, a violation of the chamber’s dress code, to see how that rule might be enforced. As the session wears on and as COVID numbers continue to climb, we expect more disputes like this to occur.
Lots of Bills- We are now up to 1,039 bills and resolutions introduced at the end of Week Four.  Legislators still have another five working days to sponsor bills, so the numbers will keep adding up for another few weeks as we head toward the first legislative "funnel" deadline (March 5) when bills need to be out of their committees of origin.
Calling All Advocates!!

The moment you have been waiting for has arrived and we'll need ALL HANDS ON DECK this session!

How many times over the past several years have we been pushing for more money for tourism only to be told that it just doesn'f it in the budget? Well, this time is different. This time, the Governor is pushing for more tourism funding for the industry and she'll need our help to get it through the Legislature.

We need TFI members to be weighing in NOW with their legislators!! The message for now is just to TELL YOUR STORY about what the tourism industry partners in your area have weathered during the pandemic - ticket sales, layoffs, closures, pay cuts, furloughs, etc. Tell them your story!!

In the days and weeks ahead, we'll have more details for you, as far as bill numbers and that sort of thing. At that point, you can get even more specific, but for now, TELL YOUR STORY!!

The IEDA and Tourism have put together this attached summary of the proposed funding. Look it over and TAKE ACTION with your legislators. If you need a refresher on who represents you, just go HERE and plug in your home address.
Advisory Council Report
The final report from the Governor’s Economic Recovery Advisory Council was released on Thursday, February 4th, and is available for review HERE. The initial recommendations were released as 18 bullet points back in October, but the final report goes much more in-depth into the discussions and recommendations made by the over 350 working group and subgroup members involved in the effort. 
The Advisory Council was formed by Governor Reynolds in June and the mission was to assess Iowa’s condition and to recommend policies that position Iowa for growth coming out of the pandemic. A number of the proposals outlined in this report – broadband, housing, childcare and others – are already in legislative form and advancing at the Capitol. More will likely be drafted soon.

House Government Oversight Committee meeting in the Law Library, February 2, 2021

The Governor and legislators have worked for years on expanding broadband in Iowa with a goal of connecting every Iowan. The COVID pandemic shined a spotlight for Iowa policymakers on the need to double- and triple-down on this effort. Lack of access and slow speeds were pushed into the limelight when school children and parents were forced to rely on their Internet connection (or lack thereof) for school and work throughout a large chunk of 2020.
A number of broadband policy bills will likely make their way through the legislative process this session. The biggest proposal, however, that everyone is watching is the Governor’s initiative, SSB 1089 (Link) and HSB 133. This bill would increase the speed thresholds being pursued in Iowa and make changes to the Empower Rural Iowa Broadband Grant Fund. The Governor’s proposal includes adding $450 million of funding (over three years) to move the needle like never before on this issue. 
Some of the other broadband policy bills that are making headway include the following:
·      HSB 124 (Link) – The bill would clarify the use of existing easement to more quickly and efficiently provide internet to those with an electric easement already running through their property.
·      HSB 128 (Link) – This bill would allow municipalities to join together and jointly finance a telecommunications utility by adding such operations to Iowa Code Chapter 28F: Joint financing of public works and facilities. 
·      HSB 53 (Link) – This bill creates a certification program managed by the Iowa Economic Development Authority (IEDA) to assist communities in advertising the proactive steps they have taken to provide broadband and direct the Department of Transportation to monitor highway construction projects for possibilities to include conduit installation where they currently do not exist and manage a “dig once” policy.
Childcare Bills Galore
While a number of the big issues this year each tend to be focused in one or two major bills, the Iowa House is handling the childcare issue by letting members move lots of different ideas over to the Senate for their consideration. The House has worked through eight childcare bills that are currently eligible for floor debate and the House’s Debate Calendar for Monday, February 8th, includes no less than SIX childcare bills. Those include:
·      House File 230 (Link) – This bill would double the maximum Iowa net income threshold for the Iowa child and dependent care credit and the early childhood development tax credit, making the credits available to all taxpayers with net incomes of less than $90,000 starting with tax year 2021.
·      House File 370 (Link) – This bill provides businesses with a 25% nonrefundable business tax credit (up to $150,000) to provide child care benefits to employees. 
·      House File 260 (Link) – This bill would allow nonregistered child care homes to increase by one school-aged child.
·      House File 292 (Link) – This bill would provide rate increases to child care providers accepting Child Care Assistance.  
·      House File 302 (Link) – This bill would address the child care cliff effect by establishing a graduated eligibility phase-out program for state child care assistance. 
·      House File 301 (Link) – This bill would establish a public/private partnership to help recruit and retain child care providers in Iowa by providing matching funds to communities.
In addition to those six that are ready for debate, another two childcare bills that are eligible for House debate right now are House Files 362 & 363. 
·      House File 362 (Link) - This bill would provide an incentive for developers to construct more child care centers.
·     House File 363 (Link) – This bill would allow the creation or expansion of an onsite daycare facility to qualify for Iowa Economic Development Authority funds.

We expect to see a flurry of activity from the House on this issue this week and then a pause while the Senate determines how many of these bills to take action on, whether to combine them, whether to add in missing pieces that they see, etc.
Senate District 41 – Dickey wins Special Election
On Tuesday, January 6th, Republican Adrian Dickey defeated Democrat Mary Stewart in a race to fill the vacant state senate seat in Iowa Senate District 41. The vacancy occurred as a result of former State Sen. Mariannette Miller-Meeks resigning in order to be sworn in as the U.S. Representative for Iowa’s Second Congressional District. Dickey is from Packwood and he works in the family business Dickey Transportation. His election keeps Republicans control of the Iowa Senate at the same 32-18 margin.
Redistricting Special Session?
In the first update, you’ll recall we told you that ther are two things the Legislature MUST pass this session – a budget for FY 2022 and a redistricting plan based on the new census numbers. While other issues such as childcare and broadband are likely to pass too, the budget and the new maps are the only “must do”s. 
The U.S. Census Bureau has been warning of several months that data is delayed this year due to a number of issues, the biggest of which is COVID-19. In a typical year, states would expect to have federal census data in hand by April 1. This year, the Census Bureau is expecting that delivery to fall closer to July 30. If this is the case, the Legislature will definitely need to come back for a special session to consider redistricting. The Iowa Constitution requires them to have a plan in place on September 1. You can learn more about Iowa’s redistricting process HERE.   
Senate subcommittee meetings via Zoom, Week 4 of the 2021 legislative session
TFI Bills of Interest - Bill List
Be watching this bill list! Bills are being introduced at a fast and furious pace, so this list changes every day!

HF132 Remote Continuing Education Credits Summary | Details House State Government Committee
Prohibits a licensing board from limiting the number of continuing education hours that a person can get remotely.

Makes provisions regarding ATV use and registration.

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

Establishes the protecting freedom of conscience from government discrimination act.

HF184 School Sports Participation Summary | Details House Education Committee
Requires that interscholastic or intramural athletic teams or sports that are sponsored by an educational institution be expressly designated based on the biological sex of the participating students.

Amends the Iowa Civil Rights Act.

HF213 Local Entertainment Surcharge Summary | Details House Local Government Committee
Allows local governments to impose a local entertainment surcharge.

Removes gender identity as a protected class under the Iowa civil rights act.

HF273 Winter Recreational Activities Protections Summary | Details House Judiciary Committee
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.

HF29 Scenic Byways Enhancement Fund Summary | Details House Transportation Committee
Creates a scenic byways enhancement fund.

Places requirements on lobbying activities of political subdivisions.

Requires mixed drinks, wine, liquor, beer, and wine sold by class "C" licensees for off-site consumption be in original, unopened containers.

Reserves 500 nonresident deer hunting licenses for individuals who have made reservations with a hunting guide company.

HF92 Amusement Ride Training Summary | Details House Labor Committee
Establishes a minimum age and training requirements for attendants who control amusement rides.

SF11 State Transportation Commission Summary | Details Senate Transportation Committee
This bill makes changes to the state transportation commission's membership requirements.

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.

SF193 Vaccinations/Immunizations Summary | Details Senate Human Resources Committee
Makes several provisions related to vaccinations and immunizations.

SF196 Paycheck Protection Program Summary | Details Senate Ways & Means Committee
Fully conforms Iowa tax law to federal law regarding money received from the federal paycheck protection program for all taxpayers.

SF224 School Bathroom Access Summary | Details Senate Education Committee
Prohibits a person from entering a single and multiple occupancy bathroom in a school that does not correspond with the person's biological sex.

Requires electronic publication of public notices.

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

Requires drivers passing a bicycle in the same direction to pass on the left and prohibits the driver from returning to the right side of the road until safely clear of the bicycle.

SF70 Violations Against Bicyclists Summary | Details Senate Transportation Committee
Adds additional penalties for certain violations against bicyclists.

SF97 Low-Speed Electric Bicycles Summary | Details Senate Transportation Committee
Makes changes to low-speed electric bicycle regulations.

Regulates alcoholic beverage drink pods.

SSB1089 Governor's Broadband Proposal Summary | Details Senate Commerce Committee
Makes provisions related to broadband service availability and administration of the empower rural Iowa broadband grant fund.

Makes provisions regarding state taxation.

SSB1153 Agricultural Tourism Promotion Act Summary | Details Senate Appropriations Committee
Creates the Iowa Agricultural Tourism Promotion Act.

SSB1155 Recreational Use of Private Land Summary | Details Senate Transportation Committee
Amends definition of private land available for public recreational use and amends definition of "recreational purpose."
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