Capitol Action This Week

February 6, 2020

Over 120 subcommittee meetings were held this shortened week at the Capitol as legislators look to advance their priorities prior to the first funnel deadline on Feb. 21. A bill must have passed a full committee in either chamber to remain eligible for consideration following the first funnel. There are certain exceptions to this deadline including ways & means and appropriations bills. The policy team had no shortage of meetings this week as we look to advance ABI priorities and blunt the progress of anti-jobs legislation. Here are some of the key bills that we tracked this week.

SSB3077/HSB607 – Future Ready Iowa. House and Senate subcommittees both considered Gov. Reynolds’ legislation that seeks to expand Iowa’s skilled workforce, provide incentives for businesses to invest in child care infrastructure and strengthen computer science education in schools. The bill also expands the definition of eligible student for purposes of the Last-Dollar Scholarship. Workforce and the proliferation of quality and affordable child care are ABI priorities. View more here. ABI position: Support.

SSB3116/HSB657 – Invest in Iowa Act. This legislation, which Gov. Reynolds highlighted in her Condition of the State Address, was unveiled this week. The comprehensive bill includes several divisions. Some key points include:

  • Reduces individual income taxes – The top rate is 7.48% in 2021 and then that is lowered to 5.5% in 2023 if the revenue targets are met.
  • Eliminates the 4% growth trigger currently in law
  • Increases the sales tax a full penny
  • Provides for the state general fund to cover the majority of cost that currently rests at the county level as it relates to mental health levies, which will reduce property taxes for businesses and individuals
  • Funds the Outdoor Recreation Trust Fund, but changes the percentages of monies going into the existing formula and strengthens language around the use of the dollars
  • Allows families with an income up to $90,000 to take the child care tax credit, currently $45,000
  • Eliminates the excise tax on water
  • The bill does not address corporate tax rates

ABI is currently receiving feedback on this proposal from the Tax Committee. The non-partisan Tax Foundation recently scored the proposal from a sales tax and individual income tax perspective. You can see that here. If you have feedback about how this bill would affect your company, please contact Nicole Crain or JD Davis.

HSB519 – Attorney Fees. A key bill that passed out of the House Judiciary today is HSB519. This bill started off as prohibiting cities and counties from implementing a policy that wouldn’t allow businesses to ask about criminal history on their employment applications, but the language was deemed unnecessary because it’s already the law. There was a strike-after amendment approved in committee today that would require a city or county to pay the attorney fees and court costs of someone challenging an ordinance, resolution, motion or amendment if the ordinance is found to be in violation of state law by the court. The bill passed committee on a party-line vote and is now funnel-proof. ABI position: Support.

SF2074 – Employees Running for Office. This legislation mandates that an employer cannot prohibit an employee from running for office. It also states that an employer cannot take an adverse action against an employee who decides to run for office. ABI posed several questions during the subcommittee and is opposed to the bill as employers are in the best position to determine whether they want to allow their employees to run for office or not, and this is an erosion of Iowa’s at-will employment policy. ABI position: Opposed.