Week 10 Concludes With ABI Priority Passing Senate
March 18, 2021
It was a significant week at the Capitol as a number of bills that ABI supports advanced. Perhaps the most consequential news is that the Iowa Senate passed SF 361, which would enact important and positive changes to Iowa’s private sector drug and alcohol testing statute. The legislation flips the burden of proof from the employer to the plaintiff. It gives employers additional flexibility as to how they communicate with employees regarding testing results. It also makes it clear that employers can designate certain jobs as “safety-sensitive positions." The bill passed 30-17 and now heads to the House. ABI would like to thank Sen. Zach Whiting for his leadership in managing this ABI priority legislation.
A number of other pro-growth bills advanced through the Legislature this week. You can view those below.
- SF 295 - Housing Omnibus - The Senate Ways & Means Committee held a subcommittee that considered Governor Reynolds’ housing bill. The legislation does a number of things to increase Iowa’s housing stock, including doubling the workforce housing tax credit, creating a new tax credit program to incentivize more affordable housing, and more. Legislators noted that as the bill involves significant tax policy, how the Legislature decides to craft the budget will ultimately determine what the final language in the bill looks like. ABI position: For.
- HF 796 - Broadband - The House Appropriations Committee passed this legislation this morning and the bill creates incentives for industries to deploy higher speeds of broadband infrastructure across the state. There were two amendments adopted to the bill, but they didn’t change the overall purpose of the bill. ABI position: For.
- HF 555 - Preemption of Local Gas Regulation - This legislation, which passed the House 57-36 on Monday, preempts cities and counties from regulating the use and sale of natural gas and propane. Jurisdictions in other parts of the country have enacted such ordinances which will raise energy and construction costs. There is a companion bill in the Senate that could be debated at any time. ABI position: For.
- HF 523 - Flood Mitigation - The bill amends the definition of essential county purpose as it relates the issuing general obligation bonds by a county. The new definition will make it easy for counties to build infrastructure aimed at mitigating flooding. The legislation went through a Senate subcommittee this week and has previously passed the House unanimously. ABI position: For.
- HF 309 - Donor Privacy - A Senate subcommittee approved legislation related to the protection of privacy of individuals who are involved with tax exemption organizations. The bill prohibits a public agency from seeking the disclosure of, or publishing, personal information from a 501(c) tax-exempt organization that would reveal the identity of a member, supporter, volunteer or donor of a tax-exempt organization, or from requesting from a contractor a listing of tax-exempt organizations that the contractor has supported. The bill has already been passed by the House. ABI position: For.
- SF 576 - Tax Triggers & Inheritance Tax - The Senate unanimously passed this legislation which phases out the inheritance tax and also eliminates the revenue and growth triggers from the 2018 tax reform law. It now heads to the House. Whether this ultimately becomes law will depend upon budget negotiations the leaders of the House and Senate will have in the next few weeks. ABI position: For.
REC Meets Tomorrow
The Revenue Estimating Conference (REC) is set to convene Friday morning to provide the Legislature an updated budget forecast for Fiscal Year 2022. The panel is composed of the Governor’s designee, a member of the Legislative Services Agency and a member of the public. The conference previously met in December and estimated the state’s revenue would hit $8.26 billion in FY22, which is 3.7% growth over FY21. Their projections will have a significant impact on what tax policy the Legislature decides to implement as the budget is constructed over the course of the next several weeks. Look for an update on this issue in next week’s newsletter.