State Policy Update
Lawmakers have several more weeks until their first legislative deadline. March 3 marks the end of the first “funnel week” of the session when bills are required to pass at least one chamber’s committee to remain eligible for action this session. Tax and spending bills are exempt from funnel deadlines.
This week saw the passage of two additional priorities of Governor Reynolds – a property tax “fix” that would have resulted in a higher than expected tax bill for residential property owners, yet left cities in a predicament due to a state calculation error and medical malpractice lawsuit limits. Lawmakers also sent the governor a bill that will give a 3% per-pupil increase to schools for the next fiscal year. Several additional property tax reform bills were introduced, and the governor released her comprehensive state government re-organization proposal.
The Economic Alliance is also closely monitoring other legislation related to our 2023 priorities, including:
- HSB82/SSB1086 establishes the Iowa Office of Apprenticeship within Iowa Workforce Development, leveraging existing staff to oversee program development, compliance, business engagement, and grant management. Creates a state-level advisory board which will include members from multiple industry sectors to ensure program performance and sustainability. Status: Passed out of House Economic Growth & Technology Subcommittee on 2/8. Awaits subcommittee action in the Senate.
- HSB50 creates a two-year pilot program to make child care workers automatically eligible for state child care assistance (CCA) for their own children. Status: Passed out of House Health & Human Service Subcommittee on 2/8.
- HF47 exempts from the induvial income tax the amount of wages received by a taxpayer for providing certain child care services. Status: Passed out of House Ways & Means Subcommittee on 1/25. Fiscal Note.
- HF51 directs the Department of Health & Human Services to amend its rules to require that state child care assistance program payments be made to child care provider for the time a child is regularly scheduled. Status: Referred to the House Health & Human Services Committee on 1/17.
- SF62 expands the state child care assistance eligibility requirements for families and reimbursement rates for providers. Status: Referred to the House Public Safety Committee on 1/18.
- SF108/HF105 prohibits employers from knowingly employing unauthorized aliens. We do not support the mandatory use of the Federal Employment Verification (E-Verify) system because the system is flawed and would penalize employers regardless. Status: Passed out of Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on 1/24. Passed out of House Judiciary Subcommittee on 2/8.
New Resident/Graduate Incentives:
- HSB63 creates a new resident and new graduate tax credits, which are available against the individual income tax. Status: Passed out of House Ways & Means Subcommittee on 1/31.
- HF6 establishes the Iowa workforce grant and incentive program within the college study aid commission and modifies the responsibilities of the Iowa Workforce Development board. Status: Passed out of House Education Subcommittee on 1/19.
Mental Health Workforce:
- SF127/HF90 allows Iowa to adopt the Professional Counselors Interstate Licensure Compact, a system whereby professional counselors licensed to practice in one member state may practice in another member state. Status: Awaits action in full Senate Health & Human Services Committee. House bill referred to State Government Committee on 1/23.
Second Chance Hiring:
- HF15 establishes a pathway to education and employment reentry program to be administered by community colleges to ensure formerly incarcerated citizens can successfully transition back into the community. Status: Referred to House Education Subcommittee on 1/18.
Federal Policy Update
In President Biden’s 3rd State of the Union address before Congress, he touched on several of his priorities of significance to the Economic Alliance, including:
- Urging Congress to find a bipartisan solution to immigration, including making recipients of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA or Dreamers) permanent residents and creating simpler pathways to citizenship.
- Continuing his commitment to fund community infrastructure projects.
- Highlighting work being done by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) on non-compete agreements. Note: The FTC has proposed a rule to ban non-compete agreements for all employees and independent contractors. The Economic Alliance is closely monitoring this issue and weighing all options.
Members of the Democratic National Committee (DNC) recently voted to remove Iowa as the state on the Democrat’s primary calendar for the 2024 presidential election. The vote instead puts South Carolina first, followed by New Hampshire and Nevada together, then Georgia and a week later, Michigan. National Republicans have already committed to keep Iowa first in the nation.
What happens next? While the Iowa Democratic Party (IDP) hasn’t officially stated their next steps, it is expected they will follow an Iowa state law that requires the caucuses to be held at least 8 days earlier than any other state’s first vote. The national party has made it clear that any state who doesn’t follow the official DNC primary calendar risks losing half of their delegates. With President Biden expected to run again in 2024, these kinds of penalties will matter little.