Policy Perspectives
March 21, 2014
Professional Developers of Iowa's Bill Tracker is updated daily -bookmark this link to keep up with daily action on PDI's bills of interest.

 

Publication Note - As we wrap up the 12th week, it is time to include in this issue (and subsequent issues) a reminder about our publication schedule.  As you know, generally, we publish every two weeks.  However, if the session starts to look like final adjournment may occur within the next two weeks, we may hold off until we reach final adjournment.  As always though, keep an eye out for timely legislative alerts that require your advocacy.

Clearing the Decks

Friday the 21st is Session Day 68 of the 100-day session.  The Legislature remains far ahead of the 100-day pace at the moment, but a lot of negotiations on budgets and other issues remain to be resolved.  Still, the prospect of the session being completed before Easter looks pretty good if things keep moving along.

 

Over the past two weeks, the Legislature has cleared a lot of non-controversial bills off the deck as they prepare for the final push toward adjournment.  There now remains 11 budget bills (some not yet public) and probably another 30-40 bills that will need to be disposed of prior to the end of session.  Of the projected 11 budget bills, the Transportation, Judiciary, Justice, Agriculture/Natural Resources, and Administration/Regulation Budgets have advanced out of subcommittee or farther.  We are still waiting on the other six: Education, Health and Human Services, Rebuild Iowa's Infrastructure Fund (RIIF), Economic Development, Standings and a catch-all bill that is being referred to as Standings II/Debt Reduction. We anticipate seeing three or four of those six bills by the end of this coming week.

 

On Thursday, one hurdle to the swift passage of the budget bills was removed when the Revenue Estimating Conference (REC) announced their March budget projections.  They essentially said state revenues were unchanged, possibly up slightly.  If the REC announcement had made a large adjustment - up OR down - that could have slowed the Legislature's budget process considerably.  The House had said they would definitely adjust all their numbers downward if revenues had fallen.  If revenues had increased, the Governor's office and both chambers would have felt increased pressure to invest more in some priorities.

 

Another big event occurred last week that is weighing on the minds of a lot of legislators - candidate filing deadlines were Friday.  Now, all legislators know if they have an opponent in both the general election and the June 3rd primary, and who that opponent(s) is(are).  If you would like to know who will be running in primary elections all across the state, the exhaustive 70-page list is available online at http://sos.iowa.gov/elections/pdf/2014/primary/candlist.pdf.  More summary information though is available in the election story below.

 


Budget
With about half of the budget bills still unreleased, it is difficult to predict how economic development funding initiatives will fair when all is said and done.  Funding for the IEDA administration, Incentives, Job Training, Rail Infrastructure and many other items that PDI tracks are all contained in bills that are sMoneytill under wraps.  What does this mean to you?  It means it's the perfect time to weigh in with legislators about budget priorities!  By the time the next edition of Policy Perspectives comes out, it MAY BE TOO LATE!

   

If you don't know who represents you, you can find your legislators HERE (plug in your address on the right side of the screen).  A list of Senators' email addresses can be found HERE, and a list of Representatives' email addresses can be found HERE. The 2014 PDI Legislative Agenda can be opened and printed HERE.

New Website Feature: Watch Debates at Any Time!

 

The Iowa Legislature's website has a new feature!  For the last several years, Iowans can watch their elected officials debate bills in the Iowa Legislature.  However, you had to know when those bills would be debated, or you missed it.  With frequent delays and caucuses, it's tough to predict exactly when a bill will be debated. 

 

That has changed!  Every day, the Iowa House of Representatives and the Iowa Senate now archive their debates, so you can go back and listen to prior day's debate at any time from your computer, tablet, or smart phone.  You can listen to debates by the day using the Daily Archives. Or you can listen to debate on a specific bill using the Bill Archives.  Click on the links below to try it out!

A Collection of Other  
Economic Development News 

Tax Increment Financing

The long-awaited TIF bill (HSB 675) was introduced this past week and will be in subcommittee this coming week.  True to his word, House Ways and Means Chairman Tom Sands provided PDI with an advanced draft of the bill before his introduced it and he kept his proposal limited to the scope of items he outlined to PDI's lobbyists and legislative chairs weeks ago:  a ban on the use of TIF for public buildings, sunsets on TIFs with no end date, and a limitation on TIF debt.   

 

PDI representatives met with Chairman Sands on Thursday, along with representatives from the Iowa Chamber Alliance and the Iowa League of Cities.  PDI's message to Sands in that meeting was that we would be registering in opposition to the bill, but that we look forward to sitting down with him after the session to talk about his proposal and see if we can provide input.  Please take a look at the bill and analyze for yourself the impact it would have on you locally.  Knowing how the components of HSB 675 would affect each of your local communities would help us in making sure we cover all those bases.  

 

As for the future of HSB 675, there is still time to move this bill if there is enough support. However, we don't think it has a good chance of advancing very far given the short timeline.  Regardless, it is a good idea to keep talking with your legislators about the value of TIF to ensure they come to you if they have questions about how the tool is used.  

 

Enterprise Zones

Legislation (HF 2448) to replace the expiring Enterprise Zone program has now passed both the House Economic Development Committee and the House Ways & Means Committee.  It should be considered by the House this week.  In the Senate, the bill will need to go to the Senate Ways & Means Committee, so it is important we keep this bill moving along.  We urge members to contact your legislators to share your support for HF 2448.  

 godly-enter-key.jpg

Broadband Expansion

The Governor's Broadband Expansion bill (HF 2329) and a Senate counterpart (SF 2324) continue to be discussed heavily and will likely be  one of the last bills completed prior to adjournment.     

 

Apprenticeship bill

The Governor's Apprenticeship proposal (SF 2317 and HF 2407) continues to be modified in the hopes that all sides will come together to support a compromise.  Like the broadband bill, this may be one of the last bills considered by the Legislature.   


An Eye on the Elections 

Last Friday's candidate filing deadline provided some clarity for current officeholders on what (if any) opposition they will face for either June's primary or November's General Election.

 

Iowa Senate 

The Iowa Senate is controlled by the Democrats by a razor thin 26-24 majority.  One seat flipping to Republicans in the November election would put the chamber in split 25-25 control.  Only half (25) of the 50-seat Senate is up for election every 2 years, since Senate terms are 4 years in length. Of the 25 Iowa Senate seats up this November, 11 are currently held by Republicans and 14 are held by Democrats.  There are contested races in 7 of the seats held by Republicans and 9 of the seats held by Democrats. 

 

Five state senators will have a primary challenge in June (three Democrats and two Republicans).  They include Sen. Wally Horn, who announced he would run for a final time at the age of 80.  Sen. Horn (SD35) is the longest serving state legislator, having begun his service in the Senate in 1983, after serving 10 years in the Iowa House.  Others include Sen. Jack Whitver (SD19), Sen. Herman Quirmbach (SD23), Sen. Mark Chelgren (SD41), and Sen. Joe Seng (SD45). vote counts

 

Five state senators will retire this year (two Democrats and three Republicans).  They are Sen. Nancy Boettger (SD9), Sen. Hubert Houser (SD11), Sen. Dennis Black (SD15), Sen. Jack Hatch (SD17), and Sen. Sandy Greiner (SD39).  Sen. Hatch is leaving his seat to run as the Democratic candidate for Governor, and two former state legislators are part of a three-way Democratic primary to replace him (former Senators Ned Chiodo and Tony Bisignano will face off against activist Nathan Blake).

 

Eight state senators are running unopposed (five Democrats and three Republicans).  They still can get an opponent if the other party decides to nominate someone at their convention this summer.  These "lucky" legislators include: Sen. David Johnson (SD1), Sen. Bill Anderson (SD3), Sen. Matt McCoy (SD21), Sen. Bill Dix (SD25), Sen. Bill Dotzler (SD31), Sen. Rob Hogg (SD33), Sen. Bob Dvorsky (SD37), and Sen. Joe Bolkcom (SD43). 

 

One state representative is running for state senate this year - Rep. Jason Schultz is running unopposed for SD9, which is being vacated by Sen. Nancy Boettger

 

Iowa House of Representatives 

In the House, the Republicans currently control the chamber by a narrow 53-47 margin.  All 100 seats in the Iowa House will be on November's ballot.

 

Ten state representatives are retiring this year (four Democrats, six Republicans).  They include Rep. Jeff Smith (HD1), Rep. Tom Shaw (HD10), Rep. Mark Brandenburg (HD15), Rep. Jason Schultz (HD18), Rep. Roger Thomas (HD55), Rep. Anesa Kajtazovic (HD61), Rep. Tyler Olson (HD65), Rep. Mark Lofgren (HD91), Rep. Steve Olson (HD97), and Rep. Pat Murphy (HD99). Rep. Jason Schultz is running unopposed for a vacant state senate seat; Rep. Anesa Kajtazovic and Rep. Pat Murphy are running against each other for Congress in Northeast Iowa, and Rep. Mark Lofgren is running for Congress in Southeast Iowa.

 

Half of the Iowa House is running unopposed (29 Democrats and 21 Republicans).  They include: Rep. Megan Hess (HD2), Rep. Dwayne Alons (HD4), Rep. Chuck Soderberg (HD5), Rep. Ron Jorgenson (HD6), Rep. Helen Miller (HD9), Rep. Gary Worthan (HD11), Rep. Dave Dawson (HD14), Rep. Ralph Watts (HD19), Rep. Greg Forristall (HD22), Rep. Mark Costello (HD23), Rep. Cecil Dolecheck (HD24), Rep. Rick Olson (HD31), Rep. Ruth Ann Gaines (HD32), Rep. Brian Meyer (HD33), Rep. Bruce Hunter (HD34), Rep. Ako Abdul-Samad (HD35), Rep. Marti Anderson (HD36), Rep. John Landon (HD37), Rep. Kevin Koester (HD38), Rep. John Forbes (HD40), Rep. Jo Oldson (HD41), Rep. Rob Taylor (HD44), Rep. Beth Wessel-Kroeschell (HD45), Rep. Lisa Heddens (HD46), Rep. Robert Bacon (HD48), Rep. Todd Prichard (HD52), Rep. Sharon Steckman (HD53), Rep. Linda Upmeyer (HD54), Rep. Patti Ruff (HD56), Rep. Deborah Berry (HD62), Rep. Art Staed (HD66), Rep. Kraig Paulsen (HD67), Rep. Kirsten Running-Marquardt (HD69), Rep. Todd Taylor (HD70), Rep. Dave Jacoby (HD74), Rep. Sally Stutsman (HD77), Rep. Jarad Klein (HD78), Rep. Guy Vander Linden (HD79), Rep. Larry Sheets (HD80), Rep. Mary Gaskill (HD81), Rep. Jerry Kearns (HD83), Rep. Mary Mascher (HD86), Rep. Dennis Cohoon (HD87), Rep. Tom Sands (HD88), Rep. Jim Lykam (HD89), Rep. Cindy Winckler (HD90), Rep. Linda Miller (HD94), Rep. Lee Hein (HD96), Rep. Mary Wolfe (HD98), and Rep. Charles Isenhart (HD100).

 

Five state representatives will face primaries this year (one Democrat and four Republicans).  They include the legislator who just won a special election in January (Rep. Rep. Stan Gustafson in HD25) and Rep. Jake Highfill (HD39), Rep. Walt Rogers (HD60), Rep. Dave Heaton (HD84), and Rep. Vicki Lensing (HD85).

 

Two former state senators have announced they are running for office. Former State Senator Mike Sexton is running for the state representative seat of retiring Rep. Tom Shaw.  Former State Senator Tony Bisignano is running in the primary for the state senate seat being vacated by Sen. Jack Hatch, who is running for Governor.

 

Two former state representatives have also announced their candidacy for state legislative races. Former State Representative Ross Paustian is running against Rep. Frank Wood, who defeated him for the seat in 2012. Former State Representative Ned Chiodo is also running in the primary for Sen. Hatch's seat. 

 


Your Legislative Team
Lobbyists:
Craig Patterson - craig@ialobby.com
Amy Campbell - amy@ialobby.com

Legislative Committee Co-Chairs:
Wayne Pantini - wpantini@unioncountyiowa.com
Steve Dust - dust@cedarvalleyalliance.com
Brent Willett - bwillett@northiowacorridor.com

Legislative Resources
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Campbell/Patterson Consulting | PO Box 1403 | Johnston | IA | 50131