Policy Perspectives
April 5, 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 week, this will very likely be the last edition prior to the Legislature's final adjournment (or "sine die").  As always though, keep an eye out for timely legislative alerts that require your advocacy.

Zeroing In

Friday, April 4th is the 82nd day of the legislative session.  At this point, the Legislature is aiming to be done in two weeks.  As such, this will probably be the last update until final adjournment, but be watching for Legislative Alerts!!


The last two weeks at the Capitol have moved very much into "closedown" mode.  This means the days are much longer, and are filled with more extreme moments of lulls and panic than earlier in session.  Anyone tracking the process has to have a lot of patience, be very diligent and, if they have kids, have an excellent babysitter on call that is available for long periods of time.


The typical day, at this point in session, starts early with 8:00 subcommittees on budget bills or on tax bills that have usually passed a chamber but need work in the second chamber.  The chambeFinish Liners both start official business by "gaveling in" at about 9 or 10, but then they typically stand at ease while committees meet and the parties in each chamber meet in caucus to strategize about the day's debate and other issues.  Each party in the chamber may meet in caucus for anywhere from one hour to several hours PER DAY during this part of session. Debate in the chambers can begin mid-morning, but more likely mid-afternoon and can stretch late into the evening.  They also will often hold committee meetings after debate, as they did this week with the House Oversight Committee adjourning Wednesday night at 11:15PM.


The focus right now is to keep negotiating and keep all of the bills that are still in play moving forward.  At this point, nine of the 11 spending bills have at least passed a full Appropriations Committee in one chamber, while six of those bills have passed at least one full chamber.  The two bills out of the 11 that are still not public are the Standings Bill and a special Debt Reduction bill that will include some one time funding for projects.  The Standings Bill is typically one of the last 1 or 2 bills every year, and contains a wide assortment of items, including policy changes that leadership jointly decides should be enacted and automatic appropriations such as homestead property tax credits.


 As we near the finish line, it becomes more important than ever that all legislators are present as often as possible.  Regardless of how many people are present, you need 51 votes in the House of Representatives and 26 votes in the Senate to pass bills.  The House Republicans' 53-47 margin and the Senate Democrats' 26-24 margin means the House can only spare two members being away from the Chamber during a vote and the Senate cannot spare ANY members being absent.  One legislator being sick or having a family event can slow down the process.  Next week, for example, a Senator has a brother that is playing in the Masters, an immensely proud moment for any family.  However, that Senator's ability to be in attendance to support his brother remains in doubt due to the legislative schedule.

The Economic Development Appropriations Bill (HF 2460) is already through the House (nearly unanimously) and is set to be considered by the Senate Appropriations Committee early next week.The bill contains level-funding for the IEDA.


The Infrastructure Budget (RIIF) (SF 2349) was released this week and has been approved by the full Senate Appropriations Committee.  There are a number of items in this bill every year that are typically tracked by PDI.  Some of the notable line items are below:

  • $ 1 million to Great Places Grants
  • $ 4 million for the Railroad Revolving Loan Fund
  • An increase of $7.1 million for Recreational Trails (up to $10.1 million).  HOWEVER, $7.6 million of the 10.1 million is earmarked for the following projects:  connecting Cedar Valley Nature Trail with Hoover Nature trail ($3 million), Cedar Rapids Gateway Project ($2 million), Cerro Gordo County Trail improvement ($1.8 million), and Bellevue Recreational Trails ($800,000). 
  • $ 5 million for the Community Attraction and Tourism (CAT) program.  Allows any unspent funds in the Community Attractions & Tourism (CAT) fund to carry forward through June 30, 2015.
Need Help with HF 2443

Our friends at ABI are pushing a proposal (HF 2443) that PDI is supporting to allow consumable supplies used in manufacturing to be exempt from sales and use tax.  This is a proposal that passed the House on a 81-17 bipartisan vote and would be a benefit to Iowa manufacturers.  Please consider calling or emailing your Senator in support of HF 2443.

A one-pager prepared by ABI about this issue is available HERE.  A one-page advertisement on the issue from ABI is HERE.  And ABI has more information at their website HERE.
A Collection of Other  
Economic Development News 

Tax Increment Financing

Since the introduction of  HSB 675 a few weeks ago and the subsequent subcommittee at which PDI testified in opposition, there has not been any new activity on TIF.  Time is obviously running short, but we will continue to watch this issue closely.  An alert will go out to PDI members if your phone calls and emails are needed.      


Enterprise Zones

Legislation (HF 2448) to replace the expiring Enterprise Zone program passed a Senate subcommittee early this past Wednesday and is now headed to the full Senate Ways & Means Committee.  PDI lobbyists testified on behalf of HF 2443 at the subcommittee meeting.  There may still be some tweaks made to HF 2443, but at the moment, it looks like it is headed toward Senate passage in the days ahead.  Just to be safe though, we urge PDI members to let your Senators know you support HF 2443. 


Brownfield and Grayfield Redevelopment Tax Credits

The Redevelopment bill (SF 2339) is done and headed for the Governor's desk.  PDI supported the bill.  During the Senate's deliberation on SF 2339, Senator Bill Dotzler of Waterloo pushed through an amendment to add a member appointed by the PDI Board to the State's Brownfield Redevelopment Advisory Council.  When the bill got to the House, Majority Leader Upmeyer's amendment to accept Dotzler's proposal ensured the PDI slot would become part of the final bill. We appreciate the legislative support! 


Apprenticeship bill

The Governor's Apprenticeship proposal (SF 2317 and HF 2407) has not moved since the last edition, however, a subcommittee is set for early this week.  The Senate seems intent on moving the 260F program from IEDA over to the Department of Education.  It is unclear whether the House would support that move.  If you feel strongly one way or the other about the 260F program, now would be the time to be voicing your opinions with your legislators.   


IEDA Programs

Finally, IEDA's bill (HF 2445) to make some changes relating to investment tax credits, targeted small business and the strategic infrastructure program has been waiting on the House Calendar for a while, but is set to be debated on Monday.  

Your Legislative Team
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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