This week in the Iowa Legislature

This week started off with a bang and never slowed down as subcommittee and committee work got underway! On Tuesday, 64 subcommittee meetings were held followed by 61 on Wednesday all between the hours of 8 am and 4 pm while legislators were running around trying to attend a multitude of legislative receptions in the evening hours. Thursday was a bit slower as lawmakers adjourned early to head home for the weekend. In addition to the lobby, legislators commented on the intensity of subcommittee work as they eagerly head toward the first funnel deadline on February 16, just three weeks away. For a bill to make the funnel deadline, it must be approved by a subcommittee and full committee in either the Senate or House. We expect the pace to continue to pick up as bills are introduced and less time is available to move them forward.

Advocacy Strategies had some fireworks this week as well and is excited to announce the newest addition to our team, Baby Girl Hoye! Chelsea had a healthy baby girl on Thursday morning. Mom, Dad, and baby are all doing well. She will be out for the next eight weeks as she transitions into her role of Mom. Please contact Threase if there is anything outstanding needing addressed.

Governor Reynolds Announces Three Policy Proposals

Governor Reynolds released three more policy priorities late in the week for legislators to consider:

  • Administrative Rules: Would require each proposed administrative rule change to undergo a cost-benefit analysis before it is first enacted and establishes a five-year sunset on all chapters unless they undergo a regular comprehensive evaluation to determine their necessity and effectiveness.
  • Foreign Land Ownership: Would enhance registration and reporting requirements on foreign land ownership to the Secretary of State’s Office and increase penalties on nefarious actors. Governor Reynolds remarked “many concerned Iowans have expressed the need for tougher legislation” on foreign land ownership.
  • Environmental, Social, Governance (ESG): Companies can currently use ESG criteria to evaluate their investments based on the social and environmental impact. For example, a company might choose the more expensive packaging option, if it means the packaging reduces the company’s carbon footprint and can be recycled. There has been a national movement to block ESG, and over 37 states have introduced legislation opposed to ESG business models. The Governor’s proposal would prohibit state funds from being invested using ESG frameworks by barring any contracts with investment firms focusing on ESG.

Looking Ahead

Things are about to get crazy! We expect the mornings to start earlier and the nights to last longer. Subcommittee and committee work will continue to increase and intensify as more bills are introduced and we head full steam ahead into the first funnel deadline. There doesn’t appear be any specific issue demanding their attention as they wait for the Governor to offer her new AEA proposal amendment and an agreement to be made on an increase to the School Supplemental Aid (SSA) formula. As a reminder, the Iowa Legislature posts a list of scheduled committee and subcommittee meetings with virtual access information, so you are welcome to join whenever. If you have challenges connecting with the virtual link, you can always call in as well.

Bills of Interest

Advocacy Strategies continues to ensure that every bill pertaining to you will be tracked. Along with this email report each week you will see a button with a link to your bill tracker chart developed by our bill tracking system, AdvoKit. Please review this and confirm your declared bills are correct. Please let us know if any changes need to be made.

Our ability to best represent you is based on quick and open communication. Once the legislative session progresses further, our requests for bill declarations will increase substantially. We ask you to let us know your organization’s position on each bill within 24 hours of your receiving daily bills in AdvoKit so we can respond accordingly.