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January 23, 2018

Government Affairs

Legislature Begins Subcommittee Work

Legislative Focus
January 19, 2018

Volume XVI, Edition 2

Various subcommittees have begun to meet on a broad range of issues that will continue the mantra of “kicking the door in” on the Capitol, as the Republican leader in the Senate has said.  In this regard, MBI has registered in favor of two specific bills that would provide benefits to construction companies.

#1:   House Study Bill 524:  an Act relating to mechanics’ liens, public construction liens, and the early release of retained funds.  This bill is accompanied by Senate Study Bill 3039 and mirror each other in the language.  This is our bill that we drafted and makes two changes to mechanic’s lien laws:

Legislature Convenes for Part 2 of the 87th General Assembly

Legislative Focus
January 12, 2018
Volume XVII, Edition 1

“In 2017, our agenda was big and bold.  In 2018, Senate Republicans will move an agenda that will again be big and bold because this state deserves big and bold. The changes we make will move our state forward in a positive direction, felt for many generations to come.” –Sen. Bill Dix

Gov. Kim Reynolds, along with Republican legislators, are going to try and do everything they can to advance a conservative agenda while they are in control.  No one can possibly predict what the 2018 elections will bring.  So Republicans have a sense of urgency to get done what they can, while they have control.  But there are significant challenges that loom including beginning session with a de-appropriation bill to the tune of $37 million out of an estimated $7.2 billion budget.  Republicans still control the Iowa Senate (29-20-1), the Iowa House (58-41; one open seat currently) and the Governor’s office.

2017 Legislative Summary

The focus of the public affairs program of the Master Builders of Iowa is derived from our Mission Statement, which reads:

 “The essential resource for improving member performance and promoting a business environment favorable to the construction industry.”

With our Mission Statement as a guide, MBI’s lobbying efforts maintained a constant presence at the Iowa Capitol each and every day during the 2017 Legislative Session.  MBI’s lobbyists saw nearly 1,000 different pieces of legislation being introduced and took time to review every bill to see what sort of impact, if any, each would have on the commercial construction industry in Iowa.  MBI also participated in multiple committee and subcommittee meetings, often adding the “construction industry’s perspective” to the debate. 

Legislature Adjourns for the Year

Legislative Focus
April 24, 2017
Volume XVI, Edition 15

I have always said it is good for the Legislature to adjourn during the daylight hours.  However, I should have probably stipulated that a daylight adjournment should not be preceded by an all-night session.

The 2017 Legislative Session came to a close at 7:17 a.m. Saturday morning.  This was after House and Senate leaders worked through the night to find resolution on water quality, medical marijuana and final budget bills. 

Governor Signs Reduction of Statute of Repose and PLA Prohibition

Legislative Focus
April 7, 2017
Volume XVI, Edition 13

Governor Signs Reduction of Statute of Repose and PLA Prohibition

Two of MBI’s top policy priorities came to fruition on Thursday with Governor Branstad signing into law SF 413 and SF 438.

As you may recall, SF 413 reduces Iowa’s statute of repose from 15 years to 8 years on commercial construction and 10 years on residential, and SF 438 is a prohibition of government-mandated Project Labor Agreements (PLAs).

MBI has been working to reduce the statute of repose on improvements to real property for the last seven years. We’ve had some success in each of those years, but invariably our efforts would stall due to the pressure that the Trial Lawyers and the Iowa State Bar Association would apply in the Iowa Senate.  However, with a new Republican majority in the Senate and a Republican House and Governor, our chances were greatly improved this year as we found that the House and Senate leadership was much more sympathetic to the plight of the constructor.

With the passage of SF 413 and the Governor’s signature, all contracts entered into on or after July 1, 2017, will have the newly reformed repose parameters.  It is important to note, contracts entered into prior to July 1, 2017, will in all likelihood remain under the 15 year repose period.

The following is a rundown of the bill:

House Passes Reduction in Statute of Repose – Next Stop Governor’s Desk

Legislative Focus
March 24, 2017
Volume XVI, Edition 11

Persistence eventually pays off!  With the passage of SF 413 by the Iowa House (by a vote of 57-39) and the impending signature of the Governor, Iowa’s statute of repose will no longer be the longest in the nation.  Instead, we will have brought the ability to mount a fair and reasonable defense on certain claims into a more manageable timeframe. 

House Moves Workers’ Compensation Bill

Legislative Focus
March 17, 2017
Volume XVI, Edition 10

Nothing is easy at the Iowa Capitol.  Passing a bill in a legislative chamber is hard and this week’s efforts to find a consensus on workers’ compensation reforms – as outlined in HF 518 – proved how difficult it is to convince 51 out of a 100 House members to support a piece of legislation.  The bill was an exercise in “on one minute and off another”.  However, after a week and a half of negotiations between the floor managers of the bill and other legislators (both inside their own party and those across the isle), the House was able to pass the bill 55 to 38, with 7 absent or not voting.

Senate Moves Statute of Repose and PLA Prohibition Bills

Legislative Focus
March 10, 2017
Volume XVI, Edition 9

In a very busy week of debate, the Iowa Senate passed two key components of MBI’s policy priorities for 2017.  The first was SF 413, which would reduce the statute of repose on all real property.  The next was SF 438, which would prohibit both Project Labor Agreements (PLAs) and disqualification policies for all public jurisdictions.

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