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April 24, 2018

Legislative floor action grinds to a halt...

As negotiations on a tax reform package and the budget for the next fiscal year continue with leaders behind closed doors, there is not much new to report this week.  The rank and file members of the Senate were sent home Tuesday and the rank and file members of the House were sent home Wednesday. 
 
However, the House did vote out five budget bills out of the Appropriations Committee, even though they are likely to be adjusted when they are debated on the House floor.  Read the entire Legislative Focus here.

Mechanics' Lien - MBI Priority - Signed into law

Week 15 brought even more good news for MBI. Governor Reynolds signed our Mechanics’ Lien bill on Tuesday, and the SAVE extension moved through the House with overwhelming bi-partisan support. 

First, we’re appreciative of the bi-partisanship display in the House on final approval of our Mechanics’ Lien bill—something that MBI has been working on for close to seven years.  Second, we remain encouraged about the SAVE extension.  Hardly ever does such a large item pass the House with 95 of a possible 100 votes.  It speaks to the collective effort being waged on many fronts from interested organizations.  We have more information down below on how you can play a big part in helping us get the SAVE extension across the finish line. Read the entire Legislative Focus here.

One MBI Priority Signed; One more on the Governor's Desk

The centerpiece of Gov. Reynolds’ legislative agenda, Future Ready Iowa, was signed this week at her annual Future Ready Iowa Summit. Workforce in general, and support for Future ReadyIowa were also MBI priorities. There were many public and private partners in this endeavor that came together in a bipartisan way.  MBI was proud to play a small role in helping the overall effort. 
 
In addition to Future Ready Iowa, another MBI priority—our Mechanics’ Lien bill—passed the House and is on the governor’s desk for her consideration.  I expect that bill to be signed next week.  More on that below…..
 
Tax reform and budget targets continue to be part of the legislative logjam.  As soon as one breaks free, the sprint to the finish will begin. I would expect some major decisions to be made next week.  Check out the updates below for more information on our priorities and other pieces of legislation we are monitoring. Read the entire legislative focus here.

Budget, Tax Reform Remain After Week 12

March 30, 2018
Volume XVI, Edition 12

As most weeks do, MBI saw some ups and downs this week in the Capitol. We saw an MBI priority on Mechanics’ Lien be moved one step closer to the governor’s signature. However, we also saw a bad bill regarding lease-purchase arrangements move to the governor's desk, against MBI's strong objections.

The Legislature is still in the process of setting up budget targets for the fiscal year 2019, which begins July 1, 2018. Once we see what those targets are, we’ll have a better understanding of what type of tax reform is possible this year. It is anticipated that setting the budget, and running tax reform, will go hand-in-hand. Remember, the Legislature’s incentive to adjourn is at the 100 day  mark, which is April 17th. Read the entire legislative focus here.

MBI priority sent to Governor, FY' 18 deappropriations bill clears way for remaining budget decisions

March 23, 2018
Volume XVI, Edition 11

Gov. Reynolds’ top priority, Future Ready Iowa, will be arriving on her desk in short order after this week.  It is a rarity to have a bill pass unanimously in both the House and Senate, but that’s what happened here.  Future Ready Iowa, and strengthening our workforce in general, were outlined by the MBI board as priorities beforesession started and we’re thankful for the legislators that came together in a bipartisan fashion.  In addition, a second priority of MBI’s, the SAVE extension passed unanimously through the Senate Ways and Means Committee and is eligible for debate on the floor.  We expect the House to move next week in the Ways and Means Committee.   

Adeappropriations bill also passed to address a general fund shortfall for the fiscal year that ends June 30, 2018.  On a  party line  vote, the  deappropriations  bill cuts $25 million in funding to state agencies and repurposed $10 million in economic development incentives to cover the shortfall.  Getting over this hurdle is a big step in moving to the next budget decision--the FY ’18 budget which begins July 1, 2018.  Things are really moving quickly now... Read the entire legislative focus here.

Second Funnel = Complete; Republicans choose new leaders in Senate

March 16, 2018
Volume XVI, Edition 10

The last procedural hurdle for the 2018 legislative session is today, known as the second funnel.  This deadline requires House bills that have passed the House, to pass a Senate committee, and vice versa. There was also a monumental shift of power due to Sen. Bill Dix’s resignation on Monday.  Sen. Dix had served as the Majority Leader and therefore controlled the fate of all legislation in the Senate. Moving forward, Senate Republicans chose Sen. Jack Whitver (R-Ankeny) as their new Majority Leader and Sen. Charles Schneider (R-West Des Moines) as the new Senate President. Additionally, Sen. Amy Sinclair (R-Allerton) was chosen as Majority Whip and Sen. Jake Chapman (R-Adel) is the newest assistant leader.  MBI congratulates all of these individuals on their new roles. With this change in leadership and presumably less than a month to go, anything can happen! Read the entire Legislative Focus here.

SAVE extension continues momentum; second funnel deadline next Friday

March 9, 2018
Volume XVI, Edition 9

We are approaching a rough deadline of about a month left in this legislative session, and the second funnel deadline is next Friday, March 16th. That means bills that have already passed the House must be passed through a Senate committee, and vice versa. Today’s Revenue Estimating Conference number will set the benchmark for most major budget decisions that are left to be made. On our priorities list, the 20-year SAVE extension made great progress by passing both the House and Senate Ways and Means subcommittees. As was pointed out in the House subcommittee, this would be the single largest investment in education in Iowa’s history.  MBI appreciates the bi-partisan work conducted in both the House and the Senate to advance the SAVE legislation! On the political front, Vice President Mike Pence was in Council Bluffs this week to talk tax reform and Gov. Kim Reynolds and Lt. Gov. Adam Gregg officially kicked off their bid for a full four year term on Wednesday evening in the governor’s hometown of Osceola.  Expect to see more announcements as next Friday, March 16 is the filing deadline for individuals interested in running for statewide or legislative office. 

Read the entire Legislative Focus here.

House Passes MBI Priority; up next week in Senate

March 2, 2018
Volume XVI, Edition 8

While last week was pretty civil, controversial topics including a fetal heartbeat bill, tax reform, gun control and mental health were on the docket this week. At the same time, a sense of pride was on everyone’s mind as the U.S. News and World Report ranked Iowa as the best state in the nation! There are a number of factors that went into the rankings, and I’ve highlighted that article below in the “Headlines” section. Also, Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Bill Northey was confirmed by the U.S. Senate to be the next USDA Under Secretary for Farm Production and Conservation.  Almost everyone agrees that this was long overdue.  And most importantly, we were also able to get our Mechanic’s Lien bill passed on the floor of the House, and have every indication that it will be on the floor of the Senate next week. By next week’s report, I hope to tell you that it’s on its way to the Governor’s desk for her signature!  Let’s get into it... 

Read the entire Legislative Focus here.

Floor Debate Begins in House and Senate; Senate releases tax reform bill

 February 23, 2018
Volume XVI, Edition 6

This week, floor debate began on an array of bills that were mostly non-controversial. Right after funnel is a time for knocking out business that doesn’t bog down legislators in contentious debate. They mostly save those for the weeks ahead. The Senate also dominated the headlines when they unveiled their comprehensive plan to address tax reform on Wednesday. The plan would cut more than $1 billion in taxes on an annual basis. The major difference between what the Senate wants to do and the governor’s plan is the Senate wants to address both the individual and corporate side. The governor’s plan only addresses the individual side and would cut $1.7 billion over the next several years. Details on the plans can both be found below. 

Read the entire Legislative Focus here. 

Bipartisanship working for MBI priorities

February 16, 2018
Volume XVI, Edition 5

While no bill is ever truly dead when legislators are in Des Moines, bills generally learn their fate by the end of today, with the exception of spending, oversight and/or tax bills.  Thankfully, most of MBI’s priorities have survived the funnel deadline with good bipartisan support.  MBI would like to thank legislators on both sides of the aisle who have worked diligently in a stressful environment to listen and advance pro-construction legislation that will positively influence the business climate in our state. There still is a lot of work to be done, but we are optimistic in wrapping up week 6. 

Read the entire Legislative Focus here

 

Coming Soon!

The furious pace of technological advancement can sometimes make it difficult to see just how amazing technology is. Who ever thought we would be able to touch a piece of glass and have access to the entire world right in the palm of our hands?

Well, amazing as it might be, Iowa’s construction industry will soon have access to the full complement of MBI resources through the newly re-designed, and soon to re-launch, MBI mobile application.

No floor debate this week, while committees and subcommittees moving full steam ahead

February 2, 2018
Volume XVI, Edition 4

The de-appropriations discussion continues into week four.  The discussion is being held behind closed doors between leaders of each body with the general thought that the final cut will be between $30-$50 million for the remainder of this fiscal year.  I anticipate that this will be taken care of next week.  Subcommittees and committees continued to work through a plethora of bills and keep the legislative process moving.      

Water Quality, De-Appropriations control discussion in Week 3

January 26, 2018
Volume XVI, Edition 3

After three years of discussion around how to address the state’s water quality, the House of Representatives unfortunately conceded on their own bipartisan plan from last year, and approved Senate File 512 by a vote of 59-41.  This bill was the preferred legislation to address water quality from the Iowa Farm Bureau, Secretary of Agriculture, and Governor’s office.  MBI has opposed this legislation since last year because of the eventual impact to the Rebuild Iowa Infrastructure Fund (RIIF).  Currently, $15 million a year is used from gambling revenues to pay back Vision Iowa bonds.  Once those bonds are retired in 2020, the $15 million will now go to water quality efforts rather than back in the RIIF to address critical infrastructure needs. 

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:

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