November 15, 2018

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:

  • allows for a lien amount to be decreased without having to go to court and without losing priority; and

  • provides a notification requirement for a claims on retainage for materials and labor on the public side which would mirror the notification provisions of private projects. 

Subcommittee in the House is scheduled for next Tuesday at 11:30AM.  Rep. Andy McKean (R-Anamosa), Rep. Ross Paustian (R-Walcott) and Rep. Ras Smith (D-Waterloo) are on the subcommittee.     

#2:   House Study Bill 509:  an Act relating to motor vehicles approaching stationary construction vehicles, and providing penalties.  I’m not sure at this point exactly where this legislation came from.  But the intent is to require motorists to reduce speed, make a lane change, and/or express caution when approaching a stationary construction vehicle.  Current law already includes fines and/or penalties for a stationary towing or recovery vehicle, stationary utility maintenance vehicle, stationary municipal maintenance vehicle, stationary highway maintenance vehicle or solid waste or recycling collecting service vehicle.  This bill would amend the definition to include stationary construction vehicles.   Thursday was set to have a subcommittee, but was cancelled for unknown reasons. 

Update on a few MBI Priorities:

SAVE Extension: 

  • The bill to extend the Secure an Advanced Vision for Education is still in the drafting phase.  You will recall this is the effort to extend the 1 cent sales tax for school infrastructure for 20 years.

Protect RIIF from being diverted for Water Quality:

  • Both water quality bills are alive and ready for consideration at any time.  Leadership in the House and Senate have not called up either for consideration.


  • We expect plenty of “workforce” related legislation this session.  Up to this point, the Governor’s Future Ready Iowa bill is the most comprehensive and is still in the drafting phase.

Alternative Project Delivery:

  • Legislation pertaining to Alternative Project Delivery for Chapter 26 is still in drafting phase.  MBI continues to monitor and will play an important role in the discussions.

Tax Reform:

  • Republicans have not advanced their wishes for tax reform.  Although a few hints were uncovered in the Governor’s Condition of the State Address.  Interestingly, the Governor’s wishes are to address the individual side and punt until next year on the corporate side. 

Other Items of Interest:

UNI ITC Center:  The joint Transportation, Infrastructure, and Capital Appropriations Subcommittee met on Wednesday and laid out the Governor’s priorities.  This is where the Rebuild Iowa Infrastructure Fund (RIIF) comes into play.  For a lengthy read, you can review Gov. Reynolds’ recommendations by clicking here.  She has also recently commented in the press that her wish is that the legislature zero out funding for new Regents projects including the University of Iowa’s Library renovation, Iowa State University’s new veterinary diagnostic center and the University of Northern Iowa’s wish to renovate and expand the technology center.  MBI is working to secure funding for the UNI ITC Center, which houses the Construction Management program and has a placement rate of 100% for their students in the past 5 years.        

House Study Bill 513: an Act concerning the contract bidding process for public improvement projects conducted by the state board of regents.  MBI has concerns with this legislation.  Under this legislation, a contractor would have to assume the costs of preparing an estimate, not knowing whether or not their bid would even be considered – waste of a contractor’s time and money.  Also, if the Regents were to reject all bids and move forth with a project as a design build or CM at Risk, they (the Regents) would have to assume the additional costs of design and engineering work, while essentially wasting the work already performed.  We are currently undecided, but will oppose if the measure stands as is. 

House Study Bill 514:  an Act setting the dates for the submission of local public measure to the electors.  MBI is simply monitoring the impact this would have on bonding issues as it pertains to school construction.  We are undecided. 

REMINDER:  Legislative Focus Webinar set was today at 9AM.  We will be conducting monthly legislative webinars every third Friday of the month.  Next one is set for Friday, February 16th at 9:00AM.  Sign up here!  

If you have any questions, please get ahold of Ben Hammes, Director of Public Affairs at any time by emailing or calling 515-314-9016.



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