November 15, 2018

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.      

You may start hearing or reading about the “funnel.”  The funnel is a key procedural hurdle in the legislature’s timetable that kills all bills that have not passed a committee in the House and Senate.  Realistically, the funnel is aimed at winnowing down the number of bills that can and should be considered by the Legislature that don’t have buy-in.  The first funnel’s deadline for this session is Friday, February 16, or two weeks from today. 

Update on MBI Priorities:

Mechanic’s Lien is funnel proof in the House:  Great news!

  • House Study Bill 524:  the House Judiciary Committee passed our Mechanic’s lien bill on a party line vote 13-6, with all Republicans supporting, and all Democrats opposing or absent.  The bill is now “funnel proof” in the House and eligible for debate among the full House. 
  • Senate Study Bill 3039:  the Senate’s companion bill passed out of subcommittee 2-1 and advances to the full Senate Judiciary Committee.  That bill will be considered on Tuesday, Feb. 6 at 1:00PM.  To see if your legislator is a member of this committee, please click here.  MBI encourages members to contact your legislator and let them know you support SSB 3039. 

SAVE Extension being discussed: 

  • While the bill to extend the Secure an Advanced Vision for Education is still in the drafting phase, we have received encouraging news this week.  Yesterday, Speaker Linda Upmeyer, Leader Chris Hagenow, Rep. Walt Rogers and Rep. Ashley Hinson all rolled out their education plan that includes the 20 year extension of SAVE.  This is a very welcome development and MBI thanks these legislators for their support!  For a recent article this week in the Des Moines Register on the plan, please click here.  Senate Republicans continue to signal their support for a SAVE extension as well and I expect an announcement before the Ways and Means Committee sometime in the near future. 


  • The Governor’s Future Ready Iowa bill (Senate Study Bill 3087) has been released.  A subcommittee has been assigned to Senators Craig Johnson (R-Independence), Jake Chapman (R-Adel) and Matt McCoy (D-Des Moines), but no subcommittee date has been set. 
  • GOVERNOR’S 2018 FUTURE READY IOWA SUMMIT:  I wanted to also include some information about the Governor’s 2018 Future Ready Iowa Summit, which is set for Tuesday, April 3rd.  The Future Ready Iowa Summit brings together leaders from business and industry, education, nonprofits, elected officials, students and others to amplify the public conversation about transforming education and the workforce with a focus on expanding work-based learning and computer science instruction.  The cost is $50 for adults and $0 for students.  You can check out the agenda and register by clicking here.     

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 still 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. 

UNI ITC Center: 

  • The Dean of the College of Humanities at UNI presented before the Transportation, Infrastructure, and Capitals Appropriations Subcommittee on Wednesday showing the UNI project in details to legislators.  Here is a good article from James Lynch of the Cedar Rapids Gazette for your reading about the Regent’s projects this year.  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.       

Other Items of Interest:

*This week, Senator Matt McCoy (D-Des Moines), a long-time supporter of MBI and infrastructure needs around the State, announced he will not run for another term after 26 years in the legislature.  Instead, Sen. McCoy has chosen to run for Polk County Board of Supervisors. 

House Study Bill 509:  an Act relating to motor vehicles approaching stationary construction vehicles, and providing penalties.  The intent is to require motorists to reduce speed, make a lane change, and/or express caution when approaching a stationary construction vehicle.  MBI is registered in FAVOR of the bill.    

House Study Bill 513: an Act concerning the contract bidding process for public improvement projects conducted by the state board of regents.  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 registered as UNDECIDED, but will oppose if the measure stands as is. 

House Study Bill 575:  an Act relating to notice and opportunity to repair construction defects and including effective date and applicability provisions.  The companion bill is Senate Study Bill 3064.  This legislations intent is to protect builders from class action lawsuits where a builder hasn’t had the opportunity to repair a defect before the suit is filed.  MBI is registered in FAVOR of this bill.  I would certainly welcome all of our member’s input on this legislation if you have any to provide. 

House Study Bill 568:  an Act regarding competitive bidding requirements for construction by a private party of property to be leased or lease-purchased by certain government entities and including effective date and applicability provisions.  This legislation is attempting to address efforts to skirt competitive bidding laws by entering into a lease-purchase arrangement.  There was a contentious subcommittee earlier in the week with it ultimately passing 3-2.  The full local government committee then passed it yesterday on a party line vote.  Amendments have been made to the bill that raise questions.  The amendments adopted yesterday include striking lease from the language and only focusing on lease-purchase.  But also, the definition of “public improvement” has been expanded and calls into question what would be subject to competitive bid when any public money is involved.  Questions are being raised about how this would impact economic development for both private and public owners at the local and state level.  The Senate has a companion bill (Senate Study Bill 3110) that has a subcommittee scheduled for Tuesday at 3:30PM.  MBI is registered UNDECIDED and we continue to have concerns with the legislation, as many public owners do and have spoken about.        

House File 2063:  an Act relating to Iowa’s urban renewal law by modifying requirements for the annual report prepared by the legislative services agency, establishing restrictions on the use of divided taxes, modifying the conditions for establishing certain urban renewal areas, imposing duration limits on certain urban renewal areas, excluding certain property taxes from a division of taxes, and including effective date and applicability provisions.  The bill passed out of subcommittee yesterday.  MBI is registered OPPOSED.  MBI has concerns with this bill prohibiting the use of TIF (Tax Increment Financing) for public building construction, maintenance, repair, remodeling and equipment.  The bill also narrows the scope of TIF considerably. 

REMINDER:  We will be conducting monthly legislative webinars every third Friday of the month.  The 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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