November 15, 2018

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.    

In reaction to the December Revenue Estimating Conference, the Governor’s office, Senate and House have all begun discussions on a de-appropriations bill that is required to address the shortfall in revenue for this fiscal year.  Gov. Reynolds has proposed cutting $27.5 million when she released her budget the first week, the Senate has now proposed cutting $52 million and the House has not released their numbers.  I expect this conversation to continue all next week as the leaders from each body come to an agreement.   

Update on MBI Priorities:

Mechanic’s Lien:

  • House Study Bill 524:  the subcommittee on our Mechanic’s lien legislation passed the bill 3-0 on Tuesday, where it awaits consideration by the full House Judiciary committee.  Again, 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. 
  • Senate Study Bill 3039:  the Senate’s companion bill that mirrors the language from HSB 524.  We have a subcommittee scheduled for Tuesday at 1:00PM.  Senators Julian Garrett (R-Indianola), Charles Schneider (R-West Des Moines) and Tony Bisignano (D-Des Moines) are on the subcommittee.  If you have any of these legislators as your own, and would be willing to contact them and share your support of the legislation, please let me know.      

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.


  • We expect plenty of “workforce” related legislation this session.  The Governor’s Future Ready Iowa bill (Senate Study Bill 3087) has just been released on Thursday.  A subcommittee has been assigned to Senators Craig Johnson (R-Independence), Jake Chapman (R-Adel) and Matt McCoy (D-Des Moines). 

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:  Gov. Reynolds has 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 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.  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 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 undecided at this point and monitoring.  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.  I expect a contentious subcommittee on Monday at 12:30PM, with public owners speaking out fervently on the impact of taking away the lease-purchase option.  

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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