July 20, 2018

Government Affairs

Legislature in overtime as tax reform and budget remain key priorities for lawmakers

The House of Representatives worked on a comprehensive energy bill through the evening on Thursday into Friday morning adjourning just before 6AM.  However, no further debate is expected today or this weekend.   
While there wasn’t much movement in either chamber as negotiations continue on tax reform and the budget, both chambers did take action on several budget bills which means they are one step closer to adjournment. 

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.


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