Capitol Report: Week 13 2023
April 10, 2023
By: Casey Nickel, Dustin J. Miller, Brad C. Epperly
Following the second funnel deadline on March 31st, the legislature focused on the budget with some floor debate in the House occurring early in the week.
On Tuesday, Governor Reynolds’ signed Senate File 514, otherwise known as the ‘government realignment bill’. The bill was a priority for Governor Reynolds this session and will officially go into effect on July 1, 2023. The current 37 executive-level cabinet agencies will be consolidated down to 16, as well as a number of other changes to powers that certain executive offices hold, like the governor and the attorney general. The legislation has impacted the budget process this year as lawmakers waited to see what the final version of the bill looks like and how it will impact the budget moving forward.
On Wednesday, Governor Reynolds announced $8.3 million in matching grants awarded to five companies to advance water conservation efforts. The funds will be used to assist in upgrading water infrastructure at Iowa manufacturing and industrial facilities in Boone, Davenport, Dubuque, and Fort Dodge.
“Iowa has a long history of innovation to improve water quality and sustainability, and these projects continue that legacy,” said Gov. Reynolds. “We rely on our land and water to provide for Iowa’s future generations, which is why we remain focused on protecting, preserving, and restoring Iowa’s water resources.”
The Senate Appropriations Committee advanced seven budget proposals out of the Appropriations Committee this week. All seven bills did not include specific budget numbers. Senator Kraayenbrink, the Senate Appropriations Chair, shared during committee that the Senate is still working through how to implement the changes made by the government realignment bill to the budget before applying specific budget targets. The Senate and Governor Reynolds both proposed an overall budget of $8.487 billion.
House Republicans proposed a slightly larger overall budget of $8.579 billion. The House Appropriations Committee released the following budget subcommittee target numbers:
- Administration & Regulation: $70,488,763
- Agriculture and Natural Resources: $43,544,227
- Economic Development: $42,113,893
- Education: $984,921,856
- Health and Human Services: $2,135,383,594
- Judicial Branches and Justice Systems: $885,843,753
- State Aid to Schools & Standing Appropriations: $4,416,801,866
A public hearing was held on Tuesday afternoon for a bill that would alter eligibility requirements for those participating in the Supplement Nutrition Assistance Program. Senate File 494 requires anyone receiving SNAP benefits to prove their total household income is less than $15,000. The bill’s proponents say that this sort of asset test will help to save tax dollars for the state. While those in opposition to the bill are concerned that it will create unnecessary obstacles for Iowa families in need. SF 494 was passed out of the Senate on party lines last week and the House placed it on the Appropriations calendar.
Other Bills of Interest
Senate File 496: On Tuesday, the House amended the ‘parental rights’ bill and sent it back to the Senate for further consideration. Some notable changes include changing what books will be considered age appropriate in schools and limiting reporting requirements to the Department of Health and Human Services when a school believes divulging a child’s gender identity to their parents would put them at risk. Many of the provisions of the amendment were passed by the House as individual bills, but did not survive the second funnel deadline in the Senate.
House File 139: A bill that would establish a cybersecurity training center at Iowa State University will head to the House debate floor after the House Appropriations Committee recommended passage on Wednesday.
House File 655: The bill enacts new sections and amends existing code sections in the Revised Uniform Limited Liability Company Act as approved and recommended by the national conference of commissioners on uniform state law (Uniform Law Commissioners). The House unanimously passed HF 655 on Tuesday.
Next week the Senate will hold committee meetings on Tuesday to pass the remaining governor appointees out of committee.
- April 28th is the 110th day of session where per diem expenses end