Capitol Report: Week 14 2023
April 17, 2023
By: Casey Nickel, Dustin J. Miller, Brad C. Epperly
Movement at the Capitol slowed considerably this week with the Senate holding no floor debate and both chambers holding very few subcommittee and committee meetings. The House debated a variety of primarily non-controversial bills throughout the week. The Senate held back-to-back committee meetings on Tuesday to advance all the March Governor appointees out of committee. The Senate is expected hold committee meetings again week 15 to consider the April appointees and potentially bring them to the floor for a vote.
On Thursday, the House passed Senate File 494 related to public assistance integrity reform. The legislation requires the Department of Human Services to complete an asset test for recipients of the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program as well as regular eligibility checks on existing recipients. The House passed the bill 58-41 vote. The Senate previously passed the same proposal on a party line vote, and the bill will now go to Governor Reynolds for signature.
Senate File 494 did not include provisions related to restricting the purchase of candy and soda with SNAP benefits that were originally included in House File 613.
The House Ways and Means Committee advanced House File 1 Thursday morning after adopting a strike-after amendment that was unanimously approved. The amendment would reduce the school foundation property tax levy to $4.90 per $1,000, limits the value of a residential property assessment at 3% per year, and moves bond elections to the general election date.
Both the House and Senate have expressed interest in reforming property taxes during the 2023 legislative session after property owners saw significant growth in assessments, but the two chambers have not reached an agreement on a final proposal.
House File 654 was adopted by the House on Wednesday. The firearms omnibus bill includes various provisions related to the carrying, transportation, or possession of firearms on various properties. The legislation allows individuals to have firearms in a locked vehicle on most publicly-owned property, including k-12 schools, regent universities, and community colleges. The House amended the bill by striking the provision that would mandate employers to allow for firearms to be stored in locked employee vehicles while on the employer’s property. The legislation also clarifies between carrying a firearm and possessing a firearm to clear up confusion from prior legislation passed.
The House adopted the bill with a 62-37 vote. The Senate attached HF 654 to the Senate companion bill.
On Monday, the House Ways and Means Chair introduced legislation that would require an individual to be a registered member of the political party 70 days prior to the caucus in order to participate. The legislation would also require all caucus-goers be physically present to participate in the caucus. The bill was introduced in response to the New Hampshire Secretary of State signaling a move ahead of Iowa if an Iowa caucus transitioned to look more like a primary. This was due to comments made by Iowa Democratic Party leaders related to mail-in or absentee voting.
The proposal advanced through the Ways and Means subcommittee and committee meetings this week and was renumbered to House File 716. Republicans argued the bill is necessary to protect Iowa’s first in the nation caucus status while Democrats argued the proposal is targeting IDP’s proposal and will limit Iowan’s ability to participate.
Next week the Senate will hold committee meetings on Tuesday to pass the remaining governor appointees out of committee. Budget discussions will continue as we approach the scheduled final day of session on April 28th.
- April 28th is the 110th day of session where per diem expenses end