Capitol Report: Week Eight Update
March 9, 2020
By: Paula S. Dierenfeld, Katie Graham
2020 LEGISLATIVE RECAP, WEEK EIGHT
Kiddie Care. On Monday, three bills to incentivize the availability of child care options for Iowa’s workers, were introduced and placed on the House debate calendar. HF 2593 would make tax incentives under the High Quality Jobs Program available to employers who build new or expanded onsite daycare facilities and offer low-cost child care for their employees. HF 2594 would provide an income (or similar) tax credit to employers who provide child care benefits to their employees, that may include building, leasing or paying the annual operating costs of a child care facility. HF 2595 would provide up to $3 million a year in income tax credits and sales tax refunds to developers of new or rehabilitated child care facilities. Expect these bills to be debated. The legislature and Governor Reynolds are convinced that child care is a serious workforce issue and have made affordable, quality child care a priority this session.
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Next Twelve Years. On Tuesday, both the House and the Senate took final action on a bill, SF 2142, that increases supplemental state aid to Iowa’s K-12 public schools by 2.3 percent. The House previously passed a bill that would have provided a 2.5 percent increase, matching what the Governor proposed. The Senate passed a 2.1 percent increase. They compromised in the middle. The Legislative Services Agency estimates the total amount of state aid to schools in FY 2021 will be $3.39 billion dollars, an increase of $106.3 million over FY 2020. The Governor is expected to sign the bill.
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Just Be Nice. Following a rare Thursday night debate, the House passed a bill, HF 2504, that would define “anti-Semitism” and require governmental agencies to consider the definition when investigating whether an alleged act was motivated by discriminatory anti-Semitic intent. The bill would codify the definition of “anti-Semitism” adopted by International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance that includes examples like “calling for, aiding or justifying the killing or harming of Jews in the name of a radical ideology or extremist religious view.” Proponents argued the legislation is needed due to the growing number of hate incidents around the country against Jews. Opponents countered that it would send a message that discrimination against Jews is more important than discrimination against others. During debate, points of order under Rule 10 were called several times requiring Speaker Grassley to remind legislators to be respectful to each other and to not question each others’ motives.
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Even though the second funnel is still two weeks away (March 20), this week’s calendars are expected to be busy with lots of floor debate and committee and subcommittee meetings.