Capitol Report: Week Four Update

February 10, 2020

By: Paula S. Dierenfeld, Katie Graham



Let the Games Begin. Four weeks into the 2020 legislative session and we’ve seen our first floor debate. Four bills were taken up in the Senate on Thursday. Two passed unanimously including SF 2144, a $20 million supplemental appropriations bill that includes funding for communities throughout Iowa devastated by last year’s floods. A bill, SF 2095, which would allow county attorneys to obtain a professional permit to carry a weapon anytime and anywhere, except on school grounds or in county courthouses, passed 47-1. Another, SF 2134, clarifying that breweries can produce canned cocktails, was approved 44-4.


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ABC, As Easy as 123. Or, maybe somewhere in between, like 2½. On Wednesday, the House Education Committee approved a bill, HF 2243, which would increase state aid to Iowa schools next year by 2.5 percent. The Legislative Services Agency estimates the total amount of state aid from the general fund to schools in FY 2021 would be $3.396 billion, an increase of $101.7 million over FY 2020. The bill also includes a $19.5 million appropriation to help schools pay for transportation costs, also an increase of 2.5 percent over the current year.


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Gender Wars. Ten years ago legislation dealing with gender issues dealt almost exclusively with equal pay for equal work and equal representation on government boards. Times have changed. Among the bills introduced so far is HF 2201, which would require school districts to notify parents and allow students to be excused from classroom instruction regarding sexual orientation or gender identity. HF 68 would include in the definition of “hate crime” offenses committed against a person because of their gender identity. HF 2202 would allow students to only participate and compete in sports designated for their biological sex as determined at birth. HF 2274 would create a legislative study committee “to engage in rigorous examination and expansive dialogue regarding issues relating to gender identity in order to end the tragedy of suicide by transgender individuals.” So far, none of the bills have moved.


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Catfish, Honey Bees and Bears, Oh My. The animal kingdom is getting its fair share of the attention this year at the Capitol. HF 2132 would allow catfish to be taken by bow and arrow. SF 393 would make failing to properly care for bees a criminal offense. HF 2133 would make it legal to hunt black bears in Iowa… oh, my!


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Moving On. Representative Dan Huseman (R-Aurelia), the longest serving Republican in the Iowa House announced on Tuesday that he will not be seeking re-election in 2020. Later that same day, Lynn Evans, a former teacher and school administrator, announced he will seek Huseman’s vacated seat. Representative Tim Kacena (D-Sioux City) also said he will not be seeking re-election and instead will be running for a Woodbury County Supervisor seat. Steve Hansen, who served in the Iowa Senate from 1986 – 2002, announced he will be running to replace Kacena.



The Nyemaster Goode Government Affairs team tracks and analyzes legislation as part of its full range of legislative services. At the statehouse, our public policy attorneys use experience, knowledge, and technical skills to achieve our clients’ goals.