Capitol Report: Week Two Update

January 27, 2020

By: Paula S. Dierenfeld, Katie Graham

2020 Iowa Legislature Recap, Week Two


Catch-up and Mustered. Okay, so the title is a little corny but it aptly describes this past week in the Iowa legislature. It was a short one, due to the MLK holiday, however a lot of activity took place in the two and a half days legislators were in Des Moines. Both chambers played a little “catch-up” and scheduled nearly 90 subcommittee meetings on bills, two-thirds of which were in the Senate. And they “mustered” some media attention on several of issues they debated.


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Let the People Speak. Two proposals to amend Iowa’s state constitution advanced in the Iowa Senate this past week. The first, Senate Joint Resolution (SJR) 22, would require a two-thirds majority vote in both chambers for bills that would increase the state’s tax revenue due to changes in Iowa’s individual income tax rates and/or taxable income ranges. The second bill, SJR 21, would specify that the Iowa Constitution does not “secure or protect a right to abortion or require the funding of abortion.” The votes on the bills were along party lines, with all Republicans voting for them and all Democrats voting against. To be placed on the ballot in 2021, the bills need to pass the legislature this session and again next session.


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For Kids’ Sake. On Tuesday, Governor Kim Reynolds announced plans for the creation of a new state bureau that would be tasked with providing training to local law enforcement and school districts to assist them in deterring and responding to school security threats. In addition to training, the Governor’s School Safety Bureau would be reponsible for creating an anonymous reporting tool to encourage students to report concerning behavior. The Governor’s plan also calls for hiring cybercrime agents in the Department of Pulic Safety to work with local law enforcement to investigate online threats made against schools.


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(Vapor) Smoke is in The Air. Also on Tuesday, two bills moved in the Senate that would restrict the use of vapor products, otherwise known as E-cigarettes. Senate Study Bill (SSB) 3052, would amend the Smokefree Air Act to prohibit the use of E-cigarettes in the same places tobacco products are prohibited, including restaurants and bars, places of employment and certain outdoor areas. SSB 3016 would increase the minimum age for smoking and vaping to 21 years. Both bills were voted out of their Senate subcommittees unanimously.


Week Ahead  


Fast and Furious. Expect a full week of continuous subcommittee meetings on bills trying to get over the “first hurdle.”


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.