From the Capitol with Steve Firman - April 4, 2023
posted on Tuesday, April 4, 2023 in Government Affairs
April 4, 2023
Last Friday was the second funnel deadline. For bills to remain eligible, they must have passed floor debate in one chamber and be through committee in the other. Any bills that do not meet this deadline are typically considered ‘dead’ for the session. However, lawmakers do have the ability to place bills on the ‘unfinished business’ calendar, allowing them to continue working on bills after the 12th week of session. Another way legislators can bring bills back from the ‘dead’ is to offer them as amendments to another bill. Ways and Means or Appropriation bills are exempt from the funnel deadline.
Because so many of the Governor’s priority bills were debated and passed early in the session, this was a slower than usual second funnel week. Nevertheless, there were several bills that we have been following that either lived or died last week. Bills that are still alive include:
- Child labor laws: Bills that would allow teens to work longer hours and work in jobs that were previously prohibited as long as they are in a work-study program.
- Guns in employer parking lots: Employers would be required to allow employees to keep firearms in their locked cars in the employers’ parking lots, thereby dictating what employers must do on their private property.
- Trucking lawsuits: A cap on non-economic damages would be put in place for lawsuits over collisions with trucks and other commercial vehicles, similar to the caps signed into law for medical malpractice cases.
- ESG investing ban: The state would be prohibited from using investment firms handling public of recommendations or decisions.
Bills that we were following that died in the funnel include:
- DEI at state universities: A bill that was moving in, but never debated by, the House would have prevented the state’s three universities from using any monies to support programs or positions having to do with diversity, equity, and inclusion died after the Board of Regents put a hold on any new DEI activities.
- E-Verify: Iowa employers would have been required to use this federal system to check the immigration status of prospective employees, but it did not receive a vote in the Senate.
Three other bills that have not been on our GCV list, but that are of interest, received different funnel results. A bill to prohibit use of any electronic device while driving survived the funnel, after being defeated for the past several years. Bills to regulate the use of eminent domain to accomplish the building of carbon-capture pipelines and to establish year-round daylight savings time were both caught in the funnel this year.
With the second funnel in the rearview mirror, attention will now turn to the budget. Beyond that, one other key priority, especially in the Senate, is property tax reform. At this point, the House and Senate are far apart in their approaches, meaning finding a compromise may be difficult in what should be the final month of this year’s session. But there’s always next year.