Iowa Chamber Alliance Update: 2/24

posted on Wednesday, February 26, 2020 in Government Affairs

Steve Firman, Director of Government Affairs for Grow Cedar ValleyInformation provided by Director of Government Affairs, Steve Firman

Grow Cedar Valley is a member of the Iowa Chamber Alliance (ICA), a federation of the 16 largest economic and community development organizations in the state. ICA has full-time lobbyist representation in the Capitol who tracks legislation closely during the session. On a regular basis, they provide their members with a newsletter detailing the contents of bills they are following and their status. We in turn Grow Cedar Valley will be providing these updates to you, our investors, so you can stay abreast of the developments throughout the session. This is one of the ways we try to enhance the advocacy we provide through Grow Cedar Valley. Continue reading below for the most recent update from ICA or you can download a pdf version.

2.24.2020 Newsletter

Workforce Development Board

The Iowa Workforce Development Board has 13 vacancies to be filled. The Workforce Development Board is responsible for developing and implementing a 20-year workforce development plan, creating guiltiness for awarding grants, the reviewing of grants awarded, and the recommendation of departmental usage of federal funding. Board members serve four year terms and are appointed by the Governor and then approved by the Senate.

Future Ready Iowa (SF 2313, HF 2384)

During the 2020 Condition of the State Governor Reynold’s proposed her plan for Future Ready Iowa, which is also a priority for the Iowa Chamber Alliance including impacts to the provision of child care. The legislation was introduced the third week of session and subcommittees have been held in both chambers. HF 2384 passed out of the House Commerce Committee on February 12th and SF 2313 passed out of the Senate Commerce Committee on February 18th. HF 2384 was referred to the House Appropriations Committee. The bill includes multiple provisions including:

  • Apprenticeship Training Program
    • Provides financial assistance to apprenticeship sponsors with 20 or fewer apprentices to maintain programs in high-demand occupations.
    • Reimbursable grants of $1,000, grants, but should not exceed $20,000 annually.
  • Iowa Child Care Challenge Fund
    • Creates a Iowa Child Care Challenge Program under the department of Workforce Development
    • Creates a matching grant for organizations building or rebuilding a child care facility
    • Organizations seek grant must submit an application, proposal, financial plan, and sustainability plan.
  • Workforce Diploma Pilot Program
    • Creates a workforce diploma pilot program that qualifies eligible institutions to assist students who are beyond school age to obtain a high school diploma
  • Future Ready Iowa Skilled Workforce Last-Dollar Scholarship
    • Expands the eligible students to include individuals enroll full time in a regular semester or part-time for a summer semester before becoming an adult learner, as well as included adult learners who are at least age 20 at the beginning of the state fiscal year.
  • Senior Year Plus Program and Postsecondary Enrollment Options
    • Eliminates previous provisions regarding  part-time enrollment  to allow either part-time or full-time enrollment in courses

Invest in Iowa Act (SSB 3116, HSB 657)

The Governor introduced her Invest in Iowa Act on February 5th. SSB 3116 was referred to the Senate Ways and Means Committee and assigned a subcommittee. HSB 657 was referred to the House Ways and Means Committee and assigned a subcommittee. The Invest in Iowa Act has three major components including taxes, IWILL, and mental health funding. First, the tax component would cut individual income tax by an average of 10% in 2021, lower the highest tax rate by 3% by 2023, repeal the water excise tax, and increase the Early Childhood Development and Child Development care tax credits by doubling the maximum net income for eligibility. Second, the IWILL component commits $99.5 million to water quality efforts, allocate $52.3 million to conservation and recreation, and directors the Iowa Economic Development Authority to oversee projects with a recreational purpose. Third, the mental health funding component reduces property taxes by lowering the per capita country mental health levy from $47.28 to $12.50, resulting in lowering the maximum statewide mental health levy by $77.1 million.

Universal Licensing (SF 2114, HF 2470)

The Governor’s Universal Licensing legislation was introduced early February to help provided certainty in licensing to grow Iowa’s workforce. HF 2470 passed out of the House State Government Committee on February 18th and was referred to the House Ways and Means Committee. SF 2114 passed out of the Senate Labor and Business Relations Committee on February 19th. The bill allows a professional or occupational license, registration or certificate be issued to an individual without examination, individuals may establish residency through multiple means, licensees must be currently licensed in another state and in good standing, and must be licensed in those states for at least one year.

Port Authority (HF 2266)

The House Port Authority legislation was introduced in early February and passed out of subcommittee and the House State Government Committee during the first funnel. The bill helps to delineate liability and creates flexibility to jointly fund projects. Doing this helps to expand Iowa Code Chapter 28J beyond traditional port authority uses for commerce to the ability to utilize this for commerce, quality of life and economic development projects. 

Alternative Project Delivery

The Senate State Government Committee passed SF 2364 early in session and has been placed on the Senate debate calendar. The House companion bill, HSB 674 also passed out of subcommittee and the House Local Government Committee the week of the first funnel. The bill includes language advocated by the Master Builders of Iowa for construction manager at risk and a prohibition against utilization of design build by Regents Institutions.

It is important to note that this language is different from an approach advocated by the Design Build Institute that did not included prohibition against other alternative project delivery methods.