Iowa Legislature - Pre-Session Update

January 1, 2021

On Your Mark, Get Set... The second 89th Iowa General Assembly will convene at 10:00 a.m. on January 11, 2021. While it is scheduled for 100 days, it will likely be condensed due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

  • January 11, 2021 First day of session
  • January 12, 2021 Condition of the State address by Governor Reynolds, triggering the release of the Governor's proposed budget
  • March 5, 2021 First "funnel" - Bills not reported out of their originating committee by this date are "dead" for the session
  • April 2, 2021 Second "funnel" - House bills not passed out of Senate committees and Senate bills not passed out of House committees are "dead" for the session
  • April 30, 2021 Last scheduled day of session

Who's Who in 2021

  • House Republicans picked up 6 seats during the election and now will hold a 59 - 41 majority. Senate Republicans maintained a 31-18 majority with a special election for Senate District 41 to fill the vacancy for new Congresswoman Mariannette Miller-Meeks.
  • Senator Jake Chapman was elected as the new Senate President while Senator Jason Schultz will take over as the Senate Commerce Committee Chair.
  • Senate Democrats elected Zach Wahls to serve as the new Minority Leader.
  • There are 17 new members in the House and 8 new members in the Senate

What We Can Expect. It's still early but legislative leaders and the Governor are beginning to hint at what their priorities will be in the 2021 session. A few of the things they are talking about are:

  • COVID-19 Recovery. Governor Reynolds created the Economic Recovery Advisory Board to generate policy proposals following the economic impacts of COVID-19 on the state. Many of the proposals included in the final recommendations from the task force will likely be included in the Governor's policy priorities for 2021.
  • Taxes. Iowans voted in 2010 to approve a three-eighths of a cent sales tax increase to fund conservation efforts around the state with Iowa's Water and Land Legacy (IWILL). However the legislature has never passed legislation to increase the sales tax. Governor Reynolds and the legislature have both indicated tax reform is a priority, however it is unclear what that will look like at this time.
  • Broadband. With an unprecedented amount of Iowan's working and learning from home, the need to further expand and fund broadband has become a key priority for both the legislature and the governor. The House created a new standing committee focused on broadband legislation while Governor Reynolds created a broadband advisory ground in her Economic Recovery Advisory Board.
  • Budget. Revenue Estimating Conference (REC) met in December and reported the ongoing and anticipated impacts of COVID-19 on Iowa's economy. While in a much more stable position than surrounding states, Iowa is on track to recover at a similar rate as the US economy. The REC anticipates a revenue of $7.97 billion for FY22, a 3.7% growth.
  • And So Much More. All have said they want to make addressing the state's workforce shortage a priority. Additional priorities mentioned have included mental health funding, addressing childcare needs, and criminal justice reform.