Week Four Capitol Report

February 4, 2022

The Iowa Legislature is two weeks away from its first funnel deadline. February 18 is the final date for bills introduced in the Senate to be passed out of a Senate committee and bills introduced in the House to be passed out of a House Committee. Appropriation and Ways and Means bills are exempt from funnel deadlines.

This week, the House passed the first bill with bi-partisan support. House File 2128 relates to renewable fuels and was introduced by Governor Reynolds. The bill requires gas stations with compatible equipment to offer E-15 as an option. A waiver is available for gas stations that don't have compatible equipment, and upgrading existing infrastructure would be costly. With a vote of 82-10, the bill now goes to the Senate for consideration.

The Senate and House held subcommittee meetings this week on their respective tax proposals. Senate Ways and Means Chair Senator Dawson moved Senate Study Bill 3074 out of committee with two technical amendments. Democrats voted against moving the bill to the floor, sharing concerns that the bill was not ready for floor debate without a complete fiscal note related to the impacts the proposed tax cuts would have on the General Fund. House Study Bill 626 was scheduled to be considered during the House Ways and Means Committee on Thursday, February 3 but was canceled.

Governor Reynolds' workforce shortage proposal was introduced by each chambers labor committee chair this week. House Study Bill 631 was passed out of both subcommittee and committee by Thursday. The bill is divided into two sections, one related to unemployment insurance and the other tort reform.

Division I: Unemployment Insurance
    • Reduces the maximum amount of time an individual can claim unemployment from 26 to 16 weeks.
    • Creates a one-week waiting period for benefits.
    • Defines "misconduct"
Division II: Tort Reform
    • Creates a hard cap of one million dollars for medical malpractice and commercial motor vehicle noneconomic damages.

Next week, both HSB 631 and SSB 3074 are eligible for floor debate if leadership decides to take them up. Committee chairs will coordinate with their members ensuring any bills they would like to survive the first funnel have subcommittee meetings held.