Week Fourteen Capitol Report

April 15, 2022

On Tuesday, April 12 the House took up Senate File 2378, a bill that would reform Iowa’s bottle bill law. The Senate approved SF 2378 on March 29th with a 31-18 vote. This is the first time both chambers approved legislation to update the bottle bill since its adoption in 1978. SF 2378 was passed in the Senate with the following provisions:

· Allow dealers to opt out of redemption

· Increases the handling fee paid by distributors by 2 cents

· Decreases the barrel tax for beer by 6 cents a gallon

· Codifies unredeemed deposits to distributors

· Civil enforcement by the Department of Natural Resources and Attorney General

The House amended and passed SF 2378 with a bipartisan vote of 73-17 The House amendment H-8359 includes the following:

· Allows all retailers who possess a food establishment license to opt out

· Codifies the convivence standard for redemption centers for dealer opt out

· Effective date on January 1, 2023

· Requires a dealer who does not accept cans to display a notice on the front door stating the location of the nearest redemption center

The Senate must pass the amended version of the bill before it can be sent to the Governor for signature.

Additionally, President Biden visited Iowa on April 12 and announced his plan to lift restrictions on the sale of gasoline blended with 15% ethanol during the summer months.

"This industry has a role to play in a sustainable energy future," Biden said, speaking from a Poet ethanol plant outside of Des Moines. "But I’m here because homegrown biofuels have a role to play right now — right now as we work to get prices under control and reduce the cost for families."

On Wednesday, the Iowa Supreme Court heard oral arguments regarding former U.S. Representative Abby Finkenauer’s appeal to appear on the Democratic Primary ballot in June. Finkenauer is running for the U.S. Senate. Republicans initially challenged Finkenaur’s nomination arguing she failed to obtain the required number of valid signatures. The State Objection Panel dismissed the claim with a 2-1 vote, but following an appeal a Polk County District Judge overturned the decision citing the panel applied the law incorrectly and the invalid signatures should not count. The Supreme Court is expected to issue a ruling swiftly. The Secretary of State’s office has requested a decision by April 18 to ensure they are able to prepare and print ballots to send to overseas voters in time.

Next week, per diem and expense reimbursements will expire on April 19, the 100th day of session. Legislators and leadership in both chambers are expected to continue to negotiate on remaining priorities and the Fiscal Year 2023 budget with little floor debate until an agreement is made. The Senate has not yet passed any FY23 budget bills.