More than 375 bills ranging from allowing home delivery of alcohol to keeping Iowa on daylight savings time year-around have cleared the Iowa Legislature’s first major hurdle.
Many others have failed to advance past the so-called “funnel.” The Legislature’s self-imposed deadline required many bills to clear at least one committee by the end of this week to remain eligible for debate. Bills dealing with school bathroom use by transgender students, cities’ regulation of certain dog breeds, and reinstatement of the death penalty were among those falling by the wayside.
Bills that survived this round now have to make it through one full chamber and be eligible for debate by the opposite chamber by April 2.
Here’s a sampling of the bills consider “alive” after the funnel.
Abortion: A proposed constitutional amendment in Senate Joint Resolution 2 declares there is no right to abortion in the Iowa Constitution.
House File 383 would require “informed consent” be given in advance of prescription of medication intended to end a pregnancy, including disputed information that “it may be possible” to reverse a medication abortion.
Biofuels: Gov. Kim Reynolds has proposed a state biofuels standard and a change in tax credits meant to require retailers to sell higher blends of ethanol and biodiesel. Retailers and trucking organizations are opposing Senate File 481, while farm groups support the move.
Birth control: Over-the-counter delivery of certain birth control medication would be allowed under House File 434.
Bottle bill: At least three bills are still alive.
Senate File 470, would allow retailers to opt out of taking containers if there is a redemption center within 20 miles. It also would raise payments to redemption centers.
Senate File 565 would require an accounting of unredeemed container deposits.
Study Bill 252 would allow retailers to decline to take bottles and can returns if there is a redemption center in the area.
Broadband: The governor’s proposal in Senate File 390 and House Study Bill 133 would spend $450 million a year over three years on Empower Iowa grants for projects that provide service at a minimum of 100 megabits per second for both downloads and uploads in areas with no service or lower-speed service.
Censorship: Senate File 402 would ban the state and local governments from having contracts with or offering aid to “certain companies that censor online content.”
House File 633 would fine social-media companies that “censor” constitutionally protected speech.
Child care: The Iowa House passed six bills last month dealing with child care, which has been a priority of business groups that see the lack of affordable child care as a barrier to attracting workers.
House File 230: Increases the net income threshold to claim the early childhood tax credit from $45,000 to $90,000. The bill passed 90-1.
House File 370: Creates a tax credit of up to $150,000 to encourage employers to provide child care to their employees. The bill passed 88-6.
House File 260: Allows unregulated home child care providers to care for up to six children, as long as one of them is school aged. The bill passed 70-24.
House File 292: Increases the reimbursement rate for the state child care assistance program. All child care providers would be brought up to the 50th percentile of the market rate. The bill passed 90-4. A similar bill passed the House in 2020.
House File 302: Creates a gradual phase-out program for families whose income rises while using state child care assistance. The legislation is intended to avoid a sudden drop in assistance if a parent receives a salary increase, known as the “cliff effect.” A similar bill passed the House in 2020. The bill passed again, 94-0.
House File 301: Creates a state matching grant program to communities that fund the child care WAGE$ Iowa program that supplements educator salaries, or other programs to support and retain teachers.
Driving: Senate File 330 would forbid the use of any electronic communication device that would take a driver’s hands off the wheel.
House File 753 would increase penalties for drivers who unintentionally cause a death or serious injury while speeding.
Elections: Both the House and Senate have approved Senate File 413, a sweeping election bill which shortens absentee voting periods, enacts earlier poll-closing times and imposes felony penalties for violations of election laws by public officials, among other provisions. Gov. Kim Reynolds had not yet signed the bill as of March 5.
Voting rights would be restored for felons who have discharged their sentences under House Study Bill 231.
Guns: Iowans would no longer be required to get a permit to purchase or carry a handgun under House Study Bill 254.
Senate File 514 would shield gun and ammunition manufacturers and sellers from lawsuits related to deaths, injuries or property damage caused by unlawful use of firearms.
Both the House and Senate passed a proposal that will let Iowans vote in 2022 about whether the right to bear arms should be codified in the state constitution.
Iowans could hunt from motorized scooters under House File 738.
Housing: Cities would be prohibited under House File 720 from enforcing ordinances banning discrimination by landlords against tenants using federal housing assistance.
The governor’s affordable housing proposal in House File 582 would offer housing assistance, housing tax credits, added workforce housing incentives, loan guarantees for downtown revitalization projects, eviction prevention assistance and disaster housing recovery assistance.
Insulin: The monthly out-of-pocket cost for insulin would be capped at $100 under House File 263.
House File 262 would allow pharmacists to refill up to a month’s worth of a prescription without a doctor’s sign-off in emergency situations.
Littering: New penalties for littering could include the loss of hunting and fishing licenses and state park camping privileges under Senate File 465.
Marijuana: Possession of 5 grams or less of marijuana would be downgraded to a simple misdemeanor under Senate File 533.
Parks improvements: House File 749 would provide $3 million annually for three years for park repairs and improvements.
Police: Senate File 479 would cut off state aid for cities that “defund” or cut police budgets.
House Study Bill 266 would allow a police officer to file a civil claim against individuals who file a false report against them. It would also include officers, judges and prosecutors in address confidentiality programs.
Pregnancy: Employers would be required to provide reasonable accommodations to employees based on pregnancy and childbirth under Senate File 485.
Sexual abuse/assault: Senate Study Bill 1017 would eliminate the statute of limitations for sexual abuse in the first, second or third degree, kidnapping or human trafficking involving a minor.
Schools: Both chambers approved and the governor signed Senate File 160, which required K-12 schools to offer 100% in-person instruction by Feb. 15.
Both chambers approved and the governor signed Senate File 269, which increases supplemental state aid for schools by 2.4% or about $36.5 million for the next school year.
The Senate advanced an education bill proposed by Gov. Kim Reynolds. Senate File 159 would create new avenues for charter schools to form in Iowa and would fund scholarship programs for some students to attend private schools.
The House split the bill into several parts. The House Education Committee did not consider the bill on private school vouchers, but they did approve House Study Bill 242, which would allow charter schools to operate independently of public school districts.
Parents could request that their child repeat a grade due to COVID-19 disruptions at schools under Senate File 90.
House File 415 would require public and certain nonaccredited private schools to display the American flag in classrooms and start each day with recitation of the pledge of allegiance.
Taxes on COVID-19 aid: The House and Senate have passed different versions of Senate File 364, which would allow businesses to exclude any Paycheck Protection Program loans from their net income. The House version also includes federal pandemic unemployment assistance and state COVID-19 grants from the Iowa Economic Development Authority, the Iowa Finance Authority or the Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship.
Traffic cameras: Traffic cameras would be prohibited except for a section of Interstate 380 through Cedar Rapids under Senate File 516.
Unemployment benefits: Senate File 492 would impose a one-week waiting period before the start of unemployment benefits, reduce benefits for families with more than two dependents and eliminate expanded plant-closing benefit periods.
Vaccines: House File 547 would require health professionals to report vaccinations to a statewide immunization register.
House File 528 would allow dentists to administer flu shots and COVID-19 vaccines.
Senate File 555 would prohibit employers from requiring their employees be vaccinated.
Katie Akin, Perry Beeman and Clark Kauffman of Iowa Capital Dispatch contributed to this report.