Legislative Agenda & Updates 

LAI is the leader in advocating for non-profit aging service providers in Iowa. We strive to be the champion for advancement and innovation in aging services. LAI is a presence in public policy at the Iowa Capitol. Though member driven policy proposals, LAI works tirelessly to advocate for the biggest issues facing aging service provider today. Through direct lobbying at the Iowa Capitol, one-on-one meetings, phone calls, action alerts, and more, LAI is force for non-profit aging services providers in Iowa.

 

Legislative Agenda

2020 Session – Week 9 Legislative Update – 3/9-3/12

In order for a policy bill to continue in the legislative process, it must survive the second funnel.  In other words, if the bill was introduced in the Senate, it must be out of a House Committee like Human Resources by March 20. There are a few exceptions to the funnel rule, but overall, it is one of the last procedural rules to winnow down the bill list.

With funnel week fast approaching, it creates a focus on the last few key bills that the legislature wants to pass in 2020. It also means the legislators are working overtime to try and get bills out of their chamber and over to the other side to make sure the legislative process continues.

Updates on Key Bills

Below is an update on bills LAI is watching and supporting this legislative session:

  • Senate File 2338 Tort Reform – The bill has been assigned a subcommittee in the House Commerce committee. The bill must make it through this committee in order to survive the second funnel.  In its current form the bill puts a $750,000 cap on noneconomic damages and removes exceptions to the cap. LAI is “For” this bill.
  • Senate File 2299 and House File 2435 Third-Party Background Checks – The bill passed both the Iowa House and Senate and will now head down to the Governor’s office for signing. The bill would allow initial background check, from a third-party vendor for a temporary background clearance. If there are no issues, the potential worker can come in on a temporary basis. The worker would still need to get a background check with the SING system to be in full compliance. LAI is “For” this bill.
  • House File 2269 and Senate File 2209 - Removing Elderly Waiver Monthly Budget Cap - has passed the Senate and awaits action on the House floor. The removal of the budget cap is a legislative priority for LAI as it is an unnecessary holdover restriction from the fee-for-service era. Due to passing both committees, it is already past the second funnel deadline.

Medicaid Funding

There is still no movement on the state budget due to internal debate between Republicans regarding proposed tax credits and waiting on the Revenue Estimating Conference (REC). Word is the Senate will release a tax bill with steeper cuts to taxes and revenue. The rumored proposal would phase out the income tax and end all tax credits in Iowa. Without a bill to provide analysis, there is no way to know what that will do to revenue.

The Governor’s proposed tax bill, Senate Study Bill 3116 , would seek to increase Iowa’s sales tax by one cent, cut some income taxes, fund water quality and outdoor recreation programs, and provide a state funding stream for mental health services while limiting how much counties levy in property taxes for mental health.

Until the tax cuts are figured out, no budget bills can be released. 

Additionally, the legislature is awaiting final analysis of revenue from the Revenue Estimating Conference (REC) that occurs in the late afternoon on Thursday, March 12. The REC is the primary entity in Iowa for determining revenue estimates. The Iowa legislature must use these numbers in shaping their budgets for FY 2021.

While the debate will continue on funding priorities, LAI members can let their voices be heard on aging services funding with the action alert listed below:

Contact Legislators on Aging Services Funding

Other Bills of Interest

  1. Senate File 2294 and House File 2362 – Allowing nonprofit organizations needing to determine the reimbursement of costs for unemployment benefits to be referred to an administrative law judge for hearing instead of district court. – Passed Iowa House and on Senate Calendar – LAI Position: Undecided
  2. House File 2192 – Relates to reimbursement rates for health care services provided to covered person by telehealth. – Passed Iowa House and in Senate Human Resources – Position: For
  3. Senate File 2313 and House File 2384 – Future Ready Iowa bill from the Governor that includes matching grants for organizations seeking to build child care centers – Passed Senate and House Appropriations – LAI Position: For
  4. House File 2614 and Senate File 2397 – Requires broker-dealers, investment advisors, or qualified financial individuals to act with suspected financial exploitation of older adults. – Referred to Senate and House Appropriations – LAI Position: For
  5. Senate File 2338 – Medical malpractice – Removes exceptions for noneconomic damages and puts a cap on noneconomic damages of $750,000. – Passed Iowa Senate and in Iowa House Commerce Committee – LAI Position: For
  6. Senate File 2299 and House File 2435 – Background checks with third party vendors for health providers. – Passed Iowa Senate and Iowa House – LAI Position: For
  7. Senate File 2341 – Criminal Elder Abuse Bill – The bill will create criminal penalties for elder abuse, including acts such as financial exploitation. – On Senate Calendar – LAI Position – For
  8. Senate File  2272 – Medicaid Eligibility Bill – Among many provisions, the bill would require quarterly review of income eligibility for Medicaid beneficiaries. – Passed Iowa Senate and referred to House Humans – LAI Position: Against
  9. House File 2470 – Professional Licensure – Governor's bill that seeks to make professional licensure easier in Iowa by allowing for states with similar credentials to work in Iowa if they at least pass licensing requirements in Iowa. – In House Ways and Means – LAI Position: For

 

2020 Session – Week 8 Legislative Update – 3/2-3/5

Week 8 was dominated by floor work and debate at the Iowa Capitol. The legislators were working overtime to get dozens of bills out of their respective chambers in time to give bills a chance to survive the second funnel, which occurs in two weeks.

One key bill in particular made its committee debut this week, the Governor’s tax proposal had its first hearing in Ways and Means. Senate Study Bill 3116 is the proposal that will seek to increase Iowa’s sales tax by one cent, cut some income taxes, fund water quality and outdoor recreation programs, and provide a state funding stream for mental health services while limiting how much counties levy in property taxes for mental health.

The bill has considerable backing from groups ranging from the Nature Conservancy, Iowans for Tax Relief, the Iowa Hospital Association, to the Iowa Chamber Alliance. Limited groups are against, with primarily liberal organizations and unions aligned against the proposal due to their concern of the regressive nature of the sales tax. Iowa legislators themselves are somewhat skeptical of the move, with Republicans leery of raising taxes without deeper tax cuts and Democrats concerned with whether the spending on water quality and mental health would be adequate and sustainable.

The bill passed out of subcommittee, but the Chair of Ways and Means publicly stated he hopes to have a second subcommittee on the bill before bringing the bill to the full Ways and Means committee.

For LAI members, the tax bill slows down the appropriation process considerably. The Governor based her budget projections with the tax bill built in. Legislators cannot create budget targets for their respective budgets unless there is a deal on a tax cut or increase. That means that legislators will be fast tracking tax talk over the next few weeks to make sure they can reach a tax deal and a budget deal by April.

Retirement Announcements and Impact on 2020

Week 8 was also the filing deadline for candidates to get on the 2020 ballot. There is often a lot of showmanship with filing the petition papers, especially for higher profile races. Often first-time candidates bring multiple supporters to the Iowa Capitol to cheer them on as they hand in petitions.  However, it is also when candidates tend to make their retirement announcements known. What follows is a brief list of announced retirements and analysis of some key races that could impact 2020 legislative elections

House Retirements

  • Rep. Dan Huseman (House District 3 -R-Aurelia) is the longest serving Republican in the Iowa House will not seek re-election in 2020. House District 3 is a Republican seat that should stay Republican.
  • Rep. Tim Kacena (House District 14 - D-Sioux City) will not seek re-election and instead will be running for a Woodbury County Supervisor seat. House District 14 is a Democrat seat that should stay Democrat.
  • Rep. Chris Hagenow (House District 19 – R – Urbandale) is retiring. Rep. Hagenow was the former Majority Leader of the Iowa House and moved from a previous district in Clive/Windsor Heights in Polk County to a rural district in Dallas County. House District 19 is a Republican seat that should stay Republican.
  • Rep. Ashley Hinson (House District 67 – R – Marion) will not seek re-election and is instead running for Congress against Congresswoman Abby Finkenauer in Iowa’s 1st Congressional District. This seat might be one of the top three competitive seats in the state of Iowa in 2020. Hinson barely kept the seat in 2018 with a 52% to 48% victory. Marion is a suburban district that has been trending Democrat in recent years.
  • Rep. Mark Smith (House District 71 - D -Marshalltown) will not seek re-election. The former Minority Leader of the House was recently elected the new Chair of the Iowa Democratic Party. Marshalltown once was a Democratic stronghold but has been trending Republican in recent elections. Look for both parties to make a play for this seat.
  •  Rep. Gary Carlson (House District 91 – R – Muscatine) is retiring. Rep. Carlson was first elected in 2015 in the competitive Muscatine district. One of the traditional blue-collar districts that was a Democratic stronghold, this district has trended Republican in the Trump era. Look for both parties to make a play for this seat.
  • Rep. Louie Zumbach (House District 95 -R-Coggon) is retiring. Democrat Christian Andrews, a public works employee from Mt. Vernon, has already announced he’s running for the seat. Zumbach defeated Andrews in 2018 54% to 46% but the rural/suburban district outside Cedar Rapids is seen as increasingly competitive for Democrats. Look for both parties to make a play for this seat.

Senate Retirements

  • Senator Feenstra (Senate District 2 – R – Hull) is not seeking re-election and is instead running in the Republican primary against Congressman Steve King for Iowa’s 4th Congressional House District. Senate District 2 is a Republican seat that should stay Republican.
  • Senator Segebart (Senate District 6 – R – Vail) is retiring after eight years in the legislature. Senate District 6 is a Republican seat that should stay Republican.
  • Senator Jerry Behn (Senate District 24 – R – Boone) is retiring after serving nearly 24 years in the legislature. Senate District 24 is a Republican seat that should stay Republican.
  • Senator Breitbach (Senate District 28 – R – Strawberry Point) is not seeking re-election after first being elected in 2012. The upmost northeastern Senate District in the state. This seat has been a swing district in the past. During the Trump era the counties along the Mississippi River have trended Republican, making this a likely hold for Republicans.
  • Senator Kapucian (Senate District 38 – R – Keystone) is retiring after first being elected in 2008. Senate District 38 is rural district that is a majority Republican but does have a strong Democrat presence in Grinnell. Depending on turnout this Senate seat could be competitive.
  • Senator Greene (Senate District 44 – R – Burlington) is retiring after only being elected in 2016. His election was a surprise win for Republicans in 2016. His race was not targeted by either party, and Democrats outnumber Republicans by nearly 3,000 registered voters. However, Senate District 44 is along the Mississippi River which communities have been trending Republican since the election of Trump. Former State Senator Tom Courtney announced his bid to regain his seat. This may be one of the most competitive Senate races in 2020.

Medicaid Funding and LAI Action Alert

LeadingAge Iowa sent out an action alert to members this week with a request for aging services resources. This will be the first in a series of action alerts asking LAI members to send in messages to their legislators. It is critical legislators hear the importance additional resources will have on your campus and on the services you provide. You can find the action alert by clicking below:

Contact Legislators on Aging Services Funding

As noted in the intro, the budget process is on hold until the Governor’s tax proposal is finalized. Until then, a key bill removing the Elderly Waiver Monthly Budget Cap,House File 2269 and Senate File 2209, has passed the Senate and awaits action on the House floor. The removal of the budget cap is a legislative priority for LAI as it is an unnecessary holdover restriction from the fee-for-service era.

Updates on Key Bills

Below is an update on bills LAI is watching and supporting this legislative session:

  • Senate File 2338 Tort Reform – The Iowa Senate passed the bill that would put a cap on noneconomic damages at $750,000 and remove any exceptions that are previously in the bill. The Iowa House is reluctant to take up the bill, as they rejected a similar bill prior to the legislative funnel. At the moment the bill is still being negotiated between the two chambers.
  • Senate File 2299andHouse File 2435 Third-Party Background Checks – The bill passed the Iowa Senate and awaits action in the Iowa House. The bill would allow initial background check from a third-party vendor for a temporary background clearance. If there are no issues, the potential worker can come in on a temporary basis. The worker would still need to get a background check with the SING system to be in full compliance.

Bill Tracking

  1. Senate File 2294 and House File 2362 – Allowing nonprofit organizations needing to determine the reimbursement of costs for unemployment benefits to be referred to an administrative law judge for hearing instead of district court. – Passed Iowa House and on Senate Calendar – LAI Position: Undecided

  2. House File 2192 – Relates to reimbursement rates for health care services provided to covered person by telehealth. – On House Calendar – Position: For

  3. Senate File 2313 and House File 2384 – Future Ready Iowa bill from the Governor. – Passed Senate and House Appropriations – LAI Position: For

  4. House File 2345 and Senate File 2397 – Requires broker-dealers, investment advisors, or qualified financial individuals to act with suspected financial exploitation of older adults. – Referred to Senate and House Appropriations – LAI Position: For

  5. Senate File 2338 – Medical malpractice – Removes exceptions for noneconomic damages and puts a cap on noneconomic damages of $750,000. – Passed Iowa Senate – LAI Position: For

  6. Senate File 2299 and House File 2435 – Background checks with third party vendors for health providers. – Passed Senate and on Iowa House Calendar – LAI Position: For

  7. Senate File 2341 – Criminal Elder Abuse Bill – The bill will create criminal penalties for elder abuse, including acts such as financial exploitation. – Status – Passed Standing Committee – LAI Position – For

  8. Senate File  2272 – Medicaid Eligibility Bill – Among many provisions, the bill would require quarterly review of income eligibility for Medicaid beneficiaries. – Status – Passed Iowa Senate – LAI Position: Against 

  9. House File 2470 – Professional Licensure – Governor's bill that seeks to make professional licensure easier in Iowa by allowing for states with similar credentials to work in Iowa if they at least pass licensing requirements in Iowa. – Status – In Ways and Means – LAI Position: For