2022 Iowa Legislative Session - Week 13 Summary

In what we hope is the calm before the storm, week #13 was fairly uneventful as negotiations continued between the House and the Senate.  The House passed two appropriations bills in a late night debate on Tuesday.  Those two appropriations bills, the Rebuild Iowa Infrastructure Fund and Health and Human Services budget, are usually the last bills considered for the session.  The Senate has not initiated any of its own appropriations bills.  It is likely the Senate and House will work on agreed-to amendments when possible and the Senate will amend the House Files and send them back to the House.  Rumor is, the House and Senate have a significant way to go in order to arrive at mutually-agreed upon numbers.   

(Table courtesy of the House Republican Newsletter)




Bill Number


Last Action

Administration & Regulation

HF 2565

PASSED HOUSE; In Senate Approps


Agriculture & Natural Resources

HF 2560

PASSED HOUSE; In Senate Approps


Economic Development

HF 2564

PASSED HOUSE; In Senate Approps



HF 2575

PASSED HOUSE; In Senate Approps


Health & Human Services

HF 2578

PASSED HOUSE; In Senate Approps


Judicial Branch

HF 2558

PASSED HOUSE; In Senate Approps


Justice Systems

HF 2559

PASSED HOUSE; In Senate Approps


Rebuild Iowa Infrastructure Fund

HF 2579

PASSED HOUSE; In Senate Approps



HF 2557

PASSED HOUSE; In Senate Approps






Several policy bills remain unresolved, some of which are priorities of the Governor.  We should know next week whether the process will move forward smoothly or hit a few more road bumps.  It wouldn’t be the end of session if there weren’t a few road bumps and surprises!

In a press release issued on Wednesday, Governor Reynolds announced a new “Destination Iowa” program to “bolster” the quality of life in Iowa’s communities and attract visitors and new residents.  The $100 million investment will provide grants to help communities move forward on transformational, shovel-ready attractions. Grants will be available to cities, counties, nonprofits and other organizations.  Four separate grant funds will be created: Economically Significant Development, Outdoor Recreation, Tourism Attraction, and Creative Placemaking. “Communities in all corners of the state are creating unique destinations that give visitors a reason to explore and residents a reason to stay,” said Gov. Reynolds.  “Destination Iowa will help more communities across the state move forward in their efforts to boost tourism and economic growth while enhancing the quality of life for Iowans.”  

In other news, Governor Reynolds, Senate Majority Leader Jack Whitver, and House Speaker Pat Grassley announced in a joint press release that the Glenwood Resource Center will wind down operations over the next two years.  “While necessary, the decision to close the Glenwood Resource Center is a difficult one that I take very seriously,” Gov. Reynolds said.  “For many residents, it’s the only home they’ve ever known. I am fully committed to a seamless and successful transition of care for them, their families and the staff at Glenwood.”

Home to 152 adults with serious intellectual and developmental disabilities, the Glenwood Resource Center has been in the news a lot over the past few years. In December 2021, the U.S. Department of Justice released a report finding that the Glenwood and Woodwards Resource Centers failed to provide “the most integrated setting appropriate” for their residents.  The years-long investigation found that the conditions at the Glenwood Resource Center violate residents’ federal full enjoyment of rights protected by the 14th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution.  Over 700 full-time workers are currently employed at the facility and each will be offered bonuses up to $12,000 to remain on the job through the closure. 

In the Know

The Herbert Hoover Presidential Library Association created the Hoover Uncommon Public Service Award to honor President Herbert Hoover's spirit of public service.  It is given to Iowa legislators who exemplify President Hoover’s humanitarian efforts and have gone above and beyond the call of duty to demonstrate uncommon service and commitment to the people of Iowa.  The 15th annual award was given to Senator Janet Petersen (D-Des Moines) and Representative Cecil Dolecheck (R-Mount Ayr).  

A sign that session is nearing an end is retirement speeches.  Retirement speeches began in earnest this week.  Both the House and Senate honor those legislators who are retiring by having colleagues speak on the floor and allowing the honoree to give comments. Generally retiring lawmakers thank those they have worked with during their tenure, tell a funny anecdote or discuss a bill they are most proud of working on.  The House has 18 retirements and 12 of which gave their speeches this week: Dave Williams (D-Waterloo), Cecil Dolecheck, Jarad Kein (R-Keota), Ross Paustian (R-Walcott), Molly Donahue (D-Cedar Rapids), Bruce Hunter (D-Des Moines), Marti Anderson (D-Des Moines), Robert Bacon (R-Slater), Gary Worthan (R-Storm Lake), Terry Baxter (R-Garner), Mary Mascher (D-Iowa City), and Holly Brink (R-Oskaloosa) saying adieu to the Iowa House.  Of note, Donahue is running for Iowa Senate District 37.  

The Senate has a different process - a Senate Resolution is passed to discuss in writing the legacy the Senator leaves behind.  The first Senator to give his retirement speech was Joe Bolkcom (D-Iowa City) on Tuesday (see SCR 110).  Bolkcom, one of Iowa’s longest serving  Senators, was first elected to the Senate in 1998.

IRA News

As negotiations on bottle bill legislation continue between the Senate and House, Senator Jason Schultz (R-Schleswig) and Representative Brian Lohse (R-Bondurant) joined River to River to discuss the state of play.  Both GOP lawmakers stated that if a compromise cannot be reached, they may be ready to consider a program repeal next year. “It’s to the point where I think a whole lot of people agree: If we can’t get something done this year, next year we need to be looking at repeal,” said Schultz. “I would like to try to fix it, but if we can’t fix it, this thing is going to implode on itself,” Lohse added.

Regarding the threat of repeal, Iowa Recycling Association President Elizabeth Mackenzie released the following statement: “A majority of Iowans support the bottle bill because it keeps Iowa clean, creates small businesses, and supports schools, scouts, and other community organizations that take part in bottle and can drives.  It is disheartening that legislators would threaten to do away with something that most Iowans support simply because they can't agree on how to improve it.  The bottle bill is several decades old and does need modification so that it can continue to serve its purpose of keeping Iowa clean, but repealing it is not the answer.”

A February Selzer & Company Poll found that 84% of active Iowa voters agree that the bottle bill has been good for the state. Further, the poll found that expansion of the system was overwhelmingly popular:

  • 86% favored increasing the number of places cans and bottles can be redeemed;
  • 72% favored increasing the handling fee paid to redemption centers and stores; and
  • 72% favored expanding the law to cover more beverage containers.

House Speaker Pat Grassley (R-New Hartford) joined the Simon Conway Show Thursday and said this is the closest to a resolution they have been in his time at the Statehouse.  The House proposal (House File 2571) would provide broad carve-outs for retailers, but it would maintain some incentives for stores to accept empty containers. It would also establish a Legislative Fiscal Review Committee to assess program changes. The Senate’s proposal (Senate File 2378), which cleared the Chamber on March 29th, would remove all retailer redemption obligations and increase the handling fee paid to redemption centers to three cents.  According to Container Recycling Institute President Susan Collins, “[SF 2378] would turn what was a deposit into a fee for consumers.” She added, “[Consumers] would be increasingly inconvenienced and disincentivized from returning their containers to receive the rightful deposit back.”

IRA’s Position

The mission of the Iowa Recycling Association is to advance effective recycling practices with the goal that every material be put to its highest and best use through reuse or recycling.  Iowa’s bottle bill contributes to this goal by incentivizing recycling through container deposits, resulting in significantly higher recycling rates in Iowa for materials covered under the bottle bill than states without a bottle bill. 

Iowa’s bottle bill needs to be updated, but it does not need wholesale change.  The best way to ensure Iowa’s system is sustainable and thriving would be to implement the following solutions:

  • Increase the handling fee for all points of redemption whether it is retailers AND redemption centers to 3 cents.
  • Give teeth to the current system by updating the enforcement against those who willfully break the law and turn away eligible containers.
  • Maintain the current customer convenience standards and bottle bill infrastructure by requiring retailers to continue their redemption programs.

We encourage you contact your legislators and urge them to protect the bottle bill by maintaining consumer convenience so you can redeem at retailers and redemption centers. Also urge them to increase the handling fee for all points of redemption. You can find your legislators’ contact information here: FIND YOUR LEGISLATOR

Bottle Bill in the News

BrownWinick Government Relations

To view additional summaries from the 2022 Iowa Legislative session or to learn more about BrownWinick’s Government Relations Team, visit our Lobbying and Public Policy team page.