2022 Iowa Legislative Session - Week 16 Summary

Week sixteen officially started overtime for the 2022 legislative session.  Out of curiosity you may be wondering if the session has gone into overtime in the past…the answer is, more often than not, YES.  The first legislative session was held by the Iowa Territory Legislative Assembly in 1838.  The Iowa General Assembly began holding legislative sessions in 1846 when Iowa became a state.  The longest recorded session was in 1978 when it lasted 188 days from January 9 to July 15.  Your BrownWinick GR team hopes we won’t break that record this year!

The House and Senate passed several bills this week that were on the Governor’s list of priorities.  

Biofuels.  On Tuesday, the Senate amended and passed the biofuels bill, HF 2128 and the changes were accepted by the House a couple of hours later.  An issue that has been several years in the making - the bill requires most gas stations to upgrade to provide E-15 fuel.  The final amendment to the bill includes an exemption from E-15 requirements for small retail motor fuel sites based upon a total gasoline gallonage of no more than 300,000 gallons over the “qualifying phase” between January 1, 2020 and December 31, 2023.  

Childcare Ratios.  As reported last week, HF 2198 was amended by the Senate to allow a childcare center to maintain a minimum child-to-staff ratio of one worker for every seven children 2 years of age and one worker for every 10 children three years of age.  On Tuesday, the House accepted the Senate amendment by a vote of 52-42 and the bill has been sent to the Governor for her signature.  The bill also allows employees and substitutes working at a childcare center who are at least 16 years of age to provide care to school age children without additional supervision.  

Unemployment Insurance.  HF 2355 started out as a bill to address several issues identified by the Department of Workforce Development.  The bill gives an employer relief from overpayment of unemployment benefits if the failure to timely or adequately respond was not the fault of the employer, and it also makes changes to voluntary shared work programs.  The bill was amended with provisions from another bill to reduce the maximum total unemployment benefits from 26 to 16 weeks and defines misconduct.  The Senate amended the bill further to require a one-week waiting period before unemployment insurance benefits start.  On Tuesday, the House rejected the Senate Amendment and sent the bill back to the Senate.  The Senate receded from the amendment and the bill will go to the Governor without the one-week waiting period.  

Workforce Omnibus.  A Governor’s bill to address issues related to workforce and other regulatory provisions.  When SF 2383 passed the Senate unanimously three weeks earlier, it was amended to remove a contentious provision prohibiting local building codes.  On Tuesday, the House accepted the Senate’s version of the bill and it's now on its way to the Governor - local control intact.  The bill addresses several different issues relating to work-based learning, health care workforce recruitment and loan repayments, professional licensing provisions for military spouses, a $5 annual fee for fishing and hunting license for military veterans, no driver’s license fees, and no parking lot or meter fees for persons displaying military plates and addresses temporary insurance producer licensing.  

In the Know:

The June primary is only 39 days away, and two televised debates have been scheduled for the Democratic candidates for U.S. Senate.  All three candidates have confirmed their participation: Abby Finkenauer (Cedar Rapids); Mike Franken (Sioux City); and Glenn Hurst (Minden).  The first debate will be held at 7 p.m. next Saturday, May 7th.  It will be televised by Iowa’s Hearst stations (KCCI-TV in Des Moines; KCRG-TV in Cedar Rapids; KTIV-TV in Sioux City; and KWQC-TV in Davenport).  The second debate will be held at 7 p.m.on Thursday, May 19.  It will be televised statewide on Iowa PBS.  Kay Henderson, news director for Radio Iowa, will host and Erin Murphy, political reporter for The Gazette and Brianne Pfannenstiel, chief political reporter for the Des Moines Register will make up the panel.  The debate will also be streamed via iowapbs.org, YouTube, and FaceBook.

No debates have been scheduled between Republican U.S. Senate candidates: Charles Grassley and Jim Carlin.  Grassley is the incumbent and is seeking his 7th re-election.  Carlin is an attorney and a current State Senator from Sioux City.

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.