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Government Relations Legislative Update - Week Two

Capitol Update

The second week of session picked up speed following Monday’s caucus events.  On Wednesday the first “floor work” for the session was conducted.  Both the House and Senate passed resolutions, SR 102 and HR 102, to recognize the term “brain health” as a term that may be used synonymously with the terms mental health, mental illness and behavioral health in order to encourage Iowans to seek brain health services in a stigma free environment.  The Resolutions continued on Thursday with the House passing HR 101 a resolution supporting Israel   Prior to the vote, the rotunda was filled with pro-Palestinian protestors. 

The House held its appropriations subcommittee meetings to review the Governor’s proposed budgets for each department.  Although technically the budget committees are joint committees with members from both the House and the Senate, over the last few years the House and Senate have not held joint meetings.  The Legislative Fiscal Agency attends the Committee meetings and reviews the proposals.  The biggest department in state government in terms of both size and money, is the Department of Health and Human Services.  To see the budget proposal for HHS, click here. 

Budget Committees weren’t the only busy Committees this week.  The House Commerce Committee discussed a lengthy report from London Economics International, LLC who contracted with the Iowa Utilities Board to study ratemaking.  The report was required by legislation passed during the 2023 session that required the IUB to review and make recommendations in regard to investor-owned utility ratemaking.  The extensive recommendations and report can be found here.  Senate Commerce held a similar meeting during the first week of session. 

The House Health and Human Services Committee heard testimony from the Department of Health and Human Services discussing mental and behavioral health redesign.  The Governor spoke about the redesign during her State of the State and indicated that it was one of her priorities.  The Committee heard testimony from Director Kelly Garcia, Medicaid Director Liz Matney, and Director of Behavioral Health Marissa Eyanson and asked a lot of questions.  While the presentation was informative, the real story will be told in the bill draft to implement the redesign.  The bill has not yet been filed. 

In the Know  

Elections.  Hard to imagine anyone in Iowa wouldn’t know who won the Iowa Republican Caucus on Monday night, but just in case - former President Trump won handily, followed by Governor Ron DeSantis with Ambassador Nikki Haley a close third.  The Democrats held “organizational” caucuses but did not officially caucus for President.  The Iowa Democrats will calculate votes by issuing a Presidential Preference Card, which must be returned by Feb. 19.  Official votes will be announced on March 5 which is recognized as ‘Super Tuesday’. 

Two current State Senators made their future retirements public last week.  Senator Jeff Edler, currently the Chair of the Senate Health and Human Services Committee, will not seek another term.  Edler is finishing out the last session of his second term, having first been elected to serve in 2016.  A farmer, Edler represents Marshall County and a large part of rural Story County.  Edler has become an expert on human services issues, leading the Health and Human Services standing committee and as a member of the HHS appropriations subcommittee. 

Senate Minority Leader Pam Jochum formally announced she was not seeking another term.  Jochum is one of the longest serving legislators - having first been elected to the House in 1993.  She served eight terms in the House representing Dubuque and then was elected to the Senate where she is finishing out her fourth term.  Jochum served as the Senate President from the 2013 through 2016 sessions when the Democrats held the majority. 

Legislative Forums  

While many lawmakers hold forums in their districts year-round, it’s especially important for them to hear from constituents when they’re making decisions during the legislative session.  The events listed below are opportunities to get involved. You can also find these events on BrownWinick’s Iowa Political Events page.  






8:00 AM – 9:30 AM 

Emmetsburg Legislative Forum 

Emmetsburg Chamber of Commerce (1121 Broadway Street, Emmetsburg, IA 50536) 


9:00 AM – 10:00 AM 

Arlington Legislative Forum 

Arlington Community Center (853 Main Street, Arlington, IA 50606) 


9:00 AM – 10:00 AM 

Waverly Town Hall 

Arlington Community Center (853 Main Street, Arlington, IA 50606) 


10:00 AM – 11:00 AM 

Newton Legislative Forum 

Newton Public Library (100 N. 3rd Avenue W, Newton, IA 50208) 


10:00 AM – 11:00 AM 

Harlan Legislative forum 

Shelby County Chamber of Commerce (1901 Hawkeye Avenue, Harlan, IA 51537) 


12:00 PM – 1:00 PM 

Charles City Town Hall 

Floyd County Museum (500 Gilbert Street, Charles City, IA 50616) 


9:00 AM – 10:30 AM 

Ankeny Legislative Office Hours 

Main Street Cafe (2510 SW White Birch Drive, Ankeny, IA 50023) 


4:30 PM – 6:30 PM 

Cedar Valley Public Legislative Forum 

Hawkeye Community College - Van G. Miller Adult Learning Center (120 Jefferson Street, Waterloo, IA 50701) & virtual via Facebook live 


8:00 AM – 10:00 AM 

Sioux City Education Legislative Forum 

Sioux City Community Schools - Educational Service Center Board Room (627 4th Street, Sioux City, IA 51101) 


8:30 AM – 9:30 AM 

Fort Dodge Eggs & Issues Legislative Forum 

Iowa Central Community College - Triton Cafe (One Triton Circle, Fort Dodge, IA 50501) 


8:30 AM – 10:00 AM 

Windsor Heights Talk With Officials Forum 

Iowa Realty Office - Aisha R. Syed Board Room (2830 100th Street, Suite 110, Urbandale, IA 50322) and virtual via Zoom 


9:00 AM – 10:30 AM 

Spencer Eggs & Issues Legislative Forum 

Spencer City Hall - Council Chambers (101 West 5th Street, Spencer, IA 51301) 


9:00 AM – 10:00 AM 

Greene Town Hall 

Greene Public Library (231 West Traer Street, Greene, IA 50636) 


9:30 AM – 11:30 AM 

Iowa City Legislative Forum 

Iowa City Senior Center - Assembly Room (28 South Linn Street, Iowa City, IA 52240), live streamed & recorded on the LWVJC Facebook page and City Channel 4 


10:00 AM – 11:00 AM 

Clarinda Legislative Briefing 

Lied Public Library (100 East Garfield Street, Clarinda, IA 51632) 


10:00 AM – 11:00 AM 

Carroll Legislative Forum 

Location is TBD at this time 


10:00 AM – 11:30 AM 

Sioux City Legislative Town Hall 

Sioux City Public Museum (607 4th Street, Sioux City, IA 51101) and live streamed on the LWV Facebook Page 


10:30 AM – 12:00 PM 

Urbandale Talk With Officials Forum 

Urbandale Chamber of Commerce Office (2830 100th Street, Suite 110, Urbandale, IA  50322) 


11:00 AM – 12:00 PM 

New Hampton Town Hall 

New Hampton Public Library (20 West Spring Street, New Hampton, IA 50659) 


11:00 AM – 12:00 PM 

Webster City Political Forum 

Iowa Central Community College - Chelesvig Center, Room 106 (1725 Beach Street, Webster City, IA 50595) 

Key Dates — 2024 Iowa Legislative Session 





1/8: First day of session 

1/19: Final day for Senator and Representative bill requests 

2/16: First legislative funnel 

3/15: Second legislative funnel 

4/16: 100th calendar day of session (per diem expenses end) 

Scene on the Hill

January 17, 2024: Supporters and veterans alike made the trip to Des Moines for the Veterans Day at the Capitol.

week 2 scene on hill


rg pic