Iowa House Report – Thomas Gerhold

Hello everyone, I hope everything is going great! The schedules of the legislators are becoming very full since this is the first of two funnel weeks, as is the Rotunda of the State Capitol almost every day with people passionate about a variety of issues. It’s great to have people communicating with their legislators to provide ideas to make Iowa a better place! 

Thomas Gerhold

Fact: School Funding Since 2011 Continues to Grow 

With the state’s commitment to providing a quality education to Iowa’s children. the House’s passage of school funding legislation last week, Iowans have once again been reminded of the state’s continual commitment to educating Iowa’s children. Democrats have tried through creative math to deceive Iowans into believing that school funding has been cut in this decade. The actual numbers expose this argument as “fake news”. 

The chart below shows just how much school funding has risen over the past decade.

With the House proposal to raise school funding by 2.5 percent in the 2021-2022 school year, the total increase to Iowa schools over the decade would be $986 million. This growth in funding is even more significant in light of the dramatic growth in the state’s Medicaid program during the same period. With these annual increases in K-12 funding, House Republicans are maintaining the state’s commitment to providing a quality education to Iowa’s children. 

Classroom Behavior Key Issue in Education Committee 

The Education Committee has seen a busy week. As always, the committee continues to focus on what is best for our Iowa children and Iowa communities. One issue that has come up again and again is safety within our schools and student’s behaviors in the classroom. The Republican committee members want to protect our children, our teachers, our educators, and all education staff. The committee has worked in a bipartisan manner in the House as well as working with the Senate, to get the best bill possible forward. 

Bills that address the need for veterinarians and physicians in rural and shortage areas have moved forward. Communities will benefit greatly from these services and have the ability to thrive even more. Veterinarians and physicians will benefit by being able to use their Iowa education to stay in Iowa. 

Other issue areas addressed by the committee are how poverty affects students and what can be done about it, putting assessments in place and providing resources for parents and guardians for deaf and hard-of-hearing children, and suicide prevention protocols being put place in schools. 

Ag Panel Approves Two Measures During First Funnel Week Meeting 

On Tuesday, February 18, 2020, the Iowa House Agriculture Committee passed two bills by unanimous vote. One bill passed by a unanimous 21-aye, 2-absent vote. The bill directs the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship (IDALS) to study and report back to the Governor, and General Assembly on the adequacy and resiliency of the Grain Indemnity Fund and whether there might be a way to extend grain indemnity coverage for deferred payment grain sales where grain has been delivered and a specific price set. 

The legislation seeks to address two problems with the current fund. The first issue is being drawn down to the extent that within in two years Iowa grain dealer who purchase marketed grain in Iowa will likely be assessed the grain indemnity fee (0.025-cents a bushel) and a participation fee paid of 0.0014-cent on the prior year’s covered grain purchase by both grain dealer and grain warehouse operators. The fee kicks in when the fund balance dips below $3 million and are waived when the fund balance exceeds $8 million within two years to replenish the fund because it is anticipated to have it balance amount drop below the amount where the fee is reinstated. The second issue of concern is that a large proportion of Iowa grain produced and sold by farmers is done with deferred payment sales, typically for tax purposes where payment for the grain occur more than 30-days after the grain is delivered and priced. Deferred payment grain sales are not covered by grain indemnification and there have been estimates that at times, more than $2-billion of deferred payment grain sales are on the books. 

The second measure passed was House Study Bill 684 that removes obsolete and code provisions; and includes extensive new Code language providing IDALS with the means to expeditiously deal with catastrophic contagious foreign animal disease (FAD) outbreaks. The FAD aspect of the bill provides that IDALS may seize one or more abandoned animals pursuant to an authorization providing emergency measures to prevent or control the transmission of an infectious or contagious disease (disease) among livestock or other agricultural animals (animals) that have been abandoned. The authorization may be made pursuant to a declaration or proclamation issued by the governor, an order issued by the secretary of agriculture, or another provision of law. As part of a seizure, IDALS may seize and maintain the animal 

upon providing notice of the abandonment to identifiable interested persons (an owner or secured creditor). The disposition of the seized animal must be made by a court, unless IDALS determines that exigent circumstances exist. In that case, the dispositional proceeding may be conducted by an administrative law judge. The court or administrative law judge may award IDALS expenses and costs and IDALS may use moneys available in the livestock remediation fund (Code section 459.501) to pay for expenses related to the seizure. The FAD provisions prohibit a person from interfering with an official act of IDALS taken in the performance of a duty to prevent or control the transmission of a disease, if the action is related to a veterinary emergency preparedness and response service, a foreign animal disease preparedness and response strategy, or an emergency measure as provided in the bill. A person who violates the provision is subject to a civil penalty of at least $100 but not more than $10,000, with each day of the offense constituting a separate violation, so long as the total amount does not exceed $250,000. 

IDALS Touts Two Significant Water Quality Improvement Projects 

On Monday, February 17, 2020, the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship (IDALS) issued two press releases in which Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Mike Naig touted two significant Water Quality Improvement projects helping Iowa to address water impairment of rivers and surface waters. The first highlighted project is that the Sioux County Soil & Water Conservation District (SWCD) will receive state funding to expand the water quality improvement (WQI) projects happening in the Floyd River watershed. The District will receive a grant for $872,700 over the next three years to help implement additional conservation practices to protect the West Branch of the Floyd River. 

The second high-profile water quality project recognized by IDALS is that the Wright County Soil & Water Conservation District (SWCD) will receive state funding to expand the water quality improvement projects happening in the Boone River watershed. The District will receive a grant for $786,267 over the next three years to help implement conservation practices around Eagle and Prairie Creeks. 

Other State-Funded WQI Projects of Note 

In addition to the WQI project happening in the Floyd River watershed, and the Boone River watershed IDALS will provide funding to expand ongoing water quality projects in central and eastern Iowa. 

  • • Benton Co. Soil & Water Conservation District will be awarded $803,975 over the next three years to add conservation practices around Hinkle, Mud, Opossum and Wildcat Creeks, parts of the Middle Cedar River watershed. This is an extension of the work already happening around Wolf, Rock and Pratt Creeks. 
  • • Black Hawk Co. Soil & Water Conservation District will receive $1.4 million in state funding over the next three years to expand its water quality improvement projects to include Rock Creek, which is adjacent to Miller Creek. Both creeks are part of the Middle Cedar River watershed. 
  • • Clayton Co. Soil & Water Conservation District will receive $603,500 over the next three years to broaden its water quality improvement projects to include Howard Creek. This increases the scope of the work happening around Upper Roberts and Silver Creeks, portions of the Turkey River watershed. 
  • • Washington Co. Soil & Water Conservation District will receive $779,500 over three years to scale-up its ongoing water quality efforts in the West Fork Crooked Creek to include Long Creek. 
  • • Winneshiek Co. Soil & Water Conservation District will receive $524,751 over the next three years to extend its water quality improvement projects to include Bohemian and Otter Creeks, located in the Turkey River watershed. This is in addition to the work being done around Brockamp, Burr Oak, Rogers and Wonder Creeks. 

To learn more about the state’s Water Quality Initiative or read success stories, visit cleanwateriowa.org/water-quality-initiative 

Commerce Committee Moves Broadband Bills Ahead of Funnel Deadline 

The first legislative funnel deadline is this week. Unless a bill has been assigned to the Appropriations, Ways and Means, or Government Oversight committee, it must pass out of a committee to receive further consideration this legislative session. The Commerce Committee passed a number of bills out this week to encourage expanded broadband access in unserved and underserved areas of the state. These include the following: 

HSB 588 – Requires a feasibility study for the construction and installation of an internet exchange point (IXP) in Iowa. An internet exchange point is a physical location through which internet infrastructure companies such as internet service providers connect with each other. Companies with a presence inside the IXP are able to shorten the route of internet traffic with other participating networks, which reduces latency (increases speed), improves round-trip time (another speed enhancement), and has the potential to reduce costs. 

Currently all internet traffic in Iowa must leave the state (going through Chicago, Denver, or Dallas) before coming back to the user. Constructing an IXP would keep the internet traffic in Iowa, reducing the amount of time it takes for information to flow to and from the consumer. Building an IXP network in Iowa, would have a positive economic development impact, and further establish Iowa as the silicon prairie for business. 

HF 2107 – Encourages streamline regulations across the state by encouraging communities to be “Broadband Forward” certified. Everyone likes certainty, this includes businesses looking to grow and expand. Communities will be able to receive the broadband forward designation by meeting criteria set by the IEDA. Receiving the “broadband forward” means communities are focused on developing broadband infrastructure and internet access. 

A “Telecommuter Forward” designation would encourage political subdivisions to support and promote the availability of telecommuting. The city must meet requirements set by the IEDA to receive the designation. 

To reduce the regulatory burden, HF2107 also strengthens Iowa’s “dig once” policy. A “dig once” policy requires the inclusion of broadband conduit (pipes which can be used to easily run fiber-optic communications cable) in the right of way during a road construction project. This would reduce the cost of getting internet to homes and businesses by up to 90%, according to the Federal Highway Administration. 

This session, the Commerce committee also passed the following bills related to broadband internet access: 

  • • HSB 516 which extends the sunset on small cell siting 
  • • HF 2023 which exempts broadband grants from being considered income for state tax purposes, and 
  • • HSB 638 which makes changes to the grant program and allows for more accurate mapping of broadband access in Iowa. 

House Economic Growth Passes Studies on Rest Area Revitalization and Historical Sites 

This week the House Economic Growth Committee passed legislation to study the updating of our state’s rest areas as well as the process of naming state historical sites in Iowa. 

House Study Bill 687 passed with bipartisan support. The bill requires the Department of Transportation, in collaboration with the Iowa Economic Development Authority, to conduct a study on how rest areas can be revitalized and updated. The study must be complete with recommendations submitted to the General Assembly by December 31, 2020. 

House File 686 also passed with bipartisan support. The legislation requires the Department of Cultural Affairs to conduct a study regarding the identification, establishment, and promotion of state historical sites. The Iowa Department of Cultural Affairs currently maintains eight historic sites including village sites and burial mounds occupied by ancient cultures, a blacksmith shop, and two homes of Iowa’s earliest governors. The study is to include a review of current practices and processes. It is also to establish metrics to measure the cultural and economic impact to the state of existing and any proposed state historical sites. The bill directs the Department of Cultural Affairs to seek input from the Iowa Great Places Board, local committees, the Historical Society Board of Trustees, and members of the State Historical Society. The study must be complete and recommendations submitted to the General Assembly by January 11, 2021. 

Both bills will now eligible for further consideration by the full chamber. 

House Environmental Protection Committee Approves Community Retention of Engineer to Self-Permit Extension of Water & Sewer Lines 

On Tuesday, February 18, 2020, the House Environmental Protection Committee passed House Study Bill 636. The bill corrects an unforeseen complication of legislation passed last session (SF 409, section 4) which could be construed by Courts to contradict existing DNR administrative rules. Those rules allow plans and specifications for sewer extensions and water supply distribution system extensions to be subject to approval and permitting by a local public works department if the local public works department employs or retains a qualified, licensed engineer. 

Last year’s legislation applied this language to rural water systems, but in doing so created a conflict with the prior Code language applying to local public work departments that did not contain the phrase ‘or retains.’ The concern that had arose was that the Courts could decide that because the public works provision doesn’t contain the phrase ‘or retain’ it was the legislative intent not to extend this regulatory flexibility to those types of systems. The measure proposes to address this potential problem by adding the words ‘or retains’ to the condition when a local public work department can engineer and permit its own sewer or water line extension system without involving DNR permit system. The bill was amended by the Committee to add an effective date upon enactment with the hope the measure can be signed by the Governor in time for the construction season start this spring. 

Human Resources Committee Passes Bills to Support Life 

This week, the House Human Resources Committee passed three bills to support life and the unborn. 

  • • House Study Bill 660 requires unborn children’s remains to be treated humanely and the same as a born child’s remains after death. This bill prevents aborted children from being treated as medical waste. Additionally, this bill requires the issuance of a fetal death certificate after the first trimester. The current standard is 20 weeks gestation or a weight of 350 grams. 
  • • House Study Bill 672 requires medication abortion providers to inform the mother seeking the abortion of the medical risks and potential to reverse the medication abortion. This bill also requires the Iowa Department of Public Health to post information online to help women find information on the ability to reverse the effects of the medication abortion. 
  • • House Study Bill 678 requires abortion facilities to be licensed and to ensure that they are meeting minimum health and safety standards to protect the mother through an annual inspection. 

Judiciary Committee Finalizes Funnel Work 

The House Judiciary Committee was hard at work again this year. In preparation for the funnel, members held dozens of subcommittees and spoke with the public and lobby in an effort to approve bills to protect Iowans and make their lives safer and freer. Here are a few of the bills that survived the first funnel: 

House Joint Resolution 2004-Constitutional Amendment No State Funding for Abortion 

HJR 2004 is a response to Planned Parenthood v. Reynolds where the Iowa Supreme Court, instead of legislators, created a constitutional right to an abortion. Nowhere in the Iowa constitution does this right exist. HJR 2004 simply brings Iowa law, and the constitution back to original intent. The amendment states that there is no constitutional right to an abortion and that there is no constitutional right to an abortion or a right to state funding for an abortion. The amendment will not change any current laws, nor will it make abortion illegal. 

House File 2361-Banning Mandatory Microchipping 

It may sound like something out of a sci-fi movie, but microchipping of employees is a real issue and HF 2361 was designed to protect employees from forced microchipping. The bill prohibits an employer from requiring employees to be microchipped or offering incentives for having the procedure. While the action may not be occurring in Iowa, companies in other states have already started offering voluntary microchipping. Putting this protection in place now will give employees power to decide if they want to have a microchip in the future. 

House File 2239- Strategic Lawsuits Against Public Participation 

Commonly called Anti-Slapp, HF 2239 is designed to protect people who are exercising their First Amendment rights from frivolous lawsuits. If a lawsuit is filed against someone speaking in furtherance of a public issue the lawsuit must pass successfully pass a special motion to prove there is a probability that the plaintiff will prevail. This law change will protect reporters and the general public from expensive lawsuits designed solely to prevent their free speech 

House Study Bill 693-Gay and Trans Panic Defense 

HSB 693 prevents someone from using a gay or trans panic defense in a murder case. In some states, defendants have claimed that they were shocked by a person’s sexual orientation and reacted violently to that discovery and therefore could not be held fully responsible for their actions. HSB 693 removes this defense from being used in a criminal trial. 

Future Ready Iowa is a Main Priority for House Republicans 

In January 2020, Governor Kim Reynolds announced five key priorities in the 2020 Vision for Iowa. Future Ready Iowa and other workforce-related topics are among these key goals for the new year. The priorities outline how initiatives like Future Ready Iowa will build a highly-skilled workforce filled with lifelong learners. 

Governor Reynolds’ 2020 priorities are listed below: 

Preparing a Future Ready Iowa 

“Iowa’s greatest opportunity for economic growth is to build a workforce that’s nimble, highly skilled and filled with lifelong learners. Today, we are experiencing a shortage of skilled workers across every region of our state and all types of industries — from manufacturing and skilled trades, to health care and information technology. But through dynamic public-private partnerships, we’ve implemented innovative solutions that start in our schools and continue in the workplace to ensure that opportunity lives here.” 

Building Tomorrow’s Economy Today 

“Maintaining Iowa’s vibrant economy and fiscal health ensures our ability to invest in things that matter most to everyday Iowans — quality education, job creation, health care and maintaining our quality of life.” 

Changing Lives Through Second Chances 

“Opportunity must exist for all Iowans, including those seeking a second chance to build a positive, productive life. Reforming Iowa’s criminal justice system and making sure the right opportunities are available for citizens re-entering our communities is a lasting legacy that this generation of Iowans must leave the next.” 

Empowering Rural Iowa 

“Rural Iowa is the heart and soul of who we are as a state and a people. Our unwavering support of Iowa’s farm families and continued investment in our small towns will ensure opportunity abounds in every rural community.” 

Supporting Strong & Healthy Families 

“Iowa is not immune from the health care challenges occurring nationally. Rising costs and a shortage of healthcare providers makes access to services more challenging in some areas of our state, especially rural communities. Health care the way it exists today may not be sustainable in some areas. But with change comes the opportunity to create a more integrated, coordinated system based on the needs of the state and local communities, promoting the health and wellness of every Iowan.” 

(Info taken from FutureReadyIowa.gov) 

2019 Hunting by the Numbers 

The DNR released the following information: 

2019 Hunting by the Numbers 

The DNR provided the following numbers for Iowa residents purchasing certain licenses in 2019: 

Fishing 

  • • 195,509 annual licenses 
  • • 7,106 lifetime fishing licenses 
  • • 11,227 three-year licenses 
  • • 1,097 seven-day licenses 
  • • 2,699 one-day licenses 
  • • 39,539 trout fees 
  • • 9,332 third line licenses 
  • • 311 paddlefish licenses 
  • • 44,102 fishing, hunting and habitat combination licenses 

Hunting 

  • • 24,053 annual licenses 
  • • 66,196 hunting and habitat annual combination licenses 
  • • 2,602 lifetime hunting licenses 
  • • 3,792 hunting and habitat three-year licenses 
  • • 779 apprentice (hunting and habitat) licenses 
  • • 23,373 migratory game bird licenses 
  • • 20,720 habitat fees 
  • • 12,745 fur harvester annual licenses age 16 and older 
  • • 584 fur harvester annual licenses age 15 and younger 
  • • 611 fur harvester and habitat annual combination licenses 
  • • 294 lifetime fur harvester licenses 

Large Game 

Deer 

  • • 9,442 youth general deer, 507 antlerless deer licenses 
  • • 233 disabled hunter general deer, 57 antlerless deer licenses 
  • • 51,900 archery general deer, 22,156 antlerless deer licenses 
  • • 6,261 early muzzleloader general deer, 1,460 antlerless deer licenses 
  • • 43,380 first shotgun general deer, 15,871 antlerless deer licenses 
  • • 44,921 second shotgun general deer, 16,943 antlerless deer licenses 
  • • 20,188 late muzzleloader general deer, 10,004 antlerless deer licenses 

Turkey 

  • • 5,257 spring bow licenses 
  • • 14,275 spring gun/bow licenses seasons 1-3 
  • • 15,186 spring gun/bow licenses season 4 
  • • 4,777 spring youth gun/bow licenses 
  • • 1,959 fall gun/bow 
  • • 1,279 fall bow 

Landowner-Tenant 

Deer 

  • • 61 youth general deer licenses, 63 antlerless deer licenses 
  • • 5,067 archery general deer licenses, 5,141 antlerless deer licenses 
  • • 1,089 early muzzleloader general deer licenses, 843 antlerless deer licenses 
  • • 22,154 shotgun first and second season general deer licenses, 17,465 antlerless deer licenses 
  • • 2,206 late muzzleloader general deer licenses, 3,534 antlerless deer licenses 

Turkey 

  • • 1,870 spring gun/bow season 1-3 
  • • 2,239 spring gun/bow season 4 
  • • 685 bow licenses 
  • • 31 youth licenses 
  • • 2,111 fall gun/bow 
  • • 938 fall bow 

In 2019, nonresidents purchased: 

Fishing 

  • • 21,005 annual licenses 
  • • 2,248 seven-day licenses 
  • • 10,971 three-day licenses 
  • • 13,838 one-day licenses 
  • • 738 third line licenses 
  • • 5,043 trout fees 
  • • 50 paddlefish licenses 

Hunting 

  • • 5,024 annual licenses age 18 and older 
  • • 13,012 hunting and habitat annual combination licenses age 18 and older 
  • • 2,452 five-day licenses 
  • • 1,377 five-day hunting and habitat combination 
  • • 9,759 habitat fees 
  • • 2,879 migratory game bird fees 
  • • 107 apprentice (hunting and habitat) licenses 
  • • 75 fur-harvester annual licenses 
  • • 52 fur-harvester and habitat annual combination licenses 

Public Safety Committee Prevents Anti-Freedom Bills from Advancing 

Funnel week isn’t just a time for good bills to advance, it also ends the chance of bad policy becoming law. The Public Safety Committee killed a significant number of bills that were all designed to curtail freedom from Iowans. None of these bills advanced, even to the subcommittee level. Below is a list of several anti-freedom bills filed by House Democrats that are officially done for the year: 

House File 32-May Issue Carry Permits 

Over 10 years ago Republicans and Democrats changed Iowa to a shall issue state for weapons permits. This means unless there is a legal reason to deny a person a weapons permit, it shall be issued. House Democrats now want to go back on that law change and make it more difficult for law abiding Iowans to have firearms by making a may issue state and allowing a sheriff to deny a weapon permit at their discretion with no legal reasoning. 

House File 65 -Large Capacity Ammunition Devices 

HF 65 criminalizes a majority of Iowans simply for owning a magazine that can accept more than 10 rounds of ammunition. Anyone who sells, transfers, or possesses these devices would be charged with an aggravated misdemeanor and have their devices confiscated. The bill takes effect upon enactment and provides no opportunity for owners to turn in their magazine. There are no exceptions in the bill for law enforcement. 

House File 125- Prohibiting the sale or transfer of semiautomatic assault weapons. 

HF 125 defines certain firearms as semiautomatic assault weapons based on what the weapon looks like. Some things that might make your firearm a “semiautomatic assault weapon” according to House Democrats include: 

  • • Pistol grips 
  • • Threaded barrel (for legal suppressors), 
  • • Folding telescoping or detachable stocks 
  • • Shroud attached to the barrel (rails) 

The bill goes on to list many cosmetic features of rifles, pistols and shotguns that would qualify them as “semiautomatic assault weapons.” Because this is a made-up style of weapon, it would be difficult for law abiding gun owners to know if their weapon falls in to this category. A person who sells or transfers any of these weapons would be guilty of a class “D” felony on a first offense and a class “C” felony for the second or subsequent offense. House Democrats deliberately treat law abiding gun owners worse than many sex offenders and child molesters tagging them with prison time up to 10 years and a fine up to $10,000. 

Rural EMS Top House GOP’s Efforts in State Government Committee 

The House State Government Committee has passed a number of bills this legislative session. These bills cover a wide variety of topics such as disaster relief, transparency, protecting firefighters and cops, and improving our workforce. 

A major priority of the House State Government Committee this year has been to help serve EMS across the state, particularly in rural areas. House Study Bill 508 appropriated the unencumbered money to the Emergency Medical Service Fund. HSB 631 made the following changes to how emergency medical services can be provided: 

  • • This bill allows the County Supervisors to declare EMS an essential service. 
  • • It removes the 5-year sunset on the essential service and puts in place a reverse referendum. 
  • • Requires that each county that adopts EMS as an essential service to creates an EMS Advisory Council. 
  • • Allows counties to enter into 28E agreements with other entities than just counties. 
  • • This also expands what the moneys for the EMS Medical Service Trust Fund may be used for. 

It is also no secret that the economy is doing very well in Iowa. The economy is doing so well that there is a workforce shortage. This year the Governor made a commitment to reforming occupational licenses in the State of Iowa. The bill passed out of Committee on 2/18/20 with a vote of 22-1. The main pieces of the bill were: 

  • • An occupational licensing board may not grant or suspend or revoke an occupational license if the individual has a criminal conviction that is directly related to the profession. 
  • • Grants reciprocity to individuals that have been granted professional license in other states if they meet certain qualifications. 
  • • Allows individuals to petition a licensing board to have a determination if their criminal conviction would disqualify them from receiving a license prior to beginning the training or educational requirements. 
  • • Waives the license application fee if the individual’s household income is less than 200% of the federal poverty level. 

Transportation Committee Funnel Week Work 

This week the Transportation Committee passed a number of bills ahead of the first funnel deadline. These include: 

HSB 640 – Updates that law to protect the integrity of the timber harvested in Iowa, by updating the requirement for transporters carrying paperwork that must be provided to the DNR upon request. This paperwork will satisfy international requirements for ensuring the integrity of the timber being sold and transported. 

HSB 665 – Clarifies the role of independent contractors who drive their own trucks, whether they own, lease, or have a lease to own arrangement. This makes it clear that independent truck operators are not employees of the trucking company for work comp, wage collection, minimum wage, or unemployment compensation requirements. 

HF 2194 – Raises the eligible age for getting a school license from 14 to 15 to reduce accidents and provide young people with additional time to meet behind the wheel requirements before obtaining a school license. 

Veterans Affairs Moves POW/MIA Flag Bill 

This week the Veterans Affairs Committee approved two bills: HSB 682 and HSB 701. 

HSB 682 adds an additional $300,000 to the county commissions of veteran affairs fund. It adds a new section which states if sufficient money is available, the department shall annually allocate $300,000 to each county commission of veteran affairs, or to each county sharing the services of an executive director or administrator to be used for training and related expenses of county VSOs for purpose of the United States department of Veterans affairs accreditation program. 

HSB 701 requires public buildings to fly the POW/MIA flag. The order of flags will be as follows: The U. S. flag, the state of Iowa flag, and then the POW/MIA flag. 

Department of Revenue Drops Rules on Grain Bins & Manufacturing 

The Iowa Department of Revenue is accepting public comment through March 3 on two recent department rule filings. 

The first set of rules are related to the sales and use tax exemption on grain bins. This filing relates to the legislative change made last session that exempted grain bins—including materials or replacement parts used to construct them from sales and use tax. The legislation defined grain bin as “property that is vented and covered with corrugated metal or similar material, and that is primarily used to hold loose grain for drying or storage.” The department’s rule proposal further explains what materials will be taxable or exempt, provides a non-exhaustive list of items commonly used to construct grain bins, and explains how a taxpayer can claim the exemption. A public hearing on this rule filing will be held on March 3, at 9 a.m. in room 430 of the Hoover Building. Interested parties can also submit comments in writing up until 4:30 p.m. on March 3. 

The other filing from the department deals with the sales tax exemption for manufacturers. That exemption is not extended to taxpayers who are not commonly understood to be manufacturers and specifically excludes construction contracts, repairs, providing health care, farming, and transportation for hire. Last year’s House File 779 further clarified that only a person who primarily engages in one of those five listed activities is not a manufacturer and therefore does not get the sales tax exemption. The department’s proposed rule offers guidance as to how a person is primarily engaged in one of those activities and provides examples. Public comment on this rule filing needs to be received by the department by March 3 at 4:30pm. 

Be well everyone, and have a great weekend! Thank you! 

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