Hello District 75 from the State Capitol!
Week 13 at the State Capitol was another productive one, as we passed 19 bills, which included four going to Governor Reynolds’ desk for her consideration. The budget bills going to the Senate are the Rebuild Iowa Infrastructure Fund (RIIF), Iowa Dept. of Land Management (IDALS), and Health & Human Services (HHS) budgets. The House has passed all the budget bills except for the Standings budget.
The RIIF budget’s noteworthy goals are to maintain and improve state facilities by spending $28 million to renovate and repair facilities, such as barns at the state fairgrounds. RIIF also triples the amount of infrastructure for state parks and doubles funding for the Community Attractions and Tourism (CAT) grant program and the Great Places program. It also creates a new facility for firefighter training at Camp Dodge for $2.1 million.
Included in the budget for IDALS is new code language to promote Iowa grown and produced food commodities by establishing a “Choose Iowa” program. This is a great way to buy Iowa products and keep the money here in the state! There are also updates and code cleanup in the omnibus.
The HHS budget includes an additional $35.8 million more for Medicaid, $14.6 million to Home & Community Based Services providers, and a 10% increase in the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) for children with family income up to 300% of the federal poverty level. Additional budgeting of $5.3 million is included for DHS offices in field operations to hire 50 full time employees to help relieve caseloads. This omnibus does many other things too numerous to list here.
The House passed HF2556, which is the Solar Energy Tax Credit bill dedicated to people or businesses that installed solar panels and were denied rebates. This bill now goes to the Senate for consideration.
On its way to the governor’s desk is SF 2323, which directs the DNR to report to the General Assembly an inventory of all land owned or managed by the DNR, including county conservation boards. This report includes acres acquired, the seller, year of acquisition, price paid, and federal, state, and county monies used for all land.
One bill that should help truckers is SF 2376, which passed out of the House Ways & Means Committee. This establishes a new 90,000 pound all-systems permit to go on roads approved by the Iowa DOT by paying a $500 annual fee. The revenue from this fee will have 75% going to the county bridge construction and 25% to the road use tax fund. Hopefully the bill will come to the House floor for consideration soon.
Please have a safe, healthy, and wonderful Holy Week!