Session continues to move closer to the first funnel, which will occur on March 5 when all bills except Ways & Means, Appropriations, Government Oversight, and ARRC bills must pass out of one full committee to remain viable for the remainder of the session. As of last week, the House had filed over 850 bills and the Senate had filed over 650 bills, and we’re seeing bills move through committees quickly.
This week, Governor Reynolds signed SF269
, 2.4% K-12 SSA increase, and SF284
, $21 million appropriation for personnel, accounting, and budget system this week. Additionally, both the House and Senate passed election reform bills that would limit the number of ballot drop boxes per county and would change who can drop off ballots. It also shortens the time for requesting absentee ballots and changes the early voting period from 29 days to 20 days.
Angel Investor Tax Credit Program Flexibility
A Senate subcommittee was held on SSB1196
, a bill IowaBio supports that would give the Iowa Economic Development Authority (IEDA) additional flexibility to allocate millions more annually in tax credit dollars to the angel investor tax credit program via transfer from another underutilized tax credit fund. A robust discussion on the program ensued and the subcommittee voted to advance the bill. The bill now goes to the full Senate Ways and Means Committee. Historically, this bill has failed to fully pass both chambers, due to differing opinions in the House and Senate on tax credit program changes.
Governor’s Biofuels Standards
the Governor’s bill to set statewide standards for biofuels blends for ethanol and biodiesel that IowaBio supports, passed out of the Senate Agriculture Committee Thursday 12-0 and is now funnel proof. The next step is the Senate floor. The companion bill in the House, HSB185,
which is a Ways and Means bill, has passed subcommittee and will likely see full committee consideration in the coming days. Both chambers have made it clear this is a priority but have publicly admitted that the bill “needs work” before brought to the full chamber floor(s) for consideration.
Iowa COVID-19 Vaccination News
The Governor held a press conference yesterday where she discussed Iowa’s status on the COVID-19 vaccination distribution effort. Currently, the state is vaccinating the second subgroup of the first group has been given the opportunity to receive the vaccine (Group 1b). As can be seen on the chart below, health care workers, long term care residents and staff, Iowans 65 and older, first responders, teachers and education staff, and child care staff are able to receive the vaccination.
Currently, only the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines have been given in the state. It is expected that the Johnson and Johnson vaccination roll out will begin soon, almost as soon as it receives the FDA Emergency Use approval. The Governor shared that the White House committed to increase the state of Iowa supply by another 1M doses. She shared that roughly 450,000 Iowans have received at least one dose of the vaccine.
Additionally, the governor announced a new website, www.vaccinate.iowa
, that goes live today to help streamline the process of scheduling and receiving your vaccine. The site will include a vaccine locator and answers to frequently asked questions. It won't allow Iowans to schedule vaccines directly, but it will connect them to provider systems where they can schedule those appointments.