Capitol report: A look at goings-on the week of Feb. 12 in Des Moines

2018-02-18 | The Hawk Eye

Feb. 18--The Capitol was bustling this week with committee meetings as state lawmakers worked to push through bills before the Friday funnel deadline.

In order to make it out of funnel week, legislation had to pass through committees by Friday or else it likely would not be brought up for debate this year in the House of Representatives or Senate.

Republican leadership, however, can revive bills that did not meet the deadline by adding them to existing legislation as amendments, bringing them back in the appropriations process or through other measures.

Over the last seven days, no bills were debated before the full House or Senate. The last bill passed by the Iowa Legislature was water quality funding Jan. 23.

Here's a snapshot of the bills still alive this session:

Abortion restrictions

GOP Sen. Amy Sinclair's bill bans abortion in Iowa once a heartbeat is detected in a fetus unless, "in the physician's reasonable medical judgement, a medical emergency exists." Senate Study Bill 3143 passed out of the 13-person Senate Judiciary Committee last Monday and now is eligible for debate on the Senate floor.

Sports betting

House Study Bill 592 would allow gambling on collegiate and professional sports at casinos, online or over the phone. Fantasy sports, played online in most states for prize money, also will be eligible for debate in House File 613. Currently it is illegal in Iowa to collect money from wins in fantasy sports games.

SAVE tax

The 1-cent sales tax levied for school infrastructure projects would be extended another 20 years behind its current sunset date of 2029 under House Study Bill 647.

2018 budget cuts

The House and Senate have yet to settle on the amount of money that must be taken back from the fiscal year 2018 budget due to lower than expected revenues. Senate File 2117 was passed by the Senate Feb. 8 but must be debated before the full House of Representatives. Republican leaders in the two chambers, who also work with the governor's office on legislation, have differing ideas on how much to cut from community college budgets, the Department of Corrections, the judicial branch, and others.

Before lawmakers adjourn this spring, they also must agree on a bill for fiscal year 2019 beginning July 1.