Good and bad bills we’re tracking

CCI Action organizers and leaders are your eyes and ears at the Statehouse. We’re tracking bills- both good and bad – and will let you know when your call or email can have the biggest impact. Click here to sign up for our email action updates.

Below is a list of the bills we’re tracking so far this legislative session.

Use this list to lobby your legislators through phone calls, emails, legislative meetings in your area, and up at the Capitol. Be aware, things move fast so bill #s may change. As always, feel free to contact us with any questions.

The Good:

Environmental Justice

HF 63 Requiring Pipeline Impact Statements – This bill, introduced by Chuck Isenhart (D-Dubuque) would prevent the IUB from issuing an oil pipeline permit until an environmental impact statement has been completed. Although this wouldn’t affect #DAPL, we support this in the event we see more pipelines looking to cross Iowa.

SF131 – Closing part of the LLC Factory Farm Loophole – Across the state we’re seeing more and more factory farm corporations exploit a loophole that allows them to build multiple “small” factory farms, one-right-after-another, under different LLCs to avoid manure management and construction regulations, and separation distances from places like homes, schools, and parks. This bill, introduced by Sen. Johnson (D- Ocheyedan), changes permit threshold for small factory farms from 500 AU (1,250 hogs) to 250 AU (625 hogs) and removes regulation exemptions for factory farms that house between 250 AU (625 hogs) and 999 AU (2,499 hogs).  This bill does not address the part of the loophole that allows factory farm corporations to build multiple under different LLCs – it just lessens the number of factory farms that can be exempt from separation distances.

HF 155 Crude Oil Spill Fund  – This bill, introduced by Representatives Isenhart (D) & Kearns (D) establishes a crude oil disaster fund and fee (on hazardous materials transported via pipelines) to deal with oil spills and related training, inspections, etc. It also requires the state to take reasonable efforts to recover any costs from the corporation responsible for any spill.

 

Worker Justice

SF 80 Cracking Down on Wage Theft – This bill, introduced by 13 Senate Democrats, would crack down on wage theft in all of its forms. When employers give workers bad checks, take extra money for unstated reasons, or even just don’t pay their workers, this bill would increase penalties against the employer and better protect workers who are victimized.

HF 105 Raising The Wage This bill, introduced by 12 House Democrats, increases the state minimum wage to $8 as of July 1, 2017, $9 as of January 1, 2018, $10 as of January 2018 and $11 as of January 2020. Increases the state minimum wage by the same COLA for Social Security benefits.

This is a step in the right direction – but we know we need a living wage of $15/hour.

SF 141 Regulating Payroll Debit Cards  –  This bill, introduced by 11 Senate Democrats, allows employees to receive payment voluntarily through a debit card IF the employer gives appropriate notice that this payment method is voluntary and lists all potential charges. Other requirements include allowing employees to check their balance, receive paper statements, and more.

SF 216 Regulating Payday Loans – This bill, introduced by Senator Joe Bolkcom (D- Iowa City) would cap the interest rates for payday loans at 36%.

 

Racial Justice

HF 27 Iowa Dream Act – This bill, introduced by three Democrats in the house, would allow Iowa students who graduate from Iowa high schools to attend Iowa’s public universities for in state tuition rates, regardless of immigration status. Also known as the DREAM Act or the IOWA Act in the past, we support nurturing all of Iowa’s students and providing quality, affordable learning opportunities.

 

Voter Justice

SF 65/HF 194/HF 247 Automatic Voter Registration – This bill, introduced by Senator Janet Peterson (D-Des Moines) &  Rep. Hunter, 10 D’s in house, automatically registers Iowans to vote! More registered voters is a good thing – we want to see more people voting, not fewer.

HF 101/HF 168/SF 203 Public Financing of Elections/Small Donor Matching – These bills, introduced by Representatives Hunter and Isenhart (respectively) in the House and Senator Joe Bolkcom (D – Iowa City) in the Senate, would establish Voter Owned Iowa Clean Elections (VOICE) or a small dollar matched public financing system. Both policies would help us reduce the influence of big money on our election system.

 

 

The Bad:

Environmental Justice

SF 14/SF 167 Sales Tax Increase – These bills increase the state sales tax to fund the Iowa Water & Land Legacy Fund. This plan is flawed for a number of reasons, including the fact that sales taxes are regressive; throwing good money after bad does nothing to stop the cause of pollution at its source; and we would be better served by making corporate ag pay to clean up their own mess.

SF71 – Deterring Factory Farm Nuisance Lawsuits – A piece of this bill, introduced by Sen. Chelgren (R-Ottumwa), would put the burden of court costs and lawyer fees on any citizen or group that files a lawsuit against a factory farm if the court finds the lawsuit “frivolous”.  Over the past couple years Iowans across the state have taken to the courts to hold factory farms accountable for destroying the rural quality of life.  This bill is a direct attack on our right to sue factory farms and is part of the Republicans larger tort reform package.

HF 100 – Refusing to Enforce EPA Federal Regulations (like the Clean Water Act) – This bill, introduced by 7 House Republicans, would nullify regulations from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) in Iowa. Iowa has a clean water crisis. We need mandatory regulations, stronger enforcement and tougher fines. And we know our existing DNR and state leaders lack the political will do to that. We also questions the constitutionality of this bill.

SF149 – Amending Rulemaking – Among other rulemaking amendments, this bill states that state law cannot be more stringent than federal law. Federal law is meant to be a floor for states to build upon, not a ceiling that blocks us from going above and beyond.   This bill was introduced by Sen. Zaun (R-Urbandale)

SF 158 – Operating In The Shadows –  This bill, introduced by Mark Chelgren (R)and 9 other Republicans, strikes the requirement for newspaper publication of government notices if the government puts up the appropriate notice on its website.

HF 243 – Engineering ExclusionsThis bill, introduced by Rep. Bobby Kaufmann (R), excludes some soil and water conservation practices related to building a factory farm. This is factory farm deregulation, plain and simple.

SSB 1034 – Governor’s “Water Quality” Bill This bill moves $229 million from the state’s existing infrastructure fund over 13 years, and transfers a metered water fee to voluntary water quality efforts. This bill doesn’t stop pollution, doesn’t make corporate ag pay, “robs Peter to pay Paul”; and further passes the cost of cleaning up Iowa’s water crisis onto the public.

SSB 1065 – Money for Methane Digesters – This bill would subsidize the addition of methane digesters for factory farms. Methane digesters are false energy solutions that prop up  this unsustainable industry.

 

Worker Justice

HSB 92 – Pre-empting Local Control of Wages and Civil Rights – This bill would lower the wages of over 100K Iowans by over-riding the ability of counties and cities to raise wages for workers. It bans local control and home rule for communities to set higher bars for wages and civil rights.

SF 172 E-Verify – This bill, introduced by Julian Garrett (R) and 18 Republicans, creates unnecasary barriers to work, and requires employers to implement the costly and flawed federal E-Verify program.

SF 213/HSB 84 Gutting Collective BargainingThis bill effectively ends the right of public sector unions to collectively bargain contracts over their employment. These are the same tactics that were used in Wisconsin and other states to erode the power of workers.

 

Racial Justice

SF 25/SF 70 “Stand your Ground”; & HF 251 Trespass LiabilityThese bills, introduced by Senator Mark Chelgren (R – Ottumwa) and by the Senate Judiciary Committee, continue to open the door to “Stand Your Ground” style gun laws. These laws are often racially motivated, and have been deemed “Shoot First, Ask Questions Later” proposals.

HF 265 “You’re Not Welcome Here”   This bill aims to prohibit the state and our communities from being welcoming spaces for immigrants and refugees. It prohibits preventing officials from gathering information regarding the citizenship status, enforcing federal immigration law, etc.

 

Voter Justice

SF 47/HSB 93 Voter ID – This bill, introduced by Brad Zaun (R- Urbandale) in the Senate and pushed by Sec. of State Paul Pate in the House, is the same attempt at Voter ID that former Sec. of State Matt Schultz attempted previously. And while this is not Sec. of State Paul Pate’s bill, the fact remains: Voter ID is voter suppression. We don’t have a voting problem in Iowa – in fact we have a model voting system. We have a $ in politics problem in Iowa – that’s what legislators should focus on.

HF 150- Gutting Same Day Registration  – This bill eliminates election day and in-person absentee registration, also known as same-day voter registration, and restores earlier provisions related to voter registration.

 

Budget

PASSED SF 130/HF 118 – GOVERNOR’S DE-APPROPRIATIONS – Governor Branstad, Lt. Gov Kim Reynolds, and legislative leaders are cutting up to $117 million from our current year’s budget due to shortfalls. This means $26 million less to spend on education, $38 million less to spend on health and human services, and $1.3 million in cuts to the Iowa DNR. We need to claw back the millions in corporate property tax cuts Branstad & Reynolds have given  out and fully fund our state government, not cut it down to the bone.

 

Other

SF 111 – Silencing Free Speech this bill, introduced by Senator Chapman and 8 Republicans, would  make it a felony to for a person to block a highway as part of a protest. We have seen these attempts to silence protestors and our constitutional rights popping up across the country.

SSB 1064/HF 196 – Payday Loans on Steroids This bill expands payday loan amounts from $500 to $2500, which would further trap low income Iowans in a cycle of debt.

 

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