Iowa Legislature concludes first funnel week of 2016 session

Iowa Legislature concludes first funnel week of 2016 session

Many bills failed to make it out of funnel week, giving legislators a shorter list of what they need to focus on.

February 19 concluded the first funnel week at the Iowa Legislature during the 2016 session. The fate of many legislative proposals has been decided, at least for this year. The funnel deadline requires almost all bills to pass the assigned committee of original jurisdiction or the bill is considered dead for the year. While it is possible to resurrect a bill as an amendment to another bill, it is much more difficult. Also note, appropriations bills (spending money) or ways and means bills (tax policy expending money through tax credits) are exempt from the funnel deadline.

FIRST FUNNEL: This is the deadline to move policy bills through their committee of origin in order to remain viable for the rest of session. Some bills aren’t subject to the funnel. Likewise, policy bills containing spending or taxing provisions that passed the policy committees must now move on for review.

Here are updates on some of the issues and legislative proposals the Iowa Corn Growers Association is following. If the description includes a committee or chamber passage, it has survived the funnel.

Legislature finishes first funnel for 2016 session

Section 179 Tax Coupling (HF 2092, SF 2137) couples the federal small business expensing and bonus depreciation provisions with the Iowa tax code. The cost for this bill in 2016 is estimated at $97.6 million. Passed House on 1/28, no new activity this week. (ICGA Supports) ICGA encourages members to contact your local legislators to stress the importance of this tax coupling proposal!

Renewable Chemical Tax Credit (HF 2288, SSB 3001)- will provide an income tax credit for renewable chemical producers through 2021. Passed House Economic Growth on 2/11. (ICGA Supports)

Ethanol/Biodiesel Retailer Tax Credit (HF 2175, SF 2223)- will extend the E15, E85, and biodiesel retailer and biodiesel production tax credits, originally set to expire in 2018, now sunset in 2025. According to the Fiscal Note, the 10-year estimated cost for this bill is $243.7 million. Passed House Ag on 1/27, Passed Senate Economic Growth on 2/17. (ICGA Supports)

Micro-Distillery Sales (HSB 574)- Allows micro-distilleries to produce up to 100,000 gallons, striking the current limit. Allows micro-distilleries to sell products out of state and to apply for a new Class C license to allow sales for consumption on the premises of its spirits. Passed House State Gov't on 2/16. (ICGA Supports)

Ethanol/Biodiesel Infrastructure (SSB 3162)- one of the Governor's budget bills, provides for $2.4 million for ethanol infrastructure within the RIIF (Rebuild Iowa Infrastructure Fund) budget. This is a similar funding level from prior years. Assigned to Senate Appropriations, not subject to funnel deadline. (ICGA Supports the infrastructure provisions)

IGOV Water Quality Funding (HSB 601)- outlines the Governor's funding proposal, which extends the SAVE school infrastructure funding through 2049 and allocates a portion of the growth to water quality funding. At this time, the bill would provide more than 50% of the water quality funding to IDALS for non-point pollution sources. Adds 10-year review and reporting requirements for water quality uses. Passed House Ag on 2/17.

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Watershed Nutrient Study (HF 2211)- Authorizes the Iowa Nutrient Center to sponsor projects that reduce water pollution including the transport of nutrients. Allows DALS to use fees from fertilizers for water projects in high-priority watersheds. Authorizes the SWCD to use water quality funding for innovative projects as long as it is cost-effective. Allows landowners to submit conservation practices to SWCD for approval for cost-share funds. Requires the DNR and the WRCC to make decisions about priority watersheds. Establishes a property tax reduction for property used in soil and water conservation practices. Passed House Ag on 2/17. (ICGA Monitoring)

Anhydrous Ammonia Tanks (HF 2216, SF 2135)- Authorizes IDALS to regulate containers with less than 3,000-gallon capacity used to carry anhydrous ammonia. Includes requirements on tank pressurization. Passed Senate Ag on 2/17. (ICGA Opposes)

Nutrient Loads ( HF 2340)- Requires that initiatives to reduce nutrient loads take into account the topography of the watershed, the land uses, farming practices, contributing nutrients and other relevant characteristics. Passed House Ag on 2/16. (ICGA Monitoring)

Pesticide Drift (SSB 3125)- Provides for reporting, testing and analysis, making appropriations, and making penalties applicable for incidents involving pesticide contamination. Passed Senate Natural Resources on 2/18. (ICGA Monitoring)

DOT (HSB 632, SSB 3110)- Allows a vehicle to have a weight of 46,000 pounds on a single tandem axle of the truck tractor and 46,000 pounds on a single tandem axle of the trailer if each axle of has at least four tires. Passed Senate Transportation on 2/17.

Iowa Tank Fund (HSB 638)- Creates the Iowa Tanks fund and gives DNR administrative duties. Repeals various provisions related to the Underground Storage Tank fund and give EPC duties to prioritize spending from the fund. Passed House Transportation on 2/18.

Farm Leases (HF 2344, SSB 3079)- Requires that an agreement to end a lease for farmland be in writing. Passed House Ag on 2/16, Passed Senate Ag on 2/17.

Ag Literacy Plates (HF 2088)- Requires the DOT to work with DALS and the Iowa Agriculture Literacy Foundation to design agricultural literacy emblems for license plates. Establishes fees and distributions to IALF for grants, awards and scholarships. Passed House Transportation on 2/16.

Farm Tenancy (SF 2210)- Establishes a right of first refusal for co-tenants of family farms who acquired an interest in the family farm from a relative. Requires that a selling co-tenant offer the right of purchase to non-selling co-tenants for fair market value. Includes requirements for the purchase. Includes provisions on determining fair market value and on partitions. Did not survive funnel.

Special Truck Weight (HF 2257)- Increases the allowable gross registration weight for special farm trucks to 76,800 pounds. Requires the registration to note the gross weight, and not the maximum allowable weight under circumstances when the truck can have 25% gross weight. Adds special trucks with a gross weight between 80,000 and 96,000 pounds to only operate on non-interstate highways. Did not survive funnel.

Fertilizer Fee (HF 2296)- Establishes a fee on nitrogen-based fertilizer, similar to the groundwater protection fee, for water quality initiatives. Did not survive funnel. (ICGA Monitoring) 

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