Capitol Update: Week 9

House and Senate Reach Agreement on Key Issues

This week, the House Majority and the Senate Majority moved a step closer to adjournment by reaching agreement on several major issues before the Legislature.

Tax Coupling

Part of the agreement between the House and the Senate includes the House’s tax coupling bill which provides $95 million in tax relief to Iowans.

The tax coupling bill has an impact on the FY 2016 ending balance and the FY 2017 on-going revenue levels. Any agreement will impact discussions on school aid and budget targets.

The bill couples with everything except bonus depreciation in tax year 2015. It does not couple in tax year 2016 leaving that decision to the 2017 Legislature.  There is a $95.7 million impact on FY 2016 revenue/ending balance.  That money goes directly to taxpayers.  Additionally, $86.5 million is added to FY 2017 on-going revenue with roughly $55 million of that available for appropriation under the state’s expenditure limitation law.

Governor Branstad has stated the House Majority coupling plan is something that he will support.

Consumables

The other part of the agreement involves the so-called “consumables” issue. HF 2443 from 2014, which had broad bipartisan support, clarifies the definition of replacement parts, including the supplies consumed during the manufacturing process as exempt from sales and use tax. Advocates argue that Iowa’s manufacturers are doubled taxed under the current law and administrative rules.  The agreement ends this double taxation.  It also allows manufacturers who pay good wages and benefits to invest in equipment and employees.  Passage of this language also eliminates the ability of the Department of Revenue to reinterpret the administrative rules governing consumables and gives manufacturers certainty in regards to their tax liability.

Juvenile Records Sealed in Iowa

On Wednesday, Governor Branstad signed Senate File 2288 a bill that keeps the majority of juvenile records sealed, unless a judge orders them unsealed. Many states in the country allow juvenile records to be sealed to protect adults from mistakes they made as children. Until this bill, Iowa did not seal juvenile records and a person, no matter how old, had to answer for mistakes of their youth.

Senate File 2288, as signed by the Governor, requires juvenile records to be confidential, unless the juvenile committed a forcible felony. Forcible felonies include; felonious child endangerment, assault, murder, sexual abuse, kidnapping, robbery, human trafficking, arson in the first degree, or burglary in the first degree. A juvenile charged or convicted of these crimes would not have their record automatically sealed, but could request a judge seal the records if the case has been dismissed and the person is no longer subject to the juvenile court. A judge may seal the juvenile records if the child’s interest in making the records confidential, outweighs the public’s interest in the records remaining public.

Although most juvenile records would be sealed, some parties still have access to the records, including court professionals, counselors, guardians, probation officers, the Department of Corrections and others who may be assisting the juvenile. Allowing these groups access ensures the juvenile is held accountable for their actions while they receive the necessary help.

Sealing juvenile records allows young Iowans a fresh start and ensures mistakes of the past don’t destroy their future.

News from District 96

This week was the second funnel week of the legislative session. All bills that originate in the Senate must make it through a committee here in the House to continue through the legislative process.  If it does not make it through a committee the bill will not see the Governor’s desk.

As a member of the Ways and Means Committee I cast my vote in favor of the Coupling Agreement. As a small business owner and a farmer I understand how important this piece of legislation is.

The highlight of my week was attending the Anamosa Boys Basketball Team and watching them beat Des Moines Christian 74-60. They played a great game and I enjoyed watching it.

This week both Jones and Delaware County Supervisors and staff came to the Capitol. I visited with them and listened to their thoughts on issues affecting recreational opportunities and other concerns.

I attended a few receptions over the past week as well. Monday night I attended the ITC Reception where I had the chance to discuss issues important to the group concerning transmission lines.  I also attended the City of Dubuque Reception and listened about issues facing Eastern Iowa.

As always if you have any comments, questions, or concerns please feel free to get in touch. My phone number is (319) 480-1997 and my email is lee.hein@legis.iowa.gov.

 

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