Capitol Update Week 8

Legislative Session Reaches Halfway Point

This week marked the 50th day of the 100-day legislative session. The first funnel deadline has passed and the second funnel is coming up soon. Debate is picking up in both chambers as the House and Senate work to advance priority legislation.

Sales Tax Exemption
The past several years, I along with the late Paul Elmgreen have been working on a sales tax exemption for aircraft parts and service. The bill (HF 2573) worked its way through the Ways and Means committee on February 24th and passed out of the House on Thursday. Currently as it stands in the state of Iowa small aircraft when major maintenance is needed fly to neighboring states who already have a sales tax exemption for aircraft parts and services.  The goal of this bill is to help level the playing field and make Iowa’s small local airports and fixed base operators more competitive in providing repairs. This bill will especially have a positive impact on the repair facility in Monticello. The HF 2573 is now on its way to the Senate where they will quickly pass it and send it to the Governor for her signature.

Education: Supplemental State Aid
Also, this week, the House and Senate finalized K-12 funding for the upcoming school year. Iowa’s schools will receive almost $100 million in new money for the 2020-21 school year, with additional resources specifically targeted towards critical needs like rural school transportation costs and per pupil equity.

The agreement breaks down as follows:

Supplemental State Aid $85.57 million
Rural Transportation $7.65 million
Per Pupil Equity $5.8 million
TOTAL $99.02 million

With school funding settled, the House will continue working on additional ways to improve Iowa’s education system for students, parents, and teachers. The Education Committee has been working on bipartisan legislation to ensure the best learning environment for students by helping train teachers on strategies to deal with disruptive student behavior and make classrooms safe.

Since 2011, investment in Iowa’s schools has grown to an all-time high of nearly $3.4 billion annually, an increase of almost $1 BILLION over the last decade. K-12 funding makes up around 43% of Iowa’s budget, making it the top spending priority each year.

House Eases Requirement for Farmers Driving Their Own Trucks
On Tuesday, March 3, 2020, the Iowa House passed House File 2372 by a bipartisan vote of 79-19.  The bill amends the definition of ‘chauffeur’ in regards who is required to have a to exclude a farmer or his hired help  who is operating a farmer’s own truck that is licensed plated as farm trucks/’special farm registrations’ to transport the farmer’s own products or property to a destination no more than 100-miles from his farmland.  The bill was amended by the House to add language that the chauffeur exemption to driving farm-plated semi-trailers does not apply to person under 18-years of age.

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