Skip to content

Bob’s DSM Bulletin (February 23, 2023)

Greetings from the Iowa Capitol

This, unlike other weeks, has been spent on more than just one important issue. Here’s why: The procedure for issues to become a law is as follows: First, bills  must be drafted by the Legislative Service Agency to be sure that they meet the type of language necessary. That often takes a week or more depending on the complexity of the bill. Secondly, once the bill has been drafted, the sponsor of the bill must file that bill. Before filing the bill it is useful to gain co-sponsors, and that can take a few days. Third, the bill then gets assigned to a committee (regarding the area of the bill, such as an education related bill gets assigned to the education committee). The chairman of that committee will assign at least three members of the committee to act as a sub-committee to examine that bill. Step three can take a week or so.

Step four is that the bill is examined by the sub-committee and either passed or rejected, another couple of days. Step five is that the bill now is considered by the entire committee (most committees have about 15 – 20 members). This could include a public hearing on the bill, another few days. Step six occurs if the bill is passed by the committee. It will be considered on the floor of the entire house chamber, where verbal challenges are often offered to its passage. If it passes, then it must be undertaken by the Senate, following a similar procedure. Then, if it passes the other part of the legislature, it can be signed into law by the Governor. So, from start to finish it could take a bill a long time to become law. There are ways to expedite these procedures, but most bills are not expedited.

So, because we have a “part time” legislature that will usually finish by the end of April each year, we have what is called a “funneling procedure” for bills. If a bill has not completed step five and pass from the committee, it cannot be brought to the floor, so for all intents and purposes it is not going to become law during that session. The deadline for this passage this year is this coming Friday, March 3. If a bill has not passed through committee by that date, it will not reach the floor, and is usually finished for this session.

There are exceptions to this procedure, some by rule for certain bills (ways and means for instance), and other methods to abridge the process, but most of the bills we work on follow this method. You can find more details about this if you pick up a book of Masons Legislative Rules, a book that will probably cost you about $125.

So, as you can imagine, as we get closer to this deadline, we will have more bills to consider in our sub-committees and committees. That’s why these days are so full (It takes a good sense of humor to work through this to preserve a solid sense of sanity!). Sorry for the length of this dissertation, but I thought you might like to know.

Three issues that occupied our time this week were the Governor’s realignment bill, the carbon pipeline bill, and the trucker tort bill. None of those have made it to the floor yet, but they all still have a chance. (And that’s all I know for now!)

My clerk, Sarah, will include a list of other items that might be of interest.

Below you will find a list of the bills that were passed in the House this week, with links to their text on the legislative website:

  • HF 202 – Explosive materials
  • HF 252 – Establishing comprehensive transition and postsecondary program scholarship program
  • HF 256 – Minimum age of applicants for licenses from board of educational examiners
  • HF 270 – Deadlines for informal review and protest of property assessments in counties declared to be disaster areas
  • HF 271 – Investments of funds by life insurers
  • HF 272 – Treatment of adoptive parent employees
  • HF 279 – Requiring assessors to comply with local policies
  • HF 280 – Governmental subdivision loans for disaster aid
  • HF 282 – Management of soil and water resources
  • HF 314 – Methods for determining compensation for elected county officers
  • HF 316 – Value-added products or services offered by insurers or producers
  • HF 320 – Group capital calculation filings by certain insurance holding company systems
  • HF 323 – Stipends for student teachers
  • HF 333 – Complaint filing with Iowa public information board
  • HF 337 – Use of certain refrigerants

Leave a Comment