January 18, 2019
In this Issue:
The 88th General Assembly of the Iowa Legislature convened this week, starting the 2019 legislative session. Twenty percent of state legislators are new members this year, with 9 new Senators and 22 new State Representatives. As a reminder, Republicans control every aspect of state government, having majorities in both the House and Senate, as well as the Governor’s office.
Senate Republicans, led by Senate Majority Leader Jack Whitver (Ankeny) and Senate President Charles Schneider (West Des Moines), have a 32-18 majority.
House Republicans, under the leadership of House Speaker Linda Upmeyer (Clear Lake) and Majority Leader Chris Hagenow (Urbandale), have a 54-46 majority advantage over Democrats.
The legislative calendar is set to last 110 days, with May 3 being the target date for adjournment. At the very least, legislators will stop receiving per diem expense reimbursement after that date. February 15 is the final date for lawmakers to request bill drafts.
On Tuesday, Governor Reynolds delivered her Condition of the State address, laying out her priorities as Governor. Her budget calls for $7.65 billion in state general fund spending, which would be about 1.0 percent above the current fiscal year (FY 2019) budget, which ends June 30. Among several policy priorities she outlined, Governor Reynolds advocated for additional funding for Future Ready Iowa, initiatives to increase STEM and computer science in schools, and a framework for a children’s mental health system.
The Governor also called for the creation of the Governor’s Empower Rural Iowa Initiative and focused on broadband and workforce housing tax credits as two priority policies for rural Iowa. Click here to read the Governor’s full budget and click here for an analysis of the proposed budget.
Legislation of Interest to Credit Unions
Because it was the first week of session, fewer bills than normal were filed in the House and Senate. An update on legislation of interest will be provided in each upcoming Forum and all bills being tracked by the League can be viewed on our web site.
Senate File 37: The bill creates a tax credit against individual and corporate income tax, franchise tax, insurance premiums tax, and moneys and credits tax for a charitable contribution to institutions engaged in regenerative medicine research.
Senate Study Bill 1029: The bill delays, until 2023, the requirement that all high school students take a one-half credit in personal finance literacy.
We Need Your Stories: Government Shutdown Assistance
CUNA is collecting stories on ways credit unions are helping those affected by the federal government shutdown. If your credit union is offering assistance of any kind, please send your stories to Gracie Brandsgard, firstname.lastname@example.org. You can read about credit unions’ efforts nationwide here.
Grassroots Assistance Needed -- Bankers Advocating to Raise Credit Union Taxes
During the 2018 legislative session, Iowa bankers advocated for raising credit union taxes. As a result of your advocacy, credit union members were successful in defeating that attempt and preserving our cooperatively-owned alternative in the market.
However, despite having 90% of the market and record profits, Iowa bankers are lobbying again this year to raise taxes on Iowa credit unions and their member-owners.
Bankers would like to eliminate credit union competition in order to earn even more profits. We need your help sending a short note to your State Representative, asking him/her to oppose banker efforts to raise credit unions taxes, which is a tax increase on YOU, our owner.
Click here to send an email to your State Representative, and ask them to oppose a tax increase on credit unions.
Register for the ICUL Legislative Conference
The annual ICUL Legislative and Regulatory Issues Conference is February 19-20 at the downtown Embassy Suites in Des Moines. On the Legislative Day of the conference, February 19, Governor Reynolds will speak to the group along with our keynote speaker, Joe Lockhart, former Chief Spokesman for President Clinton. Joe will speak to his career and lessons learned in communications from the White House to positions at the NFL and Facebook —and how that can translate to today’s advocacy with lawmakers. Congresswoman Abby Finkenauer has been invited to speak as well.
After morning speakers, we will bus to the Capitol and visit with legislators, focusing on protecting our tax status. It's important that we get as many people to the Capitol as possible to make our voice heard, so new this year we are also offering a Lunch and Lobby registration which only includes lunch and the lobby visit. This registration option is free, but does not include the morning’s speakers or the evening legislative reception. Click here for more information and to register.