The following are bills that passed either the IA Senate or House this past week, and therefore advance in the other chamber.

Attend a forum, contact representatives to fight these bills.


Senate File 2117
Contact House legislators to defeat this bill.

This bill would cut the budget for the last four months of the fiscal year for our universities ($14.5 million), our community colleges ($1.8 million), skilled workforce fund ($10 million), corrections ($3.4 million), public safety ($200,000), our courts ($1.6 million), human services ($6.2 million), aging services ($220,000), public health ($925,000), agriculture and land stewardship ($377,000), and natural resources ($123,000). It has passed out of House Appropriations Committee with an amendment (H-8012) and is now eligible for House floor debate.


Senate File 2383
Contact House legislators to defeat this bill.

This bill would raise several taxes but overall cut taxes by $207 million in FY2019 and $1.2 billion, requiring deep cuts in education, health and human services including mental health, public safety, and natural resources. This bill has been assigned to House Ways and Means Committee.


Senate File 2346 passed by the Senate
Contact House legislators to defeat this bill.

This bill would list candidates on a ballot with the top spot reserved for the candidate of the party who won the last gubernatorial election. Studies show that the top ballot spot helps a candidate, but Republicans rejected an amendment for non-partisan rotation of ballot position.  This is tinkering to rig elections in a style more worthy of Alabama.

This bill has been assigned to the House State Government Committee.


Senate File 2311
Contact House legislators to defeat this bill.

Utility Regulations – This bill would take away regulatory authority from the Iowa Utilities Board and slash energy efficiency by putting a cap on utility energy efficiency programs, raising rates for Iowans by an estimated $400 million each year. This bill has not yet been assigned to a House committee.


Senate File 2282 passed by the Senate
Contact House legislators to defeat this bill.

Supreme Court Super-Majority – This bill would prohibit Iowa courts from declaring any statute unconstitutional unless done so by a five-member super majority of the Iowa Supreme Court. This bill is probably unconstitutional, and continues a pattern of disdain for Iowa’s courts. This bill has been assigned to the House Judiciary Committee.


A BILL TO TRANSFORM ELDORA - the state training school for boys - into a correctional institution.
House File 2399 passed by the House
Contact Senate legislators to defeat this bill.

The director of DHS has said that he is open to moving the responsibility for Eldora from DHS to Corrections.


Senate File 2235  |  House File 2394
Contact House legislators to defeat this bill.

“Critical Infrastructure” Crimes – The legislation defines “critical infrastructure sabotage” as an “unauthorized act that is intended to or does in fact cause a substantial interruption or impairment of service rendered to the public related to critical infrastructure property. The bill provides that a person who commits critical infrastructure sabotage commits a class B felony.” Such an offense would come with a fine of $100,000 and a prison sentence of up to 25 years. The bill effectively punishes peaceful protest. This bill is now eligible for House floor debate. 


Senate File 481 passed by the Senate
Contact House legislators to defeat this bill.

Unfunded Mandate on Immigration Enforcement – This bill would force local governments to assist enforcement of federal immigration laws without funding, and is opposed by law enforcement agencies because it will inject distrust into community relationships. Objections to this bill reach beyond Iowa City to communities such as West Liberty and Storm Lake where local law enforcement officials have said they need to focus on responding to local needs, not doing Federal immigration enforcement.  This bill passed the Senate last year, and is being taken up in the House.

It passed the Senate in 2017, and was passed Tuesday by the House Public Safety Committee on an 11-10 vote and is now eligible for House floor debate.



Please stay tuned for more information on this attack on local governance.


Senate File 2281
Contact House legislators to defeat this bill.

This bill would effectively ban all abortions, even in the cases of rape or incest, after six weeks of a pregnancy. This bill has been assigned to the House Human Resources Committee.



10 hours ago

Activate Iowa Statehouse Hub

Mike Weinard's selection for Quote of the Day for Sat. 3-17-18:
At the Linn Co. LOWV Legislative Forum this morning, Rep. Ashley Hinson (R-Marion) responding to a question about the importance of affordable child daycare:
"I paid $19,000 one year for child care, so I understand the burdens."
I note:
*Annual gross pay for a worker earning Federal/Iowa minimum wage of $7.25 per hour is $15,080.
*Annual gross pay for a worker earning $9.14 per hour is $19,011.
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2 days ago

Activate Iowa Statehouse Hub

Special election on April 10th! We can win this one!

Special Meeting: Tracy FreeseMarch 20, 2018, 6:00pm290 Carver Hall, Ames, IA 50011-2064, United StatesWe are very excited to welcome Tracy Freese to our next meeting. Tracy will be running in the coming special election for the Senate seat vacated by Bill Dix.

Come hear what ISU will be doing to help get Tracy elected!

ICYMI: Iowa Senate majority leader Bill Dix recently resigned in scandal ( There will be a special election scheduled in the next few weeks. Dix represented Iowa Senate District 25, which covers parts of Story County so this is a home-town election for ISU.
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Special Meeting: Tracy Freese

2 days ago

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6 week ban amendment passes 12-9, with criminality portion struck. ... See MoreSee Less

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Iowa Legislature Forums: Mar 16-19


Feb 16: Update ~Mike Weinard

Update by Mike Weinard–Fri. Feb. 16:

Iowans who follow the Legislature:  altho the 1st funnel week has just ended, I call your attention to this paragraph in the Friday, Feb. 16 Cedar Rapids Gazette, a story by James Q. Lynch & Rod Boshart on the Legislature’s first “funnel week”, on Pg. 9A a paragraph beginning with a quote from GOP House Speaker Linda Upmeyer:

But nothing’s dead forever,” she added. “Things are, from time to time, resurrected” — often as amendments to other bills.

Feb 7: Update ~Mike Weinard


A reminder that in one hour–3pm–Iowa Senate Democrats will be livestreaming the Senate Human Resources Committee meeting. Their presenter will be Michael Randol, recently-hired director of Iowa Medicaid.

Iowa House just approved, 55-40 on party lines, the Republican HF2230 to set State Supplemental Aid at 1.0% for K-12 for F.Y. 2019.

Floor debate on the Steckman amendment H-8004 to fund 3.0% SSA to K-12 for F.Y. 2019 continues. Democrats continue speaking in support. GOP Walt Rogers cooked up a bunch of numbers to say Republicans are really good guys.

Iowa House now debating H-8004, amendment offered by Dem Sharon Steckman, to make next yr’s K-12 SSA 3.0%.
Mascher, Staed, Ourth, Winckler, Prichard, Phil Miller, Marti Anderson, & other Democrats speaking strongly in favor of this amendment!

Iowa House is just now starting floor debate on HF 2230, which would set State Supplemental Aid for schools for FY 2019 at 1.0%. This can be viewed on the Iowa House video.…

Jan 31: Update ~Mike Weinard

UPDATE FROM MIKE WEINARD, WED. JAN. 31: cloudy, no red moon/blue moon/blood moon from where I commuted from.

Tuesday was another busy day @ Statehouse. Some bad bills passed out of subcommittees, including but not limited to:
SF481 “enforcement of immigration laws”;

SSB 3025 “ban traffic cams”;

HF 2031 “teaching the Bible in elective social studies courses in IA schools”. Iowa Starting Line and Iowans for Public Education have good summaries in their posts.

Tuesday it was good to see Johnson Co. Recorder Kim Painter; Jodi Clemons, Dem. for IA HD 73, & Iowa City Police Chief Jody Matherly who was here to comment against SF481.

Many groups @ Statehouse yesterday, including reps from many United Way agencies, and FFA members from all over Iowa.


View of same hallway as 7:30a.m. yesterday, but today it’s busy! This is the overflow crowd from the Asian & Latino Coalition Legislative Breakfast in the legislature dining room!

Jan 30: Update ~Mike Weinard

Wow! This is the crowd in hall outside of Rm. 19, 10 minutes before a House Public Safety subcommittee meets to discuss SF481, the “immigration law enforcement bill”. FOUR state troopers out here too!

Jan 26: Update ~Mike Weinard

Update from Mike Weinard: following is a Jan. 24th story from the Des Moines Register about SJR8, which was passed out of a subcommittee Jan. 24 & will be considered by the Iowa Senate State Government Committee, likely next week. It is ill-advised & a waste of time–another Koch Brothers-inspired effort for the ultra-right to control this country. I recommend contacting legislators–especially Senate right now–to oppose this!

Convention of states: National bid to amend U.S. Constitution advances in Iowa Senate.

William Petroski | bpetrosk@dmreg.comUpdated 9:05 p.m. CT Jan. 24, 2018

An initiative aimed at amending the U.S. Constitution to restrict the authority of the federal government is advancing in the Iowa Senate, despite contentions it could create a political free-for-all.

Senate Joint Resolution 8 is intended to call a convention of states that would impose fiscal restraints, limit the power and jurisdiction of the federal government, and to ask Congress to propose similar amendments.

William Petroski/Des Moines Register

The resolution was supported via a 2-1 vote Wednesday by an Iowa Senate subcommittee, and some Republicans hope it will be approved by the full Senate this session. The measure cleared the House last year, which means Iowa could become the 13th state to call for a convention of states. Article V of the Constitution requires support from at least 34 states for a convention of states to proceed.

“The reason for this is because our federal government is out of control,” said Sen. Jason Schultz, R-Schleswig, who chaired the subcommittee. “They are not going to reduce their own power or reach and it is up to the states, according to the convention, to pull the federal government back into the reins of the Constitution.”

Sen. Pam Jochum, D-Dubuque, opposed the resolution, saying it’s a priority of the American Legislative Exchange Council, a conservative group with ties to brothers Charles and David Koch, a pair of billionaire industrialists who have founded and funded a number of conservative and libertarian organizations.

“First and foremost, I just think our Constitution is a living, breathing, document that has served our nation well and has protected our liberties and our freedoms,” Jochum said. “I have some deep concerns about what the outcome of a convention would actually do. Rewriting the Constitution is not a good idea.”

Several Iowans told the subcommittee that passing the resolution is a sensible proposal.

“I have more faith in Iowans than I do in the federal government,” said Mike Wyatt of Indianola.

Jeremy Danilson of Grimes, a lawyer representing the Convention of States movement in Iowa, said the requirement of 34 states to hold a convention represents a “high hurdle” that should be met to restore the freedoms of Americans and decision-making responsibilities originally held by states.

But Tamara Scott, a Republican national committeewoman who represents the Iowa Faith and Freedom Coalition and Concerned Women for America of Iowa, strongly opposed the resolution. She suggested it’s the the wrong political tool at the wrong time.

“If you can’t get people to come together and support the Constitution that you have now, what makes you think that they are going to come together later for a revised edition?” Scott said in an interview. “This is going to cause unrest, it is going to unsettle what we have. The Constitution is not outdated. It is simply ignored. We need to uphold it; the power is already in place.”

Sen. Charles Schneider, R-West Des Moines, joined Schultz in supporting the measure, which could be considered by the Senate State Government Committee as soon as next week. He said he’s concerned about federal deficits and entitlement programs and he believes protections are in place to protect Americans from a “runaway convention.

“This would be a way to send a message to Congress,” Schneider added. The American Legislative Exchange Council lists Schneider as an Iowa chair, along with Rep. Rob Taylor, R-West Des Moines.

The push for a convention of the states as been endorsed by a host of prominent conservatives, including former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, broadcast hosts Sean Hannity and Mark Levin, and David Barton, an evangelical Christian minister from Texas who disputes the idea that the U.S. Constitution requires a separation of church and state.

Each state would have one vote at a convention of states, and 38 states must ratify any amendment. Once states ratify, the amendments would become part of the Constitution.

Originally Published 5:33 p.m. CT Jan. 24, 2018

Updated 9:05 p.m. CT Jan. 24, 2018

© Gannett 2018

Jan 24: Update ~Mike Weinard

House & Senate both convened briefly this a.m. Senate adjourned til Thu. a.m. House to re-convene 4pm today.

This a.m. I attended Joint Senate-House Economic Development Appropriations Committee. Presenter: Beth Townsend, Iowa Workforce Development director. Partial summary:

IWD has had 15 regions; due to funding issues they’ll be reducing # at some point, but they will not close any of the 15 “one stop centers”. Dec. Unemployment rate was 2.8% (11K more job openings than there are people who are unemployed). IWD wants more employers interested in creating apprenticeships. IWD is working on bolstering re-entry programs in correctional facilities. IWD notes that “there are employers out there who DON’T advertise their openings on our website.”

Jan 24: We Have our Vouchers Bill ~Randy Richardson, Iowans for Public Education

From Iowans for Public Education

WE HAVE OUR VOUCHERS BILL. Randy Richardson reporting: Late this afternoon Republican Senator Marc Chelgren introduced SF2091 which calls for the creation of Education Savings Grants. The bill has been assigned to the Ways and Means Committee. This is not revenue neutral and will cost a small fortune. I haven’t had time to run numbers on it yet. There will likely need to be a fiscal note attached. At this time lobbyists have not had time to register a position on the bill. For now we need to watch this closely and we need to be sure to let our elected officials know this is unacceptable.

My summary of his bill can be found below.
This bill establishes an education savings grant program for pupils attending a nonpublic school or receiving competent private instruction and establishes an education savings grant fund. For the school budget year beginning July1, 2019, and each succeeding school budget year, resident pupils who are attending a nonpublic school or who are receiving competent private instruction are eligible to receive an education savings grant if:

  • the pupil is eligible to enroll in kindergarten, or
  • is eligible to enroll in grade 1 through grade 12 and has attended a public school for the equivalent of the two immediately preceding semesters, or
  • if the pupil received an education savings grant for the immediately preceding school budget year.

Parents or guardians would be required to submit an application for an education savings grant to the Department of Education by January 31 of the year prior to enrollment stating that they intend to enroll their child in a nonpublic school or place the child in competent private instruction.

By March1 proceeding each school year, the department of education must notify the department of management of the number of pupils designated for the following school year to receive an education savings grant and the amount of the education savings grant for each pupil.

An application from the parent or guardian of an eligible pupil shall be approved for the duration of the education savings grant period and the department of education shall enter into a contract with the parent or guardian requiring provision and funding of the education savings grant for each school budget year of the education savings grant period for which the pupil remains eligible. The education savings grant period is five years or the number of years until completion of the school year during which the pupil graduates from high school or completes an equivalent level of competent private instruction, whichever is less, provided that the parent or guardian may terminate the contract at any time. The amount of each education savings grant is equal to the difference between 87.5 percent of the regular program state cost per pupil and the statewide average foundation property tax per pupil in the same school year.
For the fiscal year commencing July 1, 2019, and each succeeding fiscal year, there is appropriated from the general fund of the state to the department of management for deposit in the fund the amount necessary to pay all education savings grants approved for that fiscal year. For each pupil approved for an education savings grant, the department of management must establish an account for that pupil in the education savings grant fund. The amount of the pupil’s education savings grant is deposited into the pupil’s account on July 1 and such amount is available for use by parents and guardians for the payment of qualified educational expenses, as defined in the bill, incurred by the parent or guardian for the pupil during that fiscal year or in a future fiscal year as provided in the bill.

The bill authorizes the department of education to contract with a private financial management firm to manage the education savings grant fund, in collaboration with the treasurer of state, including providing for the disbursement of education savings grants in the form of an electronic debit card or checks that are payable directly from the pupil’s account within the fund.

The bill provides that moneys remaining in a pupil’s account upon the conclusion of the fiscal year shall remain in the pupil’s account in the education savings grant fund for the payment of qualified educational expenses in future fiscal years during which the pupil participates in the program or for higher education costs as authorized in the bill. Under the bill, for each pupil with a positive balance in the pupil’s account in the education savings grant fund upon graduation from high school or completion of an equivalent level of competent private instruction under Code chapter 299A, the department of management is required to maintain the account in the fund until the pupil reaches an ages specified in the bill. Until the pupil reaches the age limitation, moneys in the pupil’s account may be used by the pupil for higher education costs, as defined in Code section 12D.1. The bill provides that an education savings grant received by a taxpayer is not taxable income for purposes of state individual income taxation. This provision of the bill applies to tax years beginning on or after January 1, 2019. The sections of the bill amending Code section 256.7 and enacting Code section 257.11B apply to school budget years and fiscal years beginning on or after July 1, 2019.

Jan. 23: Update ~Mike Weinard

Statehouse: things seem to be moving pretty slowly in Senate considering it’s the 3rd week of Session. All standing committee meetings for yesterday were cancelled and four more for this afternoon have been cancelled.

Jan. 18: Suggestions for lobbying legislators ~Mike Weinard

I have some suggestions for “lobbying legislators” at the Statehouse in Des Moines. Some info may be helpful for first-time visitors or for those who’ll only be at the Capitol one time this session. Other info may be more helpful for those who will be going there for repeat visits this session.

In general, the earlier in the day you arrive, the better. There’s nothing more frustrating than coming from a distance and then running out of time to make connections with a legislator.

Right outside of the House foyer & Senate foyer will be a small table with a supply of the visitor slip you need to fill out to request to see a legislator. House slip is yellow, Senate pink (see photos). I’ve found it helpful to grab a few slips & take them to a quiet spot to fill out (or take some home & fill out before you go to the capitol the next time). You won’t be welcome to grab 20 slips at a time, but if you take 3 or 4 and maybe get more later you can have a nice little supply on hand (I do–at home). Please PRINT when filling out a slip, it’s more legible! You need to list the legislator’s seat number. There are seating chart maps & photos of legislators in the foyer outside of the chamber. You can also find that info in the “Official Directory of the Legislature” (see photo) available at the info office on the ground floor. Either at the Capitol down on the ground floor or at home before traveling, I try to fill out slips ahead of time. To prep at home ahead of time, Chris & I have made up little photos of us individually or as a couple (see photo). We can fit a couple photos printed on Avery gummed labels. Then we affix photo to an open area on the slip. We’ve found that at each chamber the doorperson, page, legislator, or legislator’s clerk really appreciate knowing who they are looking for when they come back out to respond to you.

If to you want to maximize your chances of seeing a legislator it’s helpful to have an idea of the schedules. For MOST weeks of the session the House & Senate don’t convene in general session on Monday morning or Thursday afternoon. Also, every legislator is on some committees. Committee assignments are listed in the Official Directory and also online at

Daily committee meeting schedules/cancellations can be found at the above website, on a printed schedule available early a.m. by the info office on the ground floor, & sometimes on an easel outside of the chamber. If you wish, you can even get online and print out a weekly schedule for the House or Senate before you even leave home! It’s VERY helpful to know when a legislator is away from the chamber at a committee meeting–nothing worse than trying 3 times in a day to see that person and not making connections!

Final note about the “Official Directory of the Legislature” (see photo)–it is published every year and has a different color cover, is free to get a single copy, at the info office on ground floor, but maybe not available til a few weeks after the session opens. It is a gold mine of info, and last year’s does have a lot of info that carries over to this year.