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Iowa Statehouse Report - Week 9 - March 9, 2018

This week, legislators again focused on floor work with action on many bills and the Senate started to work through its confirmation calendar.


Department of Human Services

The Senate delayed the confirmation vote on Jerry Foxhoven as the director of the Department of Human Services (DHS) based on concerns from Democrats that he hasn’t done enough to address issues at DHS. Foxhoven is on the individual calendar and needs the votes from 2/3 of the Senate which means that at least four Democrats must vote for him. The deadline to act on confirmations is April 15.


Budget

On the budget front, the Revenue Estimating Conference (REC) met on March 9 to revise their estimates for Fiscal Years (FY) 2018 and 2019, while also making a preliminary estimate on revenue in FY 2020.  Through the first eight months of FY 2018, state revenue has increased $428.6 million over 2017.  The growth represents an increase of 9.3 percent, about 7 percent higher than the REC forecasted in December.


Secretary of Agriculture

Secretary of Agriculture Bill Northey resigned March 9 as he begins his new appointment as Under Secretary for Farm and Foreign Agricultural Service at the USDA. He will be sworn in on Tuesday.

Mike Naig was sworn in as the new Iowa Secretary of Agriculture shortly after Northey officially resigned. Naig has announced that he will seek the Republican nomination for Secretary of Agriculture.


Second Funnel Week

Next week, more subcommittee and committee work can be expected with an eye towards the second funnel deadline of March 16.  By March 16, all House policy bills must be approved by a Senate committee and all Senate policy bills must be approved by a House committee or they will not be eligible for debate for the rest of session.