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2019 Legislative Report - Week Eight - The First Funnel - March 8, 2019

This week was the first funnel week of the session.  If at the end of this week a bill had not passed out of a committee in either chamber, that bill would no longer be eligible for debate this session and would be regarded as “dead.” This funnel does not apply to appropriations or ways and means bills.

Hundreds of Bills Moving Through the Legislative Process

By Friday, hundreds of bills had moved through policy committees covering a wide variety of subject matters and priorities.  Now, the clock starts ticking on the second funnel in four weeks.  By the end of the second funnel, all House bills must have passed a Senate committee, and all Senate bills must have passed a House committee.  This means that the four weeks between the funnels will see a great deal of floor work to get those bills into the other chamber. 

Governor’s Priorities Advance

This week, several of the Governor’s priorities advanced through the legislative process:

  • SF 348 - Hormonal Contraceptives.  This bill would allow a pharmacist to dispense birth control without a prescription. Passed out of Senate Human Resources.
  • HSB 206 - Children’s Mental Health Services.  This bill would establish a Children’s Behavioral Health System Board, as well as additional services for children. Passed out of House Human Resources.
  • HSB 68 - Felon Voting RightsThis constitutional amendment would end the ban on felon voting.  Passed out of the House Judiciary Committee.
  • HSB 204 - Empower Rural Iowa ActThis bill would expand broadband access across the state, as well as incentivize housing construction in underserved areas.  Passed out of a Ways and Means Subcommittee, but as a ways and means bill, it is not subject to the funnel).

What’s Next

Floor debate will start in earnest on Monday, March 11.  Chambers will need to clear their calendars to advance their priority bills to the opposite chamber in a timely fashion before the second funnel (April 5th).  With hundreds of bills becoming debate eligible next week, we can expect a significant amount of time dedicated to floor work over the coming weeks, which means policy priorities will emerge.  Additionally, the March Revenue Estimating Conference meets next Friday, March 15.  Once it is determined which revenue numbers should be utilized to develop the budget, we can expect movement from both chambers to reconcile their target budget numbers and the initial stages of budget bill development.

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