02-05-2021 | Government & Regulatory, Lobbying & Public Policy

2021 Iowa Legislative Session – Week Four Summary

By: Amanda Loder


iowa-capitol-building

This week the Senate began considering two far-reaching bills proposed by Governor Kim Reynolds that would address the affordable housing shortage and policing issues. SSB 1142 is aimed at increasing affordable housing stock largely through tax credits. The bill would establish a new $15 million low-income housing credit designed to match a federal credit. It would also double the workforce housing credit to $50 million per year and grayfield/brownfield credits to $20 million a year. The measure would remove the real estate transfer tax cap, which could infuse an estimated $4 million to $5 million into county housing trust funds to address local needs. SSB 1142 would also establish a new disaster recovery housing assistance fund to provide affected homeowners and renters with grants, forgivable loans, and protect them against eviction. The proposed fund would include post-pandemic relief for downtown businesses and banks through a new downtown loan guarantee program. The bill passed out of the subcommittee on Thursday. It now goes to the full Local Government Committee for consideration. Democratic leadership in both chambers have indicated an interest in working with the governor and GOP lawmakers on the bill.

A second bill Reynolds put forth would ban racial profiling; increase penalties for rioting and assaulting police officers; and deny state funding to local governments if they decreased the police budget – unless it was part of a budget-wide cut. SSB 1140 would ban “disparate treatment” such as racial profiling, and require law enforcement agencies to collect a variety of data on every police stop, including when and why individuals were stopped; if they were searched; if they were issued a warning, a citation, or were arrested; and demographic data including race, ethnicity, age, and sex, among other things. The state would then collect this data and put out an annual report. Law enforcement agencies would be required to investigate alleged disparate treatment, and the people involved would be allowed to sue. The measure would also require communities to provide specific justifications for cutting police budgets and increase penalties for assaulting a police officer, rioting, unlawful assembly, and related offenses. It would further permit law enforcement officers to file lawsuits against alleged perpetrators if they are injured in the line of duty because they are police officers; or if someone is alleged to have filed a false report against an officer. 

Meanwhile, in the House lawmakers focused on childcare legislation, with the Economic Growth Committee passing two bills on Monday. HF 2 would create a new tax credit program for childcare facility development, and HF 3 make businesses that build or expand childcare facilities eligible for High-Quality Jobs tax credits. The bills now go to the full House for consideration.

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