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SESSION ENTERS HOME STRETCH (OR NOT)

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Friday, April 3 was the end of the road for hundreds of bills that failed to make it out of committee before the Legislature's second (and final) legislative deadline.   To continue on the path to becoming law, Senate Files must have passed out of House committee, and House Files must have passed out of Senate committee, by the end of the day on April 3.  Bills in the following committees are not subject to deadlines, so are eligible for debate at any time during the legislative sessoin: Appropriations (including all Appropriations Subcommittees), Government Oversight, and Ways & Means. 

Only a few dozen bills made the cut this time - you can look a complete list of survivors in this list compiled by the House Republican staff here.  You can see where there was a lot of interest this year in the number of surviving bills by issue area:

  • Agriculture - 7 bills
  • Commerce - 17 bills
  • Economic Growth - 3 bllls
  • Education - 18 bills
  • Environmental Protection - 3 bills
  • Human Resources - 19 bills
  • Judiciary - 30 bills
  • Labor - 1 bill
  • Local Government - 13 bills
  • Natural Resources - 5 bills
  • Public Safety - 6 bills
  • State Government - 23 bills
  • Transportation - 13 bills
  • Veterans Affaits - 4 bills

We have talked a lot over the years about these important deadlines, called funnels.  But there is also another little trick that legislative leaders use to kill off even more bills after these deadlines.  Starting this week and until the end of the legislative session, legislators can only debate bills on the "Unfinished Business Calendar," bills from the exempt committees (Appropriations, Government Oversight, Ways & Means), and bills that have passed by both chambers in different forms (called "bouncing bills" because they are amended and bounce back and forth between House and Seante until agreement is reached). 

So starting Monday, the Iowa Senate has only 34 bills and the House has only 45 bills that meet these requirements (although both can and will add bills coming out of Appropriations, Government Oversight, and Ways and Means Committees).   You can read these daily calendars here.  For Monday (April 13) there are:

  • Unfinished Business Calendar - 28 Senate, 20 House
  • Appropriations Calendar - 2 Senate, 2 House
  • Ways & Means Calendar - 13 House (none in Senate)
  • Bouncing Bills -  3 Senate, 7 House
  • Conference Committee - 2 House/Senate
  • Regular Calendar - 2 House (Government Oversight bills)

As you can see, the list of bills keeps getting narrower and narrower, until all that is left is the budget.