Recent Bills Passed in the Senate Look Unlikely

Mar 5, 2018

IPR's Morning Edition Host Clay Masters checks in with Statehouse Correspondent Joyce Russell to talk about what's happened in the legislature and what to expect in the week ahead. 

Don’t call the Senate tax cut bill enormous. Don’t count on it becoming law. “We’re not supposed to use loaded terms like enormous,” Russell says about the largest tax cut bill proposed in state history that passed the Iowa Senate last week. Democrats are concerned with both the Senate bill and the House bill that works off the governor’s plan. The Koch Brothers’ Americans for Prosperity supports the Senate bill and is undecided on the House bill. House leaders have been reserved in their comments, so it’s still hard “hard to say” what will become law, says Russell.

The House is not showing any interest in passing the Senate’s “fetal heartbeat” bill. The Iowa Supreme Court is still looking at the constitutionality of last year’s 20-week ban on abortions and the Senate bill would repeal it. “The House is happy with their 20-week ban on abortions,” Russell says. “They’re not showing any interest” in the Senate bill.

Farm Bureau wants its own health coverage deal and it could pass the Senate. While we were busy reporting on big controversial issues last week, the Farm Bureau is turning heads on a bill. The Farm Bureau is pushing a bill that would provide health coverage for farmers and others that would draw healthy people away from the current individual marketplace.  “It’s specifically not called insurance,” Russell says.

The Majority Leader in the Iowa House has moved districts. Republican Chris Hagenow is leaving his Des Moines suburban residence in Windsor Heights and moving to a less competitive district for his party. He had two competitive elections in 2014 and 2016 and had to spend quite a bit of money in 2016. His Democratic challenger made clear she’s running again and “Hillary Clinton did well in his district,” Russell notes. Hagenow says he’s just moving closer to where his kids go to private school. He’ll have to live in the new district 60  days before the election.