Quick Links

Legislative Representative


IRWA Legislative Newsletter
Under the Golden Dome

January 13, 2017 Issue #1

(Added 1/15/2017)

Emily Piper, Contract Specialist

Emily Piper

Contract Lobbyist

Email Emily

Under the Golden Dome
The Legislature convened and for the first time in over twenty years, Republicans control all three branches of government.   This, combined with a significant crop of new legislators, presents both challenges and opportunities.   Republicans have indicated their desire to quickly address major policy issues including changes to collective bargaining, restrictions on local adoption of minimum wage and setting school funding early in the session.

Legislators enter this session with a dismal state financial picture, showing the impact of a struggling agricultural economy on state tax receipts.  First order of business is to enact a $110 million de-appropriation bill for the current fiscal year.   House and Senate leaders have indicated that their ideas for accomplishing this may differ from the Governor’s proposal.  Revenue growth for the FY 18 fiscal year is also low, pegged at approximately $178 million in new revenue for this legislature to allocate.  This will put pressure on their priorities of cutting taxes, funding water quality and providing for school choice through educational savings accounts.

Governor Branstad gave his final state of the state address, outlining his policy and budget priorities for the upcoming session.  More information about the budget proposal is provided below.  On the policy side, Governor Branstad indicated that he believes the starting point for discussion is the bill passed by the House last year.  He does not intend to resubmit his legislation to extend the state penny for school infrastructure, sharing that revenue with water quality initiatives.

FY 18, FY 19 Governor’s Budget Submission
On Tuesday, January 10, Governor Branstad delivered his last state of the state address and outlined his budget priorities for the 2018 and 2019 fiscal years.  In addition, water quality figured prominently in his public address.  Below is a summary of his budget recommendations:

IRWA Legislative Priorities
The IRWA legislative committee recommended and the IRWA board of directors accepted the following two priority issues for the 2017 legislative session:  removing the sales tax on water and allowing water and sewer franchise agreements to be extended by action of the city council. 

IRWA is working with legislative leaders to make the case for phasing out the sales tax on water.  This tax impacts nearly every Iowa and business.   Two challenges are at hand.  First, the state budget situation impacts their ability to provide even a minimal tax cut (projected at approximately $4 million for each of six years).  Second, the water quality proposal from 2016 redirected the sales tax collected on water to a small grant program for disadvantaged communities.   If this remains the policy objective, elimination will be even more challenging.  IRWA is working to shift that dynamic.

Representative Jake Highfill, chairman of the House Local Government Committee, has agreed to introduce legislation that would allow existing water and sewer franchise agreements to be extended upon their expiration by action of the city council.   This privilege is already afforded to electric and gas.   Removal of the election requirement will save time and resources for rural water districts facing the expiration of the original 25-year franchise agreements.  USDA loan and grant funds require a 40-year franchise agreement to receive monies for upgrades and improvements to those systems.  On the Senate side, Senator Julian Garrett, chairman of the Senate Local Government Committee, is reviewing the proposal. 

Water Day on the Hill
Monday, January 30, is the joint water utility day on the Hill.  Representatives of the IRWA, the Iowa Association of Water Agencies, the Iowa Association of Municipal Utilities and some of our government partners will showcase their efforts on economic development and make the case for eliminating the sales tax on water.  Plan to join us on January 30 beginning around 11:30 am to meet with legislators.

Key Committee Assignments
IRWA primarily follows the Local Government, Natural Resources/Environmental Protection and Ways and Means Committees.  Members of those committees in both chambers are listed below.  If you have a representative on one of those committees, please communicate with them about our priority issues.

Senate Local Government

  1. Julian B. Garrett (R, District 13), Chair
  2. Mark S. Lofgren (R, District 46), Vice Chair
  3. Chaz Allen (D, District 15), Ranking Member
  4. Mark Chelgren (R, District 41)
  5. Robert E. Dvorsky (D, District 37)
  6. Thomas A. Greene (R, District 44)
  7. Dennis Guth (R, District 4)
  8. Tim Kraayenbrink (R, District 5)
  9. Matt McCoy (D, District 21)
  10. Herman C. Quirmbach (D, District 23)
  11. Mark Segebart (R, District 6)

Senate Natural Resources & Enviornment

  1. Ken Rozenboom (R, District 40), Chair
  2. Tom Shipley (R, District 11), Vice Chair
  3. Robert E. Dvorsky (D, District 37), Ranking Member
  4. Bill Anderson (R, District 3)
  5. Jerry Behn (R, District 24)
  6. Rick Bertrand (R, District 7)
  7. Michael Breitbach (R, District 28)
  8. Waylon Brown (R, District 26)
  9. Rita Hart (D, District 49)
  10. Tim L. Kapucian (R, District 38)
  11. Kevin Kinney (D, District 39)
  12. Jim Lykam (D, District 45)

Senate Ways and Means

  1. Randy Feenstra (R, District 2), Chair
  2. Jerry Behn (R, District 24), Vice Chair
  3. Pam Jochum (D, District 50), Ranking Member
  4. Bill Anderson (R, District 3)
  5. Joe Bolkcom (D, District 43)
  6. Michael Breitbach (R, District 28)
  7. Waylon Brown (R, District 26)
  8. Dan Dawson (R, District 8)
  9. William A. Dotzler Jr. (D, District 31)
  10. Jeff Edler (R, District 36)
  11. Matt McCoy (D, District 21)
  12. Janet Petersen (D, District 18)
  13. Herman C. Quirmbach (D, District 23)
  14. Jason Schultz (R, District 9)
  15. Roby Smith (R, District 47)

House Local Government

  1. Jake Highfill (R, District 39), Chair
  2. Kristi Hager (R, District 56), Vice Chair
  3. Art Staed (D, District 66), Ranking Member
  4. Jane Bloomingdale (R, District 51)
  5. Gary Carlson (R, District 91)
  6. Dave Deyoe (R, District 49)
  7. Mary Gaskill (D, District 81)
  8. Tedd Gassman (R, District 7)
  9. Greg Heartsill (R, District 28)
  10. Megan Jones (R, District 2)
  11. Bobby Kaufmann (R, District 73)
  12. Bob Kressig (D, District 59)
  13. John Landon (R, District 37)
  14. Vicki S. Lensing (D, District 85)
  15. Andy McKean (R, District 58)
  16. Brian Meyer (D, District 33)
  17. Amy Nielsen (D, District 77)
  18. Larry Sheets (R, District 80)
  19. Phyllis Thede (D, District 93)
  20. Mary Lynn Wolfe (D, District 98)

House Environmental Protection

  1. Ross Paustian (R, District 92), Chair
  2. Andy McKean (R, District 58), Vice Chair
  3. Charles Isenhart (D, District 100), Ranking Member
  4. Ako Abdul-Samad (D, District 35)
  5. Marti Anderson (D, District 36)
  6. Clel Baudler (R, District 20)
  7. Tedd Gassman (R, District 7)
  8. Curt Hanson (D, District 82)
  9. Bobby Kaufmann (R, District 73)
  10. David Kerr (R, District 88)
  11. Jarad J. Klein (R, District 78)
  12. Kevin Koester (R, District 38)
  13. Bob Kressig (D, District 59)
  14. Vicki S. Lensing (D, District 85)
  15. Tom Moore (R, District 21)
  16. Ken Rizer (R, District 68)
  17. Walt Rogers (R, District 60)
  18. Sharon S. Steckman (D, District 53)
  19. Skyler Wheeler (R, District 4)
  20. Cindy Winckler (D, District 90)

House Ways and Means

  1. Guy Vander Linden (R, District 79), Chair
  2. Jane Bloomingdale (R, District 51), Vice Chair
  3. Dave Jacoby (D, District 74), Ranking Member
  4. Chip Baltimore (R, District 47)
  5. Liz Bennett (D, District 65)
  6. Michael Bergan (R, District 55)
  7. Jim Carlin (R, District 6)
  8. Peter Cownie (R, District 42)
  9. John Forbes (D, District 40)
  10. Greg Forristall (R, District 22)
  11. Mary Gaskill (D, District 81)
  12. Charles Isenhart (D, District 100)
  13. Bobby Kaufmann (R, District 73)
  14. Jerry A. Kearns (D, District 83)
  15. Dave Maxwell (R, District 76)
  16. Charlie McConkey (D, District 15)
  17. Gary Mohr (R, District 94)
  18. Zach Nunn (R, District 30)
  19. Dawn E. Pettengill (R, District 75)
  20. Todd Prichard (D, District 52)
  21. Ken Rizer (R, District 68)
  22. David Sieck (R, District 23)
  23. Matt W. Windschitl (R, District 17)
  24. Mary Lynn Wolfe (D, District 98) 


Click on photo below to view a larger image. Slideshow presentation is also available.

Iowa's delegation meeting with Senator Charles Grassley
Iowa's delegation meeting with Senator Tom Harkin
Iowa's delegation meeting with Senator
Charles Grassley

Iowa's delegation meeting with Senator
Tom Harkin

Iowa's delegation meeting with Congressman Steve King
Iowa's delegation meeting with Congressman Tom Latham
Iowa's delegation meeting with Congressman
Steve King

Iowa's delegation meeting with Congressman
Tom Latham

Iowa's delegation meeting with Congressman Dave Loebsack
Iowa's delegation meeting with Congressman
Dave Loebsack