SF 615 is the Justice System Budget bill that appropriates $579,014,608 from the state’s general fund for FY20. That is $8,203,423 over estimated FY19 ($570,811,185), a 1.4% increase. However, note that most departments and agencies did not receive any proposed increase in the bill.
Justice System departments and agencies include:
- Attorney General’s Office, including Victim Assistance Grants and Legal Services Poverty Grants
- Civil Rights Commission
- Department of Corrections and Community Based Corrections
- Division of Criminal and Juvenile Justice Planning of the Department of Human Rights
- Public Defender Office, which includes Indigent Defense
- Iowa Law Enforcement Academy
- Board of Parole
- Department of Public Defense (Iowa National Guard)
- Department of Public Safety, including Iowa State Patrol and other divisions
- Homeland Security and Emergency Management
FY19 Supplemental Appropriations in this bill:
- $2.5 million for indigent defense
- $295,982 for the Iowa Law Enforcement Academy for relocation expenses
- Legal Services Poverty Grants – increase of $160,000
- Department of Corrections – increase of $2,173,963
- Central office: $316,515
- Ft. Madison – Iowa State Penitentiary: $400,000
- Iowa Medical and Classification Center (also known as Oakdale but actually in Coralville): $565,764 for pharmaceuticals
- Newton Correctional Facility: $65,938
- Community Based Corrections District 1 –(Northeast Iowa): $125,090 for a community treatment coordinator
- CBC District 2 (North Central Iowa): $70,351 for a community treatment coordinator
- CBC District 3 (Northwest Iowa ): $70,351 fora community treatment coordinator
- CBC District 4 (Southwest Iowa): $70,351 for a community treatment coordinator
- CBC District 5 (Polk County, surrounding counties and south central counties): $140,702 for two community treatment coordinator FTEs
- CBC District 7 (Eastern Iowa, including Scott County): $70,351 for a community treatment coordinator
- CBC District 8 (Southeast Iowa): $278,550 for community treatment coordinator and two probation and parole officer FTE positions previously funded by a grant.
- Criminal and Juvenile Justice Planning receives a new, separate line item of $140,000 for “a single grant to a program located in a city with a higher than average juvenile crime rate as determined by CJJP with a population greater than 80,000.”
- Iowa Law Enforcement Academy: increase of $729,460 for relocation expenses while the current Academy building is renovated or replaced.
- Public Defender: $100,000
- Indigent Defense: $1.6 million
- Department of Public Safety: increase of $3.4 million
- Division of Criminal Investigation: $1 million
- Crime Lab: $50,000
- Narcotics Enforcement: $200,000
- Undercover Funds: $50,000
- Iowa State Patrol: $2 million and 15 FTEs
- Firefighter training: $50,000
- Office to Combat Human Trafficking: $50,000
New language and language changes in the bill:
- Contingent upon passage of SF 366, the sports gambling bill, SSB 1255 appropriates an additional $300,000 from the Gaming Enforcement Fund and authorizes three FTEs. This fund is not comprised of general fund monies, but includes monies deposited by the gaming industry to pay all costs for gaming enforcement officers at facilities throughout the state.
- Requires the Attorney General to report all money settlement awards and court money awards made to the state. The AG must report which funds are designated to receive the moneys and under what legal authority the designation is being made.
- Sets up a fire service training revolving fund under the control of the Department of Public Safety. These monies come from fees paid for fire service training classes. Iowa State University previously did the accounting, etc., relating to fees, but they informed the state in the fall that they would no longer do it for the Fire Service Training Bureau.
- Authorizes the Department of Corrections to use any FY19 appropriations to resolve a settlement agreement with Iowa OSHA relating to inadequate communication devices for staff at the Iowa State Penitentiary. It is imperative that staff be able to communicate when there are attacks and other issues at the prison.
- Allows the Public Defender Indigent Defense Division to continue its pilot project allowing indigent persons to choose an eligible attorney to represent them. The pilot project is limited to four counties.
[4/4: 14-7 (Yes: Republicans, Lykam)]
SF 616 is the FY20 Judicial Branch budget. The bill appropriates $184,224,293, which is $1.9 million less than what the Judicial Branch requested.
Increase $ 3,551,496
Percentage Increase 1.96%
- Requires the clerks of court offices to operate in all 99 counties and be accessible to the public as much as reasonably possible. However, at a minimum, clerks’ offices must be open to the public for at least the same hours as other county offices in the county and if county offices have differing hours, the clerk’s office must be open “consistent with the county office that is open the greatest number of hours.”
- Establishes annual salary rates for all judicial officers and makes salaries provided for in this section paid from funds allocated to the Judicial Branch from the salary adjustment fund, but if that isn’t sufficient, from funds appropriated in this bill. These salaries represent an approximate 2% salary increase for judicial officers.
- Removes the enhanced court collections fund and court technology and modernization fund language that was in previous budget bills. There is language relating to these funds in SF 457.
- Removes language which says any pass-through budget request from the Judicial Branch will be reduced by any amount of salary increases for judicial officers.
[4/4: 13-8, party-line]
SF 609 – Agriculture and Natural Resources Budget
SF 609 is the FY20 budget for the Department of Agriculture (IDALS) and the Department of Natural Resources (DNR).
FY19 Appropriation $39.4 million
FY20 Appropriation $40.0 million
Percent Increase 1.5 percent
Significant Funding Increases
Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship (IDALS)
- There is a $304,000 increase for IDALS operations in the Senate Republican’s proposed Agriculture & Natural Resources budget over FY19 appropriations. This provides funding to establish the industrial hemp program in IDALS and implement the Iowa Hemp Act (SF 599/HF 733).
- There is a conditional transfer of $200,000 from the general appropriation to IDALS to the Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory at ISU. The transfer will occur if SF 601 or successor legislation is signed into law. SF 601 would establish a new pesticide fees fund under the control of IDALS. Currently, pesticide fees are deposited into the general fund and appropriated by the legislature. By depositing the fees directly into a fund under IDALS, they will have direct access to the pesticide fee revenues. Because the current fees do not directly flow to the department, it is anticipated that IDALS will have more funds available when pesticide fees are directly assigned to the department. The conditional transfer will provide more funding to the Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory without reducing overall funding for IDALS.
Farmers with Disabilities
- There is a $50,000 increase for the Farmers with Disabilities program over FY19, increasing the appropriation to $180,000. This money provides support to Easter Seals to administer the Rural Solutions program that assists farmers with physical or mental disabilities. The program offers agricultural worksite and home modification consultations, peer support, services for the family, information and referrals, and medical equipment loan services.
Foreign Animal Disease Response Fund
- The budget increases funding for Foreign Animal Disease response by $250,000, doubling the appropriation to $500,000. This funding assists IDALS in developing response and preparedness efforts for future outbreaks of infectious animal diseases. IDALS, in cooperation with farm groups and the Livestock Health Advisory Council at Iowa State University, will develop measures to prepare for, prevent, control or eradicate the transmission and incidence of foreign animal diseases for livestock in the state.
Other Significant Funding Issues
Department of Natural Resources (DNR)
- This budget proposes status quo funding for DNR. This funding level is $1.3 million less than the department received from the general fund in FY16.
- The budget does include new language that will allow DNR to use up to $250,000 from the existing appropriation for state parks operations and maintenance in the Environment First Fund to provide for up to three new state park rangers.
Resource Enhancement and Protection program (REAP)
- The budget appropriates $12 million for REAP. This is $4 million below the amount appropriated in FY17 and $6 million below the highest funding levels for the program in FY10. Unlike previous years, Republicans are not proposing to divert funding from REAP to backfill funding shortfalls for state parks operations and maintenance. *See proposed Breitbach amendment*
- REAP funding is allocated under the formula to these separate accounts:
- Open Spaces – Open spaces is used to permanently protect and develop Iowa’s public lands and waters. DNR also uses funds in this account to pay property taxes owed to counties for land that has been acquired by DNR.
- County conservation boards – County conservation boards compete for grants that they can use to develop programing and public areas under their control.
- Soil and water conservation – This money is divided between projects and practices funding. IDALS has used funding from this area in the past to support urban soil conservation and water quality projects.
- City parks and open spaces – Cities compete for grants that they can use to develop public areas and amenities to promote outdoor recreation and natural habitat.
- DNR Land Management – DNR uses these funds to manage state conservation lands and facilities.
- Cultural Affairs – Grants for historical preservation and country schools.
In FY19, Republicans diverted $3 million from REAP to pay for state parks maintenance, repair and operations. REAP is a stand-alone program and should not be weakened so Republicans can minimize the damaging cuts in their budget. The program has helped bring together a broad coalition of hunting, fishing, conservation, recreation and environmental organizations together to push for projects that will improve the state’s quality of life and make it a better place to live and raise a family. Diverting money from one portion of the program hurts its effectiveness as a way to invest in Iowa’s future.
Farm Demonstration Projects/Iowa Soybean Association
- The bill appropriates $100,000 to the Iowa Soybean Association to continue to support farm demonstration projects that do research into nutrient resource management. This money comes from remaining funds in the Watershed Improvement Review Board fund.
Major Language Changes/Budget Concerns
The bill does include some changes to current Code language. These changes include:
- Technical fixes to reflect the transfer of the geological survey from DNR to the University of Iowa.
- Codifying past appropriations language providing that IDALS will administer biofuels auditing and administration programs to ensure motor fuel quality sold by retailers and renewable fuels producers.
- Provides a grain warehouse operator’s lien with primacy above all other creditors.
- Raises the small air permit fee fund cap from $250,000 to $750,000. The cap was put in place when the air permit fee system was redesigned in 2016. This cap restricts the amount of money DNR can raise through fees to support the processing of small source air quality permit applications. The fee cap also restricts how much money DNR can spend on processing these permits. Raising the fee fund cap allows for DNR to collect more fees to fund services for small source air permit holders. The fees can be changed through rulemaking by DNR, but that rulemaking process requires an extensive stakeholder review process. The proposal to raise the fee cap is supported by many small source permit holders.
- Ends mandates for mercury thermostat manufactures and retailers regarding the collection of thermostats that contain a mercury switch beginning in 2022. The sale of these thermostats has been banned in Iowa since 2009. With the ban on the sale of these thermostats, the state mandated the collection of existing thermostats by manufacturers and retailers who made or sold those items. The amendment repeals the mandated collection programs and reporting requirements. The manufacturers are continuing their collection efforts, but believe the mandated system is now unnecessary as the number of mercury thermostats remaining in use drops.
Under this budget, support for agriculture and natural resources in this state continues to suffer. Reduced funding has led to the elimination of successful programs and a large number of unfilled positions that should be providing services to Iowans. Cooperation between agriculture and natural resources is needed to move our state forward. This budget continues to pit them against each other.
An amendment was adopted on the Senate floor. This amendment makes three changes to the bill:
- Makes a technical correction to the $100,000 appropriation for the farm demonstration projects. The current language does not provide any additional money for the projects and only reauthorizes money that was appropriated in the FY19 budget bill.
- Diverts $1 million from the REAP Open Spaces account to provide additional money for state parks maintenance and repair.
- Removes the proposed Code language that would have provided primacy to grain warehouse operators’ liens.
[4/8: 32-18, party-line]