Ways & Means Committee – Week 21, 2020


SF 2410 – Petition and referendum requirements for use of SAVE funds for athletic facilities

SF 2410/SSB 3200 would amend the petition and referendum election requirements for the approval of a revenue purpose statement for the use of SAVE funds for the construction of an athletic facility. Legislation was passed last session to provide for greater public engagement for athletic facility projects that were to be built using SAVE funds. The bill also established a petition process for the approval of a revenue purpose statement that required at least 100 signatures or 30% of the number of votes from the last regular school election.

This bill would make changes to that process. It would clarify that the petition threshold is specific to the school election turnout, not the city election turnout that is now held on the same date of the school election. It would lower the petition signature threshold to the lesser of 1,000 or 30% of the voters from the school election, but not fewer than 100 signatures. And it would set a 60% voter approval requirement for the revenue purpose statement for the athletic facility using SAVE funds.

The bill also specifies that existing projects approved by a school board after May 1, 2020, but before the effective date of the bill must be voted upon in a referendum election. The referendum should be approved by 60% of the voters.
[6/4: Floor: 47-2 (No: Bolkcom, Quirmbach; Absent: Hogg); Committee: 13-2 (No: Bolkcom, Quirmbach)]

HF 2636/SF 2411 – Gambling setoff requirements 

HF 2636/SF 2411 amends setoff requirements related to winnings on fantasy sports and sports betting. Under current law, someone who wins money at a racetrack or gambling structure is subject to a setoff from winnings above $1,200. This bill strikes the dollar threshold and makes everyone subject to the setoff if the winnings are required to be reported on Internal Revenue Service form W-2G for gambling winnings. The requirements to file the form depend on the amount of winnings and the type of wager: $1,200 on bingo or slots; $1,500 on keno (reduced by wager); $5,000 on poker tournament (reduced by wager); and $600 on other gambling winnings when the payout is at least 300 times the amount of the wager.

The bill also amends provisions relating to qualified sponsoring organizations (QSO) licensed to operate gambling games. The bill retains the current requirement that the board of directors of a QSO be residents of the state and that the board of directors include a member of the county board of supervisors and city council as ex officio nonvoting members for each applicable county and city that has a licensed facility. The bill further provides that selection of these nonvoting members is at the option of the county or city and that the ex officio members are not required to enter into a nondisclosure agreement. The bill requires that the QSO and an organization that receives contributions from the QSO to distribute grants, must conduct and submit to the Iowa Racing and Gaming Commission an audit on the organization’s activities.

The committee adopted an amendment that conforms to what was generally considered legislative intent to not allow credit cards to be used for gambling in the newly established fantasy sports and sports betting games that the Legislature established last year. It was assumed that credit cards would not be allowed in these new endeavors, since credit cards are not allowed for any other gambling opportunity in Iowa. This makes that clarification for sports betting and fantasy sports.
[Floor 6/5 48-0 (Absent: Zaun, Zumbach); Committee 6/4: Short Form]

SF 2412 – IID regulatory authority provisions, waivers

SF 2411 is an Iowa Insurance Division recommendation to authorize application for an ACA waiver and modify MEWA (Multiple Employer Welfare Arrangement) and AHP (Association Health Plan) laws. It provides very specific authority for the Commissioner to submit and implement a waiver for innovation under section 1332 of the ACA. Should a 1332 waiver be pursued again, having this in place will help in the discussion with CMS. The bill also combines 507A.4(9) into 513D to have the MEWA and Association statutes located within one Code chapter. Federal rules had not been completed when 513D was created. It also makes changes to chapter 509.1 and 509.19 regarding MEWAs as suggested by the Legislative Services Agency.
[Floor 6/5 49-0 (Absent: Zumbach); Committee 6/4: Short Form]

SF 2413 – Agriculture departmental bill 

SF 2413 makes various changes to the operations of the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship (IDALS):

  • Identity theft:IDALS has been moving to an electronic licensing system and the last license to go electronic is the pet breeders license. Thus, IDALS does not want any social security numbers online or on licenses for safety. This measure is included in this bill.
  • Animal Health: Details the seizure and disposition of diseased animals. If animal owners do not follow the steps to help contain a disease, civil penalties will be incurred. These new steps are supported by all the animal commodity groups.
  • Local Farm and Produce Program and Fund: IDALS will reimburse schools for expenses for purchase of fresh farm produce if the school registers. The food source must be located in within 30 miles of the school district. This bill contains no funding. For every $3 spent by schools, the fund reimburses $1.
  • Code clean up relating to: 
    • Fertilizers and soil conditioners
    • Weights and measures
    • Fee reduction from $9 to $4.50
    • Deleting oath of weighmaster
    • Eliminating mandatory servicers licenses (test is not administered anymore)
  • The bill was amended in committee to make a number of changes to the bill.
  • Feral Swine:
    • Defines feral swine as any swine that is running at large
    • Gives IDALS the authority to destroy feral swine if the owner can’t be determined
    • Allows IDALS to conduct disease testing on feral swine. This will help protect against foreign animal diseases.
  • Food Operation Trespass:
    • Enhances the trespass charge to an aggravated misdemeanor for first offense and Class “D” felony for subsequent offenses.  
    • Food operations are defined as a location where an animal is kept, including but not limited to a fair, exhibition, farmer’s market, dairy processing and egg processing facilities, and aquaculture.
  • Strikes the portion of the bill relating to the Local Food and Produce Program and Fund.

During floor debate, the Senate adopted an amendment that removed portions of the bill. The portions removed included:

  • A proposal to no longer require personal identification numbers for commercial breeders’ licenses.
  • Miscellaneous Code clean-up provisions
    [Floor 6/5: 34-11 (No: Bolkcom, Celsi, Giddens, Hogg, Jochum, Mathis, Petersen, Quirmbach, Ragan, T. Taylor, Wahls; Absent: Lykam, Segebart, J. Smith, Sweeney, Zumbach; Committee 6/4: 13-2 (No: Bolkcom, Quirmbach)]


SF 2403 – Fuel excise tax for ethanol- and biodiesel-blended motor fuels

SF 2403 would extend the current preferential excise tax rates for ethanol- or biodiesel-blended motor fuels. Currently:

  • Ethanol-blended gasoline (E-10 or higher) is taxed at a lower rate than conventional gasoline. The excise tax is reduced up to two cents per gallon, with the discount determined by the percentage of ethanol-blended gasoline distributed to retailers.
  • Biodiesel-blended motor fuel (B-11 or higher) is taxed three cents lower than the per-gallon rate on special fuel for diesel engines of motor vehicles.
  • High-ethanol-blended gasoline (E-85) is taxed at 14 cents per gallon lower than the rate on conventional gasoline.
  • The current motor fuel tax structure for ethanol- or biodiesel-blended gasoline will end on June 30, 2020. After that date, the special rates for ethanol- and biodiesel-blended motor fuels would end, and would be taxed at the same rate as conventional fuels of the same type.

The bill would change the structure of the preferential excise tax rates for higher blends of ethanol-blended fuel by focusing on E-15. The bill:

  • Establishes a six-cent per-gallon discounted rate for E-15 blended gasoline. The existing structure for adjusting the discount is according to the percentage of ethanol-blended gasoline distributed to retailers.
  • There will no longer be a discounted rate for E-10 blended motor fuel or a separate rate for E-85 blended gasoline.
  • The current discounted rate for biodiesel is extended.

The proposed ethanol and biodiesel excise tax rates are projected to divert fewer dollars from the Road Use Tax Fund and are meant to promote higher blends of renewable fuels. The bill includes a new sunset date for the preferential excise tax rates. The new rates will end after June 30, 2026. The report that is used to determine the distribution percentage will instead determine the discounted fuel excise tax rate. The current rates are determined based on the distribution of blended fuels delivered from a motor fuel terminal. That report shows much lower distribution rates than what is declared by retailers on the reports they submit to the Department of Revenue. The retailer reports include blending that is done after the fuel leaves the motor fuel terminal.
[6/3: 4