Legislative Advocacy Update: 2nd Funnel

Last Friday, March 15, marked the 2nd funnel in the Iowa State Legislature – a self-imposed deadline to narrow the number of bills that are still up for consideration this session. We saw one bad bill advance past the 2nd funnel, and another get killed (though the majority party always has mechanisms to revive legislation). Appropriation bills do not need to meet the funnel deadline. So, here’s where things stand:

HF 2319 – Basic Income Ban

House File 2319, a bill that would ban cities and counties from implementing basic income programs, has passed the House, passed out of Senate State Government Committee, and is now eligible for floor debate in the Senate. This bill specifically targets UpLift: The Central Iowa Basic Income Pilot, which is currently operating in three central Iowa counties, and is the only basic income pilot operating in the state of Iowa.

On Monday, March 4, the Iowa House passed HF 2319 in a 55-43 vote. Seven House Republicans (Jane Bloomingdale, Austin Harris, Chad Ingels, Brian Lohse, Brent Siegrist, Hans Wilz, and David Young) joined all House Democrats in voting no.

HF 2319 was referred to the Senate, where it was placed in the State Government Committee. A subcommittee of Sen. Scott Webster, Sen. Mike Bousselot, and Sen. Tony Bisignano was held on Tuesday, March 12. Despite a passionate appeal to kill the bill by Sen. Bisignano, HF 2319 advanced out of subcommittee in a 2-1 party line vote. It then advanced out of the full Senate State Government Committee the next day, again on a party-line vote.

While food banks, food pantries, and other anti-hunger organizations are facing record-breaking need, instead of taking action to address food insecurity, our state legislature is more interested in preventing cities and counties from exploring innovative solutions to addressing poverty and economic mobility.

Please contact your Senator today and urge them to vote NO on HF 2319.

HF 2608 – Non-citizens and Public Assistance

HF 2608 failed to pass out of the Senate Judiciary Committee before the 2nd funnel deadline. Division I of this bill would add a redundant process for verifying citizenship status for non-citizens applying for public assistance, and Division II would add a vague “smuggling” provision to Iowa criminal code.

Advocates spoke out loud and clear in opposition during the Senate subcommittee meeting, with only one person speaking in favor of the bill. Iowa Migrant Movement for Justice has been leading the resistance to HF 2608 and other anti-immigrant bills this session. Advocates from the Iowa Catholic Conference, Catholic Charities, and the Catholic Worker House were also vocal critics – stressing that the smuggling provision could be used to target individuals and organizations who see welcoming immigrants as part of their religious calling.

Thankfully, HF 2608 is now considered “dead,” though the bill’s sponsor, Rep. Steven Holt, has indicated he may attempt to add the smuggling provision as an amendment to another bill. Stay tuned, and learn more about HF 2608.

Appropriations Bills

Bills that deal with spending, or appropriations, are considered “funnel-proof” and do not have to adhere to the funnel deadlines. We have been following a number of appropriations bills, but have yet to see meaningful movement on them:

  • HF 2022 – Double Up Food Bucks. This bill would appropriate $1 million in state funds toward the Double Up Food Bucks (DUFB) program, which is administered by the Iowa Healthiest State Initiative. It would also be eligible for a federal match through the Gus Schumacher Nutrition Incentive Program (GusNIP). DUFB helps SNAP benefits go further when purchasing fresh fruits and vegetables. Double Up Food Bucks is triple win for Iowa!

  • HF 2599 – Grocer Reinvestment Fund. This bill would create a grocer reinvestment program, a local produce processing grant program, and a $2 million annual fund for both programs. HF 2599 has been spearheaded by the Center for Rural Affairs and Rep. Brian Lohse. We are pleased to see provisions in the bill that would help direct funds to grocery stores in low and moderate income areas that redeem SNAP and WIC benefits.

  • Local Food Purchasing Assistance Program (LFPA) and Local Food for Schools (LFS). We continue to advocate for state-level funding to continue the work of the LFPA and LFS programs. While there is not an active bill, we are still pursuing ways to find a home for an appropriation to help schools, early childhood centers, senior centers, food banks, food pantries, and other feeding organizations purchase more locally-grown food.

Please contact Rep. Gary Mohr, Chair of House Appropriations, about these priorities!

One Reply to “Legislative Advocacy Update: 2nd Funnel”

  1. Banning basic income when poverty and lack of access to basic needs is a growing problem- why? just why. Let’s work together to make Iowa famous for compassion, not oppression.

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