2024 Legislative Preview: IEC's priorities for the upcoming session

posted on Tuesday, January 9, 2024 in Council News

Iowa State Capitol dome against a blue skyThe 2024 legislative session is now underway. This is the second year of the 90th General Assembly, and it has arrived with a slew of new priorities and anticipated challenges. Republicans continue to enjoy the benefits of a Trifecta government – they control the Governor’s office, the Senate, and the House, and therefore control the legislative agenda.  

Key Issues 

Key issues currently identified by the Republicans include: 

  1. More education reforms: Education standards, teacher pay, auditing Area Education Agencies/special education 
  2. Additional income tax reforms: Likely expediting the implementation of current income tax cuts 
  3. Workforce: Aligning Iowa’s higher education offerings with needed occupations 
  4. Implementation of Government reforms: Cutting boards & commissions 

Governor Reynolds' budget is expected the first week of the 2024 session, which will provide insight as to how Republicans will approach the budget. With stagnant revenue, we expect to see very small increases in state budgets. 

Governor’s Address 

The first week of session is generally marked with speeches from leadership and the Governor outlining their agendas and promises for the session. The first week is also always busy with procedural activities and many welcome back receptions. 

Governor Kim Reynolds will deliver her annual Condition of the State Address tonight, Tuesday January 9, 2024, at 6:00 PM. Iowa PBS will provide a livestream online, or it can be viewed on the Governor's YouTube and Facebook pages. This is also a place to hear the earlier priorities affirmed, or any special priorities of the Governor introduced.

Last year during that address, Governor Reynolds announced her plans for state agencies to review and reduce administrative rules, as well as plans to merge or remove committees and boards.  

IEC’s Priorities for 2024 

IEC’s Clean Water and Land Stewardship Program has several legislative priorities this session. Some will look familiar while others are new:  

  1. Expand the list of tools counties can use to mitigate flood damage by including natural infrastructure options, such as floodplain reconnection and wetland restoration. Bills were introduced in the House and Senate last year that we support – HF 448 and SSB 1052. Check out our new factsheet on the benefits of natural infrastructure. 
  2. Fund the Natural Resources and Outdoor Recreation Trust Fund. 
  3. Conduct a 10-year review and update of the Iowa Nutrient Reduction Strategy.  
  4. Maintain local stormwater management tools to prevent erosion, reduce flash flooding, and protect community stormwater infrastructure. Oppose SF 455, which was introduced in 2023. 

IEC's Clean Energy Program is focused on four priorities this session:

  1. utility meters along a brick wallGive ratepayers a voice in the clean energy transition
    • Iowans pay 100% of a utility’s operational costs in their monthly bills, and in Iowa, people have no choice of electric provider. That means the legislature and the Iowa Utilities Board have a critical responsibility to keep energy affordable and reliable.

    • As utilities in Iowa accelerate investments in renewable energy, Iowans paying electric bills deserve to know what the plan is for making sure rates are affordable and utilities are thinking ahead.

    • We support an open and transparent integrated resource planning process that will give Iowa policymakers and ratepayers daylight into how our utilities are planning to keep the lights on and to keep energy affordable. This must include consideration of all resources, including least-cost options like energy efficiency 

  2. Support reasonable statewide standards for renewable energy siting
    Local governments in Iowa should have the ability to protect community resources and balance the interests of landowners, but should not have the authority to ban specific types of development that present no risk of harm to the community. We support the adoption of statewide siting parameters that will balance these interests while allowing continued expansion of wind and solar in Iowa.
  3. Oppose efforts to allow the biggest energy users to cut special deals
    We are opposed to any efforts that would allow the largest energy users in Iowa to circumvent contributions to keeping Iowa’s electricity grid reliable and affordable or to accrue benefits to themselves at the expense of individual ratepayers and small businesses.
  4. Advance updated building codes to bring investment to Iowa
    Middle-class and rural Iowans have a significant opportunity to receive rebates and tax credits for energy-saving updates to their homes and businesses through recent federal legislation. Updating Iowa’s building code from the current 2012 to the 2021 or 2024 code would allow ease of access for Iowans to take advantage of these rebates and credits. This update could take advantage of federal implementation funds to cover the cost of implementation in Iowa and even buy down the increased cost of updating to the new code, reducing both short- and long-term housing costs in Iowa.

Session Schedule 

Session kicked off Monday, January 8, when the legislature gaveled in to start the100-day session. The 100th legislative day of the session is April 16. This is when legislators’ per diem expires and they generally try to adjourn session. The Session Timetable includes those dates and other important deadlines: 

  • February 16 – 1st Legislative Funnel Deadline 
  • March 15 – 2nd Legislative Funnel Deadline 
  • April 16 – 100th Day of Session 
  • TBD – Adjournment 

IEC has two advocacy events coming up in February. Register now to participate in these events.

IEC Resources 

Our first Legislative News Bulletin (LNB) will arrive in your inbox on January 16. The LNB provides updates from the Capitol, a link to our Bill Tracker, and timely news and event information. We send out the LNB every Monday through the end of session.  

Throughout session, you can visit the portal to view the current and past LNBs, Bill Trackers, Action Alerts and other legislative and advocacy resources on our Legislative Portal.  

We look forward to connecting with you throughout the session, and encourage you to share this information with interested friends across the state!

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  2. clean water
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  4. legislative session
  5. nutrient reduction strategy
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