Some Bills Dead and Others Still Alive after First Legislative Funnel

DES MOINES, Iowa - The Iowa Legislature's first deadline, or "funnel" hits Friday, but with last-minute meetings all held on Thursday, Iowans now have a clearer picture of what issues could be addressed this session, and what will have to wait another year.

Any bills that did not pass out of their assigned committee in either the Iowa House or Senate by March 3 are deemed "dead" for the rest of the session. Some controversial bills didn't make the cut, while others are surviving at least on one side of the Statehouse.

Here are some bills that did not make it:

  • SF 253, which asserts that life begins at conception, did not have the votes to make it out of the Senate Judiciary Committee. It's companion bill in the House also died. However, an alternative bill that bans abortions after 20 weeks of pregnancy is still alive.
  • SF 335 would restore the death penalty in Iowa for citizens who kidnap a minor, sexually abuse them, and murder them. Right now, the punishment for kidnapping and sexual abuse of a minor is the same as committing those crimes as well as murdering the minor. Lawmakers wanted to up the consequences for murder; however, this bill did not make it out of committee in time.
  • SF 323, allowing a teacher to temporarily or permanently remove disruptive students from the classroom without administrative discipline, died in the Senate earlier this week.s

There are a slew of bills that did survive the funnel, setting up for several big fights in the weeks ahead:

  • SF 53 bans abortions after 20 weeks of pregnancy; it made it out of the Senate Health and Human Resources Committee Thursday night. It's companion bill in the House did not survive, but it could now be passed in the Senate and sent to the House for approval.
  • SSB 1172, preventing cities, counties, or college campuses from enacting "sanctuary" policies protecting illegal immigrants, passed out of the Senate Local Government Committee this week. A similar, but not identical, bill in the House - HF 265 - is also pending.
  • SSB 1170 and HSB 169 are identical bills in both chambers that would drastically overhaul the state's workers' compensation system. Despite outcry from union workers and Democrats, these bills proceeded out of their respective Commerce Committees this week.
  • SSB 1163, a controversial voter ID bill proposed by Secretary of State Paul Pate, passed out of the Senate State Government Committee. It would require all voters to have a valid government-issued ID to vote.
  • HF 316, which would dismantle local water utilities like Des Moines Water Works and replace them with a regional authority, cleared the House Agriculture Committee this week.