Scores of bills fail to make first legislative “funnel” deadline

House speaker expects between 40 and 50 bills passed out of House committees

DES MOINES -- A legislative vortex swept away hundreds of proposed bills Thursday as the split-control Legislature cut its 2014 workload to a shrinking list of priority items.

Measures seeking to legalize marijuana for medicinal purposes, create a new crime for assaulting a sports referee, allow the sale of raw milk or require homeowner disclosure if they were trying to sell a structure used in the production or sale of methamphetamine were among scores of bill that met their demise with the arrival of the session’s first self-imposed “funnel” deadline.

Bills not dealing with state appropriations or tax issues were required to pass out of a standing committee by Friday or be sidelined for the remainder of the session as Republicans who control the House and Democrats who run the Senate work to winnow this year’s work load. Senators went home for the weekend on Thursday, while House members left town Wednesday to avoid an impending winter storm.

“I think our priorities are safely out of committee in this funnel week,” said Senate Majority Leader Mike Gronstal, D-Council Bluffs.

House Democratic Leader Mark Smith of Marshalltown said he did not mind that 11 House committees were canceled Thursday because it meant some bills he did not want to see passed fell victim to the funnel.

“We did see some bad legislation killed in funnel week,” he noted.

Four Senate committees did work Thursday, passing out bills dealing with expanded broadband access, toughening Iowa’s texting while driving law, regulating both government and private use of drones and unmanned aircraft, and giving the state insurance commissioner more power to order health insurers to return excess revenue to policyholders.

The Senate Judiciary Committee also approved bills giving judges more discretion in sentencing juveniles who commit Class A felonies, creating a misdemeanor offense for property owners who knowingly allow minors under the legal drinking age to consume alcohol on their premises, and easing some penalties associated with the transmission of an infectious or contagious disease.

Sen. Rich Taylor, D-Mount Pleasant, said he was pleased to win passage of a bill regulating drones, but committee chairman Sen. Rob Hogg, D-Cedar Rapids, said the issue stands a good chance of being shot down in its journey to the governor’s desk.

“I think drone legislation faces a very significant uphill battle to become law,” he said. “It’s so new, it’s novel, there are lots of interest out there and it’s not like the people are speaking up demanding regulation. I would say the chances are very slim that that will become law, but we’ll see. Things can change in this place.”

Also Thursday, the Senate Transportation Committee passed legislation 10-2 permitting all-terrain vehicles to travel on secondary county roads and city streets, but not primary highways.

Under the bill, county government officials could pass an ordinance prohibiting ATVs on county roads. The bill requires an ATV driver must be 16 or older, have a valid driver's license and cannot exceed a 35 mile-per-hour speed limit.

Barb Kalbach, board president of the Iowa Citizens for Community Improvement Action Fund, said her group was happy to see the Senate pass bills to raise the state’s minimum wage and crack down on wage theft, but she believed lawmakers were in “complete denial” about the serious environment threats facing Iowa.

"2014 is quickly turning into another 'play it safe, do nothing' session as (Gov. Terry) Branstad and legislative leaders from both parties have once again failed to take bold action to protect Iowa's rivers, lakes, and streams from factory farm pollution," Kalbach said in a statement.

She hoped the arrival of the first funnel deadline would give legislators a chance to “hit the reset button” and focus the rest of the 2014 session “on the bread and butter issues that matter most.”

Before he left the Capitol Wednesday, House Speaker Kraig Paulsen, R-Hiawatha, said he expected between 40 and 50 bills passed out of House committees. He thought a higher percentage of bills could gain support in the other legislative chamber because a number of issues moving forward have bipartisan support.

“We certainly have a number of bills to deal with in the next three weeks, so our workload next week is going to be significant,” Gronstal noted. “I don’t see it as terribly lighter than in recent years.”

This week’s funnel claimed about a half-dozen bills that offered various ways to shift surplus, economic emergency or state general funds to the road use tax fund to address an estimated $215 million yearly shortfall in money to address critical transportation needs.

Gronstal said a bipartisan group of legislators are still working on a proposal to increase the state’s gas tax by 10 cents a gallon over three years and a transportation budget bill currently on the Senate debate calendar could become a vehicle if a consensus develops among lawmakers and the governor before the General Assembly adjourns this spring.   Comments: (515) 243-7220;  

Dead or alive:

Status of legislative issues at the first “funnel” deadline for a bill to clear one House or Senate committee to remain eligible this year.  


  • Increase state gas tax (HSB514)
  • Establish state regulations for traffic enforcement cameras (HF2202)
  • Raise minimum wage (SSB3194)
  • Strengthen anti-bullying/harassment efforts in schools (SSB3149/HSB525)
  • Regulate government and private use of drones (HF2289/SF2157)
  • Exempt military retirement pay from state income taxes (SF303)
  • Expand access to broadband (HSB515/SSB3119)
  • Legalize sale, purchase, possession, use of fireworks (SSB3182)
  • Toughen penalties for prostitution/pimping (HF2254)
  • Ban abortion services via telemedicine (HF2175)
  • Prohibit access by minor to e-cigarettes (HF2109)
  • Allow private employers to give veterans hiring preference (HF2234)
  • Revamp sentencing for juveniles facing Class A convictions (HSB505/SSB3146)
  • Bar minors from tanning devices (SF2174/HF2030)
  • Expand statewide preschool program (SSB3155)
  • Tougher protections against elder abuse (SF2117/HF2106)
  • Revise state child-care assistance eligibility guidelines (HF2070/SF2251)
  • Boost penalty for murdering a peace officer (HF2114)
  • Expand apprenticeship/job training program (SSB3052)
  • Approve buyout to end live dog racing (HSB621)
  • Restore felons’ voting rights (SF127)
  • Increase penalty for kidnapping minors (SSB3079/HF2253)
  • Require state rules for restraining pregnant inmates (SF2190)
  • Broaden civil commitment for sexual predators (SSB3076)
  • Require annual reports of military sexual assaults (SF2111)
  • Establish state health insurance exchange (SF2112)
  • Create misdemeanor crime for knowingly allowing underage drinking (SF2146
  • Verify income, assets, and identity of Medicaid recipients to prevent fraud (HF2275)
  • Extend court protections to pets in domestic abuse cases (SF2118)
  • Legalize fantasy sports games (SF2148/HF2128)
  • Clarify sexting law dealing with text messages (SF2174)
  • Require Taser training for law enforcement personnel (SF2187)
  • Establish alternative services formerly provided by Iowa Juvenile Home (SF2084)
  • Change gun permit requirements for military members (HF2143)
  • Establish urban-ag academy with Board of Regents (HF2210)
  • Establish screening for dyslexia (SF2070)
  • Establish statewide emergency warning task force (SF2137)
  • Establish refugee family support services (SF2176)
  • Require handicap-accessible gas pumps (SF401)
  • Add fine arts to core curriculum at schools (SF3048)
  • Allow cities to regulate/restrict rental occupancy (SSB3068/HF184)
  • Allow online/electronic voter registration (HF2243/SSB3130)
  • Change snowmobile regulations for some minors (SSB3179)
  • Freeze resident tuition at state universities
  • Establish mass notification/emergency messaging fund (HSB595/SSB3104)
  • Create derelict building grant program (HSB655)
  • Allow ATV operation on secondary roads (HSB662)
  • Establish Iowa employment rides initiative (SF2076)
  • Issue Sullivan Brothers award of valor license plates (SF2108)
  • Extend school merger/consolidation initiative (SF2056/HSB558)
  • Protect children’s identity from theft (HF2116)
  • Maintain local school board control over curriculum (HSB592)
  • Establish Iowa suicide prevention center in Iowa Department of Education (SF2173/HF2245)
  • Expand strip searches at county jails/city holding facilities (HF2174)
  • Revamp crimes for contagious/infectious disease transmissions (SF2086)
  • Authorize state to issue paddlefish licenses (HF2171)
  • Authorize silver alerts for missing seniors (SF2189)
  • Authorize possession of certain offensive weapons (HF384)
  • Increase mo-ped speed limit from 30 to 39 mph (SF2192)
  • Establish philanthropy accounts in schools (SF2129)
  • Extend time for sexually abused minors to bring civil/criminal actions (SF2109)
  • Expand electronic reporting of campaign finances (SF2119)
  • Allocate an extra $2 million to low-income heating assistance (SF2110)
  • Increase K-12 state aid by 6 percent in fiscal 2016
  • Crack down on wage theft in employment (SF191)
  • Change K-12 forward-funding law (HF2194)
  • Require health insurers to distribute excess revenue to policyholders (SF2183)
  • Add jailers to interference with official acts statute (HF2133)
  • Provide licensure help for veterans/spouses (HF2319)
  • Extend sales tax rebate for Iowa Speedway in Newton (SSB3162)
  • Add jailers to coverage of interference with official acts offense (HF2133)
  • Establish Gideon fellowship in state public defender’s office (HF2132)


  • Legalize marijuana for medicinal purposes (SF2215)
  • Use general fund money to supplement road use tax fund (SF2149/SF2042/SF2072)
  • Create disclosure requirements for meth homes up for sale (SF2001)
  • Shift regulation of Voice over Internet Protocol services
  • Create misdemeanor charge for assaulting referee at sports events (SF2158)
  • Require Iowa Executive Council to establish a litigation budget (SSB3078)
  • Allow retail sales at micro distilleries (HF2173)
  • Allow sale of raw milk (HSB131)
  • Allow hand-fishing for catfish (SF2011)
  • Cut daily expense money for lawmakers by 10 days each session (HF2161)
  • Equip new school buses with safety belts/harnesses after July 1 (HF2117)
  • Establish family courts in Judicial Branch (HF2185)
  • Authorize reasonable/deadly force protections (HF2113)
  • Amend Iowa Constitution to protect right to keep/bear arms (HJR4/6)
  • Establish five-year “sunset” for state administrative rules (SF2125)
  • Allow cause of civil action for abortion procedures (HF2098)
  • Bar health insurance coverage for elective abortions (HF2096)
  • Allow passenger parents to be ticketed for child-restraint violations (SF2008)
  • Close gun-show loophole for gun sales (SF2179)
  • Bar slaughter/use of horse meet as human food (SF2178)
  • Prohibit state help for NSA spying (SF2172)
  • Bar employers from knowingly hiring unauthorized aliens (SF2171)
  • Decriminalize possession of marijuana (HF2313)
  • Provide employers religious conscience protections regarding abortion health benefits (SF2153)
  • Create deferred benefit retirement alternative for public employees hired after July 1, 2016 (SF2126)
  • Allow video game tournaments (HF2072)
  • Establish criminal offense for service dog abuse (SF2033)
  • Prohibit hidden compartments in vehicles (SF2036)
  • Cut state income taxes by 20 percent (SF2048)
  • Establish offense of violent habitual offender (SF2073)
  • Keep 911 tape confidential/release written transcript (SF2074)
  • Issue temporary driver’s licenses to certain foreign nationals (SF2087)
  • Exempt sales tax on investment counseling services (SF2088)
  • Direct $1 million to DOT safe routes to school program (SF2097)
  • Allow attorney general to seek court orders to intercept human trafficking communications (SF2098)
  • Cap medical malpractice “noneconomic” damages at $500,000 (SF2099)
  • Allow NRC rules to hunt deer with crossbows (SF2100)
  • Require background check for community college employees (HF2246)
  • Create grants for food waste diversions to landfills (HF2240)
  • Allow engagement in lawful occupations free from substantial regulation (SF2237)
  • Increase proof of insurance coverage for accident damages (HF2233)
  • Rename Commission on Status of African Americans to include Africans (HF2221)
  • Increase minimum jail time and fines for all drunken driving charges (HF2220)
  • Require counties to accept used home appliances for reuse, recycle or disposal (HF2212)
  • Grant immunity to someone seeking medical help for a drop overdose (HF2207)
  • Remove court record for dismissed charge or not guilty finding (HF2206)
  • Bar Iowa Department of Education from adopting/implementing core standards (HF2205/SF2123)
  • Allocate $18 million to create solar energy initiative at three regent universities (HF2203/SF2005)
  • Register/license new motorsports recreational vehicles (SF2198)
  • Require DOT public hearing before changing intersection speed limits (HF2177)
  • Beef up incentives for solar energy (SF2107)
  • Create governor’s award for law officers’ human trafficking rescues (HF2145)
  • Establish exposure (other than spouse) as a disorderly conduct criminal offense (HF2144)
  • Eliminate “braiding” from definition of cosmetology (HF2135)
  • Exempt pawn brokers from usury provisions (HF2111)
  • Allow partial/monthly payments of property taxes (HF2099)
  • Provide education savings grants for private/home schoolers (HF2090/SF2154)
  • Modify school placement of twins and multiples (HF2188)
  • Create income tax credit for qualified adoption expenses (HF2082)
  • Lower age for handgun possession/training from 14 to 12 (SF2014/HF2012)
  • Allow small towns to hold elections via absentee ballots (HF2065)
  • License midwives (HF2178/SF2152)
  • Provide parental access to minors’ library records (HF2055)
  • Modify eminent domain guidelines (HF2048)
  • Increase penalty for animal neglect/torture (SF2020/2021)
  • Require voter approval from residents within 250-mile radius of proposed nuclear plant (HF2047)
  • Require licensing of music therapists (HF2190/SF2116)
  • Look at reorganizing state government into no more than 10 departments (HF2026)
  • Curb local inspections of sewage disposal systems (HF2081)
  • Bar taking or attempting to take a cougar (HF2303)
  • Impose moratorium on mining of silica sand (HF2298)
  • Move right when being passed on highway (HF2294)
  • Require schools to display “in God we trust” motto (HF2282)
  • Expand spay/neuter services with tax checkoff/license plate (HF2123/SF2106)


  • Reinstate limited death penalty (SF76/SF167)
  • Ban use of hand-held cell phones while driving (HF412)
  • Ban smoking in gaming areas of state-licensed casinos (HF411/SF113)
  • Legalize Internet poker via state-licensed casinos (SSB1068)
  • Authorize limited gambling on fantasy sports games (HF378)
  • Raise speed limit to 60 mph on two-lane primary and hard-surface roads (SF11)
  • Bar underage sale/ consumption/possession of energy drinks (HF432)
  • Bar body piercing for minors; require state permits for body piercing businesses (HF450)
  • Restrict county-issued marriage licenses to same-sex couples (HF444)
  • Create income tax exemption credit for unborn children; increase overall credits (HF440)
  • Impose moratorium on issuance of state gambling licenses (SF40)
  • Abolish no-fault divorce for Iowa couples with children (HF338)
  • Require drug testing for state assistance recipients (SF147)
  • Amend Iowa constitution to impose term limits on elected officials (HJR9)
  • Strike mourning dove hunting season (HF291)
  • Require safety helmets for motorized bike operators under age 18 years (SF37)
  • Recognize gold/silver as legal tender (HF346)
  • Require state lawmakers to pay at least 20 percent of health insurance premium (SF137)
  • Create office of chancellor to guide state universities under Board of Regents (SF136)
  • Ban use of traffic enforcement cameras on state and local highways (SF21)
  • Require hormonal intervention therapy for convicted sex offenders (SF64)
  • Prohibit permits to drill oil/gas well using hydraulic fracturing (HF128)
  • Require drug testing for recipients of state assistance (SF147)
  • Allow eligible employee leave to attend parent-teacher conferences (HF407)
  • Prohibit nuclear plans from reprocessing spent fuel into weapons-grade material (HF400)
  • Impose sanctions against parents if their children engage in harassment/ bullying (HF143)
  • Require labeling to identified genetically engineered food (SF194/HF463)
  • Authorize possession of offensive weapons like machine guns or sawed-off shotguns (HF384)
  • Amend Iowa constitution to define marriage as only one man and one woman (HJR11/SJR5)
  • Abolish Iowa Department of Education and state Board of Education (SF336)
  • Authorize schools to adopt mandatory uniform policy/dress codes (SF56)
  • Bar regulation of firearms/ammunition during state of public emergency (HF74)
  • Set five-year repeal for all state rules (SF324)
  • Create taxpayer-funded education savings vouchers for public and private schools (SF323)
  • Bar bonus pay for state employees effective July 1 -- excluding regent employees (HF379)
  • Abolish county compensation boards (SF243)
  • Modify conditions for use of justifiable/reasonable force (SF255)
  • Require population impact statements on all legislation (HF296)
  • Ban use of false/secret compartment in motor vehicle (SF228)
  • Make mental health professionals mandatory reporters of potential serious harm (SF233)
  • Establish facility to house sex offenders needing medical/personal care (HF206)
  • Create mandatory life prison term for killing first responder (SF233)
  • Conduct cost-benefit analysis for new highway rest areas (SF55)
  • Allow person with permit to carry gun on school grounds (HF169/SF251)
  • Allow school employees to get permit to carry gun in school (HF172)
  • Strike tiered corporate income tax and set 6 percent uniform rate (SF260)
  • Exempt some bars from smoke-free air requirements (SF263)
  • Amend Iowa constitution to provide home rule for school districts (SJR6)
  • Amend Iowa Constitution to make House term lengths staggered, four years (SJR2)
  • Allow bigger motors on boats operating on Lake Macbride (SF124)
  • Amend Iowa constitution to hold biennial, not annual legislative sessions (SJR3)
  • Create passing distances for motor vehicles overtaking bicycles (HF151/SF157)
  • Bar opening vehicle door into moving traffic if not safe (SF164)
  • Amend Iowa constitution to remove age restriction on state militia (SJR1)
  • Set criteria for bass fishing tournaments in public waters (SF229)
  • Create state lottery game with proceeds benefitting people with multiple sclerosis (SF26)
  • Prohibit late-term abortions with certain exceptions (SF45)
  • Allow state to opt out of unfunded federal health care mandates (SF47)
  • Authorize interim study of eliminating the Iowa income tax (SR6)
  • Nullify federal Patient Protection/Affordable Care Act (SF81)
  • Verify Social Security numbers for applicants for public funded programs (SF175/SF43)
  • Amend Iowa constitution to establish spending/taxing limitations (HJR2)
  • Use revenue from traffic cameras to create uninsured vehicle coverage trust fund (SF44)
  • Waive tuition and fees at state universities for Iowa National Guard members (SF54)
  • Expand private-sector employee drug testing law (SF68)
  • Impose constitutional limits on Legislature’s spending/taxing authority (HJR2)
  • Require electronic monitoring of all juvenile and adult registered sex offenders (SF63)
  • Eliminate “good time” sentence reductions for inmates convicted of serious sex offense (SF62)
  • Place moratorium on regulations affecting sale of unprocessed food (SF61)
  • Protect Iowans from application of foreign laws (HF76)
  • Bar employers/schools from seeking access to personal Internet accounts (HF127)
  • Bar labor unions from knowingly collecting dues from illegal immigrants (SF103)
  • Prohibit U.N. “Agenda 21” environmental action plan for sustainable development in Iowa (HF66)
  • Amend Iowa constitution with “right to life” protection (HJR12)
  • Require helmets for all motorcycle/motorized bike operators/passengers (HF470)
  • Create individual/corporate tax credit for contribution to home school grant group (HF464)
  • Require Board of Regents to publish annual report on overtime pay (HF462)
  • Establish world language education pilot project (HF437)
  • Study creation of fourth regent university in Iowa or “regents outpost” (HF436)
  • Exempt home school students from compulsory ed requirements (SF277)
  • Adopt abortion restrictions to define a “person” at conception; bar some contraception (HF138)
  • Bar Iowans from buying foreign-made U.S. flags (HF147)
  • Create Iowa State Board for Blind and Deaf Education to oversee state’s two special schools (HF145)
  • Eliminate state authority to waive school start date before Sept. 1 (HF315)
  • Bar city parking citations for Purple Heart recipients (SF210)

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