Iowa lawmakers react to bills that did and didn’t survive funnel week

Iowa Funnel Week

The day's local, regional and national news, detailed events and late-breaking stories are presented by the ABC 6 News Team, along with the latest sports, weather updates including the extended forecast.

(ABC 6 News) – Iowa lawmakers had a busy week, trying to keep top legislation alive and eligible for consideration.

Friday marked the end of the first “funnel week” of the 2024 legislative session—a make or break point for legislation.

Dozens of bills went through discussion in house and senate committees, hoping to make it to the floor for that final vote later this year.

Throughout the session, a number of bills have proved controversial for lawmakers.

One of these includes H.S.B. 713, an amended version of Governor Kim Reynolds’ Area Education Agencies bill.

“This one is much better, it’s had input from the AEAs, it’s had input from teachers,” said Representative Sharon Steckman (D-Mason City).

The input at this point allows oversight of AEA operations by a task force and the state Department of Education.

Another school-based bill hoping to cross the finish like focuses on student safety by strapping a gun to teacher’s belts.

The House Policy Committee pushed through H.S.B. 675, which encourages school districts to arm staff and employ school resource officers or private security.

“You’re creating a new classification of highly trained individuals,” said Representative Jeff Shipley (R-Van Buren). “It would require four trainings annually, which is twice the number of law enforcement.”

Perhaps making the biggest impact coming this fall is H.S.B. 697, legislation proposing a number of election reforms, including banning ballot drop boxes and ranked choice voting, allowing felons to run for office and requiring absentee ballots to be received the day before election day.

“We’re always dedicated to improving the system and making sure Iowa’s election system and election integrity and voter integrity remains the best in the nation,” said Shipley.

However, Democrats say this only creates more challenges.

“It was called the voter integrity bill, but I don’t know who’s integrity we’re talking about here because it was not a voter integrity bill, it was discouraging people from voting,” said Steckman.

Though a great number of legislation made through committee by the deadline, not bills were so lucky.

One failure for Iowa democrats was H.F. 2293, which aimed to incrementally increase the state’s minimum wage to $15 per hour over the next two years.

“I think the free market will determine the minimum wage,” said Shipley.

Another bill that failed to get through funnel week, despite much support from both sides of the political aisle, is H.F. 2368, which would require the state to foot the bill for school lunches.

“Everybody knows, if you’re hungry, you can’t think about much of anything else, and I know my district and many others send backpacks home all through the school year for kids, so they don’t go hungry on the weekends,” said Steckman.

Not every bill that failed to pass through committee during funnel week is dead yet.

Legislation involving spending, tax and government oversight components are exempt from the funnel, and language from legislation that did not meet the deadline can be added as amendments to other bills, or be brought up as leadership-sponsored legislation.

For a breakdown of more bills that survived the legislative deadline, go HERE.

The deadline for the next funnel week will be March 15.