This Week at the Capitol

This Week at the Capitol

After the rush of last week’s funnel deadline full of committee work, both chambers focused on floor debate. They moved several bills out of their respective chambers and some were approved by both chambers, moving onto the Governor’s desk for signature. The next major deadline is the second funnel on April 2, when bills have to make it out of both chambers to remain viable. Iowa Housing Partnership is following several bills relating to affordable housing; below are this week’s highlights.

SF 295/HF 582: This is the Omnibus Housing bill with several divisions aimed at boosting affordable housing throughout Iowa. The Senate bill is now in Ways and Means Committee for consideration, with Senators Dawson, Schultz and Todd Taylor on the subcommittee. Similarly, a Ways and Means subcommittee with Reps. Hite, Boden and Jacoby has been assigned. Attention will soon turn to these and other Ways and Means bills. Iowa Housing Partnership is collaborating with housing advocates and stakeholders across the state to support the initiatives and boost support among legislators. Iowa Housing Partnership supports. 

SF 252/HF 720: This legislation prohibits cities and counties from passing ordinances that bar landlords from refusing to accept housing vouchers. SF 252 has passed out the Senate and been assigned to the House Local Government committee with several amendments filed. The House version, HF 720, is eligible for debate in the House. Iowa Housing Partnership opposes. 

SF 373: This bill, sponsored by Sen. Lofgren, establishes a homeownership tax credit program for charitable contributions to certain low income housing developers. The bill is in the Ways and Means committee for future consideration. Iowa Housing Partnership supports.

HF 626: This legislation (previously HF 21) aims to provide property tax exemptions for properties located in areas previously ‘redlined’ and subjected to lending discrimination. The House Ways and Means committee approved the bill on Monday the House passed the unanimously, 96-0. It is now in the Senate Ways and Means committee for consideration. Iowa Housing Partnership supports. 

HF820: This legislation proposes eviction expungement of court records. The bill, formerly HSB 257, passed the Judiciary committee and is eligible for floor debate. Iowa Housing Partnership is undecided. 

SF100: Senator Mark Lofgren introduced SF100 again this session providing for the creation of land banks. Iowa Housing Partnership supports. 

Send Us Your Photos!

Help us update our photo library! We are collecting photos of affordable housing so we can highlight projects and address misconceptions around affordable housing in Iowa.

Upcoming Legislative Forums

Tell your legislator today why supporting affordable housing is important to you and your organization! Attending a forum is a great way to stay connected with your legislator and with many forums being held virtually, it’s even more convenient!

Please remember to always keep public health and COVID-19 safety in mind. Here is a list of upcoming forums:

Friday, March 12th, 2021

4:30-6:30 PM Legislative Forum- Cedar Valley, Area Legislators 

Virtual event, see link to attend. 

Saturday, March 13th, 2021

8:30-10:00 AM Eggs & Issues- Spencer, Area Legislators 

Virtual event, see link to attend. 

9:00-10:00 AM Coffee Chat- Altoona, Sen. Nunn, Rep. Lohse 

Virtual event, see link to attend.

9:00-10:30 AM Legislative Coffee- Creston, Area Legislators 

Virtual event, see link to attend.

Monday, March 15th, 2021

8:00-10:30 AM Marti’s Morning Coffee- Des Moines, Rep. Anderson 

Grounds for Celebration, 2709 Beaver Ave., Des Moines, IA 50310 

Tuesday, March 16th, 2021

7:00-8:00 PM Blue Statehouse Alert- Statewide, House Democrats 

Virtual event, see link to attend. 

From the President's Desk...

In a recent newsletter, we discussed the proposed legislation that would ban city ordinances preventing landlords from rejecting potential tenants if they’re paying rent with federal housing vouchers. While some think that city ordinances requiring landlords to accept tenants with federal housing vouchers should be banned, it honestly comes down to education around the issue.

This week’s topic is House File 820 which proposes “eviction expungement.” Why is this needed? The bill states: 

“…a court shall seal the court records of an eviction action not later than three days from the date of the hearing if any of the following have occurred: the defendant is found not guilty, the court finds there is no genuine issue of material fact between the parties or dismisses the plaintiff’s claim, the plaintiff withdraws the claim, the plaintiff does not appear for the hearing, or if by consent of both parties.”

Many landlords perform credit reports on prospective tenants. If an eviction is filed and granted, typically the back rent owed is placed as a judgment against the person being evicted. This report stays on the record, even if the rent is paid back.

With the free service of “Iowa Courts Online,” landlords might skip paying for a credit report, and use this free service as a reference tool. What could be missed are the underlying circumstances behind some evictions. What if there was a domestic violence issue, and because of that, a tenant could not pay rent, and was forced to flee the rented property? The eviction notice does not note that circumstance.

For example, with the recent COVID-19 filings, some landlords were filing eviction notices in an effort to get access to the Stimulus money. Recently some groups helped, operating out of the Polk County Justice Center, as that was a simpler way for tenants and landlords to get rental assistance. Some landlords figured if they filed evictions every month immediately after the tenants were late and then encouraged their tenants to show up at court to get the back rent, the rent would get paid. Now this was very true and worked for both sides. But again, that eviction action is on the record. And without context.  

The Iowa Housing Partnership has many partners and respect that all voices should be heard. With that in mind, we agree that the legislation is well-intended, however it needs work. The Iowa Housing Partnership is staying neutral on this and urge interested parties to work toward a viable and strong solution.

The Iowa Housing Partnership urges you to join the Iowa Housing Partnership. Things are happening and things are changing, and it is an exciting time to be a part of this movement, so we urge you to renew your membership or join us for the first time.


  • Consider being a member of IHP if you are not already.
  • Consider renewing if you are a member and haven’t already renewed.
  • Participate in our Zoom calls.
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—Dan Garrett