Funnel Week!

Today was the first funnel deadline, meaning that policy bills must be passed out of their committee, or be dead for the session. Legislation in Ways and Means and Appropriations committees are excluded from this rule, and as such, are “funnel proof.” Legislators worked long hours this week to keep their priorities moving forward. The next major deadline is the second funnel on April 2, which requires bills to move out of a full committee in the opposite chamber 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, having been approved the Senate Local Government committee last week. It has been assigned a subcommittee with Senators Dawson, Schultz (who also chairs Commerce committee), and Todd Taylor. Similarly, a Ways and Means subcommittee with Reps. Hite, Boden and Jacoby has been assigned. With the first funnel behind us, attention will start to 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. After contentious and animated debate, HSB 171 passed out of the Local Government committee and has been renumbered to HF 720. It is now eligible to be considered by the House chamber. 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.

SF 10: This legislation, sponsored by Senator Lofgren, removes the cap on the real estate transfer tax. The bill did not have a subcommittee hearing and did not survive the funnel. It should be noted, however, that removing the cap on the real estate transfer tax is part of the Governor’s Omnibus Housing bill. 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. Having been approved by the House Local Government committee it is now in the House Ways and Means Committee for consideration. Iowa Housing Partnership is undecided. 

SF100: Senator Mark Lofgren introduced SF100 again this session providing for the creation of land banks. The bill is still eligible for consideration, as it was assigned to Ways and Means committee and is funnel proof. Iowa Housing Partnership supports

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:

Saturday March 6th, 2021

8:00-9:00 AM Legislative Coffee-Guthrie Center, Sen. Chapman, Rep. Sorensen 

Guthrie Center Farm Bureau, 203 N 4th St., Guthrie Center, IA 50115 

9:00-9:45 AM Town Hall- Cleghorn, Rep. Bush

Cleghorn Community Center, 102 W Grace Ave., Cleghorn, IA 51014 

9:00-10:00 AM Legislative Coffee-Grinnell, Sen. Driscoll, Rep. Maxwell

Virtual event, see link to attend.

9:00-10:00 AM Town Hall-Linn CountySen. Mathis, Rep. Donahue, Rep. Gjerde, Virtual event, see link to attend.

9:30-10:30 AM Town Hall-Alden/Nevada, Sen. Sweeney, Rep. Deyoe

Virtual event, see link to attend, registration is required. 

9:30-11:30 AM Cracker Barrel Legislative Forum-DubuqueArea Legislators 

Virtual event, see link to attend. 

10:00-11:00 AM Legislative Forum-CarrollSen. Williams, Rep. Best

Virtual event, see link to attend. 

10:00-11:00 AM Legislative Coffee-Greenfield, Sen. Chapman, Rep. Sorensen

The Corner Coffee Shop, 284 Public Square, Greenfield, IA 50849 

10:00-11:00 AM Legislative Coffee-CascadeSen. Koelker, Rep. Bradley 

Grace’s Place, 325 1st Ave. W, Cascade, IA 52033

10:00-11:00 AM Legislative Forum-OttumwaRep. Brink 

Bridge View Center, 102 Church St., Ottumwa, IA 52501

10:15-11:00 AM Town Hall-LarrabeeRep. Bush

Larrabee Fire Station, 106 N Main St., Larrabee, IA 51029 

Monday March 8th, 2021

8:00-10:30 AM Marti’s Morning Coffee-Des MoinesRep. Anderson

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

Tuesday March 9th, 2021

7:00-8:00 PM Blue Statehouse Alert-StatewideHouse Democrats 

Virtual event, see link to attend.

From the President's Desk...

This week, the Des Moines Business Record featured an article “90 Years Later: Yesterday’s Maps and Today’s Data….How Des Moines’ redlined neighborhoods are affected by poverty today.” This follows an excellent exhibit, “Undesign the Redline: DSM,” presented by the Polk County Housing Trust Fund (a member of Iowa Housing Partnership, with their Executive Director being a valuable board member). 

What is “redlining?” Redlining was the systematic denial of various services or goods by federal government agencies, local governments, or the private sector either directly or through the selective raising of prices. This is often manifested by placing strict criteria on specific services and goods that often disadvantaged poor and minority communities. Prior to the Fair Housing Act of 1968, there were no specific laws that protected minority populations from discriminatory practices in housing and commercial markets.

The Des Moines Business Record, to their credit, examined data from food pantry visits and how the Census Bureau identifies school aged children in poverty, and the location of nuisance properties, among other data sets. In short, it showed how the effects of poor governance persist. The correlation is clear: the effects of redlining from decades ago, are still evident today. When groups thought that “red-lining” was a smart idea, they had no idea of long term future effects. We urge you to seek out this data to see for yourself.

That is why it’s important to understand why the Governor’s Housing Omnibus bill is so critical and vital to Iowans. First and foremost, the use of “affordable” when referring to housing rather than using the sanitized term of “workforce.” Having started in the affordable housing industry in the early 1990’s, I have seen housing that frankly is offensive, however people were living in the units because they had no other option. Iowans deserve better, and the Omnibus Housing Omnibus bill is a fantastic step in the right direction.

My favorite quote, which I think is very appropriate in affordable housing, is

“The moral test of government is how that government treats those who are in the dawn of life, the children; those who are in the twilight of life, the elderly; those who are in the shadows of life; the sick, the needy and the handicapped. “

Last Speech of Hubert H. Humphrey

We all need to do that. The Iowa Housing Partnership was created to help advocate and educate people on why all forms of affordable housing is needed and to bridge the information gap that can exist. That is part of our mission.

—Dan Garrett