This Week at the Capitol

The Chambers spent more time in caucus and on floor debate last week as the April 2 funnel deadline quickly approaches. After next Friday, bills need to make out of a full committee of the opposite chamber to stay alive going forward. Now that the Revenue Estimating Committee has released their information, the legislature is setting budget targets for the upcoming year. The Governor continues to advocate her priorities, including broadband expansion, housing incentives, and mental health funding.

This week the House passed HF586 96-0 a bill that aims to expand broadband access, another priority of the Governor. The bill develops certification programs under IEDA to encourage local governments to develop broadband and telecommuter programs. Requires OCIO to consult with DOT, IEDA, and other interests on conduit installation. The legislation now goes to the Senate. 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. A Senate subcommittee meeting was held this week and the bill moves forward for consideration by the full Ways and Means Committee. Similarly, a Ways and Means subcommittee with Reps. Hite, Boden and Jacoby has been assigned. 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. Having been passed by both chambers, the bill is on the Governor’s desk awaiting her signature. 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 aims to provide property tax exemptions for properties located in areas previously ‘redlined’ and subjected to lending discrimination. The House passed the bill unanimously, 96-0. Last week, a Senate Ways and Means committee passed it forward for consideration by the full committee. Iowa Housing Partnership supports.

HF820: This legislation proposes eviction expungement of court records. The bill passed the House last week, 94-0 and goes to the Senate for consideration. A subcommittee was assigned with Senators Taylor, Bolkcom, and Shipley serving. There is not a Senate companion bill. Iowa Housing Partnership is undecided.

SF100: Senator Mark Lofgren introduced SF100, providing for the creation of land banks. There will be a second subcommittee held on March 31 to re-consider the legislation with changes. Iowa Housing Partnership supports.

From the President's Desk...

Iowa Housing Partnership is fortunate to have a wealth of expertise coming from its Board members. Starting this week, we will start introducing our Board Members who volunteer their time and knowledge to our organization. We are lucky to have on our board, Jeni Cooper, CCIM, is Vice President and Manager of the Commercial Real Estate team at Bankers Trust. 

Jeni is well known in Polk County for her work in affordable housing and serves on many boards. In fact, when she was initially asked, it was more of a “beg”, and we are very happy she said yes. She is responsible for new business development, cross-selling of other bank products, and all phases of underwriting loans, including real estate analysis, cash flow models, construction monitoring, profitability models and credit underwriting. The Bankers Trust commercial real estate portfolio of over $2 billion is comprised of retail, industrial, office and multifamily loans as well as an emphasis in senior housing, hospitality and medical facilities. In 2019, Jeni was named Commercial Real Estate Professional of the Year by the Des Moines Business Record.

Throughout her 30 years in the industry, Jeni has originated more than $3 billion in loans for construction/term financing of commercial property in Central Iowa and across the Midwest. While she certainly excels at the everyday loans any commercial real estate banker could do, Jeni has consistently taken on projects with multiple layers of financing and unique loan structures. She began working on these sorts of projects early in her career with LIHTC, CDBG and historic tax credit projects that include several funding sources.

Jeni has a knack for taking complicated projects and structuring and monitoring a loan that will achieve the developer’s or project’s goals, while at the same time protecting repayment sources for the bank and mitigating credit risks. Many of Jeni’s deals are not only good for an organization or developer, but are also contributing to important growth, development and revitalization projects across central Iowa.

Her experience is invaluable to the Iowa Housing Partnership, and we are much the better for her efforts!

The Iowa Housing Partnership urges you to join the us if you have not. 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.

—Dan Garrett


We thank the following for renewing their memberships:

Community HousingMember since 2019

Iowa Heartland Habitat for Humanity – Member since 2019

National Equity Fund Original Charter Member and Sustaining Member