Today, April 2, is the next major deadline in the legislature, the second funnel. To stay “alive,” a bill needs to have been approved by committee in both chambers to be eligible for future consideration. Similar to the first funnel deadline, bills in Ways and Means and Appropriations are not subject to this rule. On occasion, bills can also be assigned to the “Unfinished Business” calendar and also be “funnel proof.”
With the funnel behind them, legislators’ attention will now focus on the budget and appropriations during the last month of session. Legislators will stop receiving per diem on April 30 and we can expect that the next couple of weeks will be full of budget discussions and negotiations between the two chambers before adjourning.
Iowa Housing Partnership continues to monitor 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. Being funnel proof, it is eligible for consideration by the full Ways and Means 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 held on Wednesday and moved forward for potential consideration by the Judiciary committee. However, the bill was not brought up by the Judiciary committee and so it did not survive the second funnel. Iowa Housing Partnership is undecided.
SF590: Senator Mark Lofgren introduced SF100, providing for the creation of land banks. A second subcommittee was held this week and the bill was approved with a strike-after amendment that was worked out between interested parties. The bill now moves forward for consideration by the full Ways and Means committee (and is funnel proof). Iowa Housing Partnership supports.
Continuing with our Board member introductions, we’re very excited to introduce Rick Hunsaker, who for twenty-five years has been the Executive Director of Region XII Council of Governments in Carroll, a regional planning agency serving 6 counties and 61 cities in west central Iowa.
Iowa has numerous COGs, and each does many great things for Iowans. Region XII has helped rehabilitate hundreds of housing units and helped west central Iowa families purchase homes for nearly three decades. The COG has supported multi-family development in its region, developed senior rental units which it owns and operates, and developed single family units in several communities.
Rick currently serves as the Secretary of the National Association of Development Organizations, an organization consisting of over 300 regional development organizations across the United States. He is also the Vice President of the Iowa Governmental Health Care Plan and serves on the board of the Iowa Association of Regional Councils of Governments, the Iowa Housing Partnership, Carroll Area Development Cooperation, and Western Iowa Advantage, in addition to several other non-profit boards. He is a graduate of Drake University, earning a B.A. in 1988 and a Master of Public Administration in 1990.
Finally, we want to congratulate Rick and the Region XII COG for their recent award from the Iowa Finance Authority, a member of the Iowa Housing Partnership, the 2021 Special Needs Development, Summit Ridge Apartments, located in Wall Lake, Iowa. “The Region XII COG developed the Summit Ridge Apartments in Wall Lake as a response to a local housing need for rental homes for seniors in the rural community. The newly constructed apartments include a total of five new construction rental units including a duplex and a triplex.”
This celebrates affordable housing efforts, and how important Iowans are in making this happen. Rick and his group illustrate that continually, and Iowa benefits from their efforts.