2016 Iowa Legislative & Regulatory

Regulatory

Missouri River Energy Services regularly monitors state agencies to identify issues that might affect MRES or its municipal electric utility members. You can find information about the regulatory matters we are monitoring or participating in by clicking on this link to Iowa Regulatory.

 

Legislative

The Iowa General Assembly convened on January 11, 2016.
 
Missouri River Energy Services continuously monitors bills introduced in the Iowa General Assembly that could affect electric utilities in the State of Iowa. In addition, you can find information about legislative committees, publications, who represents your utility interests, and more on the Iowa General Assembly website. 

Many legislators now offer their own electronic newsletters for constituents. To subscribe, click here.

Iowa Legislative Guide

 

2016 House Bill Introductions

HF 2068: Requiring state agency purchasing to consider energy star specifications and to provide agency monies for energy efficiency.
Status: Introduced 1/20/16; referred to State Government. Subcommittee (Watts, Kelly, and Vander Linden). Failed to pass First Funnel Deadline.

HF 2082: Changing the Iowa Utilities Board membership from 3 members to 5 members.
Status: Introduced 1/22/16; referred to Commerce. Subcommittee (Cownie, Grassley and Olson). Failed to pass First Funnel Deadline.

HF 2100: Requiring that net metering rates do not exceed the utility's wholesale rates. Applies to IOUs.
Status: Introduced 1/26/15. Referred to Commerce, Subcommittee (Carlson, Hall and Holtz). Failed to pass First Funnel Deadline.

HF 2135:  Prohibits city or county zoning or ordinances from restricting the development of solar installations; provides a civil cause of action for anyone who obstructs a solar facility or allows his property to be maintained in such a way that it obstructs a solar unit.
Status: Introduced 2/2/16; referred to Commerce. Subcommittee (Cownie, Forbes and Grassley). Failed to pass First Funnel Deadline. 

HF 2218:  For the purpose of eminent domain, a transmission line that is not limited to serve customers located in the state, is not in the “public interest”.
Status:  Introduced 2/10/16; referred to Commerce. Failed to pass First Funnel Deadline. 

HF 2227:   A bill requiring proper IDs and other reporting requirements for scrap metal transactions.  (Aiming, in part, to discourage copper theft.)
Status:  Introduced 2/11/16; referred to Commerce.  Subcommittee (Kaufmann, Carlson, Kressig). Failed to pass First Funnel Deadline. 

HF 2277:  Formerly HSB 506. A bill allowing private transmission owners who primarily serve utilities to build transmission lines in public rights-of-way.
Status:  Introduced as HSB 506 1/19/16; referred to Commerce.  Subcommittee (Watts, Holz, Ourth).  Passed subcommittee 2/4/16.  Passed Committee and renumbered HF 2277 2/15/16. Passed House (94-2) 2/24/16. Sent to Senate and substituted for Senate companion bill SF 2216. Passed Senate (48-0) 2/25/16. Signed by Governor 3/11/16.

HF 2320: A bill allowing a city to give a local preference in a competitive bidding process provided certain conditions are met.
Status: Introduced 2/17/16; referred to Commerce. Failed to pass First Funnel Deadline. 

HF 2338: Formerly HSB 542. A bill removing a requirement that advertisements for bids for a public project must be published at least once weekly in a newspaper; rather it should be posted in a relevant contractor publication with statewide circulation and on the governmental website.
Status: Introduced as HSB 542 on 1/28/16; referred to State Government.  Passed committee 2/15/16; renumbered as HF 2338. Amendment adopted on House floor; Senate bill SF 2170 substituted on the floor for the House bill.  See SF 2170.

HF 2363Formerly HF 2226.  A bill to prohibit a government body from conducting a closed session which excludes a member of the government body.
Status: Introduced as HF 2226; referred to State Government.  Passed committee and renumbered as HF 2363 2/19/16. Passed House (96-0) 3/2/16.  Referred to Senate State Government committee. Subcommittee (Dvorsky, Bowman, Johnson).  Committee recommends Do Pass as amended 3/9/16. Amended by Senate to require certain information in closed session to be kept confidential. Passed Senate (46-3) 3/15/16. House concurs with Senate amendments (95-0) 3/23/16. Signed by Governor 4/6/16.

HF 2364Formerly HF 2223.  A bill requiring that all public meetings be held at a time and place reasonably accessible to the public, including access to persons with disabilities.  If a meeting cannot be held where noticed, the meeting may still convene if an amended notice is posted.
Status: Introduced 2/10/16; referred to State Government.  Passed committee and renumbered as HF 2364 2/19/16. Passed House (97-0); referred to Senate State Government committee 3/3/16. Subcommittee (Courtney, Dearden, Johnson).  Committee recommends Do Pass 3/9/16. Passed Senate (49-0) 3/15/16. Signed by Governor 3/23/16.

HF 2448: Originally HSB 640. A bill to create a separate and new category of Transmission line-a "Merchant Line" (a high-voltage direct current electric line which does NOT accommodate both purchases and sales of power to persons in Iowa). It provides for several restrictions and requirements for such lines, including eminent domain restrictions.
Status: Originally introduced as HSB 640 on 3/2/16. Referred to Government Oversight 3/8/16. Heard in committee 3/30/16 and passed. Referred to House floor. Passed House as amended (65-33) 4/5/16; referred to Senate Government Oversight committee. See SF 2109. Language was included in SF 2109. Passed Senate (26-19) 4/29/16 and House (84-2) 4/29/16. Pending Governor's signature.

 

HF 2449Originally HSB 646. A bill to require state agency rulemakings that are the result of a legislative act (that takes effect on or before July 1 of the year of enactment), the agency must submit a notice of intended action to the administrative rules coordinator and the administrative code editor for publication in the last IA Administrative Bulletin for October of that calendar year. For rulemakings due to a legislative act that take effect after July 1, then the agency is to submit a notice of intended action no later than 90 days after the provisions passed by the legislature is effective.
Status: Introduced 3/23/16 as HSB 646. Referred to Government Oversight 3/28/16. Heard in committee 3/30/16 and passed. Referred to House floor. Passed House (96-0) 4/6/16; referred to Senate Government Oversight committee. Amended by committee and passed 4/20/16. Referred to Senate floor. Amended and passed Senate (48-0) 4/21/16.  House concurs with Senate amendments (96-0) 4/25/16.

HF 2453Formerly HSB 651, a bill to exempt industrial machinery, equipment, computers and pollution-control equipment used to generate electricity in a facility of more than 500 MW from sales taxes.
Status: Introduced as HSB 651 3/23/16.  Passed Ways and Means committee 4/5/16.  Renumbered as HF 2453 and sent to House floor. Fiscal note issued 4/11/16. No further action taken during session.

HF 2468Formerly HSB 658. A bill to revise a variety of tax and renewable energy tax issues.  The bill revises solar energy tax credits to equal certain percentages of federal tax credits; requires the Department award renewable credits on first come, first serve basis; provides for a credit waiting list; exempts certain contractors working on county or municipal projects from sales and use taxes; extends the utility replacement tax task force to 2019; removes the requirement that certain small solar projects owned by REAs and municipals have at least a 51% ownership; and allows munis/REAs to own more than two renewable facilities and still qualify for the tax credits. See Companion bill SSB 3190
Status: Introduced as HSB 658 on 4/21/16; referred to Ways and Means. Committee amends and recommends Do Pass and renumbered as HF 2468 on 4/27/16. Received by Senate and attached to similar bill SF 2327.  Passed Senate as amended (48-0) 4/28/16.  House concurred with Senate amendments and added amendment.  (90-0) 4/29/16.  Senate concurred with House (45-0) 4/29/16.

 

HSB 512: A bill to change the maximum amount of a permissible gift to a public official from $3 to $10.
Status:  Introduced 1/19/16. Referred to Ethics.  Subcommittee (Watts, Kelley, Highfill). Failed to pass First Funnel Deadline. 

HSB 516: A bill revising the reporting of gifts and Honoria to public officials.
Status:  Introduced 1/19/16. Referred to Ethics.  Subcommittee (Berry, Sexton, Koester). House Lounge State Government. Subcommittee meeting canceled. Failed to pass First Funnel Deadline. 

HSB 517: A bill to expand the definition of public resources as it pertains to banning the use of public monies for political purposes; to give the ethics and campaign disclosure board the authority to adopt rules to administer and interpret this code section.
Status:  Introduced 1/19/16. Referred to Ethics.  Subcommittee (Hunter, Danielson, Schultz). State Government: (Sexton Chair, Bacon, Hunter). Subcommittee meeting cancelled. Failed to pass First Funnel Deadline. 

HSB 636: A bill to extend IUB regulatory authority over "safety and engineering standards" to municipal gas or electric utilities.
Status: Introduced 2/17/16; referred to Commerce. Subcommittee (Carlson, Watts, Dawson). Failed to pass First Funnel Deadline.

 

   

2016 Senate Bill Introductions

SF 2029: Prohibits city or county zoning or ordinances from restricting the development of solar installations; provides a civil cause of action and penalties for anyone who obstructs a solar facility or allows his property to be used or maintained in such a way that it obstructs a solar installation.
Status: Introduced 1/20/16; referred to Local Government. Subcommittee (Allen, Sinclair, Wilhelm). Failed to pass First Funnel Deadline. 

SF 2030: A bill to require IOUs to enter into interconnection agreements with solar developers that also requires the carrying forward of credits on bills, and requires the IUB to undertake a value of solar methodology for the solar rate.
Status: Introduced 1/20/16; referred to Commerce. Subcommittee (Bolkcom, Schneider and Sodders). Failed to pass First Funnel Deadline. 

SF 2031: A bill to require IOUs to establish a community solar garden facility; also allows independent development of solar gardens which are not subject to the service territory constraints or IUB regulation of traditional utilities.
Status: Introduced 1/20/16; referred to Commerce. Subcommittee (Bolkcom, Allen and Schneider). Failed to pass First Funnel Deadline. 

SF 2034: A bill to impose a solar energy standard on IOUs of 1,000 MW by 2026.
Status: Introduced 1/20/16; referred to Commerce. Subcommittee (Bolkcom, Schneider and Sodders). Failed to pass First Funnel Deadline. 

SF 2121: A bill to require the IUB to develop a data base, which for every address served by a utility, lists the following information: the address, customer classification, energy purchased/consumed, sales volumes or costs, and amount and type of alternative energy sold/purchased by the customer. 
Status: Introduced 2/8/16; referred to Commerce. Subcommittee (Bolkcom, Anderson, Sodders). Failed to pass First Funnel Deadline. 

SF 2143: Formerly SSB 3011. A bill revising the reporting of receptions and gifts to legislators.
Status: Introduced 1/12/16 as SSB 3011. Passed State Government committee 2/9/16. Renumbered as SF 2143 and sent to Senate floor 2/9/16. Committee reports Do Pass 2/9/16. Passed Senate 2/29/16; referred to House State Government. Failed to pass Second Funnel Deadline.

SF 2170:  Formerly SSB 3040Revising current public bidding law to require that advertising for sealed bids must be done at least 20 days before the date for filing bids.
Status:  Introduced as SSB 3040 on 1/19/16; referred to State Government.  Committee reports Do Pass 2/10/16. Renumbered as SF 2170. Amended and passed Senate (48-1) 2/29/16. Sent to House and substituted on House floor for HF 2338. Passed House (97-0) 3/2/16. Sent to Governor 3/21/16. Signed by Governor 3/23/16.

SF 2182:  Formerly SF 2028.  Requiring the Iowa Energy Center to create a nonprofit organization energy efficiency grant program. The bill appropriates $1 million to the Iowa Energy Center for FY 2016-17 for this program.
Status:  Introduced 1/20/16; referred to Natural Resources.  Committee report Do Pass 2/15/16.  Renumbered as SF 2182 and sent to Senate Floor. Re-referred to Senate Appropriations committee 2/18/16.  Subcommittee (Dvorsky, Bolkcom, Rozenboom).  No further action taken during session.

SF 2216: Formerly SSB 3120. A bill to clarify that transmission lines owned by an entity that primarily serves public utilities may construct the transmission facilities in a public right-of-way.
Status: Introduced as SSB 3120 2/10/16; referred to Commerce. Subcommittee (Allen, McCoy, Anderson). Subcommittee to meet 2/10/16. Passed committee 2/16/16; renumbered as SF 2216. Sent to Senate floor. See HF 2277.

SF 2245: Formerly SSB 3088. A bill to have an interim study on confidential records and public records during the interim.
Status: Introduced as SSB 3088; referred to State Government. Passed Committee 2/18/16. Sent to Senate floor. Re-referred to Senate Rules and Administration 2/22/16. No further action taken during session.

SF 2294: Authorizing counties and cities to create 28E entities for the purpose of creating an Energy District.  An Energy District would monitor and establish goals for energy usage and production (generation) in the district, provide energy planning services to residents, and take any action to meet the state goal to efficiently utilize energy resources per Code section 473.3. 
Status: Introduced 2/23/16; referred to Local Government. Failed to pass Second Funnel Deadline.

SSB 3012: A bill to expand the definition of public resources used for political purposes; to give the ethics and campaign disclosure board the authority to adopt rules to administer and interpret this code section.
Status: Introduced 1/12/16. Referred to State Government. Subcommittee (Danielson, Horn, Schultz). Failed to pass First Funnel Deadline. 

SSB 3013: A bill to raise the value of gifts from restricted donors from $3 to $10.
Status:  Introduced 1/12/16. Referred to State Government. Subcommittee (Danielson, Bertrand, Horn). Committee hearing 2/10/16. Failed to pass First Funnel Deadline.

SSB 3080:  A bill increasing the amount of tax credits available annually for the solar energy tax credits.
Status: Introduced 2/3/16; referred to Ways and Means.  Subcommittee (Hogg, Feenstra, Bolkcom).  Subcommittee hearing set 2/10/16. See HF 2468.

SSB 3089:  A bill requiring that when an open arbitration hearing by a public employer is held, the public employer will post notice of hearings at least 24 hours before commencement.  The bill also applies penalties for public records violations to any custodian who refuses to make government records available for examination and copying. 
Status: Introduced 2/3/16; referred to State Government.  Subcommittee (Danielson, Schoenjahn, Johnson). Set for hearing 2/8/2016, State Government. Failed to pass First Funnel Deadline. 

SSB 3137: A bill authorizing cities and counties to establish energy efficiency improvement districts.
Status: Introduced 2/10/16; referred to Economic Growth. Subcommittee (Danielson, Guth, Taylor). Subcommittee meeting set 2/16/2016. Set for hearing 2/16/16. Failed to pass First Funnel Deadline. 

SSB 3169:  A bill to establish energy efficiency districts by cities and/or counties to finance energy efficiency improvements.
Status:  Introduced 3/3/16; referred to Ways and Means committee. Subcommittee (Hogg, McCoy, Behn). No further action taken during session.

SSB 3180: A bill setting forth specific rules for deployment of small wireless facilities and networks; includes language that prohibits any authority from restricting the placement of these on existing towers, utility poles or other wireless support structures. 
Status: Introduced 3/31/16; referred to Ways and Means. No further action taken during session.

SSB 3190: A bill to revise a variety of tax and renewable energy tax issues. The bill revises solar energy tax credits to equal certain percentages of federal tax credits; requires the Department award renewable credits on first come, first serve basis; provides for a credit waiting list; exempts certain contractors working on county or municipal projects from sales and use taxes; extends the utility replacement tax task force to 2019; removes the requirement that certain small solar projects owned by REAs and municipals have at least a 51% ownership; and allows munis/REAs to own more than two renewable facilities and still qualify for the tax credits. See Companion bill HF 2468
Status: Introduced 4/22/16; referred to Ways and Means. Committee amends and recommends Do Pass on 4/27/16. See HF 2468.