House passes bills addressing alcohol, sex crimes, tax evasion as first week of overtime ends

Top Democrats in the Iowa House of Representatives say they were disappointed in the 2021 legislative session and said their job in the months ahead is to show Iowans that Republican lawmakers are extremists who don’t deserve their support. (Photo by Katie Akin/Iowa Capital Dispatch)

The House convened Friday afternoon to pass nearly a dozen bills, many of which have been bouncing between chambers. 

“There’s not a whole lot of common sense in this building, and there’s virtually none across the rotunda,” Rep. David Maxwell, R-Gibson, said in his opening comments on an agriculture bill that had been volleyed back to the House for the third time.

Despite skepticism about some Senate changes, the House voted unanimously to pass the bill which updates agricultural regulation and creates a new farm-to-school program. 

“Considering we are in overtime, as far as the session is concerned… I think we need to go along with this,” Maxwell said.

Here are some other bills passed Friday:

  • Lawmakers sent to the Senate a bill to direct the use of federal block grant funds in Iowa. The legislation allocates $368.1 million of federal grant money toward programs on mental health, substance abuse, health services and more.
  • A bill on the sexual exploitation of minors heads to the governor’s desk after a 84-2 vote. The bill eliminates statute of limitations for sexual abuse involving children under 18.
  • Drivers would need to immediately contact emergency services if they were involved in an accident that caused the injury or death of another person under House File 524. This would include drivers who left the scene and then realized later that they may have been involved. This bill is ready for consideration by Gov. Kim Reynolds.
  • Senate File 608 changes some penalties for tax evasion. (Friendly reminder that Iowa’s tax filing deadline this year is June 1. Federal taxes are due May 17.) The bill is headed to Reynolds.
  • The House voted 85-1 to pass new liquor license regulations about to-go cocktails and the time when establishments can start serving alcohol. The bill will go to Reynolds next.

Lawmakers did not debate any of the major budget bills or tax proposals on Friday, which marked one week past the 110th day of session. Lawmakers must compromise on a state budget before they can adjourn for the year. 

House lawmakers on Thursday passed several budget proposals, but House Speaker Pat Grassley said those bills had not been agreed to by the Senate or Gov. Kim Reynolds.

Read more: What legislative priorities are left as the session nears its end?

Katie Akin
Reporter Katie Akin began her career as an intern at PolitiFact, debunking viral fake news and fact-checking state and national politicians. She moved to Iowa in 2019 for a politics internship at the Des Moines Register, where she assisted with Iowa Caucus coverage, multimedia projects and the Register’s Iowa Poll. She became the Register’s retail reporter in early 2020, chronicling the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on Central Iowa’s restaurants and retailers.