Newsletter | January 22, 2022

 

 

To the People of House District 54

The second week of the 2022 legislative session was filled with subcommittee meetings and constituent visits. 

Sports Wagering Tax Collections
I was assigned to be subcommittee chair on House Study Bill (HSB) 501, which would direct the three-member Revenue Estimating Conference to set an estimate for Sports Wagering Tax collections. When sports wagering was enacted in 2019, the Legislative Services Agency estimated the state would collect between $630,000 and $1.8 million annually. In the first year of sports wagering, Fiscal Year 2020, the state collected $1.8 million in sports wagering tax. In FY 2021, sports wagering tax collections increased to $6.1 million. Through the first six months of FY 2022, sports betting has generated more than $4.9 million in sports wagering tax collections.  

The bill that established legalized sports wagering created a fund to hold the tax revenue generated by it, however, this bill didn’t address how the revenue was to be spent or how legislators were to determine how much was available. The House Appropriations Committee, of which I serve as vice chair, is looking to clarify this situation.  

Constituent Visits
During Veterans Day at the Capitol on Jan. 19, I met with Major General (Retired) Gary Wattnem. He serves as Army Reserve Ambassador for Iowa. I also listened to Capt. Quintin James, Commanding Officer, Pre-Commissioning Unit USS IOWA (SSN 797) speak about the fourth ship that will bear the Iowa name. The 377-foot long nuclear-powered submarine PCU SSN 797 is the first submarine built specifically for female sailors. It will be christened in Connecticut this spring, but it likely won’t be commissioned and begin patrol duties until the summer of 2023. 

Both the new USS IOWA submarine and the retired battleship hold important places in U.S. history. The retired battleship first served the U.S. Navy from 1942 to 1949. She became the staging ground for the largest naval campaign of World War II – and in all of American history. She was officially decommissioned in October 1990, and today both virtual and in-person tours are available of the Battleship USS Iowa Museum. A model of the USS Iowa is on display in the west wing of the Iowa Capitol. 

On Wednesday, Jan. 19, I had the pleasure of introducing Steve Sukup on the House floor. Steve served four terms in the Iowa House from 1995 to 2003. An industrial engineer, he now serves as CEO of Sukup Manufacturing in Sheffield. He and Sukup Manufacturing's Leadership Council met with me, Rep. Jane Bloomingdale and Sen. Waylon Brown about issues like child care and transportation that affect their business.

Iowa Travel Industry Partners (iTIP) held a legislative day on Jan. 18. I greatly enjoyed catching up with Libbey Hohn, Director of Tourism, Clear Lake Area Chamber of Commerce, and hearing about all of the exciting projects that are nearing completion.

Child Care
When I was a young, working mom, it was difficult to find child care. The situation has worsened in recent years. That's why I was glad child care was a priority last year in the Iowa House.

The following bills went into effect on July 1, 2021:

  • Fixing the “Cliff Effect.” House File 302 establishes a state funded off-ramp program from Child Care Assistance that gradually increases cost-sharing from families as they increase their income. 
  • Child Care Tax Credits. Senate File 619 increases the eligibility for the child care tax credit from families making $45,000 to $90,000. This bill is retroactive to January 1, 2021, and will apply to next year’s state taxes. It will provide relief to 25,000 Iowa families as they pay for day care for their children. 
  • Child Care Provider Rate Increases. House File 891 increases rates to child care providers accepting Child Care Assistance children. This bill specifically increases the payment to 50% of the most recent market rate survey.
  • Rural Child Care. House File 260 allows nonregistered child care homes to increase the number of school-aged children by one, from five to six. This bill is especially important for rural Iowa parents without access to a child care center. 

To further improve access to child care, this week House Republicans brought forward three bills: HSB 510, HSB 511, and HSB 539. I’m looking forward to working on these bills and more during this legislative session. 

 

 

You’re always welcome to contact me about issues that are of interest to you. Feel free to send me a message via my political Facebook page or my legislative email, which is shannon.latham@legis.iowa.gov.