Office of Governmental Relations

2021 Legislative Updates

2021 Legislative Updates

This Week at the Statehouse – Week 2

January 22, 2021

The Legislature was not in session on Monday in remembrance of Martin Luther King Jr. Day. The remainder of the week was spent in legislative committee and subcommittee meetings. The House had their first floor debate on Thursday afternoon approving House rules.

New bills are being filed daily for consideration. As of today, the Board of Regents are registered on 105 bills for this legislative session.  This link will provide a complete list of bills we are tracking: (in the box marked as lobbyist, type in Mary Braun).

On Wednesday, a Senate subcommittee was held on SSB 1018, which allows governmental entities to use construction manager-at-risk on their construction projects and prohibits the Regents institutions from using the design-build alternative delivery method on construction projects. The Board of Regents is registered against this bill.

On Thursday, a House subcommittee was held on HSB 66, which prohibits all Board of Regents institutions from spending any nonstate moneys, including federal funds, public or private gifts or donations, nonstate grants or receipts, and any other moneys from any nonstate public or private sources, unless the expenditure is approved by an Act of the general assembly. The Board of Regents is registered against this bill.

The Legislature’s first funnel date, when Senate policy bills need to come out of a Senate committee and House policy bills need to come out of a House committee to remain eligible for debate this legislative session, is March 5th. This date does not apply to spending and tax bills.

Upcoming events in the legislature:

Jan. 26 – subcommittee on HF 49, prohibiting tenure at the Regents universities

Jan. 26 – Randy Pilkington, Executive Director of BCS, and Jerry Thiel, Director of the Metal Casting Center and Additive Manufacturing Center, will present UNI’s budget requests to the House Economic Development Appropriations Subcommittee

Jan. 27 – John Nash with the Iowa Board of Regents office will present information on the Regents FY 22 deferred maintenance request of $30 million

Jan. 27 – House Oversight Committee meeting discusses free speech on Regent universities’ campuses

Feb. 3 – President Mark Nook will present UNI’s budget requests to the House Education Appropriations Subcommittee; joined by the president’s at the University of Iowa and Iowa State University presenting their budget requests

If you have any questions, please email me at


This Week at the Statehouse – Week 1

January 15, 2021

Monday, January 11, 2021 started the 89th Iowa General Assembly. Lawmakers spent the majority of the week convening organizational committee meetings and holding three joint sessions to hear from Governor Reynolds giving the Condition of the State, Chief Justice Christensen giving the State of the Judiciary, and Major General Corell giving the Condition of the National Guard.

The 2020 elections provided the Iowa House with 18 newly elected representatives and the Iowa Senate with eight new senators. The Republican Party continues to hold the majority in the Iowa House and Senate at 59-41 and 31-18, respectfully (a special election is scheduled on Jan. 26 to fill a seat in the Senate). Additional information can be found on the Legislature’s website.

This is a 110-day session, which means the last day lawmakers will receive their daily per diem is April 30.

The Capitol is not operating "business as usual". Protocols were sent out for the 2021 legislative session due to the pandemic. Legislators are expected to be in the Capitol building to participate and vote in committee meetings and floor debate. The Capitol Building is open to the public but there will be no guided tours. Constituents, lobbyists, and members of the public are encouraged to conduct business with legislators and staff via phone, email, or text to limit personal contact. Joint budget subcommittee are no longer meeting jointly. Senate committee meetings are being held in the Senate chambers and can be viewed on their live stream. Attendance at Senate subcommittee meetings by lobbyists and the public is via zoom only. House committee meetings and subcommittee meetings are being held in larger committee rooms and can be viewed virtually via webex. Members of the public are strongly encouraged to submit written comments on legislation via the General Assembly’s website for House subcommittee meetings.

UNI is committed to student success and upholding our public charge to be open and accessible. Our budget request for fiscal year (FY) 2022 will enable us to increase enrollment by keeping tuition and fees affordable and competitive while providing a high quality education. The FY 2022 state appropriations request is $1.5 million in recovery funds from the FY 2021 cut plus an additional $4 million investment from the state to keep costs affordable for Iowa students and their families. Additional legislative budget requests:

  • $6.35 million for STEM education
  • $1 million for economic development
  • $900,000 from the Regents Innovation Fund
  • $400,000 for UNI’s additive manufacturing
  • $172,768 for the recycling and reuse center
  • $123,523 for real estate education

Governor Reynolds unveiled her budget proposal Tuesday evening, January 12. She is recommending an increase of $15 million to the Board of Regents institutions. The distribution would be determined by the Board of Regents. Reynolds' budget proposal is the first step in creating the state's budget. Additional information can be found in Governor Reynold’s Budget brief and Governor Reynold’s Budget book.

During this first week of session, the Board of Regents is already registered on 64 policy bills. Two bills introduced that the Board of Regents are registered AGAINST pertain to prohibiting tenure:

SF 41 An Act prohibiting tenure systems at public postsecondary educational institutions, and including applicability provisions.

HF 49 An Act prohibiting tenure systems at the institutions of higher learning governed by the state board of regents, and including applicability provisions.

Another bill the Board is registered AGAINST would prohibit design build alternative delivery method for construction projects:

SSB 1018 An Act relating to a construction manager-at-risk commercial construction alternative delivery method and prohibiting certain other alternative delivery methods in the public sector and including effective date and applicability provisions.

This link will provide a complete list of bills we are tracking (in the box marked as lobbyist, type in Mary Braun).

If you have any questions, please email me at