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The Iowa General Assembly this week reached its first legislative milestone. February 21 is known around the capitol as the “first funnel deadline.” By rule, policy-related legislation must pass through a committee in either the House or the Senate to remain viable for the legislative session.

With the first funnel deadline behind us, I would like to highlight where things stand on some issues that I believe are important. Each of these bills is still alive and eligible for consideration by the full Senate.

HF 737: Companion Animal Protections. I heard from many constituents during the interim and into this legislative session about the importance of enhancing legal protections for companion animals. The House passed this bill last year, so it was not subject to the funnel deadline. But now that the Senate is set to focus on floor debate, I will be working with my colleagues to pass this bill as soon as possible.

SSB 3136: Medical Cannabidiol Enhancements. This bill changes Iowa’s cap on Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the psychoactive part of cannabis, from 3 percent of a product to 25g per 90 days. This cap is higher than what the House included in a similar bill, but I believe legislators in the Senate and House will be able to reach a compromise on a level that Gov. Reynolds can sign into law.

SSB 3077: Future Ready Iowa Enhancements. This bill would expand Iowa’s workforce through the Future Ready Iowa program. The bill aims to expand apprenticeship opportunities in high-demand jobs, help people complete their high school education, and learn computer and technical skills. In addition, this bill creates the Child Care Challenge program, which would encourage and enable businesses, nonprofit organizations, and consortiums to establish local child care facilities and increase the availability of quality, affordable child care for working Iowans.

SSB 3023: Noncompete Reforms. This bill would prohibit an employer from requiring employees making $14.50 per hour or less to enter into a noncompete agreement. It ensures noncompete clauses are not creating extra barriers to workforce mobility. Noncompete clauses for workers in this pay range can effectively trap people in their jobs and inhibit economic growth.

The Iowa General Assembly will consider hundreds of other bills and issues before it adjourns in the spring. Please reach out to me by email or social media to share your thoughts on things happening here at the capitol. I look forward to hearing from you.

Author: Charles Schneider

Senator Charles Schneider was first elected to the Iowa Senate in 2012, and was re-elected in 2016. Senator Schneider’s peers have elected him to a leadership position since 2014. Before his election to the Iowa Senate, Senator Schneider served on the West Des Moines City Council from 2007 to 2012. He chaired the council’s Finance and Administration Subcommittee and served on the council’s Public Safety Subcommittee. Senator Schneider is also counsel for Principal Financial Group, where he has worked since 2007. Before joining Principal, he was a lawyer with the law firm of Dickinson Mackaman Tyler & Hagen, PC.