Gas, liquor laws highlight Legislature’s term


Gas, liquor laws highlight Legislature’s term

In January, the 86th Iowa Legislature began its 2015 session. Throughout the session, legislators introduced several bills, some that were enacted and some that weren’t, but could have changed the Iowa City community in a big way.

• Gas Tax

Early in the session, the Legislature passed a bill that raised the tax by 10 cents per gallon for gasoline and diesel. The law went into effect on March 1. With the increase, the tax will provide around $200 million annually for the state’s 114,000 miles of roads and bridges, shrinking a bit each year to $195 million in fiscal 2020. Whether you’re originally from Iowa or calling the state your home for the first time, you are helping to improve the roads and bridges — even if you’re only here for the next four years.

• Minimum Wage

If you were hoping to make some bank working off campus, don’t get too ahead of yourself. The minimum wage in Iowa matches that of the federal minimum wage, $7:25. This past legislative session, a bill that would have raised the state minimum wage to $8 by July 1 and $8.75 in 2016, passed the Iowa Senate, but it never made the calendar in the Iowa House. The state hasn’t seen an increase in minimum wage since 2007.

• Restricting beer, wine, and alcohol establishments

Iowa City’s 21-ordinance would have been reversed if a bill had made it through the Legislature. The bill would have allowed 19- and 20-year-olds in liquor-licensed establishments and would have eliminated ordinances that did not allow 19-year-olds in wine-, beer-, and liquor-licensed establishments.

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