ABI Workforce Priorities Advance at Iowa Statehouse

March 11, 2021 | Taking Care of Business Conference JD Davis, Vice President, Public Policy, ABI, jddavis@iowaabi.org

The Iowa Legislature is narrowing the list of policy bills that may be considered for final approval during the 2021 legislative session. The second legislative funnel comes on Friday, April 2. By that date all policy bills must have been voted out of one chamber and a committee in the opposite chamber to receive further consideration from the Legislature.

Two key initiatives developed during the ABI public policy process, which begins in August of each year, are advancing. Introduced as SF 492 and HSB 203, the legislation addresses Iowa’s Unemployment Insurance Trust Fund (UITF). The bills ensure that the trust fund remains solvent, provide temporary replacement income for those unemployed through no fault of their own and do not require employers to fund benefits not paid by businesses in other jurisdictions through tax levies solely on Iowa business.

SF 361 and its House companion are also on the move. The legislation updates Iowa’s private sector drug testing policy. Current Iowa law provides that employers may maintain drug-free workplaces and allows for the testing of employees and prospective employees to ensure that employee drug use does not threaten the safety of workplaces. Strangely, under current law, if an employee alleges in a court proceeding that the employer did not follow the drug testing law properly, it is upon the employer to prove their innocence. The legislation returns the burden of proof back to the party making the allegations to prove their case.

In addition to the two issues above, the ABI public policy team is also helping craft legislation that helps provide child care alternatives for our employees; makes sure affordable workforce housing is available; and ensures high-speed internet is available throughout Iowa to help businesses and families educate their kids, improve access to healthcare through telehealth and work from anywhere within our borders.

As a benefit to our members, the ABI policy staff holds Zoom briefings every other Friday updating the progress of these important initiatives. You can sign up by visiting the ABI Events webpage at www.iowaabi.org/events. As always, if you have individual questions of the policy staff, they may be directed to the email address listed in the byline. Thank you to all who participate in the ABI public policy development process.