ABI Priorities Continue to Advance Through Second Funnel Deadline
March 30, 2023
Tomorrow, March 31, marks the official second funnel deadline. However, all business has been completed at the Capitol this week and hundreds of bills failed to clear this key deadline. Legislation, except for appropriations, ways & means and a few others, must have passed through one chamber and a full committee in the other chamber in order to be considered “alive” for the rest of the year. Nothing is ever truly “dead” until we adjourn sine die as language from previously “dead” bills can be amended onto budget bills or the standings legislation. We’re pleased to report that many ABI supported bills have survived the second funnel and are in a good position as we head towards the final stretch of the 2023 legislative session. Read more about some of the key issues ABI has been following this year:
HF 460/SF 319: Drug and Alcohol Testing Reform - A key ABI priority has passed through the Senate and is out of the House Labor and Workforce Committee. The bill modernizes Iowa’s drug and alcohol testing statute, which was first enacted in the 1990s. The most significant piece of this legislation flips the burden of proof from the employer to the plaintiff to prove the employer violated the statute. The bill also ensures employers can define what a “safety sensitive position” is within their workplace, streamlines communication methods between employers and employees on drug and alcohol testing results and imposes an evidentiary standard a plaintiff must meet in order to prove their case. ABI will be working to ensure this bill passes the House in its current form before the end of session.
SF 228: Commercial Motor Vehicle Tort Reform - Lawmakers are working to pass a second piece of tort reform before they adjourn for the year. The bill, as amended by the House, imposes a $5 million cap per plaintiff with incidents related to commercial motor vehicles. Employers will not face civil liability for negligent hiring of an employee if certain conditions have been met. The bill now goes back to the Senate for additional consideration. ABI has registered in favor of the bill and is reviewing the House amendment.
HF 654/SF 543: Guns in Employer Parking Lots - A legislative mandate that would infringe upon the private property rights of employers has passed through the House Public Safety Committee and the Senate Judiciary Committee. The bill prohibits employers from having a company policy that prohibits employees from bringing guns onto the employer’s parking lot. ABI is opposed to the section of the bill that affects employers and is actively working to ensure it does not pass the Legislature by the end of the legislative session.
HF 647/SF 542: Youth Employment Opportunities Act - The Senate Workforce Committee and the House Commerce Committee have passed legislation that makes significant revisions to Chapter 92 of the Iowa Code (youth employment). The goal of the legislation is to provide more opportunities for younger individuals who want to enter the workforce. A key piece of the bill allows more students to be exposed to work-based learning programs at a younger age. ABI is supporting this legislation as we back revising qualifications and age restrictions for age appropriate employment.
SF 318/HF 639: Iowa Registered Apprenticeship Act - Governor Reynolds has put forward legislation that would create an office of apprenticeship in Iowa. It would create more flexibility regarding apprenticeships and streamline the process for employers and employees. The Senate has approved the legislation while the House bill has been approved by the House Economic Growth and Technology Committee. ABI is in favor of the legislation.
HF 642/SSB 1162: IEDA MEGA Bill - The House Economic Growth and Technology Committee has approved legislation that would give the Iowa Economic Development Authority (IEDA) enhanced incentive tools to attract extraordinary capital investments in Iowa. The bill expands current law in a narrow and limited way regarding foreign ownership of land. All of this could allow for the development of very large economic development projects in a handful of areas across the state. HF 642 is now in Ways & Means. The Senate companion is also in Ways & Means. ABI is supporting this legislation.
SF 321/HF 461: Boiler Inspection Reform - Both the House and Senate Workforce Committees have advanced a bill that would adjust the inspection interval of an industrial boiler used by an ABI member company that produces fertilizer for the Iowa market. The legislation seeks to align boiler inspections with planned maintanance outages. Other ABI members are reviewing this legislation to ensure it does not inadvertently affect their boilers and pressure vessels. An amendment is expected on the legislation and if clarification is needed after company reviews, such language will be included as a friendly amendment by bill sponsors. ABI supports the legislation.
SF 494 & HF 613: SNAP Benefits: The House and Senate Health and Human Services Committees have passed differing versions of reforms meant to implement more integrity in Iowa’s public assistance programs. The House version contains language that prohibits food stamps from being used to purchase “sugary items”, which would ultimately harm value-added agriculture in Iowa. The Senate version does not contain this language and has passed the Senate. This week the Senate bill passed out of the House Appropriations Committee for further consideration, including a public hearing next week. ABI supports the House advancing the Senate version and is nuetral on the Senate bill.
HF 272/SF 186: Adoption Mandate - The full House and the Senate Workforce Committee have approved legislation that would require employers to provide the same benefits they currently give to employees who have newborn biological children to employees who adopt a child. The language would apply to children 0-6 and also ensure that an employee is not eligible for disability unless they have a qualifying disability under the employer’s policies. ABI is neutral on the legislation.
SF 507: Environmental, Social and Governance Investments (ESG) - The House and Senate will need to harmonize their language on legislation restricting non-fiduciary decision-making in the investment of public funds. Care is being taken by all parties to prevent unintended consequences. The bill has passed the Senate in form that was agreeable to ABI members, was amended by the House and returned to the Senate. Review of the new House language is ongoing and a path forward is being developed for a bill that meets that goal of avoiding unintended harm.
SF 455: Topsoil and Stormwater Regulation - The full Senate and the House Local Government Committee have passed legislation that would prohibit counties and cities from imposing certain requirements as it relates to topsoil and the regulation of stormwater. The purpose is to provide consistency and predictability for homebuilders across all 99 counties of Iowa. ABI is in favor of legislation.
HF 605: Energy Benchmarking The Senate State Government Committee met this week and amended and approved a House-passed measure that would prevent a local government from measuring energy consumption of energy in buildings within the jurisdiction and requiring upgrades to meet the average consumption for building types. The Senate Committee further amended the bill to also prohibit local jurisdictions from adopting an energy code more restrictive than the state energy code. The bill is now eligible for full Senate consideration and if passed would return to the House for a vote on the new language. ABI supports the legislation.
SF 333: Pharmacy Benefit Managers - The Senate Commerce Committee today did not advance a bill further regulating pharmacy benefit managers. Recall that ABI was very involved in the same issue last session and in the end supported a bill that would collect data to study the issue to determine if further action was neccesary. ABI has urged that this process be allowed appropriate time before any new action is taken. ABI is registered against the legislation.
SF 108: Mandatory E-Verify - Several weeks ago, the Senate Judiciary Committee approved a bill that would require employers to use the federal e-verify system when hiring new employees. ABI is opposed to the bill as it would allow any member of the public to file a complaint with Iowa Workforce Development if they believe an employer has knowingly hired an illegal immigrant. A second violation of the legislation revokes all business licenses for that particular business.
SF 174: Building Design Regulation Reform - The Senate Local Government Committee has passed legislation that would prohibit cities and counties from unnecessarily driving up the costs of housing by mitigating their authority to regulate building design elements in certain ways. ABI supported the bill as a means of being able to help control and reduce the cost of housing construction. Having not been considered by the full Senate and a House Committee, the bill is no longer eligible for consideration under joint rules of the legislature.
HF 600: Innovative Rates - A bill that would allow an investor-owned utility to propose rate designs for groups of ratepayers outside of a general rate case has been passed out of the House Commerce Committee. ABI public policy staff was involved early in the development of the legislation to ensure that non-participating electric customers in the ABI membership were not negatively affected by the adoption of such rates. A companion bill did not clear the Senate Commerce Committee. The bills are no longer eligible under rule.
HF 565: Eminent Domain & Carbon Pipelines - On Tuesday, the House passed legislation that imposes a number of requirements necessary for carbon pipeline companies to meet in order to use eminent domain. One feature is that companies would have to reach a 90% voluntary easement threshold on their route before they could use eminent domain. ABI registered against the bill as the rules should not be changed during the middle of the game. The bill was referred to the Senate Commerce Committee and did not advance to meet the funnel deadline. House members vow to revive the bill in negotiations between the chambers as session winds down.
Click here to read the list of the “alive and dead” list from the first funnel.