Bills that Received Action this Week

February 27, 2020

With the first funnel in the rearview mirror, the House and Senate began debating bills in earnest this week. The chambers are prioritizing floor time as a means of continuing to move legislation through the legislative process. Bills that ABI supports were approved on both sides of the rotunda. Below is a list of some bills ABI is tracking that saw action in Week 7 of the 2020 Legislative Session. 

SF2337 – Asbestos Tort Reform. On Tuesday afternoon, the Senate approved legislation that will end the practice whereby companies are named as defendants in asbestos cases where there is no link between the company and the individual bringing the action. Rather than being named in a lawsuit and having to fight their way out of the court action, the bill would require a party bringing suit to show some connection to the named defendants. The bill passed 30-19. ABI position: Support.

SF2338 – Med Mal & Phantom Damages. SF2338 passed out of the Senate 30-20 on Tuesday afternoon. The bill places a hard cap of $750,000 on noneconomic damages in cases of medical malpractice lawsuits. The second section of the legislation limits evidence of past medical costs to actual amounts paid rather than amounts that have been billed by providers. This ensures that any economic recovery in a civil action will be based on actual costs and not on amounts that were never paid. ABI position: Support.

HF2470 – Licensing Reform. Governor Reynolds' licensing reform legislation moved through a Ways & Means Subcommittee in the House this week. The bill sets up a reciprocity mechanism for those who already have a license in a skilled trade from another state to come into Iowa and practice that trade. The legislation also waives application fees for those under a certain income level when applying for licenses and gives those previously convicted of a crime a less cumbersome path to knowing whether or not they can be licensed in a particular field. ABI views this legislation as a means of reducing barriers to entering the workforce and bringing more skilled workers into the state. ABI position: Support.

SF2296 –  Independent Contractors Operating Certain Vehicles. The bill ensures that truck drivers who are classified as independent contractors in Iowa remain independent contractors and are not classified as employees for the purposes of unemployment insurance and workers’ compensation. The legislation passed the Senate 32-18. ABI position: Support.

HF2023 – Broadband Grants Tax Exemption. The bill ensures that broadband grants received by providers to expand broadband in underserved areas of the state aren’t subject to personal income and corporate income tax. The bill passed through House Ways & Means unanimously on Monday. ABI position: Support.

HF607 – Airplane Parts Tax Exemption. The legislation exempts airplane repair and replacement parts, maintenance services and remodeling from sales tax. Removes the requirement that must be used in scheduled/nonscheduled FAA to qualify. It was overwhelmingly approved by the House Ways & Means Committee this week. ABI position: Support.