Funnel Week Complete – Key Business Legislation Advances

February 15, 2018

Numerous committee meetings were held this week as the Legislature worked to advance bills through the process before the first self-imposed deadline of the session known as the funnel. Bills must have passed at least one full committee in either chamber to be eligible for further legislative consideration. Bills that are Appropriations, Ways and Means or Government Oversight are exempted from the funnel requirements. The funnel helps lawmakers narrow their focus on key policy issues and also tax and spending policies for the balance of the legislative session. ABI is currently tracking nearly 400 bills. Below is the status of a few key bills the association is following for the year.

The following bills made it through the funnel and are still ALIVE:

  • HSB 602/SSB 3087Future Ready Iowa Act. ABI's top legislative priority in 2018 is workforce. This is why ABI strongly supports the Future Ready Iowa Act, which was put forward by the governor's office. The legislation seeks to make sure that 70 percent of Iowans obtain education beyond the high school level by 2025. Click here to read a summary of the legislation. Community colleges have expressed concern about some items in the bill, and some changes are expected before the bill goes to the floor. The Senate Commerce Committee passed the legislation unanimously, and the House Committee passed it 16-7 with Reps. Jacoby and McConkey joining Republicans. ABI position: Support. 
  • HF 2308/SF 2262Final stage manufacturers. Legislation that allows an Iowa equipment manufacturer to pass the manufacturer statement of origin to the final customer passed House and Senate Commerce Committees unanimously. The legislation is now ready to be debated on the full House and Senate floor. ABI position: Support.
  • HSB 645 ­– Water quality. This bill makes modifications to a major water quality bill that passed earlier this session and was signed into law by Gov. Reynolds. This bill, HSB 645, was discussed on the House floor by Rep. Wills during debate of HF 512. HSB 645 has been introduced to make modifications to the water quality bill, one of which was requested by ABI. The bill adds industries named in the nutrient reduction strategy to the definition of “eligible entity” for purposes of the revolving loan fund created in HF 512. The new revolving loan fund will be housed at IFA and can be accessed by eligible entities like cities and rural water districts to implement nutrient reduction water quality projects or sponsored projects within the watershed. The law allows IFA to distribute loans, forgivable loans or grants from the fund, which will grow over time from just under $2 million available in FY2020 to nearly $7 million by FY2029, for a total of about $58 million by FY2029. The fund will likely be mainly used for loans, not grants, since it must “revolve.” HSB 645 will give industry a seat at the table in water quality discussions as they move forward and evolve. ABI position: Support.
  • SSB 3093 ­– Energy omnibus legislation. The Senate Commerce Committee passed the legislation with several amendments on Tuesday, Feb. 13. At least one of the amendments addresses energy efficiency programs in Iowa for residential and commercial/industrial customers. To read more about the legislation, click here. ABI position: Undecided.
  • SF 2190Administrative rules reform. Senate Labor Committee passed legislation that would require a one-third reduction of existing regulations by 2022. Iowa has 160,000 regulations. Committee members expressed interest in continuing the conversation and improving the legislation. ABI position: Support.
  • SSB 3063Another rules bill was amended and passed out of Senate Judiciary on Wednesday. The bill would restrict agencies from making rules unless federal or state law explicitly requires the passage of rules. ABI position: Support.
  • SSB 3165Workers’ compensation fraud. Legislation that criminalizes fraud in workers’ compensation, whether it be a medical provider or employer. The bill would create a workers compensation unit within the existing fraud bureau within the Iowa Insurance Division. The bill passed the Senate Commerce Committee with amendment. ABI position: Support.
  • HSB 659Drug testing conformity with federal motor carrier regulations. Legislation that conforms Iowa’s testing for alcohol to the federal motor carrier guidelines. Iowa has .04, and federal guidelines for transportation is .02. The legislation would state Iowa can’t test for a level less than .02. ABI position: Support.
  • SSB 3159Water filter testing. Legislation that puts Iowa in alignment with 49 other states with regards to water filter sales in the state of Iowa. Also, eliminates Department of Public Health from regulating the standards since they are federally approved. ABI position: Support.
  • SSB 3189WIOA conformity. Legislation that conforms the Iowa State Workforce Development Board and local workforce boards to federal law in the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA). The legislation expands membership of the State Board and requires the chair to be a business representative and for the makeup to be over 50 percent business representation. It also changes who will appoint members of local workforce boards from the governor to local government officials. ABI position: Support.
  • HF 2321IWD policy bill. Legislation that addresses background checks for workforce development employees who handle sensitive information. The legislation also addresses changes to vacation pay and retirement plans when it comes to unemployment benefits. The bill makes changes to non-profits with employees, including adding a bond requirement. The bill also makes changes to notice of hearing for unemployment benefits. ABI position: Undecided.
  • SF 2182Employer health plans. Expands multiple employer welfare benefit plans. Could open up opportunity for employers to join together and provide health benefits at a competitive cost. Passed Senate Commerce committee on Wednesday, Feb. 14. ABI position: Undecided.
  • SSB 3171Religious freedom legislation. The Senate Local Government Committee passed the Religious Freedom legislation on a party line vote. The legislation, opposed by business groups and supported by some religious groups, now moves forward to the Senate floor. The legislation enacts strict scrutiny when businesses use religion as a reason for not doing business with a customer. Other states that have passed the legislation have had negative ramifications from national events and companies. ABI position: Against.
  • SSB 3156Wage payment notification. Updates Iowa code to clarify electronic means are allowed for employee pay stubs. Also allows Iowa employees who don’t have access to email or internet to request in writing to receive their statement in a different manner. ABI position: Undecided.
  • HF 2337Franchisor-Franchisee relationship. The legislation seeks to codify a recent decision made by the National Labor Relations Board that overturned the Browning-Ferris Industries decision, which was made by the NLRB in 2015. It clarifies the definition of a joint employer. This limits the liability of franchisors when it comes to labor regulations and bargaining with organized labor. The bill passed House Commerce. ABI position: Support.
  • SF 2235/HSB 603Critical infrastructure. Companion bills that create a definition for critical infrastructure in the code and establish strong penalties for those who have the intent to damage or actually vandalize critical infrastructure such as pipelines and utility lines. The Senate and House bills passed their respective committees. ABI position: Support.
  • HF 2299 – Opioid legislation. Comprehensive legislation that addresses opioid abuse through prescription monitoring. The bill requires prescribers of opioids and other controlled substances to register with and use the Prescription Monitoring Program (PMP) to track opioid prescriptions. It requires reporting of the use by emergency personnel of opioid antagonists. It includes provisions that make reporting and access to information from the PMP easier. Discussions are ongoing about narrowing the bill to include only opioids. ABI position: Undecided.
  • SSB 3106Medical cannabis. Expansive medical cannabis bill that allows the medical cannabidiol board more discretion on conditions to add to list and provides for an opportunity for the board to increase the THC limit. The bill was amended and passed the Judiciary Committee. ABI position: Undecided.

The following bills didn't make it through the funnel and are likely DEAD.
The Legislature considered several policies that could increase the cost of doing business or add additional burden to employers. ABI worked to educate legislators about the business impact the legislation could have if passed. As a reminder, no bill is ever “dead” in the legislature, and many of these proposed bills could show up in amendments or budget bills.

  • HF 2155 & SF 2156Bottle bills. HF2155 would expand the bottle bill by adding a five-cent deposit to tea, water, sports drinks and juice containers. It would also increase the handling fee distributors have to pay from one to two cents. Under the bill, grocery stores will still have to accept beverage containers unless there is a redemption center within one mile of their location. SF 2156 would have expanded the definition of beverage container to include “sports drinks.” The bill would also double the deposit from five to 10 cents. Both of the bills were assigned a subcommittee, but didn’t advance. ABI position: Against.
  • SF 2028/HF 556Right to repair. The bill would require manufacturers to provide diagnostic and repair information to customers free of charge. ABI position: Against.
  • SF 2103 - EMS assignment of benefits. Legislation that would change emergency medical provider networks in the state of Iowa. The effect of the legislation could be an increase in cost to insurance companies and individuals. The subcommittee recommended amendment and passage. The bill received lots of conversation until the last day of funnel but did not advance. ABI position: Against.
  • HF 2055Raw milk. This bill would have allowed dairies to sell unpasteurized milk directly to consumers. The bill passed a subcommittee, but wasn’t taken up by a full committee. There were two other bills dealing with this subject that didn’t survive the funnel. ABI position: Against.
  • SF 2108/HF 2304Increase in environmental civil penalties. Legislation would increase the maximum penalty the Environmental Protection Commission can assess from $10,000 to $25,000.
  • SF 2133Paid leave policy. Legislation that would require employers to provide job-protected family leave for employees. The bill outlines the amount of leave allowed and is in addition to any leave provided by a sick or temporary disability plan offered by the employer. Requires self-employed to pay employee and employer portion.
  • HF 2178Hearing aid mandate. Bill would mandate individuals and small-group health insurance plans to cover children under the age of 18 who are hearing impaired. A program used to be funded at the state level to provide coverage for those individuals not covered by Medicaid, Hawkeye or other plans. The plan was cut last year and those around the table were interested in reinstating the program. ABI Position: Against. 
  • SSB 3169Hormone mandate. Legislation would mandate self-administered oral hormonal contraceptives coverage for up to a one-year supply in insurance policies. The bill was assigned a subcommittee, but didn’t move further. ABI position: Against.
  • HF 2189Training programs. The bill would expand eligible individuals who are claiming unemployment while training to include registered apprenticeship programs. The proposal would charge the benefits to the unemployment insurance trust fund, rather than the accounts of those employers who are using the program for their apprentices. The bill was assigned a subcommittee, but didn’t advance. ABI position: Against.
  • SSB3003Nonmedical switching by health carriers. The legislation would prevent health insurance companies from holding down drug costs by substituting generic drugs when safe and appropriate and removing harmful drugs from the formulary for coverage. The bill went through subcommittee, but didn't advance past that point. ABI position: Against.
  • SSB3004No-deductible copayment for prescription drugs. The bill would mandate health insurance providers to include a no-deductible copayment for an entire drug prescription formulary structure in at least 25 percent of individual, group and small group contracts, policies or plans offered. The bill passed a subcommittee, but wasn't considered by the full committee. ABI position: Against.