Iowa Legislature Moving Full Speed Ahead as Second Week Concludes

January 21, 2021

Lawmakers wasted no time filing legislation as hundreds of bills have already been introduced for the first session of the 89th General Assembly. ABI’s public policy team has been sifting through bills and registering on a number of pieces of legislation. Both pro-growth bills and anti-jobs bills have been filed. Policy staff attended a number of subcommittees this week. Below is a recap of some of the most important issues:

HSB22 – Synthetic Urine Prohibitions – A subcommittee recommended passage of HSB22, which creates criminal penalties for those who use synthetic urine or a urine additive to defraud a drug or alcohol test. The purpose of the legislation is to deter individuals from committing such acts and to help keep workplaces safe. This bill passed the House with bipartisan support last year and was poised to pass the Senate, but time simply ran out after the Legislature returned in June to finish a shortened session due to COVID-19. ABI position: For.

SSB1029 – Pregnancy Accommodations – The legislation creates a state mandate that employers provide reasonable accommodations to employees based on medical conditions related to pregnancy or childbirth. ABI opposes the bill as those accommodations are already required under the federal Americans with Disabilities Act for employers with more than 15 employees. The state mandate would allow disputes to be tried in state court as well as federal courts. Additionally, the mandate would apply to employers with fewer than 15 employees. Subcommittee members took the testimony of ABI and other interested parties but did not advance the bill to the full Senate Labor Committee. ABI position: Against.

SSB1030 – Adoption Mandate – The bill requires that an employer treat an employee who adopts the same as a biological parent of a newborn child for the purposes of employment policies, benefits and protections in the first year. ABI raised several questions during the subcommittee and recommended policymakers look at alternative means of promoting adoption, such as enhancing the adoption tax credit, which is a far more equitable proposal than implementing a new mandate on employers. Lawmakers passed the bill out of subcommittee. ABI position: Undecided.

HF89 – Mental Health Telehealth Reimbursement – The bill mandates health care insurers to reimburse telehealth mental health consultations at the same rate as in-office visits. Parity for both mental and physical health telehealth delivery is expected to be considered this year. ABI policy staff has been engaged with members that are both health care plan insurers and health care delivery networks. It is hoped that a non-legislative solution equitable to all parties can eliminate the need for legislation. This issue will continue to develop throughout the 2021 session. ABI position: Undecided.