Legislature Takes Action on Pro-business Bills

March 29, 2018

As the 12th week of the legislative session comes to a close, several bills ABI has been tracking continue to move through the legislative process. You have read about many of the bills in past editions of the Voice of Iowa Business newsletter. Keep reading for the latest information on the key bills that moved this week at the Capitol.

Alcohol Testing Signed into Law
This week Governor Reynolds signed HF 2383, an ABI-supported bill allowing employers to drug test for blood alcohol levels of .02 percent instead of .04 percent to conform with federal transportation rules. This bill clears up a gray area in Iowa law and will help clarify drug testing law for Iowa employers and employees.

Association Health Plans
Last week, you read about SF 2349, a bill that will allow the formation of association health plans modeled after federal rules and that would allow certain agricultural organizations like Farm Bureau to create health benefit plans outside the requirements of the federal Affordable Care Act. After the House amended the bill, the Senate concurred with the language, and the bill now goes to the Governor for her review. Many in the Legislature and Gov. Reynolds have talked about the challenges of increasing health care costs, especially for those in the individual market. The bill is seen as an alternative for individuals who previously could not afford to purchase health insurance due to ACA requirements.

Agency Interpretation Legislation Signed by Governor
The Governor on Wednesday signed HF 2343, which prohibits state agencies from implementing standards, limits or requirements without explicit authority from state or federal law or rules. A company that had experienced limits in air construction permits that were not required under state or federal law brought this legislation forward. The bill was amended through the process and ultimately agreed to in a bipartisan manner and sent to the Governor. ABI supported this legislation as commonsense regulatory reform.

Iowa Workforce Policy Bill
Wednesday afternoon the Iowa Senate passed HF 2321, legislation Iowa Workforce Development (IWD) brought forward to clarify and update some of the processes in the unemployment insurance division of IWD. The bill establishes who must go through a background check. The legislation also clearly states the pension and vacation policy for employers and employees when there is separation of employment.

Critical Infrastructure
The House passed SF 2235 by a vote of 69-31 on Tuesday. The bill creates a definition for critical infrastructure, which includes electrical power, gas, oil, wastewater treatment, and telecommunications and broadband delivery systems. It also creates penalties for those who commit sabotage of critical infrastructure. The House amended the bill with a strike-after amendment that further defines critical infrastructure. The bill will now head back to the Senate. ABI is registered in support of this bill.

Lease-Purchase Agreements
The Senate passed HF 2253 by a vote of 27-20 on Tuesday. The bill would require certain government entities to use a competitive bidding process when awarding contracts for public projects, which includes lease-purchase agreements. The bill is seen as a way to promote transparency and avoid cronyism when it comes to public dollars being used on projects. On Wednesday, the House passed the Senate amended bill 59-41, which now heads to the Governor for her review. ABI is registered in favor of this legislation.