Re-Employment and Tort Legislation Passes Senate Subcommittee

February 10, 2022

Turning Iowa’s unemployment system into a re-employment system remains ABI’s top priority this legislative session. This week, lawmakers in the Iowa Senate took its first step to advance legislation that ABI supports to achieve this priority.

On Tuesday, a Senate Commerce Subcommittee approved SSB 3093. This comprehensive workforce bill is the companion bill to HF 2279, which is Gov. Kim Reynolds’ bill that passed out of the House Labor Committee last week. The Senate Commerce Committee will have to consider its version of the bill in the next step of the legislative process.The summary of the bill can be found here. ABI Vice President of Public Policy, JD Davis, spoke in support of this legislation and highlighted how the bill will elevate Iowa’s goals turning the state’s unemployment insurance system into a re-employment system.

Tort Reform: Division 2 of the legislation relates to tort reform. It would set hard caps on noneconomic damages for medical malpractice cases, as well as hard caps on cases against the owner or operator of a commercial motor vehicle.

ABI also supports Division 2 of the bill.

A fiscal note has been published, reflecting the changes to the Unemployment Insurance Trust Fund would be more than $97 million in FY 2023.

The Unemployment Insurance Trust Fund (UITF) in FY 2021 had just over $1.2 billion. According to the fiscal note attached to HF 2279, reducing the maximum total amount of time an individual can be on unemployment from 6 months to 4 months would reduce benefits paid from the UITF by $69.2 million in FY 2023 and $70.9 million in FY 2024. 

  • It’s estimated that reinstating the one-week waiting period would decrease benefits paid from the UITF by $23.3 million in FY 2023 and $23.9 million in FY 2024.
  • The fiscal note also states employer taxes paid into the UITF would be expected to decrease due to the reduction in benefit payments and a short-term increase in the overall UITF balance.
  • The overall reduction to the UITF with the proposed changes would be more than $97 million in FY 2023 and more than $99 million in FY 2024.

The Iowa Workforce Development (IWD) launched its Re-Employment Case Management (RCM) program in Jan. 2022. This involves 18 new Career Planners who meet one-on-one with Iowans who are unemployed. The RCM involves reviewing work searches, making direct connections to any needed training for Iowans, as well as connecting their skills to those in demand by employers through a new software system. According to the IWD, there are currently more than 85,000 job openings in Iowa. Iowa ranks 8th in the nation for its labor force participation rate.