Legislative News
Governor Reynolds Signs ABI-supported Legislation
The Governor on Thursday signed SF 2262 into law. The legislation, which addresses a major regulatory burden for Iowa's final-stage manufacturers, will allow a manufacturer to cleanly pass a title to the end customer. The issue has caused manufacturers concern for many years, and ABI was excited to play a leading role in getting the law changed for Iowa employers. We are grateful for House and Senate leadership and members of the Legislature who supported the legislation.
 
ABI Legislative Roundtable in Cedar Rapids is March 23  
ABI will host a Legislative Roundtable in Cedar Rapids on Friday, March 23 at 11:30 a.m. The meeting will be held at ABI member company International Paper. Reps. Hinson and Rizer plan to attend. Please RSVP by March 19 to Michelle Vollstedt . This is an opportunity to speak to legislators about issues important to you. With comprehensive tax legislation, the budget and some major policy bills still pending, this meeting will be worth your time. The ABI public policy team will also attend to answer any ABI member-specific questions you may have.
 
Amended Energy Legislation Advances Commerce Committee
Members of the House Commerce Committee voted on party lines Thursday to amend and pass SF 2311. The legislation will now move to the House floor. The bill is complex and includes many technical areas that affect utilities, large industrials and consumers. The amendment in committee made substantial changes to the energy efficiency and demand response language that was passed by the Senate. The amendment places a two-percent cap on energy efficiency programs, but doesn't allow an opt-out provision. ABI staff is seeking feedback on this change to the legislation and if it addresses the concerns of members. Please contact Nicole Crain with any feedback you may have on this legislation. Also, as you analyze the impact of the bill, you may want to reach out to your utility provider to ask questions about how the legislation will affect your company. This issue has received lots of attention and feedback at the Capitol.
ABI Priorities Have Advanced as Second Funnel Ends
The Legislature just completed its 10th week, and several key bills ABI supports have "survived" the second funnel of the 2018 legislative session. Several anti-business bills were considered throughout the session, and many of those are now "dead" because of the deadline. For a bill to be eligible following the second funnel, it must have passed in either chamber and then come out of a full committee in the opposite chamber. Certain bills are immune to this deadline including appropriations, ways and means, and government oversight. As with every legislative session, no bill is really "dead" until the Legislature adjourns sine die, as the policy proposals could come back in amendment form or part of the final budget bills.
 
Alive
In addition to ABI priorities, there are several other bills that cleared the funnel. Below are just a few of the bills that remain "alive."  (Read about these bills on the ABI website, complete with links to individual bills.)

HF 2458  -- Future Ready Iowa. This is a key ABI priority that seeks to upskill our workforce by ensuring at least 70 percent of Iowans have education beyond the high school level by 2025. The legislation passed the Iowa House on a vote of 98-0.  ABI position: Support.
 
HF 2440 -- Water quality. The legislation adds industries named in the nutrient reduction strategy to the definition of "eligible entity." The legislation gives industry a seat at the table in water quality discussions as they move forward and evolve.  ABI position: Support.
 
SF 2330 -- Water filter certification. This regulatory reform bill seeks to align Iowa with all other 49 states in regards to water filter certification. The legislation uses a national standard for testing and eliminates the Department of Public Health from having to certify third-party tests. The bill passed unanimously out of the House Commerce Committee Thursday.  ABI position: Support.
 
SF 2382 -- Criminal Omnibus.  This large bill contains changes to expungement of criminal records and was amended significantly in House Judiciary to remove several sections of the bill. The legislation now goes to the House floor.  ABI position: Undecided.

HF 2383 -- Alcohol testing. The legislation conforms Iowa's testing for alcohol to the federal motor safety carrier guidelines. Iowa has .04, and federal guidelines for transportation is .02. The bill states Iowa can't test for a level less than .02. ABI position: Support.
 
SF 2353 -- WIOA conformity. Conforms state workforce development and local workforce boards to federal law in the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA). Expands the membership of the state board. Also requires the chair to be a business representative and for the makeup of the board to be over 50 percent business representation. The bill passed out of the House Labor Committee, but there is some discussion it may be amended on the House floor.  ABI position: Support.
 
HF 2377  -- Prescription drug abuse. Comprehensive legislation that addresses opioid abuse. It will help reduce workplace accidents and help prevent opioid addiction and overdoses.  ABI position: Support.
 

SSB 3078 -- Energy efficiency. The legislation would eliminate the mandate of public utilities to offer energy efficiency plans to customers. Currently in Senate Ways and Means Committee. ABI position: Undecided.


HF 2391  -- Dram Shop insurance. Liability limits for restaurants and bars when alcohol-related injuries occur. Bill was moved to unfinished business and will be eligible for debate next week.  ABI position: Support.
 
SF 2342  -- Agency discretion. The legislation would restrict agencies from implementing a standard, requirement or threshold without clear federal or state authority. ABI position: Support.
 
SF 2311  -- Energy Omnibus. This bill makes several changes to public utilities regarding how they are governed and how they serve their customers. Includes changes to energy efficiency and demand response programs for industrial users.
           
HF 2364  -- Allows certain agriculture organizations to contract with Wellmark to provide health care coverage to members. Provides flexibility and relief from some of the ACA mandates. Bill was moved to unfinished business and will be eligible for debate next week. The Senate version of the bill passed on a vote 40 to nine.  ABI position: Undecided.
 
SF 2390  -- Increases fees for food establishments and food processors. The bill was amended out of the Senate Ways and Means Committee to address ABI concerns with a proposed policy change in the legislation. The fees are increased to address the inability of counties to perform an inspection given reduced revenue. ABI position: Undecided.
 
Dead
There are several bills that didn't clear the funnel. Below are just a few of the bills that are most likely "dead" for the 2018 legislative session. (Read about these bills on the ABI website, complete with links to individual bills.)

HF 2453 -- Nonmedical switching. The bill 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.  ABI position: Against.
 
SF 2305 -- Work Comp Fraud Reform. This bill would create a division within the existing insurance fraud bureau to investigate and prosecute workers compensation fraud claims. The bill also would ensure self-insured companies would be considered "insurers" for purposes of workers compensation fraud. The bill didn't advance out of the House Commerce Committee. ABI position: Support.
 
SF 2319 -- Rules reductions. Limits the number of rules that can be included in the Iowa Administrative Code. Requires a one-third reduction of rules. ABI position: Support.
 
SF 2338 -- Religious freedom. Legislation enacts strict scrutiny when businesses use religion as a reason for not doing business with a customer.  ABI position: Against.
 
SF 2313  -- Cannabis oil expansion. Would allow the cannabidiol board to allow oil with higher than three percent THC to be available for patients. Also provides the board with the authority to add to the list of debilitating medical conditions currently allowed under the law.  ABI position: Undecided.
 
SF 2354  -- Disqualification of unemployment. Legislation defines misconduct and outlines when a former employee isn't eligible for unemployment benefits because of misconduct.  ABI position: Support.
 
HF 2155 -- Bottle bill expansion. Legislation would have increased the handling fee from one to two cents and added a five-cent deposit to more types of beverage containers.  ABI position: Against.
April 17 -- 100th Legislative Day
Now that the second funnel is over, the Legislature will turn its focus to setting a budget and addressing the pending tax reform proposals, before adjourning the 2018 legislative session. There are still some policy bills that will be eligible for debate in the coming weeks, but because this is an election year, members of the Legislature who are running for re-election will want to get back to the districts and talk to constituents about the accomplishments of the last two years. Although the 100th legislative day is April 17, the Legislature can always adjourn before, or after, that day.

Special Election Set for Senate District 25
The Governor has set the special election to replace former Senate Majority Leader Bill Dix (R-Shell Rock) for Tuesday, April 10. Since the Legislature is in session, there is a shortened timeframe to call and hold the election. Candidates have already announced for both parties. Republican Annette Sweeney, farmer, former Iowa House member and USDA lead, has announced her intention to run. Democrat Tracy Freese, Chartered Trust and Estate Planner, was planning to run in the general election this fall and announced she is also seeking the seat for the special election. The district has more registered Republicans than Democrats. The two House seats that comprise the Senate district are currently held by Reps. Deyoe (R-Nevada) and Grassley (R-New Hartford).
Governor's Club Sponsors