Key Takeaways from Week 4 of the Legislative Session

February 2, 2023

Week Four has concluded at the Iowa Capitol, and the legislature is getting down to business. Many ABI priorities are on the move, and ABI public policy staff is monitoring even more legislation as the legislative process reaches full steam. Here's a summary of what's happening:

Tort reform is an ABI Legislative Priority this year, manifested in two bills...

HF 161/SF 148  - Medical Malpractice Reform  - The legislation caps non-economic damages in civil cases at $1 million dollars.  Does not limit economic damages or punitive awards.  Long a priority for ABI, Governor Reynolds highlighted the need for action in her Condition of the State Address citing harm to rural health care. The bills are eligible for House and Senate floor debate next week.

  • ABI Position:  Support

HSB 114/SSB 1114 - Commercial Motor Vehicle Tort Reform  - Spurred by years of difficulty finding available, affordable insurance coverage, motor carriers and businesses with their own fleets (Several ABI members)  are seeking legislation to limit jury awards to $1 million dollars for non-economic damages. Both the House and Senate versions advanced from subcommittees this week and will be available for full Judiciary Committee consideration next week.

  • ABI Position:  Support

Workforce housing is a part of the innovative solutions to workforce needs, also identified as a 2023 legislative priority by the ABI Board. Here are bills to watch:

SF 174 - Building Design Regulation -  The bill seeks to bring statewide building code uniformity and consistency to the workforce housing market by limiting sometimes costly local ordinances that add costs to home construction without improving health or safety. The bill has passed the full Senate Local Government Committee and is eligible for debate on the Senate floor consideration next week.

  • ABI Position:  Support

Other legislation:

SF 3/HF 114 - Adoptive Parent Employees - For a few years now, members of the House and Senate have been seeking legislation requiring employers to treat adoptive parents similarly to parents of newborns. ABI held the position that if such a policy were to pass it should be limited to adoptive parents of children from birth to age six. The House bill was introduced in this manner and passed a subcommittee this week.  The Senate version was amended in the Labor Committee to conform with the House version.

  • ABI Position:  Neutral

HF 96/SF 86 - Nonmedical Switching - By his count State Representative Tom Moore (R-Cass) has been working on this bill for 7 years. The bill would prevent insurers implementing health plans sponsored by private sector employers from managing the prescription costs of health plans through the use and updating of formularies of approved medications. The bill has moved out of a House Health and Human Services subcommittee this week. The Senate bill has been introduced but no action has been taken.

  • ABI Position - Opposed

If you have questions, or don’t see a bill on the list that you are tracking, please reach out to JD Davis or Brad Hartkopf.