Legislative Business Picking Up Steam at the Capitol

January 19, 2023

Policymakers are wasting no time in getting to work. Multiple subcommittee meetings have been held during week 2 of the 2023 legislative session. More than 250 bills have been filed with topics ranging from education to transportation to tax and many more. What’s in the headlines and taking legislators’ time: the Governor’s school choice legislation, which has passed out of both the Senate Education Committee and the House Education Reform Committee. There is a good chance both chambers debate this bill on the floor next week.

ABI staff has been tracking a number of bills related to employment matters, healthcare, regulatory reform and more. Here are some of the key issues we are following.

SF 3: Adoption Mandate - A perennial employment issue considered at the Capitol relates to benefits employers would be required to give to employees who become adoptive parents. The bill mandates employers provide the same benefits and protections to parents who adopt a child/children that are given to parents who birth children. The legislation applies to children 0-18 years of age and covers the first year of adoption. ABI staff spoke at the subcommittee and asked that policymakers narrow the scope of the bill to make it less onerous on employers. The bill advanced out of the subcommittee.

ABI position: Undecided

SF 43: Streamlining Building Regulations - Newly elected State Senator Scott Webster (R-Bettendorf) led a subcommittee discussion on legislation to limit a local government’s ability to impose building codes that go beyond national codes adopted for the regulation of residential construction. ABI spoke in support of the proposal as it will help with the affordability of housing, which is a workforce issue. The bill passed committee and can now go before the full Senate Local Government Committee.

ABI position: For

SF 45: OSHA COVID-19 Protocols - A subcommittee of the Senate Workforce Committee (formerly the Labor Committee) was held to discuss a bill that would prohibit the Iowa Labor Commissioner and Iowa OSHA from enforcing requirements handed down from federal OSHA related to COVID-19. Without commenting on the motive for the bill, ABI public policy staff spoke against the bill as it would put the locally enforced state IOSHA plan at risk of reverting to federal enforcement. Joining ABI in opposition were some labor groups and the Iowa State Bar Association. Iowa is one of 22 states which successfully applied for and received authority for state rather than federal enforcement. The application for that status began in 1973 and Iowa received certification and final approval in 1985.

ABI position: Against