One Week Until the First Legislative Deadline

February 9, 2024

We’re just a handful of days away from the first major deadline for legislation during the 2024 legislative session. Lawmakers have been working hard to advance their priorities past the first “funnel” deadline, which is Friday, February 16. By that point, most bills, with a few exceptions, must have passed through a full committee in order to be considered moving forward. This helps policymakers narrow their focus as they get closer to the tentative date for adjournment, which is April 16.

ABI continues to track dozens of proposals as we seek to advance our own priorities. Read more about what we are tracking below:

SSB 3143 - Work-Based Learning

The Governor’s bill targeting work-based learning advanced from the Senate Workforce Committee on Wednesday, February 7th. The Bill creates a Workforce Opportunity Fund to advance work-based learning opportunities in Iowa.

ABI testified in support of the creation of the fund when the bill was in subcommittee and also vowed to help identify a funding source for the Workforce Opportunity Fund other than funds from the Unemployment Compensation Reserve Fund.

A similar measure is expected to be introduced in the House and approved by the House Labor and Workforce Committee next week. Once the funding issue is settled, the measure will have our full support.

  • ABI Position: Neutral

SF 319 - Drug and Alcohol Testing Reform

The House Labor and Workforce Committee convened on Thursday and approved ABI priority legislation related to drug and alcohol testing. The bill makes several reforms including:

  • shifting the burden of proof from the employer to the employee to prove the employer violated the law
  • eliminating subjectivity when it comes to the definition of “safety sensitive position”
  • allowing for more options to be utilized when it comes to exchanging drug and alcohol testing results
  • creating an evidentiary standard when it comes to proving the allegation against the employer

We will be working hard to get this off the House floor and down to Governor Reynolds’ desk.

  • ABI Position: Support

HF 2218- Workforce Housing Tax Credit Expansion

A key housing bill progressing through the legislative process involves a policy that would increase the size of the workforce housing tax credit.

Currently, the credit is capped at $35 million. The legislation would increase that credit to $50 million and increase the rural set aside for small cities from $17.5 million to $25 million.

ABI has been very supportive of this tax credit as the return on investment for the state has been significant.

It moved out of the full House Economic Growth and Technology Committee on Wednesday and will now be referred to Ways & Means.

  • ABI Position: Support

HSB 640 - Pharmacy Benefit Manager Legislation

In 2022, the legislature passed meaningful reforms targeted to support local independent pharmacies. Some provisions that were outside that scope, or were expensive for employers that sponsored health plans for their employees were ultimately removed before final passage. ABI opposed that bill initially but was neutral once the changes were made. 

The 2024 legislation is also targeted to help local independent pharmacies but just as in 2022, there are expensive provisions such as the appeals of reimbursement rates for large chain pharmacies and others that ABI is working to remove as the bill advances.  Until that time, ABI is opposed to the legislation.

  • ABI Position: Opposed

SF 2152 - Employer Payroll Audits by Iowa Workforce Development

Brought by Senator Mike Klimesh on behalf of a Northeast Iowa business in his district, the bill would codify best practices for the affected payroll audits. The time, place and scope of the audits would be agreed upon by Iowa Workforce Development and the business before they commenced. The bill also required a minimum level of record-keeping by employers.

  • ABI Position: Support

SF 2074 - Driving Under the Influence of Cannabidiol

This legislation attempts to square Iowa’s medical Marijuana laws with the prohibitions of driving under the influence of drugs that can be detected by blood tests. The bill would provide a defense to drivers that test positive if they could produce a medical marijuana card. Iowa’s Department of Public Safety spoke against the bill. 

ABI noted that the medical marijuana law was written in a way that guaranteed employers the right to maintain drug-free workplaces and no distinctions in the bill were made for employer-owned vehicles.

  • ABI Position: Opposed

SF 455 - Regulation of Top Soil and Stormwater

The House Local Government Committee convened on Tuesday and advanced a bill that would set a uniform standard for how top soil and stormwater are regulated by cities and counties.

Under the legislation, local governments cannot enforce an ordinance  related to top soil or stormwater that is more stringent than the requirements provided by the National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) General Permit No. 2. The bill would create consistency and clarity for homebuilders.

  • ABI Position: Support

HSB 619 / SF 2231 - Regulation of Siding and Materials for Residential Buildings

One more piece of legislation aimed at housing affordability has passed both the House and Senate Local Government Committees. The companion bills ensure that cities and counties cannot limit the use of a specific style of exterior cladding or finish materials for residential buildings in a manner that is more restrictive than the state building code. There are a handful of exceptions spelled out in the bill. The bill is intended to eliminate unnecessary costs in housing.

  • ABI Position: Support