Second Funnel Week In The Books

April 4, 2019

The Legislature just completed week 12 and the second funnel deadline. Several key bills ABI supports have “survived” the second funnel of the 2019 legislative session. Numerous 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 a chamber and out of a full committee in the opposite chamber. Certain bills are immune to this deadline, including those on the unfinished business calendar, appropriations, ways and means, and government oversight.

Although nothing is truly “dead” until the legislature adjourns sine die, the funnel deadline helps narrow the focus of lawmakers as they turn their attention to constructing the budget for the new fiscal year starting in July. There is also less than one month to go until the 110th day of the first session of the 88th General Assembly, which is when per diem expenses end for lawmakers. Check out our full list of bills that are either alive or dead.


SF 608/HF 758 – Future Ready Iowa. Workforce continues to be a legislative priority of ABI members. ABI supports legislation to fund Future Ready Iowa. The Senate Economic Development budget includes $1.2 million for the Employer Innovation Fund, and the House Education budget includes more than $14 million for the Last Dollar Scholarship program. ABI supports those specific components of the budget bills.

HSB 204/SSB 1193 – Empower Rural Iowa. Initial meetings have been favorable to Gov. Reynolds' Empower Rural Iowa legislation. An amendment is expected to the legislation that will address feedback on the broadband components of the bill. Now that the funnel is over, we expect to see the legislation advance. Both bills are in Ways & Means. ABI position: Support.

SF 507/HF 593 – Idiopathic Falls in Workers’ Compensation. The legislation codifies that if an employee falls from a level surface onto the same level surface due to an idiopathic or unexplained fall because of the employee’s own medical condition, it is not compensable under workers’ compensation. It passed the Senate 32-17 and is on the Unfinished Business Calendar and eligible for debate in the House. ABI position: Support.

SF 475/HF 736 – E-Notary. Legislation would allow for electronic notary here in Iowa after July 1, 2020. Would increase the efficiency of certain transactions such as real estate closings. SF 475 passed the Senate 48-0, and HF 736 is eligible for debate in the House. ABI position: Support.

SF 561 – Misconduct. Bill would codify the definition of misconduct with regards to employment. The definition is currently in the Iowa Administrative Code, but not in statute. The bill also adds several examples of what might be considered misconduct. Employees terminated for misconduct would not be eligible for unemployment benefits. The legislation has passed the full Senate and the House Commerce Committee. ABI position: Undecided.

HSB 252 – Rural Tax Credit Set-aside. The legislation would establish a rural economic revitalization center. The bill also requires the Economic Development Authority to issue at least 50% of certain tax credits to rural communities and outlines criteria. The bill is in the House Appropriations Committee. ABI position: Undecided.

HF 607 – Sales Tax Exemption for Aircraft Repairs. The legislation includes Iowa among the states that exempt parts and services of aircraft repairs from sales tax. The bill has passed the House Ways and Means Committee. ABI position: Support.

HF 669/SF 583 – Grid Equity. The legislation grandfathers current net metering agreements and would provide several payment options for future solar projects to help cover the cost of energy infrastructure. The legislation has passed the Senate and passed Commerce Committee in the House. ABI position: Support.

HF 732 – Medical Cannabidiol. The bill eliminates the 3% THC cap and replaces that with a 25 grams of THC per patient per 90-day period limit. It allows nurse practitioners and physician assistants to recommend medical cannabidiol usage. The legislation passed the House 96-3. The bill is on the Senate Judiciary calendar this afternoon. ABI position: Undecided.

SF 520 – Bottle Bill. The legislation creates a definition for participating dealer that would allow grocery and convenience stores to opt out of having to collect redeemable cans and bottles. It also raises the handling fee distributors must pay from one to two cents. The bill is currently in Senate Ways & Means. ABI position: Against.

SF 229 – Water Filter Certification. The bill puts Iowa in line with all other states regarding 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. It passed through the full Senate and House Commerce unanimously. ** ABI Position: support.

SF 237 – Judicial Nominating Commission. The Iowa Senate passed in March legislation that would make changes to Iowa’s state and district judicial nominating commissions. Major changes include who would appoint the attorney members to the state commission and the role of a judge in the process. The bill has also passed the House Judiciary Committee.

HF 327 – Franchisee/Franchisor Relationship. Establishes clear law with regards to employer/employee relationship when a franchise agreement exists. Legislation is a result of a federal NLRB decision that blurred the lines of the employment relationship. It passed the House 51-45 and was approved by the Senate 32-18. The governor is now reviewing the legislation. ABI position: Support.

SF 519 – Ag Trespassing. Legislation relating to penalties and definitions for trespassing on an Agricultural Production Facility has been signed by Gov. Reynolds. It passed in the Senate 41-8 and in the House 65-32. ABI position: Support.

HF 512 – In-Lieu Fee Programs. The bill would allow the DNR to establish in-lieu fee programs, which would provide for the payment of a fee in lieu of other compensatory mitigation actions required by the army corp of engineers. The legislation is currently in House Ways & Means. ABI position: Undecided.

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 2019 legislative session. Since this is the first year of a two-year General Assembly, if the legislation is not passed this year, it's still eligible for consideration next year.


SF 459 – Employer Firearm Prohibition. Prohibits employers from preventing employees from bringing a firearm onto the employer’s parking lot. SF 459 passed Judiciary with a bipartisan vote. An amendment was drafted to the bill to add additional employer protections, but the bill was not debated prior to the funnel deadline. This language could still appear in end-of-session policy language, so ABI will remain vigilant the remainder of session. ABI position: Against.

SF 516 – E-Verify. Legislation requires all public and private employers to use E-verify. Includes good faith language and that Iowa Workforce Development is the state agency that will ensure compliance. Substantial penalties exist if an employer does not comply with the legislation. The legislation also extended to subcontractors of a business. It passed the Senate with a 33-14 bipartisan vote and was referred to House Public Safety. ABI position: Against.

SF 476 – Adoption. Requires employers to treat employees who choose to adopt a child the same as an employee who would be the biological parent of a newborn child regarding employment policies, benefits and protections for the first year. ABI position: Undecided.

SF 508 – Religious Freedom. Legislation enacts strict scrutiny when businesses use religion as a reason for not doing business with a customer. ABI position: Against.

SF 241 – Unemployment Notification. Bill would require IWD to send an electronic notification to an employee confirming that the employee’s unemployment claim was successfully submitted to the department. ABI position: Undecided.

HF 697 – Association Free Speech Protections. Bill would protect tax-exempt organizations' member information and restrict public agency disclosure of and access to certain personal information. The bill has passed the House Judiciary Committee. ABI position: Support.

Pending Legislation

The Legislature was still in session on Thursday afternoon at the time of the newsletter publication. The status of the following bills have not yet been determined, but the public policy team will provide a full update on the bills below and more during the legislative update call.

SF 563/HF 489 – Prescription Drug Costs. The legislation would require health plans to share rebates generated by branded pharmaceutical products directly with consumers instead of sharing the rebates with employers to reduce premiums and health care costs. It would raise premiums, increase overall spending on drugs and undermine employers' efforts to control costs. Both bills passed committees in their respective chambers, but did not come to the floor. The Senate put the legislation on the Unfinished Business calendar, but the House had not yet adjourned for the day. ABI position: Against.

SF 229 – Water Filter Certification. The bill puts Iowa in line with all other states regarding 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. It passed through the full Senate and House Commerce unanimously. ABI position: Support.