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PO Box 71005, 2135 NW 108th Street

Clive, IA 50325

Government Affairs

IAHU represents all members with one unified and strong voice. On-going legislative and agency lobbying, a top priority of our Association will be designed to educate those who regulate our industry.

2021 IA Legislative Session

Current Bills 

HSB 228 - Lundgren - PBM

https://www.legis.iowa.gov/legislation/BillBook?ga=89&ba=hsb228

SSB 1225 - Zaun - Noneconomic Damage Awards

https://www.legis.iowa.gov/legislation/BillBook?ga=89&ba=ssb1225

HF 372 - Moore - Non-Medical Switching

 https://www.legis.iowa.gov/legislation/BillBook?ga=89&ba=HF372

HSB 46 – Lundgren – Price Transparency & Cost-Sharing for Prescription Drugs

https://www.legis.iowa.gov/legislation/BillBook?ga=89&ba=HSB46

HSB 50 – Meyer – Insulin Prescription Costs PASSED House 89-2 2/8/21

https://www.legis.iowa.gov/legislation/BillBook?ga=89&ba=hsb50

HF 89 – Fry – A bill for an act relating to reimbursement rates for health care services for mental health conditions, illnesses, injuries, or diseases provided to covered persons by telehealth

https://www.legis.iowa.gov/legislation/BillBook?ba=HF89&ga=89

HF 88 – Fry – A bill for an act relating to the provision of audio-only telehealth or telemedicine by health care professionals.

https://www.legis.iowa.gov/legislation/BillBook?ba=HF88&ga=89

SF 4 – Zaun – Certificate of Need

https://www.legis.iowa.gov/legislation/BillBook?ga=89&ba=Sf4

F 5 – Zaun – Health Care Costs Lists

https://www.legis.iowa.gov/legislation/BillBook?ga=89&ba=SF%205

 

Week 19 Update

Just before midnight on Wednesday, May 19, the Iowa Legislature wrapped up work for the year.  The second to last bill of the evening was a bill that banned schools, cities and counties from mandating mask requirements.  Governor Reynolds signed the bill shortly after midnight. Effective May 20, mask mandates still in effect are no longer in effect.  (Below is more information on this).

Even though the session went a little long, it was a great year.  Larry and I will keep you informed as bills get signed over the next 30 days.  Thank you for the opportunity to work with you.  We look forward to putting our feet up for a few days, and then getting right back to work preparing for next year!  

Thank you - Jake and Larry

PS - It is very likely the legislature comes back in September to approve the new Iowa electoral map. 

Here are some additional news clips on the last few days:

Gov. Reynolds releases statement on 2021 Legislative Session  

DES MOINES - Today, Gov. Reynolds released the following statements on the conclusion of the 2021 legislative session:  

“This legislative session, I charged the House and Senate to work together to further advance Iowa’s strong recovery from COVID-19 and promote policies that strengthen our families, communities, schools, workforce and economy. I’m proud that we delivered on the promises made to the people of Iowa. 

“Our fiscally responsible budget practices and balanced approach to managing the pandemic, put Iowa is in a position to cut taxes and invest in foundational priorities that ensure we remain competitive in the 21st century. 

“More than $400 million dollars in tax cuts mean Iowans will keep more of their hard-earned money. The phase out of the inheritance tax will lessen the burden of passing on family farms and businesses.  And by eliminating a $100 million property tax levy, the responsibility for funding Iowa’s mental health system comes off the backs of homeowners and into the hands of the state which can provide the stable, sustainable funding to ensure access to care for every Iowan who needs it. 

“Iowa’s historic $100 million investment in broadband will transform our technology infrastructure into a powerful network that enables fast, high-quality connectivity to empower every community across our state, from our urban centers to our small towns. 

“This legislative session, we continued our investment in K-12 education and put more control of our children’s education into the hands of their parents. We supported law enforcement, strengthened our elections, protected our 2nd Amendment rights, and upheld the sanctity of life. 

“Over the last year, Iowa has been recognized nationally as the #1 state for opportunity and for having one of the fastest and strongest pandemic recoveries... and Iowans deserve the credit. Together, there’s nothing we can’t accomplish.” 

Lt. Governor Gregg released the following statement: 

“Governor Reynolds led the charge to make Iowa an even better place to live, work, and raise a family. The tax compromise brokered by the governor makes progress on longstanding challenges faced by the state.  

“By speeding up the historic 2018 income tax cuts, incentivizing workforce housing development, and lowering property taxes, this tax reform makes Iowa an even better place to start a family, career, or business. 

"With unprecedented investment in broadband, new incentives to spark housing development, and increased funding for Empower Rural Iowa programs, this session was a real success for rural Iowa. 

“I look forward to seeing the positive impact these changes will have, and exploring further improvement in policy and practice to ensure opportunity and prosperity are present in all corners of our state.” 

Key legislative priorities that passed during the 2020 Legislative Session: 

Tax Relief for Hardworking Iowans  

Reducing taxes benefits Iowa families and makes our state more competitive. 

  • $300 million income tax cut by removing triggers for hardworking Iowans (SF619) 
  • $100 million property tax relief by fully removing the mental health levy (SF619) 
  • Phases out the inheritance tax with complete removal by January 2025 (SF619) 

Putting Students First, Supporting Parental Choice, Investing in Education 

A high-quality education system that offers innovative learning opportunities and empowers parents to choose the best path for their children is the foundation of a strong state. 

  • Ensured every child and family in Iowa had the opportunity to attend school 100% in-person during the pandemic beginning in Feb. 2021 (SF160)  
  • Allows parents to make health care decisions for their children by prohibiting schools from requiring masks (HF847) 
  • Expands charter schools, giving parents and students greater options and flexibility while also allowing for innovation to occur within the classroom (HF813) 
  • Allows parents to make educational decisions for their children by expanding open enrollment opportunities for families (HF847) 
  • Protects free speech rights of all students in the classroom (HF744) 
  • Bans instruction that teaches that America is inherently racist (HF802)  
  • Invests a record $3.418 billion for PreK-12 education, a 2.4% increase (SF269) 
  • Increases Transportation Equity to buy down cost of transportation for 218 Iowa school districts (SF269) 
  • Further reduces per pupil equity gap to $145 (SF269) 

Ensuring Universal Broadband Access 

High-speed internet is as vital to our communities as running water and electricity – this became abundantly clear during the pandemic. 

  • Invests $100 million in broadband to transform our infrastructure into a powerful network, enabling fast, high quality connectivity across the entire state and resulting in one of the most significant broadband build-outs in the nation (HF867)  
  • Leverages millions more in private dollars to establish a three-tiered grant program that incentivizes providers to prioritize broadband deserts where high-speed internet is rarely offered (HF848) 

Creating Affordable Housing 

Creative solutions that address pent-up demand for affordable housing will encourage families to move where opportunities exist and help our communities thrive.  

  • Invests in attainable housing by increasing funding to the State Housing Trust Fund at $7 million a year (SF619) 
  • Builds high quality homes in rural and urban Iowa by increasing the Workforce Housing Tax Credit to $40 million for FY22 and then $35 million going forward (SF619)  
  • Extends and expands the Brownfield and Grayfield Tax Credits to help rebuild blighted and abandoned properties (SF619) 
  • Creates a Disaster Recovery Housing Assistance Fund to help Iowans who lost their homes due to a natural disaster (SF619) 

Providing High-quality Affordable Child Care 

Iowa has the third highest percentage of households with both (or the only) parents working. Improving access to childcare will allow parents to nurture their children while remaining in the workforce. 

  • Increases eligibility for the Early Childhood and Dependent Tax Credits from $45,000 to $90,000 so families are not penalized for hard work and upward mobility (SF619) 
  • Allows an additional school-aged child in a childcare home to increase access for childcare across the state and flexibility on days when school is cancelled (HF260) 
  • Establishes a gradual phase-out for childcare assistance so families can pursue higher wages without immediately losing assistance (HF302)  
  • Prioritizes High Quality Jobs applicants who propose to provide onsite childcare options for employees (SF619) 

Growing a 21st Century Economy 

Supporting industry investments and incentives to help Iowa manufacturers remain competitive in the global manufacturing supply chain. 

  • Develops a Manufacturing 4.0 strategic roadmap for the future of manufacturing in the state of Iowa (SF619) 
  • Allows Iowa companies to make strategic investments in their workplaces by coupling with Federal Bonus Depreciation (SF619) 
  • Helps reinvest and reopen communities following the pandemic or a natural disaster by creating a Downtown Loan Guarantee (SF619) 
  • Extends the Targeted Jobs Withholding Credit to help border cities compete with our neighboring states (SF619) 

Promoting Strong and Healthy Families 

New models of care delivery based on the needs of Iowans will help to ensure that quality health care remains accessible, affordable, and close to home. 

  • Creates a long-term, sustainable funding stream for Iowa’s mental health system and increases mental health funding from $98 million in 2021 to $135 million by 2026, with a mechanism to allow funding to automatically increase as Iowa’s economy grows (SF619) 
  • Ensures payment parity for mental health telehealth services (SF619)  
  • Expands access to the children’s mental health waiver through increased funding (HF891) 
  • Provides additional funding for providers who care for Iowa’s most vulnerable, including PMICs, home and community-based services, nursing facilities and home health agencies (HF891) 
  • Creates a center of excellence program to encourage innovation and collaboration among regional health care providers (HF891) 
  • Ensures support for OB/GYNs practicing in rural communities through the Rural Iowa Primary Care Loan Repayment Program (SF129) 
  • Increases funding for the Psychiatry Residency Training Program (HF891) 
  • Streamlines the process for counties to adopt EMS as an essential service (SF615) 

Supporting Law Enforcement  

In Iowa, we will always back our brave men and women in blue. Supporting our police and other law enforcement officers will help to keep our communities safe and strong. 

  • Provides additional due process protections for law enforcement officers and protects officers, prosecutors, and judges from being targeted (SF342) 
  • Increases the Emergency Volunteer Tax Credit, serving as financial assistance to those that step up and serve (SF619) 
  • Puts in place tougher penalties for those who loot, riot, or block our streets (SF342) 

Securing Our Elections, Our Constitutional Rights, and Protecting the Unborn  

Iowans believe in life, liberty, and a constitution that protects it. Iowa is leading the way, and our state stands in stark contrast to the polices of Washington, D.C.  

Election Security 

  • Ensures elections are fair, secure, and free from fraud (SF413)  
  • Strengthens uniformity by providing Iowa’s election officials with consistent parameters for Election Day, absentee voting, database maintenance, and a clear appeals process for local county auditors 
  • Promotes accountability by imposing tougher penalties for election misconduct.  

Constitutional Rights 

  • A joint resolution proposing an amendment to the Constitution of the State of Iowa relating to the right of the people to keep and bear arms (SJR 7) 
  • Allows Iowans to exercise their 2nd Amendment rights without purchasing a permit from the government (HF756) 
  • Bans vaccine passports (HF 889)  
  • Protects the free speech rights of students living on college campuses (HF 744) 

Protecting Life 

  • Protects the rights of the unborn by passing a constitutional amendment that clearly states there is not a fundamental right to abortion 

Reinvigorating the Iowa Agriculture Economy  

Farming is a way of life we value in Iowa, and we’re committed to protecting it for our families and future generations.  

  • Supports the next generation of Iowa farmers by expanding Beginning Farmer Tax Credit program eligibility (SF619)  
  • Safeguards Iowa’s livestock industry through increased funding for foreign animal disease preparedness and protects premise identification information (HF860/SF578)  
  • Establishes a small meat processing program to help expand Iowa’s meat processing capacity and support small processors (HF 857)  
  • Creates a farm-to-school program to assist schools in purchasing locally grown produce and protein (SF578) 

Gov. Reynolds signs HF 847 into law 

DES MOINES - Today, Gov. Reynolds signed HF 847 into law, legislation that contains several components of the governor’s Students First Act as well as provisions that prohibit K-12 schools from mandating masks as well as cities and counties from mandating masks in businesses. 

“The state of Iowa is putting parents back in control of their child’s education and taking greater steps to protect the rights of all Iowans to make their own health care decisions,” said Gov. Reynolds. “I am proud to be a governor of a state that values personal responsibility and individual liberties. I want to thank the Iowa Legislature for their quick work in bringing this bill to my desk so that it can be signed into law.”  

HF 847: an Act relating to educational programs, funding, tax credits and deductions, open enrollment, supplementary weighting, and including effective date, applicability, and retroactive applicability provisions. 

https://www.radioiowa.com/2021/05/19/gop-lawmakers-vote-to-bar-mask-mandates-in-iowa-schools/

Governor and GOP lawmakers end mask mandates in Iowa schools

MAY 19, 2021 BY O. KAY HENDERSON

Republicans in the Iowa legislature have voted Wednesday evening to ban mask mandates in all Iowa schools, as well as in cities and counties. Governor Reynolds signed the bill shortly after midnight and it became law immediately.

That means as school begins on this Thursday, May 20, mask mandates still in effect in Iowa school districts are nullified. Mask mandates established by city and county officials for private businesses are now banned as well. House Speaker Pat Grassley delivered a copy of the bill to Reynolds in her statehouse office, as a cheering crowd surrounded the governor’s desk for the private event.

“The state of Iowa is putting parents back in control of their child’s education and taking greater steps to protect the rights of all Iowans to make their own health care decisions,” Reynolds said in a written statement.

During House debate a few hours earlier, Republican Representative Dustin Hite of New Sharon said he’s been fielding complaints about mask mandates since the pandemic began.

“You want to talk about something that’s grassroots, this is something I’ve heard about — I’ve lost count,” Hite said.

Representative Marti Anderson, a Democrat from Des Moines, said face coverings are a part of the “public health response” to the pandemic.

“Don’t we have a responsibility to protect the health of the people around us?” Anderson asked.

Representative Eric Gjerdes, a Democrat from Cedar Rapids, said banning mask mandates “isn’t based on science, it’s based on perception.”

“Masks make sense right now make sense for folks that are not vaccinated,” he said. “The majority of students in Iowa schools have not been doubly vaccinated.”

Representative Steven Holt, a Republican from Denison, said “numerous” parents in his district have had enough and they don’t want their children wearing a mask in school.

“If we believe the vaccines work, if we believe that masks work, then fine. Get the vaccine. Wear the mask and don’t worry about what other people are doing,” Holt said. “You be you and you let them be them. This is about freedom.”

Senator Joe Bolkcom, a Democrat from Iowa City, was among those who said the ban could prevent local governments from responding to future public health emergencies.

“Masks work,” Bolkcom said. “They have worked and it’s a good thing that local governments and school districts have taken it upon themselves to encourage the use of masks.”

Senator Chris Cournoyer, a Republican from LeClaire, said it’s time to learn from the lessons of the pandemic.

“Kids do get Covid. My children have had Covid. Kids get colds, kids get cancer and kids get the flu,” Cournoyer said. “We cannot continue to live in an entire bubble.”

The bill passed both the Senate and House early Wednesday evening on what was the final day of the 2021 legislative session.

Gov. Reynolds signs legislation into law  

DES MOINES – Wednesday, May 19, Gov. Reynolds signed the following bills into law:  

SF 517: an Act relating to the provision of academic credit, including social studies coursework, and exemptions for physical education and activity requirements for students who participate in the legislative page program at the state capitol.  

SF 356: an Act limiting civil liability for persons involved in agricultural tourism.  

SF 296: an Act relating to the practice of pharmacy, including the prescription and administration of vaccines and collaborative pharmacy practice. 

HF 603: an Act establishing the sexual assault forensic examiner program.  

HF 426: an Act relating to crime victims, including the collection of evidence in sexual abuse cases and the establishment of an automated tracking system involving sexual abuse evidence collection kits. 

HF 813: an Act modifying and establishing charter school programs and making appropriations. 

HF 855: an Act relating to access to a copy of an original birth certificate by an adoptee or an entitled person, providing for fees, and including effective date provisions. 

HF 761: an Act relating to the local fire protection and emergency medical service providers grant program. 

Additional Legislation signed by Governor Reynolds on Thursday, May 20

DES MOINES - Today, Gov. Reynolds signed the following bills into law: 

HF 196: an Act expanding the health care professional recruitment program.  

HF 285: an Act relating to professional standards for the certification or designation of music therapists and providing penalties. 

HF 304: an Act relating to personal delivery devices, providing penalties, and making penalties applicable. 

HF 309: an Act restricting public agency disclosure of and access to certain personal information related to tax-exempt organizations, and providing penalties. 

HF 380: an Act requiring approved driver education courses to include instruction concerning distracted driving. 

HF 435: an Act relating to emergency contact information for use by the department of transportation and law enforcement, and including effective date provisions. 

HF 452: an Act relating to certain civil and criminal enforcement activities involving the practice of massage therapy and cosmetology, and human trafficking, and providing penalties. 

HF 453: an Act prohibiting the imposition of certain requirements on nonprofit corporations by state agencies or state officials. 

HF 493: an Act relating to low-speed electric bicycles, providing penalties, making penalties applicable, and including applicability provisions. 

HF 527: an Act relating to the authority of county boards of supervisors to amend an agreement between the counties to implement the county land record information system. 

HF 685: an Act relating to requirements for licensees under the purview of the dental board relating to orthodontia services. 

HF 709: an Act relating to pretrial contact between a prosecuting witness who is a minor and the defendant. 

HF 722: an Act relating to the transfer, deposit, and appropriation of moneys to the teach Iowa scholar fund from the teacher shortage forgivable loan repayment fund and the teacher shortage loan forgiveness repayment fund. 

HF 744: an Act providing for training, prohibitions, and requirements relating to first amendment rights at school districts and public institutions of higher education. 

HF 753: an Act relating to unintentionally causing the death of a person by operating a motor vehicle at an excessive speed, providing penalties, and making penalties applicable. 

HF 765: an Act relating to the acquisition and possession of weapons and providing penalties. 

HF 768: an Act concerning licensing of and sales by native distilleries, beer manufacturers, native breweries, and native wine manufacturers. 

HF 793: an Act relating to participation in and credit for physical education under the educational standards. 

HF 828: an Act relating to commercial driver's license driving skills tests, providing fees, and including effective date provisions. 

HF 835an Act relating to trusts for persons with disabilities. 

HF 839an Act relating to the financial exploitation of designated eligible adults. 

HF 846: an Act relating to title fees for snowmobiles, all-terrain vehicles, and vessels of surviving spouses.    

HF 869: an Act creating a permit allowing the operation of vehicles of excessive weight transporting fluid milk products, providing fees, and including effective date provisions. 

HF 889: an Act prohibiting the mandatory disclosure of whether a person has received a vaccination for COVID-19, disqualifying certain entities from receiving state grants or contracts, and including effective date provisions. 

SF 387: an Act relating to courses of study and training programs of the Iowa law enforcement academy and veterans educational assistance benefits, and including effective date provisions 

SF 424: an Act relating to the licensure of persons completing an apprenticeship, and including effective date provisions. 

SF 541: an Act relating to electronic transactions by permitting the use of distributed ledger technology and smart contracts and including effective date provisions. 

Yesterday, Gov. Reynolds also signed the following bills into law:  

HF 311: an Act relating to the frequency of game nights conducted by licensed qualified organizations. 

HF 675: an Act relating to rules adopted by the board of educational examiners establishing standards for substitute teacher authorizations. 

HF 770: an Act relating to licensure renewal requirements adopted by rule by the board of educational examiners 

Week 18 Update

The Iowa legislature largely took this week off as they didn't have the votes (too many GOP members out of town) to move bills.  It is now expected both chambers come back next week, officially cut a deal, move the bills, and adjourn sometime next week/weekend.  We will keep you posted as all of this comes together.
 
Here are the headlines this week:

Iowa adopts insurance data security act for licensed insurers 

Gov. Kim Reynolds recently signed into law the Iowa Insurance Data Security Act (House File 719), making Iowa one of more than a dozen states to adopt the National Association of Insurance Commissioners' model cybersecurity law, JD Supra reported. Effective Jan. 1, 2022, the act establishes investigation procedures, data security program standards and notification requirements for Iowa Insurance Division-regulated licensees to protect the security and confidentiality of nonpublic information and the security of the licensees' information systems. Licensees with fewer than 20 employees are exempt, as are licensees with less than $5 million in gross annual revenue or less than $10 million in year-end total. Covered licensees must develop, implement and maintain a comprehensive written information security program that considers their size, complexity, the scope of their activities, and the results of a required risk assessment. All insurers domiciled in the state must submit annual reports to the commissioner of insurance by April 15, certifying that the licensee is in compliance. 

Week 17 Update

The Iowa Legislative Session continues in overtime!  This week Governor Reynolds and Senate Republicans unveiled a $400 million tax cut compromise.  House Republicans unveiled their own plan, and the stalemate continues.  The main sticking point continues to be how Iowa's mental health system is paid for.  Senate Republicans want to take it off property taxes, and onto the state budget, while House Republicans want to continue as is for now.  

The House debated late into the evening last night, passing their versions of budget bills over to the Senate, and will pass the remaining budget out of their chamber on a rare Friday session today. No agreement between the chambers has been reached on the majority of them. 

It is unclear when an agreement will be reached, so it is likely session will likely continue, at a reduced pace, for at least another few weeks.

Here are the major headlines this week:

 

Week 16 Update

Not over yet! Unfortunately, the 2021 IA Legislative Session is going into OT.  Lawmakers will no longer receive their daily per diem, and likely won't come back until mid-next week when they are closer to a deal. Once a deal is reached, it still takes about a week to process everything.  

The main sticking point between the chambers is tax reform.  Senate Republicans want to remove triggers from the 2018 tax reform bill and implement it immediately.  Secondly, they want to move the cost of mental health care from property taxpayers (lower property taxes) to the state's general fund.  House Republicans have been more cautious with budget issues and aren't sold on this plan yet.  

The lawmakers in charge of budget negotiations can't cut a deal until the tax reform issues are resolved.  Additionally, there are policy issues important to each chamber that haven't been agreed to yet that also complicate the situation. 

Here are the major headlines this week:

 

Week 15 Update 

The 2021 Iowa Legislative Session is supposed to end next week, but that is looking unlikely as legislative leaders have yet to agree on a few big items like tax reform and final budget numbers.  Once those final agreements are reached, it takes about another week to move the "paper" between both chambers for adjournment.  We will keep you updated on any developments.

Here are the major headlines this week:

 

Week 14 Update 

Iowa Legislative leaders, and budget chairs worked this week to try and find consensus on final agreements.  Progress is being made, but both sides still differ on big ticket items like tax cuts.  My best guess is they will hash out the majority of those differences this week coming week and adjourn right around the scheduled date of 4/30.

Here are the major headlines this week:

On Monday, Governor Reynolds signed the following bills into law:

SF 172:  An Act relating to the definition of Sex Act or Sexual Activity for the purpose of the Iowa criminal code.  

SF 253: An Act relating to sexual abuse In the second degree and sexual abuse in the third degree.   

SF 548: An Act relating to the regulation of advertising near certain highways. 

HF 368: An Act relating to the administration of the reimbursement for rent constituting property taxes paid and related matters and including effective date provisions.  

HF 495: an act relating to certain reporting dates for cities which receive road use tax fund moneys. 

HF 559: An Act relating to financial assistance provided by the economic development authority to certain apprentice sponsors and lead apprentice sponsors, and including applicability provisions. 

HF 655: An Act prohibiting interference with the transportation of an agricultural animal, and providing penalties. 

HF 260: An Act relating to the number of children receiving childcare at any one time in a childcare home. 

HF 552: An Act relating to requirements for using a dog to track a wounded deer.  

HF 555: An Act prohibiting counties and cities from regulating the sale of natural gas and propane. 

SF 444:An Act relating to motor vehicles, including the surrender or transfer of registration plates and cards to a county treasurer, documentary fees charged by a motor vehicle dealers, and a motor vehicles franchise.  

 

Week 13 Update

The Iowa Legislature continued to inch closer to adjournment as both chambers worked on initial budget bills this week.  Additionally, both chambers focused on floor votes moving mostly non-controversial bills down to the Governor or back to the other chamber if an amendment was made.  In the next week or two (hopefully), House and Senate Republicans will announce joint budget targets and final deals will be made. 

This week, the following led the news:

 

 

Week 12 Update

This week, the Iowa Legislature completed the second funnel week, and most committee work for the year.  In the weeks moving forward, legislators will be focusing their time on "floor work" and going to their respective caucus meetings to hammer out the final deals of the year.  I'd guess somewhere around 4 weeks of session remaining (hopefully)!

Here are the major headlines for the week:

1. House Republicans call for $100 million in broadband expansion: https://www.radioiowa.com/2021/03/26/house-republicans-plan-100-million-for-broadband-expansion/

2. Iowa see's enrollment decline in schools: https://www.kcrg.com/2021/03/31/iowa-schools-see-first-enrollment-decline-in-a-decade-with-no-way-to-account-for-where-students-went/

3. Charter school legislation advances: https://www.thegazette.com/subject/news/government/iowa-senators-advance-charter-school-expansion-20210330

4. Iowa Congresswoman MMM officially wins by 6 votes!: https://www.radioiowa.com/2021/03/31/closest-2020-congressional-race-in-us-is-over/

5. April 5th, all Iowans eligible Iowans can get vaccine: https://www.thegazette.com/subject/news/health/iowa-is-prepared-to-open-covid-19-vaccine-eligibility-gov-kim-reynolds-says-20210331

6. Bottle bill discussions continue: https://wcfcourier.com/news/state-and-regional/govt-and-politics/changes-to-iowa-bottle-bill-likely-a-non-starter-this-session/article_aa44beb6-c8cc-59b4-9797-868ec12bb878.html#tracking-source=home-top-story-1

7. Some controversial bills dead after second funnel: https://www.radioiowa.com/2021/04/02/bills-related-to-birth-control-tenure-racial-profiling-didnt-meet-deadline-for-action/

8. Governor's biofuel bill continues to be worked on: https://iowacapitaldispatch.com/2021/03/31/lawmakers-work-to-soften-governors-controversial-biofuels-bill/

 

Week 11 Update

The second funnel deadline of this year's Iowa Legislative Session is just a week away.  For bills to remain eligible, they must pass a chamber, and clear a committee in the other chamber.  

Here are the major headlines from the week:

Private flood insurance coming to Iowa?: 

https://www.radioiowa.com/2021/03/26/house-bill-could-set-up-private-flood-insurance-market-in-iowa/

Tragedy at Iowa State Prison:

https://www.radioiowa.com/2021/03/24/few-details-known-about-deadly-attack-at-eastern-iowa-prison/

Governor, Senate Republicans call for Tax Cuts:

https://www.radioiowa.com/2021/03/19/governor-says-tax-projections-should-spur-speeding-up-tax-cuts/

Iowa Governments to receive $4 Billion in aid:

https://wcfcourier.com/business/iowa-governments-in-line-for-over-4b-in-covid-19-aid/article_4edbd411-40c2-56b5-bbb3-cf0c4eae2cc8.html

House approves Charter School legislation: https://www.radioiowa.com/2021/03/25/house-approves-new-route-for-charter-schools-in-iowa/

Gun law changes heading to Governor Reynolds desk: 

https://www.radioiowa.com/2021/03/24/governor-reviewing-proposed-changes-in-iowa-gun-law/

Iowa's Second Congressional District race outcome under debate:

https://www.radioiowa.com/2021/03/25/governor-says-democrats-are-trying-to-federalize-elections/

Rental and mortgage assistance announced: 

https://www.radioiowa.com/2021/03/25/195-million-in-assistance-for-low-income-iowans-with-overdue-rent-utility-bills/

Governor Reynolds signed the following bills into law on Monday 3/22:

HF 560:  An Act relating to requirements for eligibility under the all Iowa opportunity scholarship program. 

SF 129: An Act relating to specialty areas, service commitment area distance requirements, and practice – related requirements under the rural Iowa primary care loan repayment program.  

SF 232: An Act relating to notice and reclamation requirements for abandoned vehicles taken into custody by a police authority or private entity.  

SF 235: An Act relating to the denial and contests of probate claims.   

SF 261: An act authorizing the college student aid commission to organize a non profit corporation.  

SF 289: An Act relating to the powers and duties of the board of directors of area education agencies, school districts, and school corporations, and to the election of a director as school board president.  

SF 307: An Act relating to the examination and transportation of dead bodies, including associated fees and costs.   

SF 353: An Act relating to the drainage and levee districts, by providing for notices to interested persons including landowners in the district, and for repairs that require a report by an engineer or soil and water conservation district conservationist.  

SF 482: An Act regulating the application of pesticides, inducing by providing for the certification of applicators, and certain actions taken by the department of agriculture and land stewardship against private applicators and providing penalties.  

 

Week 10 Update

At 11 AM today, the Iowa Revenue Estimating Conference met. This three-person group forecasts the State of Iowa budget.  If they estimate lower numbers than the previous December estimate, legislators work off the March REC.  If the December REC is lower of the two, they work off December.  Today's meeting will give legislators the answers they need to begin the process of winding down session. 

The legislature worked on some pretty big bills this week:

Other big news items this week:

 

Week 9 Update

This past week was much slower as legislators largely focused on floor work, not committee work after the 1st funnel deadline. Friday, March 19th is the Revenue Estimating Conference meeting.  Once these numbers come out, legislators can begin work on finalizing the budget for the year.  
 
Governor Reynolds signed the following bills into law Monday:
 
HF200: An act relating to the military code and duty performed by a member of the United States Coast Guard.  
  
HF235An act relating to service charges on consumer credit transactions.  
  
HF232: An act relating to the crime of disorderly conduct and making penalties applicable.    
 
SF240: An act relating to the creation, administration, and termination of custodial trusts.  
  
SF239: An act relating to proper parties in causes of actions following the death of persons entitled or liable to such causes of actions and including applicability provisions.   
  
SF231: An act regarding driving privileges of persons issued a special minor’s driver’s license, and making penalties applicable.   
  
SF173:  An act relating to trusts, including requirements for certifications of trust and the general order of abatement.  
  
SF343: An act relating to authorized access to certain confidential records by employees of the Department of Corrections, a judicial district Department of Correctional Services, and the Board of Parole.    
  
SF285: An act relating to suspension of a student’s participation in the All Iowa Opportunity Scholarship program.    
  
SF130: An act relating to a temporary exception to a limitation compensation for a member of a board of directors of a school corporation, and including effective date provisions.   
  
HF386: An act striking certain reporting requirements related to non profit school organizations established by school districts.   
  
HF308An act relating to eligibility requirements for students under the senior year plus program and including effective date and applicability provisions.   
  
HF283: An act creating the criminal offense of defrauding a drug or alcohol test and providing penalties.     

Week 8 Update

Today officially marks the first funnel deadline of this legislative session.  It was a very busy week of subcommittee and committee work as legislators and lobbyists tried to get bills important to them through. 

Here's a listing of which bills made it, and which bills died:

https://www.thegazette.com/subject/news/government/heres-what-alive-and-dead-at-the-iowa-legislature-20210304

Most of the GOP priority bills made it:

https://www.thegazette.com/subject/news/government/most-of-iowa-gop-agenda-clears-first-legislative-hurdle-20210304

Governor's Reynold's bill to ban racial profiling bill did not advance:

https://www.iowapublicradio.org/state-government-news/2021-03-04/iowa-lawmakers-fail-to-advance-racial-profiling-ban-ahead-of-deadline

House GOP passes tax breaks for PPP and unemployment dollars:

https://www.radioiowa.com/2021/03/03/house-approves-115m-in-tax-breaks-to-iowa-businesses-unemployed/

House GOP goes after big tech censorship:

https://www.radioiowa.com/2021/03/05/house-gop-plan-focuses-on-big-tech-censoring-politicians/

Iowans under 65, with chronic health conditions will be able to get Covid-19 shot starting Monday:

https://www.desmoinesregister.com/story/news/health/2021/03/04/iowa-expands-covid-19-vaccine-eligibility-people-chronic-health-conditions-at-risk/4586320001/

Governor's Reynold's school choice legislation hit a roadblock:

https://www.thehawkeye.com/story/news/politics/2021/03/03/governor-kim-reynolds-school-choice-bill-lacks-support-iowa-house/6906823002/

The Bottle bill debate continues:

https://iowacapitaldispatch.com/2021/03/04/lawmakers-uncork-criticism-of-bottle-bill-changes-advance-proposals-anyway/

Week 7 Update

This week the Iowa Legislature was focused on election reform.  After 5 hours of debate Wednesday, the House passed the measure 57-37.  The Senate passed the bill last week and it now heads to the Governor's desk for review.

Major changes include: 

20 days of absentee voting instead of 29

Absentee ballots must be returned to the County Auditor by 8 PM on election day

Instead of being able to request an absentee ballot 120 days out, the earliest one can now be requested is 70 days out

Polls will now close at 8 PM instead of 9 PM

Governor Reynolds signed a 2.4% increase in school funding:

https://www.radioiowa.com/2021/02/23/governor-approves-2-4-increase-in-state-per-pupil-spending-on-schools/

Governor Reynolds announced a new Covid-19 vaccine information website:

https://www.radioiowa.com/2021/02/25/new-state-of-iowa-website-with-covid-19-vaccine-info/

The Governor also announced more Iowans will be eligible for the shot in March:

https://www.iowapublicradio.org/ipr-news/2021-02-25/reynolds-vaccine-eligibility-to-expand-in-early-march-iowa-launching-vaccine-locator

Governor Reyonold's School Choice bill has hit a roadblock in the Iowa House:

https://www.desmoinesregister.com/story/news/politics/2021/02/22/iowa-governor-kim-reynolds-school-choice-education-bill-private-schools-republicans-uncomfortable/4436542001/

The Legislature's 1st Funnel deadline is this coming Thursday.  Any bill, other than those within the Ways and Means or Appropriations committee is "dead" if not passed out of committee.

Week 6 Update

The Iowa Legislature's first funnel deadline is in just two weeks.  This means any bill that has been proposed must pass a sub committee, and full committee to be considered alive for this session. With this deadline approaching, the Cap is very busy with sub and full committee meetings to move bills.  Even with these deadlines, technically nothing is ever "dead" as language can always be amended into live bills.  

This week the Legislature passed a 2.4% increase in school spending:

https://www.desmoinesregister.com/story/news/politics/2021/02/17/legislature-passes-iowa-education-funding-k-12-schools/6719761002/

The House also passed extra funding for school to cover covid expenses:

https://www.radioiowa.com/2021/02/19/house-approves-extra-school-funding-for-covid-costs/

Governor Reynold's fuel mandate bill had its first subcommittee meetings:

https://www.radioiowa.com/2021/02/18/state-biofuels-mandate-gets-first-airing-in-iowa-legislature/

Governor says her focus this session is on broadband and childcare:

https://www.radioiowa.com/2021/02/16/reynolds-says-legislative-action-needed-on-broadband-housing-child-care-her-focus/

Republicans unveil election reform bill:

https://www.desmoinesregister.com/story/opinion/columnists/iowa-view/2021/02/19/iowa-legislature-voting-bill-auditors-clarity-improves-system/4493017001/

Week 5 Update

It was another cold, busy week at the Iowa Cap!  

Senator Dickey from SE Iowa was officially sworn in Monday, and the Senate Chamber returned to a 32-18 R advantage.

https://www.radioiowa.com/2021/02/08/winner-of-special-election-sworn-in-as-50th-state-senator/  

This week was largely dominated with the annual school funding debate.  The House, Senate and Governor have all proposed increases ranging from 2.2% to 2.5% while also rewarding schools that remained open during the pandemic with extra funding.

https://www.radioiowa.com/2021/02/12/house-and-senate-republicans-agree-on-general-level-of-spending-for-schools/

The legislature has also begun work on a series of child care bills.  You can read about those here: https://www.radioiowa.com/2021/02/11/package-of-child-care-proposals-clears-iowa-house/

News Clips:

End tenure at Iowa Regent Universities? 

https://www.radioiowa.com/2021/02/11/iowa-house-education-committee-votes-to-end-tenure-at-ui-isu-uni/

Insulin reform moves forward

https://kiwaradio.com/local-news/another-push-at-statehouse-to-limit-co-pays-for-insulin/

Governor Reynolds lifts Iowa's mask mandate

https://www.radioiowa.com/2021/02/05/iowas-governor-lifts-mask-mandate-for-public-indoor-spaces/

2021 Iowa State Fair a go!

https://www.desmoinesregister.com/story/entertainment/2021/02/12/board-monitoring-safety-protocols-covid-iowa-state-fair-2021/4453501001/

State of Iowa taps Microsoft for vaccine rollout:

https://www.desmoinesregister.com/story/news/health/2021/02/09/iowa-picked-microsoft-create-covid-19-vaccination-scheduling-system/4449607001/

 

Week 4 Update

Week 4 of the 2021 legislative session is in the books.  Thursday's legislative meetings were largely cancelled due to the storm.  One nice thing about the IA Senate conducting their subcommittees via zoom, is they were able to keep most of those as planned.  

Governor Reynolds held her weekly news conference yesterday, and after months of work, she and her Economic Recovery Advisory Board released their report:

https://governor.iowa.gov/sites/default/files/documents/GovAdvisoryBoard_Report_112020_F.pdf

https://www.desmoinesregister.com/story/money/business/2021/02/04/executives-back-governor-kim-reynolds-iowa-economy-recovery-plans-covid-19/4392336001/

Governor Reynolds also touched on the need to improve vaccine rollout in the state:

https://kwwl.com/2021/02/04/governor-reynolds-promises-to-find-solutions-for-slow-vaccine-rollout-in-iowa/

Governor Reynolds named former Gov Branstad Chief of Staff as the new Department of Management Director, he replaces retiring Dave Roederer: 

https://www.desmoinesregister.com/story/news/politics/2021/02/01/kim-reynolds-names-michael-bousselot-direct-iowa-department-management-state-budget-david-roederer/4346627001/

Other News Clips:

All Iowa Schools must offer in-person option by Feb 15:

https://www.radioiowa.com/2021/01/29/all-iowa-schools-required-to-hold-in-person-classes-by-feb-15/

I Pledge Allegiance to the Flag, could be required to start each school day:

https://www.radioiowa.com/2021/02/02/reciting-pledge-of-allegiance-would-be-required-to-start-school-day/

Child Care Shortage legislation a priority this session:

https://www.radioiowa.com/2021/02/02/legislators-working-on-bills-to-address-child-care-shortage/

House oversight holds meetings on free speech issues at University of Iowa:

https://wcfcourier.com/news/local/govt-and-politics/iowa-universities-apologize-for-egregious-free-speech-errors/article_1cb814ae-8e55-5f67-b101-0092621ab950.html#tracking-source=home-top-story-1

OTC Birth Control advances: 

https://www.radioiowa.com/2021/02/03/house-panel-endorses-birth-control-access-at-pharmacy-counter/

Week 3 Update 

Week 3 was a busy one, with dozens of subcommittee meetings taking place daily.  This fast pace will likely continue until Thursday, March 4th when the first funnel deadline occurs.

Yesterday, both the House and Senate approved SF 160 - a bill that requires school districts to offer 100% in person school.  Governor Reynolds will sign this legislation at 11 AM this morning. 

https://www.radioiowa.com/2021/01/28/every-iowa-school-will-be-required-to-hold-100-of-classes-in-person/

Sf 169, the Governor's education reform bill, which includes vouchers for private schools passed the Senate, and now heads to the House for their consideration: 

https://www.radioiowa.com/2021/01/28/senate-advances-governors-student-first-scholarships-for-private-school-attendance/

The legislature also passed a constitutional amendment on the right to bear arms this week.  This now heads to the vote of the people in the November 2022 election.  

https://www.radioiowa.com/2021/01/28/there-will-be-a-gun-rights-amendment-on-iowas-2022-ballot/

Other important news:

1. Republicans slam University of Iowa over free speech: 

https://www.thegazette.com/subject/news/education/university-iowa-college-dentistry-free-speech-bobby-kaufmann-michael-brase-20210128

2. Iowa unemployment rate drops to 3.1% 

https://www.thehawkeye.com/story/money/business/2021/01/26/iowa-unemployment-rate-drops-though-job-recovery-still-lags/4257745001/

3. Republicans advance abortion consitituional amendment, voters to eventually decide

https://www.radioiowa.com/2021/01/27/gop-led-iowa-house-advances-amendment-on-abortion/

4. Penalties proposed for companies that employ undocumented workers:

https://www.radioiowa.com/2021/01/26/state-penalties-proposed-for-iowa-firms-hiring-undocumented-workers/

5. Ban smartphones while driving proposed: 

https://www.radioiowa.com/2021/01/27/new-bid-for-ban-on-handling-smart-phones-while-driving/

6. Governor Reynolds calls for fuel mandates:

https://www.radioiowa.com/2021/01/26/iowas-governorcalls-for-e15-b11-to-be-offered-from-all-new-fuel-pump/

7. Iowa to get 16% more in vaccine supply:

https://www.kcci.com/article/iowa-gov-kim-reynolds-feds-will-increase-covid-19-vaccine-allocation-by-16/35337983

Week 2 Update

Week two of the session began Tuesday and legislators got right to work with dozens of committee and sub committee meetings.  Hundreds of new bills were also filed this week and we continue to go through them.  Governor Reynolds unveiled her return to learn legislation this week and also announced that folks 65+ will soon be eligible for vaccinations in Iowa.  

Important news clips:

1. Governor Reynolds Return to learn/School Choice plan: https://www.desmoinesregister.com/story/news/politics/2021/01/21/proposals-law-legislature-kim-reynolds-supports-would-require-iowa-schools-offer-person-classes/4230792001/

and:

https://www.thegazette.com/subject/news/education/gov-reynolds-proposes-school-choice-x2014-charter-schools-private-school-scholarships-ability-to-transfer-out-of-districts-20210120

2. Iowans 65+ can now get a vaccine:

https://www.radioiowa.com/2021/01/21/iowans-65-now-eligible-in-next-phase-of-covid-vaccinations/

3. Bars and Restaurant State of Iowa relief money:

https://www.desmoinesregister.com/story/entertainment/dining/2021/01/21/governor-kim-reynolds-announces-iowa-restaurant-bar-relief-grant-program-covid-19-relief/6657162002/

4. Gun Constitutional Rights moves forward: 

https://www.thegazette.com/subject/news/government/gun-rights-constitutional-amendment-moves-ahead-in-iowa-legislature-20210121

5. No right to an abortion moves forward: 

https://www.thegazette.com/subject/news/government/amendment-declaring-no-right-to-abortion-sent-to-full-iowa-house-20210120

6. Iowa House rejects a mask mandate:

https://www.thegazette.com/subject/news/government/iowa-house-rejects-call-for-mandatory-masks-remote-hearings-20210121

7. Congresswoman MMM ask for dismissal of challenge to her 6 vote lead:

https://www.radioiowa.com/2021/01/21/miller-meeks-files-request-for-house-rejection-of-hart-challenge/

Week 1 Update

The first session of the 89th General Assembly is on its way!  On Monday the Legislature convened, seats were chosen, and oaths of office delivered.  This session, like most things recently, is operating much differently with all of the covid-19 protocols. 

On Tuesday, Governor Reynolds delivered her Condition of the State Address: Highlights include: 

Universal Broadband Access

  • $150 million per year over three years
  • Increasing grant percentage from 35% to 75%

Child Care

  • $3 million to fund the Child Care Challenge Fund created in 2020
  • $25 Million in federal block grant dollars to address child care deserts

Workforce Housing

  • Increase the workforce housing tax credit from $25 million to $50 million
  • Increase small city set-aside from $10 to $20 million for three years
  • Increase redevelopment tax credit from $10 to $20 million
  • Create affordable housing tax credit for new, low-income rental housing - $15 million
  • Increase housing trust fund to $4..4 million

Workforce Training

  • Expand work-based learning opportunities so all high school students can participate
  • $23 million for the Last Dollar Dollar Scholarship Program ($10 million increase) 

Tax Reform

  • Governor Reynolds is not pursuing her IWill tax plan she proposed this year due to Covid-19 uncertainty 
  • Eliminate triggers from 2018 tax legislation effective for tax year 2023

Education Reform

  • 100% in person learning option
  • Open-enrollment for all school districts
  • More flexibility to expand public charter schools
  • Create Educational Savings Accounts

Criminal Justice Reform & Back the Blue

  • Ban Racial profiling
  • Enhance penalties for those who riot, harass, or assault peace officers

Mental Health

  • $15 million increase in FY22 and FY23 for mental health regional services

Other Top Issues

  • Continue conservative budget principles 
  • Constitutional amendments 
  • Redistricting - Legislature could come back in the summer for this to finalize 
  • Telehealth
  • E-Verify

Budget

  • State finished FY 20 with surplus of $305 million and reserve accounts full (over $700 million) 

News Clips from the Governors speech:

On Wednesday, Chief Justice Susan Christensen gave the Condition of the Judiciary:

https://www.desmoinesregister.com/story/news/crime-and-courts/2021/01/13/iowa-courts-chief-justice-susan-christensen-annual-condition-of-the-judiciary-covid-19-pandemic/6640856002/

On Thursday, Adjutant General Correll delivered the Condition of the Guard:

https://www.desmoinesregister.com/story/news/politics/2021/01/14/condition-of-iowa-national-guard-address-ben-corell-covid-19-derecho-capitol-riots-inauguration/4147965001/

Legislative Makeup

  • GOP Netted 6 seats in the House (59 R - 41 D)
  • House leadership stayed the same - Speaker Pat Grassley (R-New Hartfod), Majority Leader Matt Windschitl (R- Missouri Valley), Minority Leader Todd Pritchard (D-Charles City) 
  • In the Senate, GOP maintained control (31-18).  State Senator Mariannette Miller-Meeks (R-Ottumwa) has resigned her seat as she is now in Congress.  A Special Election is scheduled for January 26th.  State Senator Zach Nunn (R-Altoona) is on active military duty and will miss most, if not all of the 2021 session. 
  • Republican Leadership: Majority Leader Jack Whitver (R-Ankeny), President Jake Chapman (R-Adel)
  • Democrat Leader: Minority Zach Wahls (D-Coralville)

While hundreds of bills were filed this week, and committee meetings were held for organizational purposes, the real work begins next week.  As a reminder, the State Government is closed on Monday for MLK day.  On Tuesday, the sub committee process will really begin.  

Other news:

BULLETIN 20-08

To:      All Insurance Producers and Continuing Education Providers of Iowa
From: Doug Ommen, Iowa Insurance Commissioner
RE:      Iowa Insurance Division Transition to New Version of SBS in June
Date:   April 21, 2020
____________________________________________________

Effective June 10, 2020, Iowa will be transitioning to a new version of State Based Systems (SBS). The ability to submit any transactions to SBS or the National Insurance Producer Registry (NIPR) will be shut down on June 5, 2020 at 3:00 pm CDT and will be turned back on June 10, 2020 in the morning.

The Commissioner rescinds Bulletin 20-02 effective immediately which indicated that the transition to the new version of SBS would occur in May.

Any transaction submitted during this timeframe will be declined and fees will not be collected. This affects all the following Iowa applications:

  • · Resident Licensing (RL)
  • · Resident Licensing Renewals (RLR)
  • · Non- Resident Licensing (NRL)
  • · Non- Resident Licensing Renewals (NRR)
  • · Non- Resident Adjuster Licensing (NRAL)
  • · Non- Resident Adjuster Licensing Renewals (NRAR)
  • · Appointment and Terminations (Appt/Term)
  • · Contact Change Request (CCR)
  • · Continuing Education – posting of credits and submittals of course rosters

In addition, the Division will be making minor changes including requiring Designated Responsible Licensed Producers (DRLP) to be actively licensed and requiring the National Producer Number (NPN) for an individual instead of their tax identification number (SSN) for Appointment & Termination transactions.

More information will be available from the Iowa Insurance Division as it becomes available. Additional information will also be available at www.statebasedsystems.com as the transition date approaches.

### 

Iowa schools to extend closures through end of school year
Schools will continue voluntary and required continuous learning plans while school buildings are closed

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Friday, April 17, 2020

DES MOINES – Gov. Kim Reynolds and the Iowa Department of Education announced today that all school districts and nonpublic schools will be closed for the remainder of the school year and will continue to offer continuous learning to mitigate the spread of COVID-19. This also includes the cancellation of spring sports activities. 

“While I would like nothing more than to open up our schools and classrooms in May, we have to prioritize the health and safety of Iowans,” said Gov. Reynolds. “With our students at home, we must rely on continuous learning plans that are in place and prepare school districts for ‘Return to Learn’ in the fall. I greatly appreciate the work of Director Ann Lebo and all our school administrators, educators, and staff during this unprecedented time.”

The decision, which was announced today during Gov. Kim Reynolds’ press conference,

is based on recommendations from the Iowa Department of Public Health to ensure the health and safety of Iowa students, teachers, school administrators and other school staff. View that press conference here

“Iowa teachers should be commended for how quickly they have transitioned from the classroom to online and distance learning,” said Iowa Department of Education Director Ann Lebo. “Our schools have really stepped up to the plate and worked hard to develop and implement continuous learning solutions in only a matter of weeks. We appreciate everything schools and families are doing to support children’s well-being while continuing to support their academic progress while school buildings are closed.”

The governor and the Iowa Department of Education also announced that the state of Iowa will:

  • Waive instructional time requirements for the remainder of the 2019-2020 regularly scheduled academic year for schools that continue to provide continuous learning through one of two approved options, voluntary educational enrichment opportunities, required educational services, or a combination of the two.
  • Require schools to submit a Return to Learn Plan to the Iowa Department of Education by July 1 outlining ways they will address disruptions to learning as a result of COVID-19. This could include summer school, enrichment activities or other opportunities to address the needs of learners.
  • Waive the requirement that schools start no earlier than Aug. 23, allowing school districts and nonpublic schools to make local decisions about the length of their 2020-2021 academic year. 

The governor had previously ordered schools to close through April 30. All of Iowa’s 327 public school districts, as well as 179 nonpublic schools, currently offer continuous learning through one of the approved continuous learning options outlined above. Continuous learning encompasses a variety of approaches used to extend learning beyond brick and mortar buildings — online learning, e-learning, distance learning, including paper packets, and virtual learning.

School buildings will remain closed through the end of the school year except for approved meals site locations participating in the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Summer Food Service Program and those providing temporary emergency childcare.

An announcement on summer sports activities and when other school-sponsored activities can resume will be made by June 1.

For more information, visit the Iowa Department of Education’s COVID-19 Guidance and Information web page.


BULLETIN 20-06 

To: All Health Insurance Companies Writing in the State of Iowa From: Doug Ommen, Iowa Insurance Commissioner
RE: Telehealth Services Flexibility and Reimbursement
Date: March 27, 2020

In light of Governor Reynolds’s March 26, 2020 proclamation continuing a State of Public Health Disaster Emergency, and to further mitigate the impact of COVID-19, Bulletin 20-06 provides guidance to individuals and entities regulated by the Iowa Insurance Division to increase the availability and usage of telehealth services. Using telehealth services, individuals are able to visit a health care professional from their home without having to travel to a medical office or hospital, helping minimize the risk of exposure to, and community spread of, COVID-19.

Iowa Code § 514C.34 prohibits discrimination between coverage benefits for health care services that are provided in person and the same health care services that are delivered through telehealth. Most health carriers are currently offering telehealth benefits in some form in their current plans. We find that it is in the interest of public health and safety for all health carriers licensed in this state to promote the use of telehealth services to policyholders and to encourage health care professionals to offer telehealth services during the COVID-19 public health emergency.

The Commissioner directs all health carriers licensed in this state

eliminate barriers to audio-only telephone transmission requirements for reimbursement of health care services and to explicitly allow the use of telephones, audio/video, secure

text messaging, email or use of a patient portal for the furnishing of telehealth services.
In order to facilitate the use of telehealth services, health carriers are also requested as follows:

  • Health carriers are requested to work with health care professionals to increase access to telehealth services.

  • Health carriers shall not limit telehealth services only to patients with COVID-19.

  • Health carriers shall modify existing telehealth payment methodologies to ensure that rates of

    payment to health care professionals for services delivered through telehealth are identical to the

    rates of payment established for services delivered for in-person visits.

  • Health carriers shall not limit, deny or reduce coverage or reimbursement for a covered health care

    service delivered through telehealth.

  • Health carriers who also administer self-funded employer based plans shall encourage all Iowa businesses to 

    to take any necessary action to remove cost-sharing or other financial barriers to the use of telehealth in their health insurance plans.

The Division will not take enforcement action against any health carrier making mid-year changes to the health benefit plan to provide greater coverage for telehealth services.

 

BULLETIN 20-05

To: Licensed resident insurance producers and state-registered securities professionals From: Doug Ommen, Iowa Insurance Commissioner
RE: Covid-19 Licensing Relief
Date: March 25, 2020

On March 22, 2020, Governor Reynolds signed a new proclamation continuing the State Public Health Emergency Declaration as a result of the Covid-19 outbreak. Among other relief, the proclamation provides professional licensing relief by suspending the regulatory professions of Iowa Code chapters 502 and 522B and related administrative rules to the extent they:

1. Impose requirements for in-person continuing education as a condition of professional license renewal or impose continuing education deadlines or requirements that are unable to be satisfied due to this Disaster Emergency; and

2. Set an expiration date or renewal requirement for a professional license that expires during the duration of the Proclamation.

The suspension of these two provisions extends through the duration of the Governor’s Proclamation and any future extension.

The Division is fully operational and continues to process applications and renewals of all licenses and registrations.

Insurance licensees may continue to be timely renewed, and the Iowa Insurance Division is implementing procedures to avoid suspensions and non-renewals and provides the following guidance to licensed resident insurance producers and state-registered securities professionals:

1. The Division will be waiving the classroom method requirement and proctor requirements for continuing education until further notice. Continuing Education requirements can now be met by completing self-study courses or classroom equivalent webinars. Many classroom equivalent webinars are live and interactive and offer a similar experience as classroom courses. Course availability can be found online here.

2. Producer License Renewals can be submitted up to 90 days in advance and should be submitted online at www.nipr.com. Should you have any questions with processing your renewal application please reach out to the division at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.or 515-725-0690.

The Division does not anticipate any changes to current procedures for state-registered securities professionals as online education is already permitted and registrations do not expire until the end of the calendar year. Applications for registration continue to be processed as they are received. State- registered securities professionals with questions can contact the Securities Bureau at 515-242-5310.

The Division reminds licensed insurance producers of the transition to a new version of SBS taking place between May 8 and May 14 which is the subject of Bulletin 20-02.

 

BULLETIN 20-04

To:       All Health Insurance Companies Writing in the State of Iowa
From:   Doug Ommen, Iowa Insurance Commissioner
RE:     Individual and Small Group Coverage Impacted by COVID-19
Date:    March 19, 2020

In light of Governor Reynolds’s March 17, 2020 proclamation of a State of Public Health Disaster Emergency (the “Proclamation”), the purpose of Bulletin 20-04 is to assist individuals and entities regulated by the Iowa Insurance Division who are impacted by the COVID-19 epidemic and the resulting economic disruptions.The Commissioner requests all health insurers and health maintenance organizations licensed in this state to allow a premium payment grace period for any Iowa individual health benefit plan as defined in Iowa Code section 513C.3 and to any health benefit plan issued to small employers under Iowa Code chapter 513B as follows:

  • Health insurers and health maintenance organizations are requested to put procedures in place allowing individual and small employer policyholders affected by the economic disruptions resulting from COVID-19 to request extensions for premium payments beyond the insurers’ normal payment due dates.
  • Health insurers and health maintenance organizations are requested to allow any individual or small group policyholder at least 60 days after a premium payment is due before terminating coverage for any such policyholder who has a premium payment initially due between March 17, 2020, and June 30, 2020.
  • To the extent that federal law requires a longer or shorter period for payment of premiums, federal law shall control. However, in light of the Proclamation, the Commissioner requests that issuers on the Federally Facilitated Exchange extend premium payment deadlines (such as deadlines for payment to effectuate coverage) and delay cancellations for non-payment of premium that are at least consistent with this Bulletin. The Division further requests that CMS exercise enforcement discretion regarding any provisions of federal law inconsistent with this Bulletin pursuant to section 7.1.4 of the Federally-facilitated Exchanges (FFEs) and Federally-facilitated Small Business Health Options Program (FF-SHOP) Enrollment Manual.
  • For those policies with an automatic bank draft or electronic funds transfer arrangement, health insurers and health maintenance organizations may continue payment deductions unless or until the policyholder terminates this arrangement with the insurer and financial institution.

The Division is not requesting that health insurers or health maintenance organizations waive any premiums or other consideration owed on any policy or contract. Nothing in this Bulletin should be construed as the Division requesting any health insurer or health maintenance organization to refrain from terminating coverage on the basis of fraud on the part of an insured.

We will update you as we get more information. Please watch for information to come from the insurance companies on how these will be handled.

 

House and Senate to Suspend Legislative Session 

(DES MOINES) -- This afternoon the House and Senate announced the legislative session will be suspended for a minimum of 30 days following the announcement of community spread of COVID-19 in Iowa. The decision was made in consultation with the Department of Public Health and Governor’s Office based on recommendations from the Center for Disease Control related to mass gatherings to protect vulnerable populations.
 
The House and Senate will convene on Monday at regular scheduled time to consider resolutions regarding continuity of government to ensure delivery of essential services to Iowans. Previously scheduled subcommittee and committee meetings have been cancelled. Standing committees will be on-call as needed.
 
The Capitol building will open on Monday at 11:00 am, with entrances open on the south and west sides. Prior to entering the Capitol, staff members and the public will be required to undergo a health screening administered by the Department of Public Health (this includes filling out a health questionnaire and temperature reading). All scheduled events, tours, and receptions at the Capitol are cancelled until further notice.
 
Members of the public over the age of 60 or with underlying health conditions (heart disease, diabetes, and lung disease) are encouraged to avoid the Capitol.
 
More information will be shared when it becomes available.

 

Bills that passed the House

HF 2553 PHARMACY BENEFIT MANAGERS 

Establishes requirements for a Pharmacy Benefit Manager to place a drug on the Maximum Allowable Cost list, including that the drug is available to pharmacies statewide. Requires a pharmacy have access to the list. Requires a PBM to update the list within seven days due to changes in acquisition cost or cost methodology. Prohibits a PBM from paying a pharmacy less for a prescription drug than it pays PBM affiliates. Requires that a PBM have an appeals process, with a dedicated phone and internet site. Prohibits PBM from requiring pharmacies to meet accreditation standards or surety requirements beyond state and federal requirements. Prohibits spread pricing and defines such pricing. Prohibits PBM from barring pharmacies from using direct delivery or mail delivery. Includes provisions barring PBMs from retroactively reducing claims. Commissioner: Requires the Insurance Commissioner to review PBM compensation to pharmacies and to adopt rules and take enforcement actions. Other: Makes the bill severable. Repeals some current enforcement provisions and makes conforming changes. 

The House PASSED the bill 100-0; it now GOES to the Senate 

HF 2138 INSULIN PRESCRIPTION COSTS 

Requires insurance coverage for prescription drugs to cap cost-sharing for insulin prescriptions at no more than $100 for a 30-day supply of insulin. 

H 8016 by A Meyer - Makes the supply period 31 days. ADOPTED 

H 8115 to H 8016 by James - Reduces the cost to $50. RULED NOT GERMANEMTSR FAILED 53-46 

The House PASSED the bill as amended 98-1; it now GOES to the Senate 

HF 2192 TELEHEALTH PAYMENTS 

Requires health carriers to reimburse health care providers for telehealth services at the same rate as in-person services as of January 2021. 

H 8028 by Fry - Requires tele-health procedures to be in real-time. Prohibits the health carrier from requiring additional health care professionals to be present. ADOPTED 

H 8035 to H 8028 by Fry - Corrective. ADOPTED 

The House PASSED the bill as amended 99-0; it now GOES to the Senate 

Amendments to Insulin BillHF2138 - Amendment was to remove all insulin drugs to at least one in each type of rapid-acting prescription insulin drugs, short-acting prescription insulin drugs, intermediate-acting prescription insulin drugs, or long-acting prescription insulin drugs. For information follow this link: https://www.legis.iowa.gov/legislation/BillBook?ga=88&ba=HF%202138

The following bills were released that are related to health care:

Continuity of CareHF2089 & SSB3117 - This bill provides that during a covered person's eligibility under a health benefit plan, inclusive of any open enrollment period, a health plan carrier, health benefit plan, or utilization review organization shall not limit or exclude coverage of a prescription drug for the covered person if the covered person is medically stable on the drug as determined by the prescribing health care professional, the drug was previously approved by the health carrier for coverage for the person, and the person's prescribing health care professional has prescribed the drug for the covered person's medical condition within the previous six months. For more information follow these links: https://www.legis.iowa.gov/legislation/BillBook?ga=88&ba=hf2089 AND https://www.legis.iowa.gov/legislation/BillBook?ba=SSB3117&ga=88

Drug TransparencyHF2253 - This bill requires a manufacturer to file an annual report with the commissioner of insurance that discloses the wholesale acquisition cost for all prescription drugs manufactured by the manufacturer that were sold to a person in the state in the immediately preceding calendar year. For more information follow this link: https://www.legis.iowa.gov/legislation/BillBook?ba=HF2253&ga=88

Civil Action - Providers - HSB596 - The bill eliminates the exception to the limitation of $250,000 that would allow the jury to determine if the imposition of such a limitation would deprive the plaintiff of just compensation for the injuries sustained. For more information follow this link: https://www.legis.iowa.gov/legislation/BillBook?ga=88&ba=hsb596

SSB 3047 - 1332 Waiver

This bill relates to health insurance and the insurance division of the department of commerce. The bill authorizes the commissioner of insurance to develop by rule a state innovation waiver pursuant to section 1332 of the federal Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, Pub. L. No. 111-148, and to submit an application on behalf of the state to the United States secretary of health and human services and the United States secretary of the treasury for the waiver. IAHU is in support of this current Senate Study Bill. Read more details here:  https://www.legis.iowa.gov/legislation/BillBook?ga=88&ba=SSB%203047 Reach out to Marcie Strouse with any questions. 

HSB 501 - Prescription Insulin drugs

This bill relates to prescription insulin drugs and coverage by policies, contracts, or plans providing for third-party payment or prepayment of health or medical expenses that provide coverage for prescription drugs. The bill requires a policy, contract, or plan providing for third-party payment of prepayment of health or medical expenses that provides coverage for prescription drugs to cap the total amount of cost-sharing that a covered person is required to pay for a prescription insulin drug to an amount not more than $100 for a 30-day supply, regardless of the amount or type of prescription insulin drug required to fill the covered person's prescription. IAHU is undecided at this time. Read more details here: https://www.legis.iowa.gov/legislation/BillBook?ga=88&ba=HSB%20501 Reach out to Marcie with any questions. 


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Government Relations Chair

For questions regarding government relations, please contactm strouse17

Mike Elam
melam@deltadentalia.com

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