See what bills are alive and dead after Iowa's first Statehouse deadline of 2022
Iowa lawmakers are going into the week with a shorter list of bills to consider. Bills that failed to get approved by a committee before last Friday’s “funnel” deadline are likely dead for the year. But the Republican majority has a few ways to bring dead proposals back to life later in the session if they choose to.
Here are some of the major bills that can continue to move forward this session and some that are likely dead. Click here for a separate list of education-related bills that are alive and dead.
Unemployment cuts and other workforce provisions: Gov. Kim Reynolds’ bill would cut the maximum duration of unemployment benefits by 10 weeks, add a one-week waiting period to get benefits, and require claimants to accept a lower-paying job offer more quickly. The second bill in her workforce package would expand health care provider recruitment programs, waive various fees for veterans, change professional licensing laws, and establish a statewide building code.
Child care: Lawmakers have advanced bills that would allow child care workers to take care of more toddlers at once, allow 16- and 17-year-olds to work without constant in-room supervision in some situations, and allow people receiving child care assistance to enter an agreement to pay more for care.
Banning vaccine mandates: Republicans on a House committee approved a bill that would ban Iowa employers, schools, and government entities from requiring vaccines of any kind, as well as asking about and maintaining information about a person's "medical treatment" status, which includes vaccinations. It would also ban making hiring and firing decisions, requiring masks and testing, and denying services and facilities to people based on vaccination status. The bill would ban incentives and penalties related to vaccinations.
Mental health: House GOP proposals to address mental health needs in the state would create a psychiatric residency program, establish a higher rate of payment for hospitals providing psychiatric intensive care, and start a loan repayment program for psychiatrists and other mental health professionals who can prescribe medication.
E15: The House passed Reynolds’ bill with bipartisan support that would require gas stations to sell gasoline with higher blends of ethanol at more pumps. An amendment to the bill would allow some gas stations to seek waivers from the requirement.
Distracted driving: Committees in the House and Senate have advanced a bill to ban handheld phone use while driving. Hands-free phone use to take calls would still be allowed. Current law bans texting while driving. Law enforcement officials say it’s very difficult to enforce when they can’t tell exactly what drivers are using their phones for.
Public assistance: A House committee advanced a bill to require Iowans applying for food assistance to cooperate with child support recovery. The bill would also require applicants for all public assistance programs to take a questionnaire to check their identity.
Election changes: A new proposal would require Iowans who vote absentee to include their voter ID or driver’s license number when returning their ballot. Current law requires voters to provide that number when requesting an absentee ballot. The bill would also standardize election recount procedures for the whole state and prohibit election officials from accepting private donations to fund elections.
Medication abortion reversal: This bill would require abortion providers to tell people seeking an abortion that it may be possible to reverse a medication abortion. The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists has stated that medication abortion reversals are not supported by science.
Eminent domain: A bill to remove state regulators’ ability to grant eminent domain for carbon and other pipelines got approved by a Senate panel but was not brought up for a vote in a full committee. A House bill that would require pipeline companies to get approval from 90 percent of landowners never got a hearing. Landowners were at the Statehouse last week calling for protection against three proposed carbon capture pipelines.
Banning racial profiling: Reynolds’ bill to ban racial profiling by law enforcement is dead for the second session in a row. It never got a hearing in the House or Senate. The bill would also require law enforcement agencies to collect and report data on the race and ethnicity of drivers they pull over.
More time to mail absentee ballots: A House panel advanced a bill to give county election officials a few extra days to start mailing absentee ballots. That’s after Republican lawmakers voted to cut the time allowed for absentee voting last year. The bill was not brought up for a committee vote.
Changing Iowa’s “English-Only law:” A bill that would ease restrictions on the state’s ability to translate official documents never received a hearing. Immigrant advocates and historically marginalized groups considered this a priority for the session.
Life sentence commutations: A House panel advanced a bill to give people serving life sentences without parole more opportunities to request a commutation. It’s been nearly a decade since an Iowa governor has granted a commutation. The bill was not brought up for a committee vote.
Enforcing federal gun regulations: A bill supporters call the “Second Amendment Preservation Act” was given first-round approval in the Senate. Local governments and law enforcement would face a fine if they enforce federal gun regulations. The bill was not brought up for a full committee vote.
Tax cuts: The House has passed its tax plan, and the Senate has advanced its own plan through a committee. Leaders from both chambers still have to negotiate a final plan with each other and the governor.
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