Second Deadline Passes, Legislators Prepare for Final MonthMonday, April 5, 2021
The Iowa Legislature is now in it's final month of session; at least the final paid month. Legislators receive expense checks to help offset their costs of moving to Des Moines during the 110 days of the legislative session; those checks end on April 30. While legislators can and do go longer, this year they are working hard to finish up before that deadline hits. They have a lot of work ahead of them, including passing the ten bills that make up the state budget and finishing work on the Governor's bills that expand high-speed "broadband" Internet and increase access to childcare. Legisators have their own priorities as well, including some major tax reforms and expanded "school choice" options that allow for easier open enrollment and charter schools.
Bills that did not make it (died in funnel):
- Requiring adult changing tables to be installed in all modern Interstate rest areas (read article on this for good news).
- Addressing loopholes in older and dependent adult abuse to make financial exploitation a crime.
- Requiring Department of Education and local schools provide resources on language development and set milestones for students who are deaf or hard-of-hearing.
- Protections against non-medical switching (when insurers require a person to switch to a cheaper drug against medical advice).
- Starting the development of a public direct care worker database and expanding the current direct care worker registry to help families connect with direct service professionals.
- Emergency precription drug refills without doctor okay.
- Caps on insulin prescription cost-sharing ($100/month).
- Paying equally for mental health and other health care visits done virtually and in-person (virtual visits are usually reimbursed at 50-70% of an in-person visit, but have been 100% during COVID).
- Constitutional amendment restoring felon voting rights.
- Ending tenure at state universities.
- Penalties for cities and counties that defund the police.
- Stopping employers from requiring COVID-19 vaccinations (and all other bills weakening Iowa vaccine laws).
- Allowing college athlete to earn money through sponsorships and use of their name.
- Taxpayer-funded scholarships for private schools (school vouchers).
- Added protections for mobile home residents.
- Banning speed and red-light cameras.
- Punishing companies like Facebook and Twitter for restricting what people can say online.
- Access to birth control without a prescription (for up to one year).
- Add more public assistance oversight with new asset tests and for frequent eligibility checks for those receiving Medicaid, food assistance, and family support.
Bills that survived and are still alive:
- Allowing older trusts to be converted into more flexible Iowa ABLE accounts.
- Permiting landlords to move a person requesting accommodation for a service animal, if they are accommodating another resident.
- Allowing landlords to discriminate against people using federal housing choice vouchers (this is in Governor's hands now - you can take action on this here).
- Allowing only county elected officials on regional MH/DS boards to vote on spending tax dollars (advisory committees still in place, can still vote on other matters).
- Reviewing all boards that license professionals, ending them automatically if future legislatures do not take action to continue them.
- Occupational Therapy (OT) licensing compact that would allow for OTs to cross state borders without needing additional licensure.
- Requiring interpreters/translators be present during any legal proceeding involving someone who is deaf or hard-of-hearing.
- Allowing charter schools (determined by Board of Education, not local school boards).
- Constitutional amendment stating Iowans do not have the right to an abortion.
- Bottle bill changes to allow grocery stores to stop taking cans.
- Governor’s bills to expand affordable housing options and access to high-speed Internet throughout the state.
- Required first amendment (right to free speech) training for school/university students and employees.
- Stopping schools from teaching and discussing "divisive concepts" such as racism and sexism.
- deductions in unemployment benefits.
- Half of the Governor's eight child care bills.
Remember that “dead” bills can still be turned into amendments and attached to other bills that are still alive and moving. If you see a bill that you are disappointed did not make it, you can ask your legislators to amend it to a budget bill or another bill. The infoNET Bill Tracker is updated frequently, so you can check in on the progress of the bills important to you at infonetiowa.org/bill-tracker/.
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