June 18, 2020 at 1:22 PM
The Iowa Legislature adjourned the 2020 session on Sunday, June 14, wrapping up their work after suspending session for nearly three months due to COVID-19. Following the suspension, legislators took 10 days to pass a budget and series of policy bills. A number of Partnership priorities were passed and considered as part of the final negotiations.
Key legislation supported by the Business Partnership that passed during the session include:
Future Ready Iowa (House File 2629)
Creates the Iowa Child Care Challenge Fund, expands computer science instruction, provides weighted funding for shared operational function, creates the senior year plus program and expands the Last-Dollar Scholar Program. An ongoing priority of the Partnership, this bill passed unanimously by both chambers and is expected to be signed by Governor Reynolds.
Universal Licensing Reform (House File 2627)
Eases access for those from outside of Iowa by reducing training an exam requirements, along with fees; reduces or waives fees based on household income; and provides more opportunities for those with a criminal history to obtain licenses. This bill is expected to be signed by Governor Reynolds.
Liability Protections (Senate File 2338)
Defines the injury requirement in civil actions alleging COVID-19, assures businesses who were and are in compliance with regulations, executive orders and public health guidance will not be held liable and extends liability protections to those who manufacture, label, sell, distribute or donate PPE or household disinfecting and cleaning supplies.
Police Reform (House File 2647)
Filed, passed and signed by Governor Reynolds in less than 24 hours, the bill includes the following provisions:
- Bans the use of chokeholds by law enforcement in Iowa
- Bans the hiring of officers who have been fired for brutality
- Allows the Attorney General to prosecute abuse by an officer if local prosecutors do not
- Requires all officers to undergo annual de-escalation and racial profiling training
Empower Rural Iowa (Senate File 2400)
Also a priority of Governor Reynolds, the Empower Rural Iowa legislation provides investment in the Empower Rural Iowa Broadband Grant Program, designed to reduce or eliminate underserved and underserved areas in the state. The bill passed both chambers unanimously and is expected to be signed by Governor Reynolds.
Iowa Reinvestment Act (House File 2641)
A reauthorization of the Iowa Reinvestment Act, a state program that allows cities to create special districts where a portion of sales and hotel/motel tax can be set aside for projects that drive economic growth.
Hemp Industry Clarification (House File 2581)
Regulates hemp as a commodity and allows for the manufacture, testing, sale, and consumption of _consumable hemp products_ by humans, when made in compliance with THC caps and certain packaging and labeling requirements.
Product Expansion for Brewers (Senate File 2134)
Allows brewers to produce and sell canned cocktails.