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February 19, 2016  |  Week 6 Summary

Funnel Week.

This week marks the first major deadline on the session.  All non-tax or appropriations bill must be out of committee in the house of origin.  The next major funnel deadline is March 11, when all bills, must be out of committee in the opposite house of origin.

Updates From the Capital.
Bills Still Alive.

Wage Theft
SF 398 has passed out of committee.  The bill requires a hot line for complaints at the department of labor and it requires employers and employees have an agreement in writing as to how wages are to be paid.  Specific, to the trucking industry the legislation states that employers shall notify an employee in writing "whose wages are based on a task, piece, mile, or load basis about the method used to calculate wages and when the wages are earned by the employee."  Any changes must be provided to the employee at least one day prior to the change.  That notice may be in writing or posted where employees see routinely posted information.

The bill also states that upon request, an employee is to receive a written statement on employee agreements on policies regarding vacation pay, sick leave, reimbursements for expenses, retirements, and severance.  The bill also requires records to be maintained for three years.

Prohibition on Questions Regarding Felonies
SF 84 would prohibit asking potential employees about felony convictions until such time a job offer is to be made.

Wage Discrimination
SSB 3071(now SF 2193) would prohibit an employer from requiring employees to not disclose wages or benefits with other employees.  It would also prohibit an employer from seeking wage information from a potential employee during the interview process. It would require an employer to post the minimum rate of pay in all job advertisements. 

Accommodations for Pregnancies
SF 313 requires employers to provide reasonable accommodations for pregnant and new mothers.

Prenatal Care
SF 2097 requires employers to provide paid time for prenatal care.

Insurance Mandates
SF 2204 requires health insurance plans to cover eating disorder treatment.  SF 2072 requires employer health insurance plans with more than 50 employees to cover autism treatment.

Water Quality
HSB 601
extends the statewide penny sales tax and designates a portion of the revenue for water quality.

IRS Coupling --- Still Alive But on Life Support!
The issue of Iowa coupling section 179 of the internal revenue tax code with the Iowa tax code has passed the House on a wide bipartisan basis.  However, the issue has yet to be taken up in the Senate.  With a $96 million price tag, it's going to be a heavy lift.

Contact your Senator and the Governor and urge them to concur with the House bill on coupling.

Oversize and Overweight Vehicles
SSB 3110 and its companion bill in the House will allow vehicles to have a weight of 46,000 pounds on a single tandem axle of the tractor and 46,000 pounds on a single tandem axle of the trailer is each axle of each tandem has at least four tires.

CDL Testing Community Colleges and Other Third Parties
The legislation would allow community colleges and other third party vendors to test CDL applicants.  Community colleges already train and test their own students.  This would allow them to test others.  The bill is alive in the House, but the Senate wants to restrict the testing to community colleges only.

Passing Bicycles
SF 2076 has, in one form or another, been around the past several years.  The bill requires a motorist overtaking a bicycle to move to the opposite side of the road until it has clearly passed.  This bill has passed committee.

Ban the Box Bill
SF 84 prevents employers from asking about a prospective employee's criminal background. This bill passed committee.

Bills Failing to Come Out of Committee.

Increase Speed Limit on State/County Roads
There were several bills that would have increased the speed limit of county and interstate highways.  All of the bills failed to come out of committee so they are dead.

Notice of Drug Testing
HF 2050 would prohibit Department of Human Services from giving an advance notice of drug testing.  Failed to come out of committee

Driving In the Left Lane
HF 155 would prohibit a driver from driving in the left lane at a speed of 10 miles per hour or more under the posted limit.  The bill failed to come out of committee.

Headlights During Inclement Weather
HF 2019 would require headlights to be on at all time during inclement weather.  The bill failed to come out of committee.

Increasing Weight Limits
There were two bills introduced that failed to come out of committee relating to weights for farm trucks.  One would have allowed 96,000-pound farm vehicles on the interstates if trying to travel to a non-interstate route.  The other bill, changed current law regarding farm vehicles registered between 12,000 and 64,000 pounds. Current law allows these vehicles to exceed those weights by 25%.  As a result, the maximum gross weight for farm use is 80,000 pounds.  This bill would have provided the vehicles could be registered up to 76,000 pounds with the 25% excess, that would effectively increase the gross weight to 96,000 pounds. 
The problem arises when an Iowa registered vehicle crosses the state line and the permit shows an 80,000-pound limit, but the truck exceeds that limit.
The Iowa DOT has agreed to work with these vehicle owners to allow for these weights to be shown on the permits.

NYS HUT Credentials.

Two weeks ago, it was reported that a judge in a New York State trial court had ruled that the fees the state charged for the highway use (weight-distance) tax decals and permits were unconstitutional. Carriers are, however, still required to obtain both a sticker and a permit for each vehicle subject to the tax before it enters the state.  The state no longer charges a fee for them, but penalties are significant if a vehicle goes into New York without these credentials.  To complicate matters considerably, the state has taken down its on-line system (called OSCAR) through which carriers have been able to get their credentials.  Now, says the state, you'll have to get them either by regular mail - which can take weeks - or through one of several permit agencies with which the state has contracts.  It is considered likely that this situation may continue for several months.  There have been some reports that the state was still asking carriers who ordered by mail to enclose a check - "just in case" - but that should no longer be happening.  

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