Commerce Committee – Week 6, 2020


SF 2236 – Removal of Internet content 

SF 2236 creates a Right to be Forgotten Act authorizing individuals to request certain content be removed from the Internet. An individual may request that an operator remove information they believe is of minimal value from the operator’s search engine, index or Internet site. The operator must remove the content within 30 days after receiving the request. If the operator determines the information is not content of minimal value, the operator must notify the individual within 30 days that the information will not be removed and why. A representative from the Iowa Attorney General’s Office noted that although it is an onerous task, grappling with such privacy issues would make enforcement easier. Those registered against this approach include the Iowa Newspaper Association, Iowa Broadcasters Association and ACLU. Opponents stated that there needs to be a definition of “right to privacy” in the Iowa Constitution, and then enact comprehensive legislation.
[2/19: short form (No: Bolkcom, Lykam, Mathis, Petersen, Quirmbach; Excused: Chapman, C. Johnson)]

SF 2262 – Empower Rural Iowa Broadband Grant program

SF 2262 (SSB 3112) relates to broadband service under the Office of Chief Information Officer (OCIO), the Empower Rural Iowa broadband grant fund and certain broadband infrastructure tax exemptions. The OCIO will use different speed standards for mapping and for grant awards. In mapping, eligibility is based on whether a provider facilitates 25/3 or faster service in a U.S. Census block. Grant eligibility for varying funding levels is determined by different speed thresholds the provider promised to facilitate. It implements a tiered award system, increasing the percentage of funding an applicant may seek and be awarded depending on buildout speeds. Projects that provide levels greater or equal to 100 mbps download and 20 mbps upload may receive up to 35% in grant funds. Projects that provide lower speed levels receive up to 15% in grant funds. SF 2262 makes conforming changes related to the change in name of the fund from the Connecting Iowa farms, schools and communities broadband grant fund to the Empower Rural Iowa broadband grant fund. The bill takes effect upon enactment. The companion is HF 2459.
[2/13: short form]

SF 2273 – Fraud in alcohol, drug testing in employment 

SF 2273 (SSB 3013) creates the criminal offense of defrauding a drug or alcohol test in employment. It defines drug or alcohol test given in a private-sector workplace (Code section 730.5) and a drug or alcohol test given by a public employer.

It prohibits a person from manufacturing, marketing, selling, distributing, using, or possessing synthetic urine or a urine additive to defraud a drug or alcohol test, and prohibits a person from knowingly using their own urine expelled or withdrawn prior to the collection of a urine sample for a test or from using the urine of another person to defraud a drug or alcohol test.

A violation is a simple misdemeanor for a first offense and a serious misdemeanor for subsequent offenses. A simple misdemeanor is punishable by confinement for no more than 30 days or a fine of $65 to $625, or by both. A serious misdemeanor is punishable by confinement for no more than one year and a fine of $315 to $1,875.

The original proposal applied to defrauding a drug or alcohol test in a private-sector workplace for employment purposes. An amendment passed that added public employees (short form; No: Bisignano, Bolkcom, Lykam, Mathis, Petersen, Quirmbach).

It allows a person who collects a urine sample from another person for a drug or alcohol test, who knows or has a reasonable suspicion that the other person used synthetic urine or a urine additive in violation of the bill to report that information to law enforcement authorities.

The companion, HSB 539, was approved by the House Judiciary Committee on a party-line vote.
[2/13: short form (No: Bisignano, Bolkcom, Lykam, Mathis, Petersen, Quirmbach)]

SF 2312– Acquisition of small water utilities

SF 2312 (SSB 3008) modifies legislation passed in 2018 that established a process for communities that may want to sell their water systems. Currently, the cities of Blue Grass and Dixon are the using this process to sell their wastewater systems, but challenges for smaller systems, often the most in need of help, have been identified. This bill creates a category of communities referred to as “At Risk Communities,” defined as one of the following: a community that meets the Department of Natural Resources’ (DNR) definition of “disadvantaged community,” which is based on the finances of the community; a system that has violations of federal or state regulations that affect the safety, adequacy or efficiency of the operations; or a system that has failed to have a certified operator for more than a 12-month period. The bill gives the DNR the ability to provide an alternate enforcement timeframe in the event of a sale, to give the new organization time for compliance without being under threat of penalties. It also gives the Iowa Utility Board 180 days to review, approve or disapprove an acquisition. The Committee unanimously approved an amendment to take out provisions in the original proposal that reduced the number of appraisals required from two to one for communities with fewer than 2,000 connections, and defining any community with fewer than 2,000 connections as an “at-risk” community.
[2/18: short form]

SF 2313 – Future Ready Iowa expansion 

SF 2313 (SSB 3077) expands the Future Ready Iowa Registered Apprenticeship Development Program by creating a new Future Ready Iowa Expanded Registered Apprenticeship Opportunities Program. The purpose of these programs is to provide financial assistance to encourage apprenticeships in high-demand occupations to small- and medium-sized apprenticeship sponsors. The programs must have occupations located in Iowa and approved by the U.S. Department of Labor, Office of Apprenticeship. The current apprenticeship program is aimed at new and existing (expanding) apprenticeship sponsors, and the new program is aimed at ongoing support, and adds to the definition of the “eligible apprenticeship sponsor.” The bill limits financial assistance in the form of a reimbursable grant to any eligible apprenticeship sponsor in given fiscal year not to exceed $20,000. It also allows the Iowa Economic Development Authority (IEDA) to spend up to 2% of funding for administration. 

It creates a Workforce Diploma Pilot Program administered by the Iowa Workforce Development (IWD), and a new Child Care Challenge Program and Fund under IWD’s Iowa Employer Innovation Fund.

This bill requires school districts and accredited nonpublic schools to develop and implement a K-12 computer science plan by July 1, 2021. It adds a work-based learning coordinator to the list of eligible operational functions and positions eligible for a supplementary weighting; requires the Department of Education to approve “structured educational and training programs that include authentic worksite training” for purposes of participating community colleges; cleans up eligibility issues in Last Dollar Scholarships; and amends the Senior Year Plus program by eliminating references and provisions relating to full-time and part-time enrollment.

Senators agreed that some elements need additional refining, and this proposal does not include funding. SF 2313 will be referred to Appropriations for continued discussions and amendments. HF 2384 is the companion bill.
[2/18: short form]

SF 2314 – IFA disaster recovery homeowner assistance program 

SF 2314 (SSB 3092) establishes a Disaster Recovery Homeowner Assistance Program and Fund administered by the Iowa Finance Authority (IFA). The purpose is to provide forgivable loans to eligible homeowners of disaster-affected homes. It allows unobligated and unencumbered moneys in certain IFA revolving loan funds to be transferred into the new Disaster Recovery Homeowner Assistance Fund. Those funds are the Senior Living Program, Home and Community-Based Program, Transitional Housing Program, and the Community Housing and Services for Persons with Disabilities Program.

In addition, the bill permits IFA to transfer unobligated and unencumbered moneys from any IFA fund (notwithstanding any other law to the contrary) for deposit in the new Disaster Recovery Homeowner Assistance Fund with the prior written consent and approval of the Governor and the Department of Management. The bill also allows the Executive Director of IFA to transfer unobligated and unencumbered money from any fund under Iowa Economic Development Authority to the Disaster Homeowner Assistance Fund with the written approval of the Director of the Iowa Economic Development Authority and without the approval of the Governor. IFA cannot use more than 5% of the money in the fund at the beginning of a fiscal year for administrative costs.

A “disaster-affected home” means a primary residence that is destroyed or damaged due to a natural disaster that occurs on or after the effective date of this act in a county subject to disaster emergency proclamation by the Governor that authorizes disaster recovery homeowner assistance. It also means a primary residence that is destroyed or damaged due to a natural disaster that occurred on or after March 12, 2019, but before the effective date of this act.

IFA will provide the funds to local program administrators to award the forgivable loans. “Local program administrator” means certain large cities in Iowa, a Council of Government and a qualified local organization or governmental entity as determined by rules as adopted by IFA.

The bill lists requirements to be eligible for a forgivable loan for a homeowner:

  • Home sustained damage greater than the damage that is covered by insurance or federal disaster-related financial assistance that a homeowner is eligible to receive.
  • A local program administrator must deem the home suitable for rehabilitation or damaged beyond reasonable repair.
  • Home cannot be proposed for buyout by the county or city.

The loan may be used for repair or rehabilitation or down-payment assistance on the purchase of replacement housing. The maximum forgivable loan award will be determined by IFA by rule. The forgivable loan must have a five-year term and be interest free.

The bill takes effect upon enactment. SF 2314 is referred to the Appropriations Committee. The companion bill is HF 2406 by State Government.
[2/18: short form]

SF 2335 – Subcontractor reports on public improvement projects

SF 2335 (SSB 3055) requires that a contractor provide the Labor Commissioner with a list of each tier of subcontractors who will perform work on a public improvement project after being awarded a contract and prior to performing the work to ensure compliance with statutory provisions relating to registration, registration fees, bonding, workers’ compensation and unemployment insurance. Current Code defines “public improvement” as any building or construction work which is constructed, repaired, remodeled or demolished under the control of a governmental entity, and is paid for in whole or in part with funds of the governmental entity, including a building or improvement constructed or operated jointly with any other public or private agency.

As unanimously amended, the tiered reporting responsibilities are: A contractor must file with the labor commissioner the information required by this section for each person with which the contractor enters into a contract for the performance of construction work on a public improvement project. The contractor must submit this filing before the person performs any work on the project. The information must include:

(a). for the contractor:
— name
— principal place of business
— address
— telephone number
— identify and contact information for contact individuals
— e-mail, if available

(b). for the person entering into contract with contractor:
— name
— principal place of business
— address
— telephone number
— identify and contact information for contact individuals
— e-mail, if available

This reporting requirement applies to each contractor in each tier of subcontractors that enters into a contract with any other person for such other person to perform construction work on the project. 

It applies to contracts for public improvement projects awarded on or after January 1, 2021.
[2/18: short form]  

SSB 3010 – Cybercrime investigation division  

SSB 3010 establishes a cybercrime investigation division to investigate crimes with a nexus to the Internet or computer technology, including involving child exploitation and cyber intrusion. It directs the Commissioner of Public Safety to dedicate two or more full-time employees within the division to investigate cybercrime and allows additional staff to be hired. The division is authorized to conduct investigations and forensic analyses of criminal cases involving computer technology, research, provide training to assist governmental agencies in prosecuting cases related to cybercrime, and provide investigative and prosecutorial assistance to government agencies involved with cybercrime. The proposal was approved by a subcommittee of the whole after a presentation by the Department of Criminal Investigation’s Cyber Crime Unit/Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force. The companion bill is HSB 616 by the House Public Safety Committee.
[2/19: short form (Excused: Chapman, C. Johnson)]

SSB 3182 – OCIO Cloud-based management policy, reports

SSB 3182 relates to the Office of the Chief Information Officer (OCIO) and the State of Iowa’s technology assets. The OCIO must conduct an inventory of technology assets. In addition to the current quarterly report regarding the status of technology upgrades or enhancements for all state agencies, the report must include information related to the office’s determination that it was not feasible to procure a cloud computing solution, including  an explanation of why cloud computing deployment was not feasible, whether the application can be deployed using a hybrid or containerized approach to minimize on-premise costs, and compliance frameworks that require the application to be hosted on-premises.

The bill establishes that control and ownership of state data stored with cloud computing service providers must remain with the state. The OCIO must ensure the portability of state data stored with cloud computing service providers. The OCIO must submit a report to the Legislature by November 1, 2020, that includes an inventory of all state information technology applications, and recommendations regarding state information technology applications that should migrate to cloud-based applications.
[2/19: short form (No: Petersen, Quirmbach; Excused: Chapman, C. Johnson)]

SSB 3188 – Regulations by employers on the use of marijuana, derivatives 

SSB 3188 provides regulation by employers and other entities of the use of marijuana and its derivatives, including medical cannabidiol [Chapter 124E]. It provides that a government medical assistance program, private health insurer, workers’ compensation carrier, or self-insured employer providing workers’ compensation benefits is not required to reimburse a person for costs associated with the medical use of marijuana. The bill also states that a person who owns, occupies or controls a property may prohibit or regulate the use, consumption, possession, transfer, display, transportation, distribution, sale or growing of marijuana at that property. It also disqualifies a person from unemployment benefits if the Department of Workforce Development (IWD) finds that the individual became separated from  employment due to ingesting marijuana in the workplace, working while under the influence of marijuana, or testing  positive for any other controlled substance for which the individual did not have a current prescription, or which the individual was otherwise using unlawfully, under a drug testing policy pursuant to Iowa law or any other procedures provided by federal statutes, federal regulations or orders issued pursuant to federal law. The disqualification continues until the individual has worked in and has been paid wages for insured work equal to 10 times the individual’s weekly benefit amount, provided the individual is otherwise eligible. Opponents noted that much of the bill re-states what employers can already do, and targets the legal medical marijuana patients, Iowans who have FDA-approved prescription medicines that contain some form of marijuana, and those who buy over-the counter CBD products (e.g.,  lotions, ointments) who could test positive for marijuana.
[2/19: short form (No: Bisignano, Bolkcom, Lykam, Mathis, Petersen, Quirmbach; Excused: Chapman, C. Johnson)]