Commerce Committee – Week 6, 2021


HF 283 – Defrauding drug, alcohol test in employment

HF 283 (SF 329) creates a new criminal offense of defrauding a drug or alcohol test in employment. It defines a drug or alcohol test given in a private-sector workplace 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additive to defraud a drug or alcohol test, and prohibits a person from knowingly using their own urine expelled or withdrawn prior to the collection of a urine sample for a test, or from using the urine of another person to defraud a drug or alcohol test. 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 to report that information to law enforcement authorities.

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 court may require a substance abuse evaluation and treatment, to be completed at the defendant’s expense, through a program licensed by the Iowa Department of Public Health in lieu of or in addition to other penalties. The bill does not apply to synthetic urine or urine additive used solely for education or law enforcement purposes.

Amendment S-3030 to SF 329 was offered by Sen. Mathis that would strike the original language in the bill and replace it with language to add synthetic urine and urine-additive provisions to current Iowa law on criminal forgery and fraud (Ch. 715A). This tackles the source of the problem: sales of products designed to simulate the composition, chemical properties, physical appearance, or physical properties of human urine that are clearly used only to defraud or assist a person in defrauding screening tests. A violation is a simple misdemeanor for a first offense and a serious misdemeanor for subsequent offenses. The amendment lost on a vote of 16-32 [Yes: Democrats; No: Republicans, Bisignano; Excused: Hogg, Nunn].

HF 283 by Judiciary passed the House 61-30.
[2/17: 48-0 (Excused: Hogg, Nunn)]


SF 391 – Financial exploitation of older adults

SF 391 (SSB 1131) is an Iowa Insurance Division (IID) recommendation to address the financial exploitation of adults 65 or older, or dependent adults age 18 or older who are unable to protect their own interests, or unable to adequately perform or obtain services necessary to meet essential needs. It is based on model law from the North American Securities Administrators Association. The new Code sections deal with confidentiality of records, governmental and third-party disclosures and immunity, and training requirements brokers-dealers and investment advisers must provide to employees. The IID must submit an annual report to the Governor and the Legislature that includes the number of notifications related to the potential financial exploitation, the amount of time IID employees spent investigating the notifications, and the number of founded cases of financial exploitation of eligible adults. It appropriates $75,000 annually from the Commerce Revolving Fund for one FTE (complaint analyst level) to investigate complaints. Supporters include the Older Iowans Legislature, Principal Financial, Area Agencies on Aging, Hope Haven, Mosaic, Iowa Attorney General, Iowa CareGivers, Iowa Health Care Association and Wells Fargo. Companion HF 258 by Commerce was referred to House Appropriations Committee.
[2/16: short form]

SF 389 — Oversight of public assistance programs

SF 389 (SSB 1125) creates additional oversight and restrictions, including eligibility determination and redeterminations, identity authentication and asset identification for all public assistance programs. The definition of public assistance includes children’s health insurance programs, Medicaid, SNAP and the Family Investment Program (FIP). SNAP recipients must cooperate with the Child Support Recovery Unit. The Department of Human Services (DHS) may contract with third-party vendors as defined by the federal Fair Credit Reporting Act to do multiple data matches on all applicants. The bill lists many sources of possible data matches and databases that must be checked from federal, state and other public sources. A contract for the services must save more money than the contract costs. The bill requires real-time verification, and sets up a process for recipients to dispute a discrepancy or change in circumstances. Equifax is the vendor currently working with DHS on a new system. There is no House companion.
[2/16: 11-6 party-line (No: Democrats)]

SF 390 – Broadband service areas

SF 390 (SSB 1089) relates to broadband service, including facilitating the availability of broadband service in unsecured and underserved areas, and administration of the Empower Rural Iowa Broadband Grant Fund. It redefines “Targeted Service Area” (TSA) to include three speed tiers. There is no change to the current Tier 1 — any Census Block where 25/3 service is not available and judged to be the highest need. Tiers 2 and 3 are established as Census Blocks within which no provider offers speed levels faster than 50 megabits per second (mbps) down and 80 mbps down respectively. Expanding the TSA definition allows more providers across the state to be eligible to receive incentives under the Empower Rural Iowa Broadband Grant Program to reach a goal of 100 mbps download/100 mbps upload (“100/100”). While Tier 2 and Tier 3 blocks have some form of broadband connectivity today, it’s at slower speed levels not deemed “future ready” and capable of supporting next generation communication needs. The bill also establishes new state grant matching levels for the Empower Rural Iowa Broadband Grant Program, based on speed tiers. Grant applications containing Tier 1 TSAs where no provider currently offers 25/3 or faster service, could receive a 75% state match. For Tier 2, state matching levels would be offered at 50% and for Tier 3, 35%. This allows targeting state funds to the greatest areas of need, while still providing incentives to achieve 100/100 build-out targets across Iowa where they do not exist today. The companion is HSB 133.
[2/16: short form]