Commerce Committee – Week 7, 2021


SF 389 – Oversight of public assistance programs  

SF 389 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.

Democrats argued that the proposal is designed to put up barriers for people getting and keeping health care services and putting food on the table for their families. These additional hurdles will disproportionately affect individuals with special needs, mental illness, substance use disorders, brain injuries and other vulnerable populations who already face many barriers. They also noted that DHS is currently developing a new eligibility system with Equifax, which is providing a one-year free trial. SF 389 would force DHS to duplicate such efforts. There is no House companion legislation.
[2/23: 30-18, party-line (No: Democrats; Excused: Nunn, Shipley)]


SSB 1049 – Airline, air freight forwarder corporate income tax apportionment

SSB 1049 relates to the apportionment of income of an airline and of a qualified air freight forwarder for purposes of the Iowa corporate income taxes. It would allow carriers such as UPS to be treated similarly to FedEx. The bill defines “qualified air freight forwarder” as a taxpayer that is primarily engaged in the facilitation of the transportation of property by air, and that does not itself operate aircraft but that is in the same affiliated group as an airline. The bill applies retroactively to tax years beginning on or after January 1, 2021. The bill is supported by Iowa Association of Business and Industry and the Iowa Motor Truck Association, with no declarations in opposition. There is no House companion.
[2/24: short form]

SSB 1126 – Natural gas, propane sales in cities, counties 

SSB 1126 prohibits local governments from banning natural gas or propane for use as a power source. Supporters maintain this ensures that consumers have access to diverse energy options. They note that the National Propane Gas Association and the American Gas Association are working to position propane and natural gas as part of the clean energy future and protect propane and natural gas from actions that would ban or curtail their use.

Opponents say the bill is unnecessary. No city or county in Iowa has proposed restricting natural gas or propane, and the proposal only stifles flexibility and opportunities for innovation. Opponents include Iowa State Association of Counties, County Supervisors, Iowa League of Cities, Iowa Environmental Council and the Iowa Sierra Club. Those registered in favor include ABI, Iowa Propane Gas Association, Iowa Utility Association, Iowa Association of Municipal Utilities and Iowa Association of Electric Cooperatives.

Companion HF 555 is on the House Calendar.
[2/24: short form (No: Bisignano, Petersen, Quirmbach, Wahls)]

SSB 1183 – Private flood insurance coverage 

SSB 1183 is a recommendation by the Iowa Insurance Division based on a model act by the National Council of Insurance Legislators. The goal is to help foster an environment for innovative flood insurance, and give consumers greater choices to purchase flood insurance coverage. New Code Chapter 515J provides standard provisions for policies to create coverage similar to the federally-backed National Flood Insurance Policy (NFIP) plans. Consumer protections and notices are included to inform the consumer of the policy features. These new sections provide guidance for rate and form filings, use of surplus lines, NFIP notice to applicant, and cancellation and non-renewal requirements.

Flooding is the most frequent and expensive natural disaster in the United States, yet typically not covered through most homeowner’s and renter’s insurance policies. Federal regulatory changes have created an opening where private flood insurance could be less expensive for consumers than options offered through NFIP. Federal officials are working with individual states to facilitate the development of the private flood insurance market so that consumers have access to alternative options. Companion HF 583 is on the House Calendar. [2/24: short form]

SSB 1187 – Agricultural equipment dealership agreements  

SSB 1187clarifies the rights of agricultural equipment dealers to provide protections with the supplier when an agreement is terminated. It modifies current law regarding when a dealership agreement is terminated by cancellation or non-renewal. Regardless of which party terminated the agreement, the supplier must repurchase equipment and parts in the dealer’s inventory and must repurchase special tools and computer hardware or software required for the dealership. Companion HF 556 passed the House 93-0.
[2/24: short form]