Human Resources Committee – Week 8, 2021


SF 193 – Requirements and prohibitions relating to vaccines and immunizations

SF 193, as amended with a strike-after amendment in committee, prohibits vaccine mandates by employers. It prohibits an employer from failing or refusing to hire, discharge, penalize, or otherwise discriminate against an employee based on the employee’s vaccination history or refusal to be vaccinated. The bill allows employees to bring legal action against employers. It also prohibits any vaccination or immunity status to be listed on a driver’s license.

These provisions were eliminated by the amendment:

  • Division II. Relates to vaccination safety and right of refusal. It prohibits a hospital or health care facility from requiring staff to be immunized. It also prohibits health care providers from discriminating against or terminating treatment of a patient based on refusal of an immunization. It prohibits entities providing clinical experience or education from discriminating based on immunization history. Any facility violating this division is ineligible to receive state funding for reimbursement of services. A licensing authority cannot deny a license to an applicant based on immunization refusal. This division also prohibits insurance providers from using immunization history in any way.

  • Division III. Adds a new exemption based on conscientiously held beliefs for immunizations required for school attendance. It also broadens the religious exemption.

  • Division IV. Changes the Iowa Civil Rights Act (Ch. 216) prohibiting discrimination based on vaccine history.

  • Division VI. Requires that any reporting of immunization information to the Iowa Health Information Network must first obtain written informed consent.
    [3/2: 7-6 (No: Democrats, Garrett)]

SF 473 – Temporary custody of children during judicial proceedings

SF 473 directs that the Department of Human Services or a court with jurisdiction over a child will consider placing the child with a relative. The bill prioritizes the order of relatives to be considered. Parents without custody of their child will be a party to a Child in Need of Assistance proceeding. Parents without custody currently must petition the court to become a party to the proceeding.

The bill directs that a guardian of a child whose adoptive parental rights have been terminated by court order to investigate whether the child’s biological parents are appropriate for placement or adoption, if the biological parents’ parental rights had previously been terminated. If appropriate, the biological parents are to be given priority.

This bill will be adjusted with a floor amendment.
[3/2: short form]

SSB 1223 – Assisted reproduction fraud

SSB 1223 creates the “Fraud in Assisted Reproduction Act.” It prohibits a person from engaging in a practice the person knows, or reasonably should have known, is providing false information to a patient related to assisted reproduction treatment. The bill prohibits a physician from using human reproductive material for assisted reproduction other than that agreed to in writing by the patient. A person who violates the provisions of the bill is guilty of a Class “C” felony. Also, a violation by a health care provider or facility is grounds for denial or revocation of any license, permit or certification. The bill provides for a private cause of action for compensatory and punitive damages for a patient or spouse of the patient who gives birth to a child conceived through a violation of the bill. The bill also provides that a physician commits sexual abuse in the third degree when the physician uses their own human reproductive material in the assisted reproduction procedure. Sexual abuse in the third degree is also a Class “C” felony.
[3/2: short form]

SSB 1227 – Inpatient psychiatric bed tracking system study committee

SSB 1227 directs the Department of Human Services to convene a study committee during the 2021 interim to examine issues and develop policy recommendations relating to improvements in the inpatient psychiatric bed tracking system, including expanding to include the acuity of disabilities, behavioral disabilities, and sexually or physically aggressive behaviors; increasing reimbursement rates based on level of care; and implementing enhancements to the bed tracking system. The bill prescribes the members of the interim committee and requires DHS to submit a report by December 15.
[3/2: short form]

SSB 1228 – ABLE Trust Accounts

SSB 1228 allows Iowa to conform to new federal regulations that allow broadened categories of people to establish an ABLE account for an eligible individual. The bill provides that a person other than the account owner may enter into a participation agreement and have signature authority over the account on behalf of the account owner. This provision will be helpful to families who do not have conservatorship of their guardians.
[3/2: short form]

SSB 1229 – Medical Information reports

SSB 1229 defines “report” in the Iowa Code Chapter on mental health commitments (hospitalization of persons with mental health) to mean a medical recommendation that may also contain a patient’s medical information, including, but not limited to, the patient’s condition, prognosis and care plan. This allows psychiatrists to report recommendations and health history one time instead of twice in different forms, as is the current practice.
[3/2: short form]

SSB 1234 – Emergency detention at access centers

SSB 1234 amends the commitment Code sections for treatment and services for those with substance-related disorders (125.91) and emergency hospitalization for those with a serious mental impairment (229.22) to allow emergency detention and treatment services in an access center. The bill defines “access center” as the coordinated provision of intake assessment, screening for co-occurring conditions, care coordination, crisis stabilization residential services, subacute mental health services, and substance abuse treatment for those experiencing a mental health or substance use crisis who do not need inpatient psychiatric hospital treatment, but who do need significant supports and services not available in other home and community-based settings. It also makes conforming changes. This bill would change the current law and rules that have been guiding the development of access centers to date. It would have significant impact on workforce and security at access centers.
[3/2: 8-5, party-line]