2015 Bills: The Good and the Bad

Good Bills that put People & Planet First

 

Farming & Environment 

SF 129 ASSURANCE FOR PIPELINES – This bill would require that corporations wanting to build pipelines for hazardous liquids (like Bakken crude oil) provide $250,000 of assurance per mile of pipeline to the IUB prior to a permit being issued for a hazardous liquid pipeline.

SF 256/SSB 1191 Strengthening manure application laws – This bill will ban spreading manure when it isn’t safe – period.  If past the bill bans spreading manure on frozen/snow-covered ground, on water-saturated ground, when it is forecasted to rain and on land with a 20% slope or more.

Worker Justice

HF 71 Increasing the Minimum Wage/Living Wage  – if passed, this bill would Increase the state minimum wage ($8.20 on 1/16; $9.15 on 7/16; $10.10 on 1/17 and $7.40/$8.25/$9.10 for new hires). Indexes increases by the CPI annually as of July 2018.

HF 72 Employee Misclassification Penalties – if passed, this bill would increase penalties for companies that avoid taxes through employee misclassification schemes, often by employing workers as contractors rather than full time employees.

SF 270 & HF 73 Wage Payment Requirements & Protections – If passed this bill would require employers to be completely transparent with employees via written notices and public distribution of any modifications or updates regarding their wages. It gives employees more power in that if their employer fails to pay them, the employer is responsible for unpaid wages as well as any additional costs to the employee in the process. Finally this bill holds employers accountable through stricter penalties and protects employees from retaliation.

These bills have been assigned committees (Labor) and sub committees in the Senate & House.

HF 40 Regulating Employment Agencies – If passed this bill would require employment agencies to be completely transparent regarding job information via written notices and public distribution. It also holds employment agencies responsible for covering employment fees and costs instead of employees.

This bill has been assigned a committee (Labor) and a sub-committee in the House.

HF 39 Living Wage Study – This bill directs ISU, contingent on funding, to study the impact of requiring a living wage. Directs the DWD, EDA, DHS, UNI, the Child & Family Policy Center, the Iowa Policy Project and representatives of unions and business to be included in the study. Requires a report by December 18, 2015.

Racial Justice – pending CCI Action legislation has not yet been introduced. Please refer to your Iowa CCI Action Fund fact sheet for legislative priorities.

Immigration issues

HF 26 Repealing Official English – this bill repeals provisions making English the official language of Iowa.

Consumer protection

SSB 1004 – Payroll debit card – This bill would regulate the amount of fees an employee can incur each paycheck, no point of sale transaction fees, require the employer to be clear about what fees could take place, lets employees access their wages for no fee each paycheck and the employee must elect to being paid by payroll debit card.

Voting/$ in politics

HF 27 Iowa Clean Elections – This bill establishes the Iowa Clean Elections Act (Voter Owned Iowa Clean Elections = VOICE). Establishes an income tax check-off, rules for candidates and other provisions related to the public financing of elections:  a voluntary system for state elections where candidates can use public financing instead of constantly raising funds from special interest groups who try to buy candidates. This would allow candidates to focus on the issues and their constituents rather than constantly catering to their big money supporters.

HJR 3 Corporation Campaign Limits  – Calls for the Congress to propose an amendment to allow Congress and the states to regulate campaign spending and the political speech of corporations.

HF 48 On-going Absentee Voter Status – This bill would allow a voter to receive absentee ballots for all elections without having to apply each time. Allows the status to be terminated if the person fails to vote in two consecutive elections.

HF 28 & HF 49 Electronic Voter Registration – This bill would authorize electronic voter registration at the Secretary of State website. Includes registration requirements. Requires the SS number to verify information. Includes provisions on first-time voters and on penalties. Effective January 2016.

Student issues

HF 63 Studetn Debt Study –  This bill would appropriate $100,000 to the College Student Aid Commission to commission an independent study on the effects of student debt. Requires the Regents, the DOE and the EDA to work with the CSC and the group conducting the study.

 

Bad bills that don’t Put People & Planet First

 

Farming & Environment

HF 46 – Occupational Rights: If passed this bill allows corporations, businesses and farm operations the ability to skirt around laws meant to protect people and the environment – all in the name of greed and profits.

HF 353 – Manure Continuing Education: A bill to shorten manure applicator training from 3 hours/year to 2 hours/year.  We need more training, not less!

Racial Justice

HF 52 Reasonable Force – If passed this bill justifies use of deadly force in instances where a person feels threatened even if there are better options for resolving the conflict. It provides civil immunity for use of force. This bill disproportionately affects minority communities.

This bill has been assigned a committee (Labor) and a sub-committee in the House. 

Immigration issues

HSB 62 Assistance Verification Programs – This bill is a solution in search of a problem, and could lead to those who are forced to rely on our social safety net to jump through burdensome hoops to prove they qualify for public assistance.

Voting Issues

HF 293 VOTER ID – This bill requires a photo ID in order to vote, either on Election Day or at a satellite voting station. Maintains provisions allowing a person to establish proof through alternative methods in lieu of showing a photo ID. Allows persons without adequate proof to cast provisional ballots but requires the person to show ID later before the ballot can be counted. Requires that a non-operator ID for voting purposes be issued without charge.

Monitoring:

SSB 1063 CAMPAIGN FINANCE DISCLOSURE – Requires electronic reporting by 2016. Increases the amounts for triggering certain reporting requirements.

SSB 1064 INDEPENDENT EXPENDITURES -Does not require a person who makes independent expenditures and files all required statements to organize a committee and strikes requirements for a termination report or dissolution statement. Strikes the requirement that the person file the same disclosure report as candidates. Requires that an officer representing a person certify the prior authorization. Includes requirements on reporting names and addresses of contributors. (Ethics & Campaign Board)

Worker Justice

SF 269 MINIMUM WAGE INCREASE  this bill would increase the state minimum wage to $8.75 by January 1, 2016 ($8.00 on 7/15; $8.75 on 1/16) This doesn’t cut it for hard working Iowa families – we need a living wage. It has been seven years since the minimum wage was increased in Iowa and we know the cost of living has gone up, workers’ wages need to go up too. We are monitoring this bill, but maintaining the push for HF 71 which would raise the wage to $10.10, and include annual cost of living increases. $10.10 is already a compromise and CCI Action members know we should be talking about the Fight for $15.

Student Issues

SSB 1053 & HSB 10 COLLEGE STUDENT AID DUTIES – Makes changes to the duties of the College Student Aid Commission in issuing aid.

SSB 1056 GAP TUITION ASSISTANCE – Makes the family income for six months a financial need criteria for the GAP tuition program. Deems a person who is eligible for SNAP (food stamps) as presumptively eligible for tuition assistance. Gives first priority for assistance to persons with income between 150% and 250% of the federal poverty level and second priority to persons under 150% of the federal poverty level. (DOE) See HSB 12

Voting Issues

HF 138 Eliminating Same Day Registration

This bill would eliminate same-day election registration (Election Day and in-person absentee registration) in Iowa. Same Day registration is one of the great pieces of Iowa’s voting system, and provided over 66,000 Iowans the opportunity to vote in 2012. This is a blatant attempt to gut People First voting policies and suppress the vote.

 

Check out our People and Planet First 2015 legislative agenda.

 

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