IowaBio Bill Tracker - February 22, 2019
This week both chambers took up some bills for debate on the floor. The Governor signed two major school funding bills, clearing the path for the legislature to deal with other issues. The House Republicans released their FY2020 budget targets, which are about $10 million higher than the Governor’s budget, for a total state budget of $7.668 Billion. The Senate Republicans plan to release their own budget targets. This will start the appropriations process in earnest, as appropriations subcommittees start delving into budgeting details.
Many bills IowaBio is tracking saw action this week. Subcommittees were held on two anti-vaccination bills IowaBio opposes, SF238 and SF239. The room was filled to overflowing with members of the public and other groups who wished to weigh in on the legislation. The bills, which would offer protections to certain healthcare workers who do not want to administer or receive vaccinations and would vastly expand the existing religious exemption, respectively, did not advance out of subcommittee; However, Senator Carlin (R-Sioux City) signed the subcommittee report for the bills, signaling his support.
Thursday, a House subcommittee was held on HF375, a bill IowaBio supports that would expand Iowa’s newborn screening panel. The bill advanced out of the House subcommittee and now goes to the full Human Resources Committee for consideration. A similar bill in the Senate advanced out of subcommittee last week.
HF477, a bill IowaBio supports which would repurpose the existing Iowa Innovation Corporation to focus on startup Biotech companies moved through the House Economic Growth committee Tuesday. SF321 allowing IEDA increased flexibility to award more angel investor tax credits advanced out of a Senate Commerce subcommittee, and heads to Ways and Means.
A PBM transparency bill, SF 347, was filed in the Senate Human Resources Committee, by Chairwoman Miller-Meeks (R-Ottumwa). Its companion in the House, HF489, was filed by Shannon Lundgren (R-Peosta, also Human Resources Chairwoman; However, the bill got referred to the House Commerce Committee. The bill would require PBMs to submit reports about drug rebates to the Iowa Insurance Commissioner, make formularies public, and to pass on at least half of rebate savings to consumers.
Longtime Senator Jeff Danielson (D -Cedar Falls) this week announced he would resign from his Senate seat, and the Governor soon after announced a special election to fill his District 30 (Waterloo, Cedar Falls and Hudson) seat on Tuesday, March 19. Former Republican Representative Walt Rogers, who was narrowly defeated in the last election has said he is considering candidacy. Amy Petersen, a special education professor at the University of Northern Iowa, and Tom Ralston, who has worked at John Deere and is active with unions, have entered the race on the Democrat side. A libertarian candidate, Fred Perryman also announced. More candidates could jump in prior to the March 5 filing deadline.