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Iowa workers’ comp changes concern employees

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — Legislation making big changes to Iowa’s workers’ compensation system is moving through the Legislature despite arguments that the new rules would penalize employees who work in physically demanding conditions.

Committees in the House and Senate approved the bill Thursday, March 2, and it’s expected to come up for votes in the full chambers soon.

Opponents have been especially critical of the bill’s move to cut compensation off at age 67 for fully disabled people, minimize late fees for employers, reduce coverage for shoulder injuries and decrease coverage for injuries tied to a pre-existing condition.

Sen. Bill Dix, the Senate majority leader, said Republicans hope that by changing the law they will spur more jobs and retain businesses in the state.

Here’s a list of other Iowa bills that made the cut:

  • SF 53 bans abortions after 20 weeks of pregnancy; it made it out of the Senate Health and Human Resources Committee Thursday night. It’s companion bill in the House did not survive, but it could now be passed in the Senate and sent to the House for approval.
  • SSB 1172, preventing cities, counties, or college campuses from enacting “sanctuary” policies protecting illegal immigrants, passed out of the Senate Local Government Committee this week. A similar, but not identical, bill in the House – HF 265 – is also pending.
  • SSB 1163, a controversial voter ID bill proposed by Secretary of State Paul Pate, passed out of the Senate State Government Committee. It would require all voters to have a valid government-issued ID to vote.
  • HF 316, which would dismantle local water utilities like Des Moines Water Works and replace them with a regional authority, cleared the House Agriculture Committee this week.