Year in Review: Iowa's 2019 Legislative Victories

Date: December 17, 2019

Here's how Iowa small business benefited this year.

Before we ring in 2020, your NFIB team here in Iowa wanted to look back on 2019 and recap some of our victories at the Iowa Capitol. A big thanks to all the members who took action and educated their lawmakers about small business issues. We look forward to another big year in 2020! 

 

SF 634 Property Tax Reform

After hearing a barrage of criticism from Iowans across the state, including small business owners, lawmakers passed a bill that provides greater transparency and accountability when it comes to local property taxes. The bill, which Governor Kim Reynolds signed in May, requires local governments to hold public hearings on property tax issues. It also requires a two-thirds majority vote by the local board or city council to approve any property tax levy that generates a revenue increase of more than 2%.

 

SF 507Workers Comp

This new law clarifies what is and what is not covered under worker’s compensation. It ensures that “idiopathic” falls from a level surface to the same level surface are not eligible for coverage under worker’s comp. Essentially, it means that workplace conditions did not cause the employee to fall. This law addresses the Iowa Supreme Court’s egregious ruling in Bluml v. Dee Jay’s Inc, which would have had devastating legal consequences for Iowa’s small business owners. Jason Bluml had a seizure at work and suffered a severe head injury after falling backwards on a tile floor. Initially, an administrative law judge denied his worker’s comp claim. However, the Iowa Supreme Court disagreed. Governor Reynolds signed the bill in April, which clarifies that ruling and protects small business owners from paying for injuries they did not cause.

 

HF 327Franchisee/Franchisor Legislation

Another victory in 2019 was the passage of a law that clears up the relationship between an employer and an employee at a franchise business. The new law states that the employee of a franchisee is not an employer of the franchisor and makes it clear that the franchisee owner is responsible for all business decisions including hiring, firing, discipline and direction of employees. The new law addresses the 2015 NLRB Browning-Ferris decision, which expanded the definition of the joint employer standard and created confusion between the franchisee and franchisor relationship. This law clearly states that the two are separate and not joint employers, which provides clarity for the state of Iowa when it receives joint employment claims. The governor signed the bill into law in April 2019.

 

SF 220179 Expensing 

This new law should make it easier for small business owners to reinvest in their companies by increasing the section 179 expensing limit from $25,000 to $70,000. This is a great addition to the 2018 tax cut bill, which aligned the state’s deduction level with the federal governments. That means small businesses can now immediately expense personal property such as machinery and equipment up to $1 million bought that year, instead of having to depreciate it over several years with the more complicated Modified Accelerated Cost Recovery System. The Governor signed the bill into law in March. The law makes it easier for small business owners to invest and grow here in Iowa. 

Related Content: Analysis | State | Iowa

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