As this recap is written, the 2018 Iowa Legislative Session has yet to conclude. Even though the per diem ran out April 17, they continue to meet at their own expense and plans are underway for a first week in May conclusion. Overall the session was fairly productive, having been successful in getting many of our key initiatives through. Our HBA of Iowa Legislative Committee took positions on 86 different bills and most of them, whether we opposed or favored them, were to the benefit of Iowa home builders.
Key topics included a couple of beneficial mechanics’ lien changes, safety bills, multiple workforce development and skilled trades initiatives, association health plan opportunities (multiple employer welfare arrangements MEWAs), pro-competition components, workers’ comp fraud prevention, and sales tax benefits. We monitored a number of additional bills that were of interest.
Unfortunately one of our bills did not move forward—something that should be part of a good business practice rather than something that needs to be legislated. It was a “right to repair” bill. Basically it would have required a property owner to notify the builder about an issue prior to taking it to litigation.
There have been a number of very ugly class action lawsuits in other states where the builder never knew there was a problem until the delivery of a multi-million dollar lawsuit. No opportunity provided to even make appropriate repairs. Hopefully we can bring it back to the table during the next session—quite a few states have already passed such laws.
Tax Reform is still on the table—the Senate already passed its own version of giant tax reforms, but the House has its own plan. Quite a few of the budget components have advanced as well—Republicans claiming huge financial victories and Democrats crying foul on budgetary cuts. It will be an interesting final week.
It was another great session for coalition building as well. Since our members have many of the same needs as other construction associations, real estate professionals, and skilled trade’s needs—it only makes sense that we band together with a united front.
With our member’s livelihoods potentially affected by good or bad legislation, we have the responsibility to work diligently on helping to craft favorable bills, promote affordable housing and eliminate as many of those pitfalls and unnecessary regulatory burdens to help foster the American dream of home ownership.