Iowa Legislature 2019

DES MOINES — Autonomous vehicles are closer to rolling down Iowa highways.

The Iowa House joined the Senate in approving legislation paving the way for driverless-capable vehicles to operate on Iowa roads if they meet certain conditions.

Although it may be years before autonomous vehicles are in use, lawmakers said the bill creates regulations including rules on operation, insurance and liability in the event of a collision.

It would require there be minimal risk if the automated driving system malfunctions. It also requires vehicles to comply with Iowa’s traffic laws unless the Department of Transportation has granted an exception. Vehicles must be certified be in compliance with federal safety standards unless an exemption has been granted.

The legislation also authorizes a transportation service network to use software to dispatch driverless-capable vehicles to transport people or goods, including transportation for hire and public transportation.

Also Tuesday, the House voted 100-0 to approve a Senate bill to allow the state insurance commissioner more oversight to ensure prescription drug rebates negotiated by pharmacy benefit managers are applied to health care insurance plans.

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Pharmacy benefit managers are companies that handle the prescription drug benefit component of health care insurance plans.

The problem, said Rep. John Forbes, D-Urbandale, is no one knows where the money goes when a pharmacy benefit manager gets a rebate. It’s unclear if the money goes to the insurance company or to reduce the patient’s cost, he said.

The bill would require pharmacy benefit managers to annually report all rebate information and fees received from a health carrier to the Iowa insurance commissioner. The commissioner would be required to post nonconfidential information on a publicly accessible website.

It also would require health carriers to reduce cost-sharing requirements for covered prescription drugs using a statutory formula.

The bill goes back to the Senate because the House amended it.

The House approved and sent to the governor a bill to allow the sale of wild golden oyster mushrooms at farmers markets. It requires people who sell the mushrooms to complete a course similar to the three-hour morel mushroom identification expert course. It will be developed by the Department of Inspection and Appeals and Iowa State University.

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Statehouse reporter for The Courier

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