Author: Iowa Senate Democrats

Statement on latest privatized Medicaid contracts

Iowa Senate News Release
For Immediate Release:  July 10, 2019

 

Statement from Senate Democratic Leader Janet Petersen on outrageous new contracts for privatized Medicaid 

“The outrageous contracts with two out-of-state corporations are more evidence that privatized Medicaid in Iowa is unsustainable, unaffordable and unpredictable.

“Governor Reynolds has once again agreed to give the MCOs the largest dollar increases for Medicaid in the last decade. The publicly managed Medicaid system grew at an average of 5% each year over a 10-year period before privatization. Last year, the increase was 8.4%. The increase announced today is a whopping 8.6%!

“Just imagine how much better off Iowans would be if K12 public schools, job training programs and family planning services received that kind of increased state support!

“The big cheerleaders for privatized Medicaid – Governor Reynolds and Republican legislators –cannot back up their claims that privatizing would save money and make people healthier. That’s because it hasn’t happened.

“Privatized Medicaid continues to be a bad, bad deal for Iowa Medicaid recipients, health care providers and taxpayers.”

  • end –

Legislative leaders to decide on medical cannabis special committee

For Immediate Release: July 9, 2019

Special committee would provide path for bipartisan agreement on medical cannabis

Decision to be made by legislative leaders this Thursday, July 11, at Iowa Statehouse

This Thursday, the leaders of the Iowa Legislature will be asked to create an interim committee to hammer out reforms of Iowa’s “worst in the nation” medical cannabis program.  

After several years without progress, a comprehensive bill was approved with overwhelming bipartisan support during the 2019 session.  A month later, Governor Reynolds vetoed the bill. An effort to override that veto fell short last month.

A study committee on medical cannabis reform offers the surest chance of success because it would allow input from advocates, medical experts and other interested Iowans, according to Sen. Joe Bolkcom of Iowa City and Rep. John Forbes of Urbandale.

“Year after year, Iowa families have traveled to the Statehouse pleading for help,” Bolkcom said.  “After listening to Iowans, we should hammer out a fix that is ready to go the day the 2020 session begins in January.” 

“All we need to do is focus on helping suffering families.  That’s it,” said Representative John Forbes, an Urbandale pharmacist.  “We don’t need to reinvent the wheel. All Iowa has to do is approve what’s working in other states and get the heck out of the way.”

The Legislative Council’s Studies Committee is scheduled to meet at 11:15 a.m. Thursday, July 11, 2019, in Room 22 of the Iowa State Capitol.

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Interim committee request letter_FINAL

 

Contact the legislative council and encourage them to support an interim committee: http://bit.ly/Iowa-Leg-Council-7-2019

Breckenridge, Wes [LEGIS] <[email protected]>; Deyoe, Dave [LEGIS] <[email protected]>; Grassley, Pat [LEGIS] <[email protected]>; Hagenow, Chris [LEGIS] <[email protected]>; Hall, Chris [LEGIS] <[email protected]>; Hein, Lee [LEGIS] <[email protected]>; Oldson, Jo [LEGIS] <[email protected]>; Prichard, Todd [LEGIS] <[email protected]iowa.gov>; Steckman, Sharon [LEGIS] <[email protected]>; Upmeyer, Linda [LEGIS] <[email protected]>; Wills, John [LEGIS] <[email protected]>; Windschitl, Matt [LEGIS] <[email protected]>; Behn, Jerry [LEGIS] <[email protected]>; Bolkcom, Joe [LEGIS] <[email protected]>; Chapman, Jake [LEGIS] <[email protected]>; Feenstra, Randy [LEGIS] <[email protected]>; Jochum, Pam [LEGIS] <[email protected]>; Lykam, Jim [LEGIS] <[email protected]>; Petersen, Janet [LEGIS] <[email protected]>; Ragan, Amanda [LEGIS] <[email protected]>; Schneider, Charles [LEGIS] <[email protected]>; Sinclair, Amy [LEGIS] <[email protected]>; Whitver, Jack [LEGIS] <[email protected]>; Zumbach, Dan [LEGIS] <[email protected]>

Fight for medical cannabis reforms continues

For Immediate Release: July 1, 2019

 

Legislative leaders announce next steps in the fight for Iowa medical cannabis reforms

News Conf Video: https://youtu.be/3LZjZNil7gQ

Legislative advocates for reforming Iowa’s “worst in the nation” medical cannabis program say they will keep fighting for much needed reforms vetoed by Governor Reynolds.

“Representative Forbes and I called on our colleagues to join us in calling for a special session to overturn Governor Reynold misguided veto of modest improvements to Iowa medical cannabis program,” said Senator Joe Bolkcom of Iowa City.  “We are happy to report that every Democratic member of the Iowa Senate and Iowa House signed the call for a special session. Unfortunately, not a single Republican lawmaker acted to defend their votes.”

In April, House File 732 passed the Iowa House by a vote of 96 to 3 and the Iowa Senate by a vote of 40 to 7.

“We gave our Republican colleagues the opportunity to make a wrong by the governor into a right. They ignored us,” said Representative Forbes. “Now it is time to take action to make sure Iowa’s elected officials are advocates for people who are sick and not able to access and afford effective medicines.”

The two legislators said they would immediately press for a legislative interim committee to prepare legislation for passage early in the next session beginning in January, 2020.

“An interim committee would include public meetings and public input,” Bolkcom said.  “Secret meetings between the Governor and legislative Republicans failed to get the job done.  The Legislature needs to listen to patients and create a better program that meets their needs.”

The Legislative Council Committee is scheduled to meet Thursday, July 11, 2019, at 11:30 a.m. in Room 22, at the State Capitol.

“The July 11th meeting will be very important for Iowans who want to have the same access to effective medicines that most other Americans already have,” said Forbes.  “The goal now must be seeing the necessary medical cannabis reforms signed into law shortly after the January start of the 2020 session.”

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Spread the word about abuse hotline

The Iowa Attorney General’s office recently established a new toll-free hotline for adult survivors to report child sexual abuse.

This is an important step to ensure that survivors of child sex abuse get the justice they deserve.  Iowans will be safer when we know the truth about sex offenders among us and better understand how to prevent child sex abuse.

You can help by promoting this hotline so that more survivors know that they can seek justice.

I encourage you to distribute information about the hotline — 855-620-7000 – to your employees, stakeholders and clients/customers, and any other Iowans that you connect with. Spread the word via:

  • Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and other social media
  • Websites
  • Bulletin boards
  • Staff meetings
  • Any public meetings
  • Public service announcements

Feel free to use the flyer and social media graphic below!

It’s going to take a team effort by religious organizations, nonprofits, governmental agencies, businesses and news media to get the word out. I appreciate anything you can do to ensure more adult survivors of child sexual abuse know there is help and hope.

 

Flyer

abuse hotline flyer

 

Social media graphic

Medical cannabis veto override is more than halfway to goal

Iowa Legislature Release
For Immediate Release: June 24, 2019 

 

Medical cannabis veto override is more than halfway to goal

Iowans urged to contact legislators who voted for reforms but have yet to defend their votes

Des Moines, Iowa – Iowans pushing to overturn Governor Reynold’s veto of medical cannabis reforms are more than halfway towards their goal of calling for a special session.

House File 732 would have made substantial improvements to Iowa’s “worst in the nation” medical cannabis law.  It was overwhelmingly approved in April by the Iowa House on a vote of 96 to 3 and by the Iowa Senate on a vote of 40 to 7.

A special session to override the veto will be held if two-thirds of the members of the House (67) and two-thirds of the Senate (34) each submit a written request.

As of Monday, June 24, Iowa’s 18 Democratic State Senators and 47 Democratic State Representatives have all either submitted or plan to submit a request for a special session.

It is unclear whether any of the Republicans who voted for the bill–50 in the House and 24 in the Senate–have requested a special session.

“The voices of ordinary Iowans have gotten us this far.  They need to keep fighting because that is the only way this mean-spirited veto will be overridden,” said Senator Joe Bolkcom.  “I urge every Iowan to encourage Republican legislators to defend their votes for urgently needed Iowa medical cannabis reforms.”

More information about the effort to pass Iowa medical cannabis reform can be found here: http://bit.ly/Override-the-veto

Below is a list of the members of the Iowa House and Senate who voted for Iowa Medical cannabis and who have not yet expressed support for a special session to override the veto.

Sen Waylon Brown, (641)-590-0610, [email protected], St Ansgar

Sen Jake Chapman, (515)-650-3942, [email protected], Adel

Sen Chris Cournoyer, (563)-289-7335, [email protected], LeClaire

Sen Jeff Edler, (641)-751-5902, [email protected], State Center

Sen Thomas A. Greene, (319)-750-6579, [email protected], Burlington

Sen Dennis Guth, (641)-430-0424, [email protected], Klemme

Sen Craig Johnson, (319)-334-2413, [email protected], Independence

Sen Tim L. Kapucian, (319)-334-2413, [email protected], Keystone

Sen Carrie Koelker, (563)-590-5975, [email protected], Dyersville

Sen Tim Kraayenbrink, (515)-408-4770, [email protected], Fort Dodge

Sen Mark S. Lofgren, (563)-272-8683, [email protected], Muscatine

Sen Mariannette Miller-Meeks, (641)-683-7551, [email protected], Ottumwa

Sen Zach Nunn, (515)-519-2246, [email protected], Altoona

Sen Ken Rozenboom, (641)-295-6551, [email protected], Oskaloosa

Sen Charles Schneider, (515)-657-7375, [email protected], West Des Moines

Sen Jason Schultz, (712)-269-2178, [email protected], Schleswig

Sen Mark Segebart, (712)-269-4519, [email protected], Vail

Sen Tom Shipley, (712)-785-3583, [email protected], Nodaway

Sen Amy Sinclair, (641)-870-0199, [email protected], Allerton

Sen Roby Smith, (563)-386-0179, [email protected], Davenport

Sen Annette Sweeney, (641)-373-4899, [email protected], Alden

Sen Jack Whitver, (515)-281-3371, [email protected], Spirit Lake

Sen Brad Zaun, (515)-276-2025, [email protected], Urbandale

Sen Dan Zumbach, (563)-920-5094, [email protected], Ryan

Rep Robert P. Bacon, Not Listed, [email protected], Nevada

Rep Michael R. Bergan, (563)-380-3974, [email protected], Dorchester

Rep Brian Best, (712)-830-1844, [email protected], Glidden

Rep Jacob Bossman, (712)-251-4541, [email protected], Sioux City

Rep Holly Brink, (641)-295-7111, [email protected], Oskaloosa

Rep Gary L. Carlson, (563)-299-7021, [email protected], Muscatine

Rep Dave Deyoe, (515)-382-2352, [email protected], Nevada

Rep Cecil Dolecheck, (641)-464-2913, [email protected], Mount Ayr

Rep Dean Fisher, (641)-750-3594, [email protected], Montour

Rep Joel Fry, (641)-342-1017, [email protected], Osceola

Rep Tedd Gassman, (515)-538-0117, [email protected], Scarville

Rep Thomas D. Gerhold, (319)-361-2950, [email protected], Atkins

Rep Pat Grassley, (319)-214-0351, [email protected], New Hartford

Rep Chris Hagenow, (515)-274-1652, [email protected], Urbandale

Rep Mary Ann Hanusa, (712)-256-5159, [email protected], Council Bluffs

Rep Lee Hein, (319)-480-1997, [email protected], Monticello

Rep Ashley Hinson, Not Listed, [email protected], Marion

Rep Dustin D. Hite, Not Listed, [email protected], Not Listed

Rep Steven Holt, (712)-269-4042, [email protected], Denison

Rep Daniel Adair Huseman, (712)-434-5880, [email protected], Aurelia

Rep Jon Jacobsen, Not Listed, [email protected], Council Bluffs

Rep Tom Jeneary, (712)-539-1275, [email protected], Le Mars

Rep Megan Jones, (515)-991-7337, [email protected], Not Listed

Rep Bobby Kaufmann, Not Listed, [email protected], Wilton

Rep David Kerr, Not Listed, [email protected], Morning Sun

Rep Jarad Klein, Not Listed, [email protected], Keota

Rep John Landon, (515)-249-0348, [email protected], Ankeny

Rep Brian K. Lohse, (515)-519-2347, [email protected], Bondurant

Rep Shannon Lundgren, (515)-428-0809, [email protected], Not Listed

Rep David E. Maxwell, (641)-660-0792, [email protected], Gibson

Rep Ann Meyer, (515)-570-6610, [email protected], Fort Dodge

Rep Joe Mitchell, Not Listed, [email protected], Not Listed

Rep Gary M. Mohr, Not Listed, [email protected], Bettendorf

Rep Norlin G. Mommsen, (563)-357-9826, [email protected], DeWitt

Rep Tom Moore, Not Listed, [email protected], Griswold

Rep Anne Osmundson, (563)-880-8227, [email protected], Volga

Rep Ross C. Paustian, (563)-284-6783, [email protected], Walcott

Rep Sandy Salmon, (319)-987-3021, [email protected], Janesville

Rep Mike Sexton, (712)-830-3960, [email protected], Rockwell City

Rep Jeff Shipley, (319)-432-3108, [email protected], Fairfield

Rep David Sieck, Not Listed, [email protected], Glenwood

Rep Ray Sorensen, (712)-525-0580, [email protected], Not Listed

Rep Phil Thompson, Not Listed, [email protected], Not Listed

Rep Jon Thorup, (641)-891-9357, [email protected], Knoxville

Rep Linda L. Upmeyer, (641)-357-8807, [email protected], Clear Lake

Rep Skyler Wheeler, (712)-441-7444, [email protected], Not Listed

Rep John H. Wills, (712)-330-9492, [email protected], Spirit Lake

Rep Matt W. Windschitl, (712)-642-4334, [email protected], Missouri Valley

Rep Gary Worthan, (712)-732-6340, [email protected], Storm Lake

Rep Louis J. Zumbach, Not Listed, [email protected], Coggon

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Statement on appointment of new DAS director

IOWA SENATE NEWS
June 20, 2019

Statement from Senate Democratic Leader Janet Petersen on new DAS Director appointment

“The biggest job for Governor Reynolds and Jim Kurtenbach in the coming months is to restore taxpayers’ faith in the Department of Administrative Services.

“In a May 29 letter, I encouraged Governor Reynolds to appoint a new Director with the experience and proven track record necessary to write a new chapter. The Department must establish higher expectations than what we’ve seen over the past several years.

“It’s unclear at this time whether she has accomplished that goal with the appointment of Mr. Kurtenbach.

“The Governor and Mr. Kurtenbach will need to explain to Iowans how his background is suitable for this new job. We have seen numerous problems in recent years – multi-million dollar harassment settlements, hush money payments, understaffing that puts at risk the safety of state workers,  and unfair bargaining tactics, and biased hiring and procurement practices – that need to be addressed, not ignored.

“Mr. Kurtenbach must explain to Iowans what specific plans he has for addressing those problems and ensuring that all state employees and Iowans are safe and treated with dignity, and that tax dollars are not abused.”

###

The May 29 letter from Sen. Petersen to the Governor outlined problems that previous Directors either created or failed to address:• Denied Iowans access to basic public information about the number of harassment complaints in state government and how much taxpayer dollars have been spent to compensate harassment victims.• Taken a restrictive, punitive approach to negotiating contracts with state employees.

• Put the health and safety of state employees and Iowans at risk through dangerous staff reductions, overtime policies, and other employment practices that were previously protected under collective bargaining.

• Mishandled a sweeping scandal at the Iowa Finance Authority (IFA) that included rampant harassment of employees, a failure by IFA staff and DAS staff to address complaints, and pay raises and promotions that were based on cronyism rather than merit.

• Approved secret settlements – described by some as “hush money” – to outgoing state employees.

• Endangered the rights of workers by maintaining a “do-not-hire” list without due process for workers to challenge their inclusion on the list.

• Failed to adequately update and enforce harassment policies in the executive branch.

• Conducted hirings, firings and promotions across state government that appear to be based on political connections rather than qualifications.

Statement on Governor’s explanation of DHS shakeup

Iowa Senate News Release
For Immediate Release:  18 June 2019

Statement from Senate Democratic Leader Janet Petersen
on Governor’s latest statement on departure of DHS Director

“The Governor’s latest statement on the departure of Jerry Foxhoven is as clear as mud.

“If the Governor has been working behind closed doors for nearly six months on a new direction, a new team and a new vision for the Department of Human Services, she needs to back up her rhetoric with positive action. This includes outlining her specific plans to:

  • Fix a privatized Medicaid system that is unsustainable, unaffordable and unaccountable.
  • Reverse course on policies that decimated the state’s successful family planning network, resulting in more unintended pregnancies, more risky births, more teenage mothers.
  • Present a comprehensive plan for adequately funding mental health services for children and adults.
  • Stop dangerous practices and procedures at Glenwood, Eldora and other at state-operated facilities.
  • Rebuild the child protective safety net instead of putting dangerous holes in it.
  • Explain to Iowans why she made the decision to replace Foxhoven (a) when her Administration is in the middle of negotiations with both out-of-state managed care organizations (MCOs) and (b) when hundreds of thousands of Iowans are two weeks away from transitioning to a new MCO.

“Finally, I repeat my call for the Governor to immediately launch a nationwide search for a new Director of the Department of Human Services who is truly committed to watching out for the most vulnerable children and adults in Iowa.

“When then-Director Chuck Palmer resigned in 2017, the Governor posted the opening on the website of the Iowa Department of Administrative Services (https://agency.governmentjobs.com/iowa/job_bulletin.cfm?jobID=1755326&sharedWindow=0) and that should be her first step to take in 2019.”

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Statement on departure of Human Services director

Iowa Senate News Release
For Immediate Release:  17 June 2019

Statement from Senate Democratic Leader
on departure of DHS Director

“The Governor needs to immediately launch a nationwide search for a new Director of the Department of Human Services who is truly committed to watching out for the most vulnerable children and adults in Iowa.

“This means finding an advocate who will fight for more resources, push for stronger policies, and ensure that those policies are enforced for the betterment of all Iowans.

“After years of mismanagement and neglect by Governor Reynolds and legislative Republicans, Iowans deserve a new Director with the backbone necessary to put quality care and proper oversight ahead of special interests.

“The damage they’ve done to Iowans includes:

  • Creating and supporting a privatized Medicaid system that is unsustainable, unaffordable and unaccountable. It’s so bad that the federal government has launched an investigation into whether officials in Iowa and other states are providing sufficient and appropriate oversight to ensure that people with Medicaid are receiving the care to which they are entitled.
  • Decimating the state’s successful family planning network, resulting in more unintended pregnancies, more risky births, more teenage mothers.
  • Inadequately funding mental health services for children and adults.
  • Allowing dangerous practices and procedures at Glenwood, Eldora and other at state-operated facilities.

“Finally, it’s especially bad news for Medicaid recipients, health care providers and Iowa taxpayers that the Governor’s Director is leaving (a) in the middle of negotiations with both out-of-state managed care organizations (MCO) and (b) when hundreds of thousands of Iowans are two weeks away from transitioning to a new MCO.”

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Judiciary Committee – All-Bill Summary 2019

SJR 18 – Constitutional amendment on right to keep, bear arms

SF 112 – Certification of trust requirements

SF 113 – Operating while intoxicated third offense and habitual offenders

SF 158 – Post conviction relief and the underlying trial court record

SF 267 – Criminal penalty for illegal practice of massage therapy

SF 333 – Non-substantive code editor’s bill

SF 346 – Criminal offense of female genital cutting

SF 364 – 24/7 sobriety update

SF 377 – Municipal tort liability for not-for-profits that provide emergency services

SF 379 – Qualifications to practice law in Iowa

SF 532 – Notice and opportunity to repair construction defects

SF 569 – Series limited liability companies

SF 570 – Immunity from civil liability for volunteers during disasters

SF 589 – Criminal omnibus

SF 590 – Payments from indigent defense fund for privately retained attorneys

HF 224 – Lascivious conduct with a minor

HF 266 – Civil commitment of sexually violent predators

HF 323 – Exploitation of a dependent adult by a caretaker

HF 328 – Definition of vulnerable elder

HF 391 – Increased amount of surety bond for travel trailer dealer license

HF 421 – Transfer of mental health patients to the Iowa Medical Classification Center

HF 569 – Personal degradation of a dependent adult is dependent adult abuse

HF 591 – Minor guardianships in juvenile court

HF 610 – Adult guardianships and conservatorships

HF 679 – Substantive code editor’s bill

HF 681 –Criminal history checks for work with children, elderly, disabled

HF 707 – Juvenile delinquency proceedings, termination of parental rights notice

HF 719 – Conciliation related to dissolution of marriage

HF 732 – Medical cannabidiol—BILL VETOED

HF 734 – Changes to Iowa’s DNA profiling laws

 

SJR 18 – Constitutional amendment on right to keep, bear arms (Does not require Governor’s signature)

SJR 18 proposes an amendment to Iowa’s Constitution relating to the right “to bear arms.” Iowa’s Constitution currently does not have any language relating to the right to possess firearms. The proposed amendment in SJR 18 confers the right of the people to keep and bear arms. In addition, the proposed language says: “The sovereign state of Iowa affirms and recognizes this right to be a fundamental individual right. Any and all restrictions of this right will be subject to strict scrutiny.” To change Iowa’s Constitution, a proposed amendment must pass two consecutive General Assemblies (GA). This proposed amendment will need to pass during the 89th GA as well. If  it does, it will be put to a vote of the people of Iowa.
[3/13: 33-16 (Yes: Republicans, R. Taylor; Vacant: Danielson)]

 

SF 112 – Certification of trust requirements

SF 112 is a Bar Association proposal that allows any current trustee or an attorney for a current trustee to sign off on and execute certification of trust documents in lieu of the requirement that all trustees sign off on the certification of trust documents. A certification generally is a summary or quotation from selected parts of the trust documents and allows a person or entity, such as a bank, to know the correct name of the trust and to be sure that the trust has power over its assets. Under the bill, the trustee or attorney for the trustee who signs the certification of trust must be sworn under penalty of perjury. A certification usually does not identify the beneficiaries or the assets; that information is kept confidential. This legislation will streamline legal processes and facilitate transactions while maintaining privacy.
[3/21: 46-0 (Absent: Bisignano, Celsi, R. Taylor; Vacant: Danielson)]

 

SF 113 – Operating while intoxicated third offense and habitual offenders

SF 113 provides that a person charged with a third or subsequent Operating While Intoxicated (OWI, a class “D” felony) can also be charged as a habitual offender if the person has previously been convicted of at least two felonies. The maximum sentence for a habitual offender is up to 15 years with a three-year mandatory minimum. This bill is in response to a 2018 Iowa Supreme Court decision, Noll v. Iowa Dist. Court for Muscatine County, which held that a person convicted of a third or subsequent OWI could not be sentenced as a habitual offender under Code section 902.8, even though the person may have been previously convicted of two felonies.
[2/18: 48-0 (Absent: Miller-Meeks; Vacant: Danielson)]

 

SF 158 – Post conviction relief and the underlying trial court record

SF 158 is an Iowa Bar Association proposal that addresses access to underlying criminal court files in applications for post-conviction relief (PCR). The bill deletes current Code language, which reads that if an “application for post-conviction relief is not accompanied by the record of the proceedings then the respondent shall file with its answer the record or portions thereof that are material to the questions raised in the application.”

The bill inserts new Code language requiring the underlying trial court record and any previous application for PCR to automatically become part of the record in a PCR claim. The bill further requires clerks of court to make the underlying trial court record accessible to the applicant’s attorney, the county attorney and the Attorney General. If the court record is not available in electronic format, the clerk must convert it to electronic format and make it available. In addition, any previous application for PCR must be converted to electronic format if necessary and made available.

In PCR cases, no court order will be required for the applicant’s attorney, the county attorney and the Attorney General to get access to the underlying trial court record. In addition, the bill prohibits the Judicial Branch from charging applicants, county attorneys and the Attorney General for access to the court record.
[3/20: 49-0 (Vacant: Danielson)]

 

SF 267 – Criminal penalty for illegal practice of massage therapy

SF 267 provides a criminal penalty when unlicensed individuals practice massage therapy or hold themselves out as massage therapists. Current Iowa law requires massage therapists to be licensed. Unlicensed individuals cannot engage in massage therapy or hold themselves out as a massage therapist or masseuse, or use any other word or title that implies the person is a massage therapist. However, a violation is a civil penalty, not a crime. This bill makes it a serious misdemeanor for an unlicensed person to engage in or hold themselves out at a massage therapist. A serious misdemeanor is punishable by up to two years in prison and a fine. The bill allows for an affirmative defense to a charge of practicing massage therapy without a license if the defendant claims to be a victim of human trafficking.
[4/22: 49-0 (Absent: Segebart)]

 

SF 333 – Non-substantive code editor’s bill

SF 333 is the non-substantive code editor’s bill. This bill is submitted each year by the Iowa Code Editor to the Judiciary Committee to make Code changes that exceed the Code Editor’s editorial authority but are non-substantive and non-controversial. In some cases, the changes are within the Code Editor’s authority but are significant enough that public notice of the changes is important. Examples of non-substantive changes include separating paragraphs into subparagraphs but not altering the language, or fixing grammatical mistakes.
[3/28: 48-0 (Absent: Breitbach, Nunn)]

 

SF 346 – Criminal offense of female genital cutting

SF 346 makes “female genital cutting” of anyone under 18 a crime. Under the bill, a person who performs female genital cutting of a minor commits a “D” felony. It will not be a violation of the law when a licensed medical professional in Iowa performs the surgical procedure when necessary to protect the health of the minor, or when the procedure is performed on a minor who is in labor or who has just given birth and the procedure is related to the labor or birth. The bill also makes it a “D” felony to knowingly transport a minor for female genital cutting. In November 2018, a U.S. District Judge found that the federal law banning female genital cutting was unconstitutional. As a result, states have begun to criminalize it.

The bill requires the Crime Victim Assistance Division of the Attorney General’s office to conduct an education campaign to increase awareness about the health risks of, the prohibitions against and the criminal penalties associated with female genital cutting. In addition, the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics must develop educational programming for physicians to provide safe health care and treatment to women who are victims of female genital cutting.
[4/16: 49-0 (Absent: Shipley)]

 

SF 364 – 24/7 sobriety update

SF 364 is intended to fix issues with the 24/7 Sobriety pilot program that passed in 2017 (SF 444). The bill sets a minimum of 90 days that a person must participate in the program. Current law does not set a minimum. The last 30 days of participation must be without a failed test. The bill also extends the sunset date for the pilot program by two years to July 1, 2024, because it has taken more time than anticipated to get the program up and running. Woodbury County is the first pilot county and that program is scheduled to begin this spring.
[3/25: 50-0]

 

SF 377 – Municipal tort liability for not-for-profits that provide emergency services

SF 377 extends immunity from tort liability that is currently granted to municipalities for claims based upon or arising out of an act or omission in connection with emergency response services, to nonprofit corporations providing the same services pursuant to a written contract with a city, county, township or benefitted fire district.
[3/12: 49-0 (Vacant: Danielson)]

 

SF 379 – Qualifications to practice law in Iowa

SF 379 is a Judicial Branch proposal that eliminates provisions in the Iowa Code that limit attorney admissions to practice law in Iowa to applicants who are residents of Iowa. The U.S. Supreme Court ruled that this requirement is unconstitutional and that nonresidents of Iowa are eligible to apply to practice law in this state. The bill also authorizes an attorney who has been admitted to practice law in a territory of the U.S. to be admitted to practice law in Iowa without an examination. Thus, an attorney from a U.S. territory would be treated just like an attorney from another state or the District of Columbia. The bill also allows an out-of-state attorney from the District of Columbia or a U.S. territory to apply to appear pro hac vice (for this event) in an Iowa case with a local attorney. The local attorney does not need to be a resident of Iowa, but must be admitted to practice law in Iowa.
[4/9: 48-0 (Absent: Bisignano, Feenstra)]

 

SF 532 – Notice and opportunity to repair construction defects

SF 532 sets up a required process to resolve construction disputes before a class-action lawsuit can be filed for construction defects causing injury to property, real or personal. The bill sets out time limits for the process and conditions to be met before claimants go to court. No court action is allowed until claimants comply with the requirements of this bill. These requirements apply only to new construction and class actions. The general contractor and any subcontractors must be given notice of claims prior to court filing and must get an opportunity to inspect the property to determine the nature and cause of defects, as well as the repairs necessary to remedy them.
[3/20: 42-7 (No: Bisignano, Bolkcom, Boulton, Celsi, Dotzler, Jochum, Petersen; Vacant: Danielson)]

 

SF 569 – Series limited liability companies

SF 569 creates the Uniform Protected Series Act relating to limited liability companies (LLCs). Iowa law currently provides for business entities called “series limited liability companies” but has few details on how they function. A series is like an unincorporated division or “cell” established within a limited liability company by its operating agreement. This legislation is a product of the Uniform Law Commission and has been developed over several years of study. It expands Iowa law, and provides creation, filing, reporting and recordkeeping provisions for series limited liability companies.

In addition to “vertical liability shield,” which shields shareholders of corporations and members of limited liability companies from personal liability for debts and obligations of the corporation or LLC, a series established by an LLC in conformity with the law will qualify for “horizontal liability shield” that shields the series’ assets from debts and liabilities of the LLC and other series it has established.

The Bar Association indicates that the benefits of the bill will include:

  • Requiring a filing to establish a protected series to ensure accurate and available information at the Secretary of State’s office on how many series LLCs have established protected series. Currently, there is no way of knowing how many have been established in Iowa.
  • Requiring a more specific description of what records must be created, maintained and preserved for the series to be a protected series.
  • Allowing for disregarding of the liability shields under certain conditions.
  • Providing a more thorough definition and description of the nature of a protected series, which will facilitate business transactions.
    [3/26: 49-0 (Absent: Breitbach)]

 

SF 570 – Immunity from civil liability for volunteers during disasters

SF 570 provides immunity from civil liability to Iowa licensed architects and engineers who in good faith and at the request of or with the approval of a national, state or local public official, a law enforcement official, a public safety official or a building inspection official, voluntarily and without compensation provide architectural, engineering, structural, electrical, mechanical or other design professional services related to a disaster emergency. This immunity applies during a disaster emergency proclaimed by the governor or declared by the president. In addition, the architect or engineer must believe the request or approval has been made by the official in their official capacity. The bill was effective upon enactment.
[4/23: 49-1 (No: Bisignano)]

 

SF 589 – Criminal omnibus

SF 589 makes changes to multiple areas of criminal law, including penalties and procedures. A number of changes pertain to criminal appeals and appear to be in response to court decisions that favored defendants. Parts of the bill are advantageous to criminal defendants and some are not. This extensive bill touches multiple areas of the criminal law.

This bill makes changes to:

  • Expungement – allows for expungement of various misdemeanor convictions.
  • Robbery – makes various changes to the robbery chapter.
  • Theft, fraud, forgery and other property crimes – increases the value of property stolen that qualifies for specific criminal charges.
  • Criminal proceedings.
  • Criminal penalties.

 

Division I- Expungements:

Section 1 allows those convicted of public intoxication, simulated public intoxication or public consumption under state law or a local ordinance, to have the conviction expunged after two years if they have no other criminal convictions, other than traffic violations, in that two-year period.

Section 2 allows those convicted of misdemeanor offenses to apply to the county where the conviction occurred to have the record expunged. The conviction will be expunged if:

  • Eight or more years have passed since the conviction.
  • There are no pending criminal charges against the defendant.
  • All court costs, fees, fines and restitution have been paid.

The following misdemeanors cannot be expunged:

  • Public intoxication or underage possession.
  • Dependent adult abuse.
  • Any driving without a license offense.
  • Any sex offense that is registerable.
  • Involuntary manslaughter.
  • Assault using or displaying a dangerous weapon.
  • Any domestic abuse assault.
  • Removal of an officer’s communication device.
  • Trespass with intent to commit a hate crime.
  • Any obstruction of justice.
  • Interference with judicial process.
  • Misconduct in office.
  • Misuse of public records and files.
  • Any weapons offense.
  • Any protection of family crimes, such as bigamy or child endangerment.
  • Any misdemeanor violations of the obscenity chapter (e.g., dissemination of obscene material to a minor).
  • Any sexually predatory offenses.
  • Certain offenses comparable to federal motor carrier violations.
  • Convictions under prior law comparable to any of those listed above.

The application will be denied if:

  • The defendant is the subject of a protective order or a no-contact order.
  • The defendant has subsequently been convicted of or granted a deferred judgment for any criminal offense other than a traffic offense under Chapter 321 or a similar local ordinance.
  • The defendant has previously been granted two deferred judgments.

A defendant can only apply for one expungement in a lifetime. However, an application may request expungement of more than one misdemeanor offense if the offenses arose from the same occurrence. The expunged record is confidential but will be made available upon court order. The Department of Public Safety must remove the record of conviction from its criminal history data files.

The fiscal note estimates an annual cost to the Judicial Branch of between $57,453 and $184,953. In addition, although it will be beneficial for defendants to have their misdemeanor record expunged, it can only be done eight years or more after the date of the conviction. In that time, the criminal record will be captured by information mining businesses and may still be found via an Internet search.

 

Division II – Robbery:

  • Removes robbery in the third degree from the Code. Robbery in the third degree is theft accompanied by simple misdemeanor assault.
  • Changes the mandatory minimum for robbery in the first degree from 70% to between 50% and 70%, as determined by the court at the time of sentencing.

The fiscal note shows a correctional impact and a minority impact from these changes, in particular removing robbery in the third degree from the Code. Fifty-two percent of those convicted in Iowa of robbery in the first, second or third degree are African-American. The robbery changes will bring an estimated 34 additional Class C felony convictions per year; about 17 of them will be African-Americans, thus increasing Iowa’s disproportionate minority incarceration. The robbery changes are estimated to cost the justice system $423,800 annually, starting in 2021.

 

Division III – Property crimes:

  • Arson – Increases the amount of personal property damaged by arson from $500 or above to $750 or above to qualify as arson in the 2nd degree, a Class “C” felony.
  • Degrees of theft – raises the value of the property stolen to qualify for certain degrees of theft:
    • To qualify as theft in the 2nd degree, the theft amount increases from between $1,000 and $10,000 to between $1,500 and $10,000. It is a “D” felony.
    • Theft 3rd degree increases from between $500 and $1,000 to between $750 and $1,500. It is an aggravated misdemeanor.
    • Theft 4th degree increases from between $200 and $500 to between $300 and $750.
    • Theft 5th would be any theft up to $300. It is a simple misdemeanor.
  • Aggravated theft (theft with a simple assault) – Increases from up to $200 to up to $300.
  • Removing a Theft Detection Device:
    • Simple misdemeanor charge if merchandise stolen does not exceed $300. Currently, it’s a simply misdemeanor for theft up to $200 when a theft detection device is removed.
    • Serious misdemeanor charge if the merchandise stolen exceeds $300. Currently, it’s a serious misdemeanor if the value exceeds $200.

Fraudulent practices:

  • Fraudulent practice in the 2nd degree, a “D” felony:
    • Currently $1,000 up to $10,000.
    • Bill changes it to $1,500 up to $10,000.
  • Fraudulent practice in the 3rd degree, an aggravated misdemeanor:
    • Currently between $500 and $1,000.
    • Bill changes it to between $750 and $1,500.
  • Fraudulent practice in the 4th degree, a serious misdemeanor:
    • Currently $200 up to $500.
    • Bill changes it to between $300 and $750.
  • Fraudulent practice in the 5th degree, a simple misdemeanor:
    • Currently up to $200.
    • Bill changes it to up to $300.

Use of a stolen, forged or revoked credit card:

  • Class “D” felony:
    • Currently $1,000 up to $10,000.
    • Bill changes it to $1,500 up to $10,000.
  • Aggravated misdemeanor:
    • Currently up to $1,000.
    • Bill increases it up to $1,500.

Identity theft:

  • Class “D” felony:
    • Currently $1,000 up to $10,000.
    • Bill changes it to $1,500 up to $10,000.
  • Aggravated misdemeanor
    • Currently up to $1,000.
    • Bill changes it to up to $1,500.

Criminal mischief:

  • 2nd degree a Class “D” felony:
    • Currently, damage must be $1,000 to $10,000.
    • Bill increases it to between $1,500 and $10,000.
  • 3rd degree – an aggravated misdemeanor:
    • Currently, damage must be $500 to $1,000
    • Bill increases it to between $750 and $1,500
  • 4th degree – a serious misdemeanor:
    • Currently, damage must be $200 to $500.
    • Bill increases it to between $300 and $750.

Trespass that results in damage to property or injury to a person:

  • Increases the amount to qualify as a serious misdemeanor from $200 to $300.
  • Increases the amount to qualify as an aggravated misdemeanor for the crime of intent to commit a hate crime from greater than $200 to greater than $300.

Railroad vandalism:

  • Increases the amount of damage to railroad property to qualify as 4th degree railroad vandalism, a “D” felony, from between $1,000 and $10,000 to between $1,500 and $10,000.
  • 5th degree railroad vandalism, an aggravated misdemeanor, is increased from between $500 and $1,000 to between $750 and $1,500.
  • Amounts for 6th and 7th are increased as well.

Transmission of Unsolicited Bulk Electronic Mail:

  • Increases the amount to qualify as a “D” felony from greater than $1,000 to greater than $1,500.

Increasing the amounts/value of property necessary to commit certain levels of theft will increase the number of lower-level convictions and decrease the higher-level convictions. The fiscal note cannot determine costs related the justice system. However, the percentage of African-Americans who are convicted of the various theft offenses ranges from 18% to 24%.

 

DIVISION IV –Theft, Fraud and Forgery Revisions

  • Can consolidate multiple theft charges under 714.1 (1-10) into one accusation of theft.
  • Adds state-issued documents to the list of documents that can be forged. Possession of a forged state document is a class D felony. Employers may be subject to a civil penalty relating to accommodation of forgery if they know that state documents presented by an employee have been forged.
  • This seems to mean that anyone, including young people under 21 who have fake IDs would be guilty of possessing a forged document, a class D felony. That may not be the intent of this language, but it can be read this way.
  • “Lottery Scam” section – Extends the statute of limitations from three years to five years for fraud or breach of fiduciary obligation.

 

Division V – Criminal Proceedings

  • Defendant cannot file a direct appeal from a guilty plea, except for class “A” felonies and for good cause. (This may reduce the number of guilty pleas.)
  • Discretionary review is available from an order denying a motion in arrest of judgment on grounds other than ineffective assistance of counsel.
  • There can be no ineffective assistance of counsel claim on direct appeal.
  • A defendant who is represented by counsel on appeal or in post-conviction relief proceedings cannot file a pro se (by himself or herself) filing, and the court cannot consider a pro se filing by the defendant.
  • Jury can return a “general verdict” when the prosecution relies on multiple theories of guilt, and an appeals court cannot set aside or reverse the verdict if one of the theories is sufficient.
  • If a defendant challenges a guilty plea based on an alleged defect in the plea proceedings, the plea cannot be vacated unless the defendant demonstrates that they more than likely would have pled guilty if the defect had not occurred.
  • A claim of ineffective assistance of counsel must be brought within the three-year period allowed for post- conviction relief claims.
  • Before imposing a sentence, the court must verify that the defendant and the defendant’s lawyer have read and discussed the presentence investigation report; provide the defendant’s attorney an opportunity to speak on the defendant’s behalf; address the defendant personally to permit them to make a statement or present mitigating information; provide the prosecuting attorney an opportunity to speak; address any victim of the crime who is present at the sentencing; and allow them to be heard.

 

Division VI – Arson

  • Requires a mandatory minimum sentence of between 50% and 70% for arson in the 1st degree, a “B” felony (25 years).
  • The fiscal note estimates that prison costs will increase as the length of prison stays for those convicted of arson increases. Beginning in FY22, the increased cost will be $21,822, and by FY29, the annual cost will be $276,000. This will also tend to have a negative effect on Iowa’s minority prison population, as African-Americans account for 15% of arson convictions.

 

Division VII – Limitation of Criminal Actions

  • Increases the criminal statute of limitations for sex abuse committed on or with a minor from 10 years after the minor turns 18 to 15 years after the minor turn 18.
  • Increases the criminal statute of limitations for sexual exploitation by a counselor therapist, or school employee committed against a minor from 10 years after the victim turns 18 to 15 years after the victim turn 18.

 

Division VIII – Second and Subsequent Public Intoxication Convictions

This division removes enhanced penalties for multiple public intoxication convictions. Under current law, a first offense for public intoxication is punishable as a simple misdemeanor; a second conviction is punishable as a serious misdemeanor; and a third or subsequent conviction is considered an aggravated misdemeanor, which is punishable by up to two years in prison and a fine. This bill will make all public intoxication convictions simple misdemeanors with no enhanced penalties for second or subsequent convictions.
[4/25: 49-0 (Absent: Chapman)]

 

SF 590 – Payments from indigent defense fund for privately retained attorneys

SF 590 sets out requirements for indigent defense funds to be paid to privately retained attorneys in criminal cases. There are times when a criminal defendant will hire a private attorney to represent him or her, and the defendant will give the attorney a retainer. However, the defendant may not have the money to continue paying the private attorney as the case progresses, so an application is made to the court to have the state pay for the costs of the privately retained attorney. For the state to grant an application and authorize payment, the court must find:

  • That the defendant is indigent.
  • The costs are reasonable and necessary for the representation of the indigent person in a case for which counsel could have been appointed.
  • The moneys paid or to be paid to the privately retained attorney by or on behalf of the indigent person are insufficient to pay all or a portion of the costs.

The calculations to be used by the court must be the hourly rate that is currently authorized by Code for indigent defense cases, not the privately retained attorney’s hourly rate. If the court finds that the costs incurred by the privately retained attorney are reasonable and that the state should pay some or all of the fees, the state public defender will review the amount that the court has authorized. This requirement will apply to payments to witnesses, evaluators, investigators and certified shorthand reporters, and other costs incurred by a privately retained attorney in the legal representation.
[3/26: 32-17 (No: Bisignano, Bolkcom, Boulton, Celsi, Dotzler, Giddens, Hogg, Jochum, Lykam, Mathis, Petersen, Quirmbach, Ragan, J. Smith, R. Taylor, T. Taylor, Wahls; Absent: Breitbach)]

 

HF 224 – Lascivious conduct with a minor

HF 224 expands the crime of Lascivious Conduct with a Minor. Under current Iowa law, “lascivious conduct” is when an adult who is in a position of authority over a minor (anyone under 18) forces, persuades or coerces a minor, with or without consent, to disrobe or partially disrobe for the purpose of arousing or satisfying the sexual desires of either of them. It is punished as a serious misdemeanor.

For purposes of the new subsections, “minor” is defined as any person 14 or 15 years of age. Those under 14 are already covered by current law. The bill will make it a lascivious act for any adult who is in a position of authority over a minor (age 14 or 15) to do any of the behaviors listed below with or without consent for the purpose of arousing or satisfying the sexual desires of either of them. There is a “hole” in current Iowa law when certain behaviors are perpetrated against 14 and 15 year olds and these behaviors can only be charged as assault, not as a sex offense or lascivious act.

  • Fondle or touch the inner thigh, groin, buttock, anus or breast of the minor.
  • Touch the clothing covering the immediate area of the inner thigh, groin, buttock, anus or breast of the minor.
  • Solicit or permit the minor to fondle or touch the inner thigh, groin, buttock, anus or breast of the person.
  • Solicit the minor to do any of the following: fondle or touch the pubes or genitals of the minor; permit or cause the minor to fondle or touch the person’s genitals or pubes; or cause the touching of the person’s genitals to any part of the body of the minor.

This bill will ensure that these behaviors perpetrated against a 14 or 15 year old by a person who is in a position of authority over them will be punished appropriately.

Under the legislation, the behaviors are punishable as serious misdemeanors.

The bill also makes the following behaviors lascivious conduct punishable as aggravated misdemeanors if done for the purpose of arousing or satisfying the sexual desires of either of them. Under current law, these behaviors are only considered indecent contact when committed with a child under 14. The bill will ensure that if these behaviors are perpetrated by an adult with authority over 14 and 15 year olds, the penalty will be appropriate.

  • Fondling or touching the pubes or genitals of the minor.
  • Permitting or causing the minor to fondle or touch the person’s genitals or pubes.
  • Causing the touching of the person’s genitals to any part of the body of the minor.
  • Soliciting the minor to engage in a sex act or solicit a person to arrange a sex act with the minor.
  • Inflicting pain or discomfort upon the minor or permitting the minor to inflict pain or discomfort of the person.
    [4/24: 50-0]

 

HF 266 – Civil commitment of sexually violent predators

HF 266 makes changes to Iowa’s sexually violent predator law in Chapter 229A. Sexually violent predators are those who have been convicted of more than one sexually violent crime as defined in Chapter 229A, and through a process set out in Code, it has been determined that they are highly likely to engage in repeated acts of predatory sexual violence, and that the existing involuntary commitment procedure under chapter 229 is inadequate to address the risk they pose to society. Consequently, after serving any criminal sentence, these individuals are civilly committed to the sexually violent predator unit administered by the Department of Human Services for rehabilitation. The bill:

  • Defines the term “presently confined,” which currently lacks a definition in the Code. Presently confined will include those who are incarcerated, detained, or placed in a correctional facility, jail or comparable facility.
  • Provides that all forms of sexual exploitation of a minor, including possessing child pornography, are “sexually violent offenses.” Under current law, possessing child pornography is not considered a sexually violent offense.
  • Clarifies that the notice provisions relating to sexually violent predators do not limit who may be subject to commitment as sexually violent predators.
  • Provides that fact-findings made by an administrative law judge may be admitted into evidence at a sexually violent predator trial.
    [3/26: 49-0 (Absent: Breitbach)]

 

HF 323 – Exploitation of a dependent adult by a caretaker

HF 323 changes the definition of exploitation of a dependent adult by a caretaker in Code Chapter 235B relating to Dependent Adult Abuse Services administered by the Department of Human Services. Current law requires that exploitation by taking unfair advantage of a dependent adult or the adult’s physical or financial resources by a caretaker must be done for “one’s own personal or pecuniary profit.” The bill removes the requirement that the exploitation be done for one’s own personal or pecuniary profit.
[4/10: 49-0 (Absent: Feenstra)]

 

HF 328 – Definition of vulnerable elder

HF 328 amends the definition of “vulnerable elder” in Chapter 235F relating to elder abuse. In the Chapman case, the Iowa Supreme Court interpreted the Code definition of vulnerable elder to be a person 60 or older. The bill changes the definition to require more than age to be considered in determining if someone is a vulnerable elder. Under this bill, the Code will read:  “Vulnerable elder means a person sixty years of age or older who is unable to protect himself or herself from elder abuse as a result of a mental or physical condition or because of a personal circumstance which results in an increased risk of harm to the person.”
[4/25: 49-0 (Absent: Chapman)]

 

HF 391 – Increased amount of surety bond for travel trailer dealer license

HF 391 increases the required amount for a surety bond for a travel trailer dealer’s license issued by the Iowa Department of Transportation. The bond amount is increased from $25,000 to $75,000. This change will apply to applications for licenses submitted on or after July 1, 2019. The cost of travel trailers has risen significantly. This bill is intended to protect consumers who purchase them.
[4/11: 49-0 (Absent: Brown)]

 

HF 421 – Transfer of mental health patients to the Iowa Medical Classification Center

HF 421 addresses when a state mental health institute (MHI) patient may be transferred to the Iowa Medical Classification Center (IMCC) at Coralville, a Department of Corrections facility. Under current law, when a patient at a state mental health institute becomes a danger to others at the facility, the administrator may apply for a court order to transfer the patient to the IMCC to be housed in the forensic hospital inside the prison. The forensic hospital is a 14-bed hospital where certain defendants who have been charged with a crime are court ordered to undergo competency (to stand trial) evaluations, and if found not competent, defendants undergo treatment intended to restore competency. In addition, some patients at the forensic hospital have been found not guilty by reason of insanity and have been court ordered to the IMCC. Under this bill, the MHI administrator would need the consent of the director of the Department of Corrections to apply for a court order to transfer a patient to the IMCC. There is a constant waiting list for beds at the forensic hospital. Although the forensic hospital at IMCC is inside the prison, it is not considered a prison facility.

The bill also removes references in the Code to the mental health institutes in Clarinda and Mt. Pleasant and to the Iowa Juvenile Home. These facilities were closed by Governor Branstad without input from the Legislature.
[4/27: 31-16, party-line (Absent: Dawson, Lykam, T. Taylor)]

 

HF 569 – Personal degradation of a dependent adult is dependent adult abuse

HF 569 adds a new category, Personal Degradation, to the definition of dependent adult abuse in Chapter 235B. There is currently a definition of dependent adult abuse that includes Personal Degradation in Chapter 235E, relating to caretakers who are staff members of a facility or program that provides care, protection or services to a dependent adult.

This new definition of abuse applies to a caretaker with responsibility for protecting, caring for or having custody of a dependent adult as a result of assuming the responsibility voluntarily, by contract, through employment or by court order. Thus, a person who fits that definition of caretaker could commit personal degradation of a dependent adult under this bill. Personal degradation is defined as a “willful act or statement by a caretaker intended to shame, degrade, humiliate or otherwise harm the personal dignity of a dependent adult, or where the caretaker knew or reasonably should have known the act or statement would cause shame, degradation, humiliation, or harm to the personal dignity of a reasonable person.” This includes taking, transmitting or displaying an electronic image of a dependent adult by a caretaker with the intent to harm the personal dignity of the dependent adult. However, personal degradation does not include taking, transmitting or displaying an electronic image of a dependent adult for reports to law enforcement, the Department of Human Services or another regulatory agency.

The bill allows the department to determine if the abuse is a minor, isolated incident that is unlikely to reoccur and therefore not included in the central dependent adult abuse registry and not considered to be founded dependent adult abuse. However, the department will maintain the assessment record for five years. Also, if there is a subsequent report of dependent adult abuse that meets the new definition and occurs within the five-year record retention period and is committed by the same caretaker, it will not be considered a minor, isolated occurrence unlikely to reoccur.
[4/24: 50-0]

 

HF 591 – Minor guardianships in juvenile court

HF 591 creates a new Code Chapter, 232D, the Iowa Minor Guardianship Proceedings Act, relating to minor guardianships and requiring that they be under the jurisdiction of juvenile court. A minor is defined as anyone under the age of 18. Thus, all current minor guardianships will be transferred from probate court to juvenile court, and going forward, all new minor guardianships will be filed in juvenile court. The bill:

  • Sets out requirements for a minor guardianship with parental consent as well as for a minor guardianship without parental consent, including requirements for the petition for guardianship and the required notice to interested parties.
  • Requires that guardianships with parental consent include an agreement between the parents and guardian to be filed with the court outlining the responsibilities of the guardian, the responsibilities of the parents and the expected duration of the guardianship.
  • Requires that guardianships without parental consent must be evidenced by clear and convincing evidence that no parent is willing or able to care for the child and appointment of the guardian would be in the best interests of the child.
  • Authorizes minor guardianships in termination of parental rights cases and child in need of assistance cases.
  • Requires that all proposed guardians have background checks, which would include a criminal history check, child abuse registry check, dependent adult abuse registry check and sex offender registry check.
  • Allows the court to appoint an attorney for the minor and an attorney for the parents if the parents object to the appointment of a guardian and request an attorney but are unable to pay for an attorney.
  • Allows the court to appoint a court visitor (formerly referred to as a guardian ad litem) who cannot be the attorney for the minor and who must file a report with the court after an investigation regarding the potential appointment of a guardian.
  • Sets out the responsibilities and duties of a guardian and requires the guardian to file reports, including an initial care plan for the minor and annual reports thereafter. The required reports may not be waived.
  • Sets out procedures for removal of a guardian, as well as for termination and modification of guardianships.
    [4/10: 49-0 (Absent: Feenstra)]

 

HF 610 – Adult guardianships and conservatorships

HF 610 changes Iowa’s adult guardianship and conservatorship laws, which will apply to minor conservatorships as well. The bill is based on recommendations from the Judicial Branch Guardianship and Conservatorship Task Force. The bill:

  • Requires criminal background checks for proposed guardians and conservators, as well as checks of the dependent adult abuse, sex offender and child abuse registries.
  • Requires a conservator surety bond or a similar alternative to protect the assets of the person under conservatorship.
  • Requires stronger requirements for court monitoring of guardians and conservators to ensure they perform their duties and that those under guardianship receive needed care and protection.
  • Requires a hearing on the proposed guardianship or conservatorship and that a record of the hearing be made.
  • Authorizes a “court visitor” to provide the court with information on whether a conservatorship or guardianship is appropriate.
  • Requires the court to consider less drastic alternatives to guardianships and conservatorships that might be appropriate, and requires the court to consider limited guardianships or conservatorships.
    [4/10: 49-0 (Absent: Feenstra)]

 

HF 679 – Substantive code editor’s bill

HF 679 is submitted annually by the Iowa Code Editor to the Judiciary Committee pursuant to Iowa Code Section 2B.6 and Joint Rule 11. The substantive Code Editor’s bill makes various changes throughout the Code, including, but not limited to, correcting language to conform to other Code language or current practices, eliminating conflicting language or ambiguous language, and repealing or striking redundant language.
[4/9: 48-0 (Absent: Bisignano, Feenstra)]

 

HF 681 –Criminal history checks for work with children, elderly, disabled

HF 681 permits entities that provide care for children, the elderly or those with disabilities, or care placement services to request a national criminal history record check by the FBI on covered individuals through the Department of Public Safety whose authority to do the criminal history checks is derived from authority it has pursuant to the National Child Protection Act. Covered individuals include those who may have access to children, the elderly or individuals with disabilities served by a qualified entity and who are employed by, volunteer with or seek to volunteer with a qualified entity. Qualified entities can include a business or organization, whether public private, for-profit, nonprofit or voluntary that provides care or placement services. The covered individual will provide fingerprints, which will be submitted to the Division of Criminal Investigation to complete the criminal history check. The Department of Public Safety will adopt rules to administer this Chapter.
[4/23: 49-0 (Absent: Petersen)]

 

HF 707 – Juvenile delinquency proceedings, termination of parental rights notice

HF 707 provides that in juvenile delinquency proceedings and termination of parental rights proceedings, the service of summons or notice may be sent by email or other electronic means with the consent of the party to be served. Current law allows in-person service or service by certified mail. In the juvenile delinquency cases, notice will go to the juvenile and the parent or guardian. In termination of parental rights proceedings, notice will go to living parents of the child, a guardian of the child, custodian of the child, a guardian ad litem, the petitioner or the person standing in the place of the parents of the child. Notice by electronic means in termination of parental rights proceedings must be sent at least seven days prior to the hearing.
[4/24: 50-0]

 

HF 719 – Conciliation related to dissolution of marriage

HF 719 provides that the court, on its own motion or upon the motion of a party, may decide whether the parties to a divorce must participate in conciliation. Under current law, a court must order conciliation, and parties are required to participate in conciliation upon the application of either party. Conciliation can only be waived upon a showing of elder abuse or domestic abuse. This bill would make any conciliation requirement solely up to the discretion of the court.
[4/18: 49-0 (Absent: Mathis)]

 

HF 732 – Medical cannabidiolBILL VETOED

HF 732 makes these changes to the current medical cannabidiol program:

  • Amends “debilitating medical condition” under Code definitions by replacing “untreatable pain” with “severe or chronic pain.”
  • Allows licensed physician assistants and registered nurse practitioners to provide written certification attesting to patients’ eligibility for the medical cannabis program.
  • Removes the current 3% THC cap and replaces it with 25 grams over 90 days maximum disbursement.
  • Removes the prohibition on certain felons applying for medical cannabidiol registration card.
  • Allows medical cannabidiol dispensaries to employ licensed pharmacists or pharmacy technicians.
  • Creates a waiver process that allows a provider to certify a qualified patient to receive more than 25 grams of THC over a 90-day period if the health care practitioner determines 25 grams is not adequate or the patient’s debilitating condition is a terminal illness with life expectancy of less than one year.
  • Directs the Iowa Department of Public Health to adopt rules for collecting and evaluating data relating to patient demographics, effective treatment options, clinical outcomes and quality-of-life outcomes for reporting on benefits, risks and outcomes for patients participating in the program.
    [4/27: 40-7 (No: Behn, Breitbach, Carlin, Costello, Feenstra, Garrett, Whiting; Absent: Dawson, Lykam, T. Taylor)]

 

HF 734 – Changes to Iowa’s DNA profiling laws

HF 734 updates Iowa’s law for a defendant to pursue DNA testing after a conviction. Dozens of convicted individuals across the country have been exonerated through DNA testing. With technology improvements, DNA evidence can be tested with smaller evidentiary samples. Iowa’s law is written in such a way that it prohibits convicted defendants from obtaining updated DNA testing. This bill will allow defendants, under specified conditions, to apply for post-conviction DNA testing.
[4/24: 50-0]

Transportation Committee Report – All-Bill Summary 2019

HF 387 – Motor truck distances

HF 390 – Required notices of certain aircraft

HF 418 – Commercial Driver’s Licenses

HF 482 – Traffic Enforcement Officer duties

HF 499 – School bus exemptions

HF 643 – Driver’s licenses for the deaf

HF 767 – Alternative-fueled vehicles

HF 769 – Gross weight of special trucks

SF 208 – Increased length for car haulers

SF 302 – Automated driving systems

SF 303 – Replacement drivers’ license

SF 435 –Towable recreation vehicles

SF 629 – Excessive-weight vehicle permit updates

 

HF 387 – Motor truck distances

HF 387 repeals two sections of the Code relating to following distance of certain vehicles. Under current law, motor trucks and motor vehicles drawing another vehicle are prohibited from following within 300 feet of another motor truck or motor vehicle drawing another vehicle. This bill strikes these requirements and the related penalties.
[4/18: 49-0 (Excused: Guth)]

 

HF 390 – Required notices of certain aircraft

HF 390 eliminates the requirement for aircraft owners to keep current paper registration certificates on aircraft that have been junked or destroyed by fire or accident. The change was made because aircraft registrations are now checked electronically. The bill removes outdated references to paper aircraft certificates and changes references from “returning certificates” to “providing notice” to the Department of Transportation (DOT).
[4/8: 50-0]

 

HF 418 – Commercial Driver’s Licenses

HF 418 requires Iowa to comply with federal regulations for commercial driver’s licenses (CDL) or face loss of federal highway funding. Iowa Department of Transportation (DOT) must check the national drug and alcohol clearinghouse to determine if an applicant qualifies for issuance, renewal or upgrade. In addition, an Iowa nonprofit corporation that serves as a trade association for Iowa-based motor carriers may be a third-party tester.
[4/8: 50-0]

 

HF 482 – Traffic Enforcement Officer duties

HF 482 repeals the July 1, 2019, sunset of provisions that allow traffic enforcement officers at the Iowa Department of Transportation to act as peace officers, and specifies their powers, duties and limitations.
[3/14: 43-5 (No: Bisignano, Celsi, Dotzler, R. Taylor, T. Taylor; Absent: Miller-Meeks; Vacant: Danielson)]

 

HF 499 – School bus exemptions

HF 499 allows new or used vehicles designed to carry 10 passengers, including the driver, and used passenger vans designed to carry 12 passengers, including the driver, to be used as school buses. In addition, pick-up trucks designed to carry nine or fewer passengers, including the driver, may be used as school buses.
[4/25: 50-0]

 

HF 643 – Driver’s licenses for the deaf

HF 643 allows a deaf or hard-of-hearing person to request that their driver’s license reflect that status on the face of the license when they apply for issuance or renewal. The Iowa Department of Transportation (DOT) will adopt related rules. Once marked, the licenses must be noted in the electronic database used by the DOT and law enforcement. The bill also instructs the DOT to work with the Commission of Deaf Services to raise awareness about the ability to request such a mark on a license.
[4/18: 49-0 (Excused: Mathis)]

 

HF 767 – Alternative-fueled vehicles

HF 767 creates new registration fees for electric and hybrid vehicles and a new excise tax on hydrogen and electric fuel. In light of the increasing use of these vehicles, the Legislature directed the Iowa Department of Transportation (DOT) to estimate the impact of increased usage of electric, hybrid and other high-efficiency motor vehicles on future revenues to the Road Use Tax Fund. It also required the DOT to evaluate and recommend alternative funding mechanisms or the alteration of existing funding mechanisms to offset decreases in future revenues due to the increased use of these vehicles. DOT produced recommendations with the goal of no net change in revenue, equity and administrative costs. HF 767 is based on recommendations from a DOT report.

Registration Fees – Battery electric vehicles have no internal combustion engine and are propelled exclusively by electricity. Under the bill, battery electric motors will pay an additional registration fee of $65 in 2020, increasing to $130 after January 1, 2022. Plug-in hybrid vehicles will pay a $32 fee beginning in 2020, increasing to a fee of $65 after January 1, 2022. Motorcycles that have a battery electric or hybrid motor will pay an additional $4.50 fee beginning in 2020, with the fee increasing to $9 by January 1, 2022.

Excise Tax – A gallon of hydrogen is 249 pounds. The excise tax will be 65 cents per gallon. Vehicles using hydrogen fuel will have a special fuel sticker from the county treasurer noting that the vehicle takes special fuel. Electric fuel means electrical energy delivered or placed into a battery or other energy source outside the motor vehicle to propel it. An excise tax of two and six-tenths cents per kilowatt hour of electric fuel delivered into the battery will attach at the time of delivery. A person cannot sell or dispense electric fuel unless they hold an electric fuel license.
[4/27: 34-14 (Yes: Republicans, Kinney, Quirmbach; Excused: Lykam, T. Taylor)]

 

HF 769 – Gross weight of special trucks

HF 769 allows a special truck used for certain farming purposes to increase to a gross maximum weight of 39 tons from the current maximum of 32 tons. The registration fee is an additional $25 per ton between 32 and 38 tons, and an additional $10 per ton between 38 and 39 tons.
[4/26: 49-0 (Excused: Feenstra)]

 

SF 208 – Increased length for car haulers

SF 208 allows stinger-steered transporters (car hauls) to have an overall length of 80 feet, which brings Iowa into compliance with federal code. Current Iowa law is 75 feet.
[3/18: 48-1 (Absent: Dawson; Vacant: Danielson)]

 

SF 302 – Automated driving systems

SF 302 allows driverless-capable vehicles to operate on public highways without a human driver physically present in the vehicle if it meets these conditions:

  • It is capable of achieving minimal risk conditions if a malfunction occurs that renders it unable to perform any dynamic driving task.
  • It is capable of operating in compliance with the applicable traffic and motor vehicle safety laws that govern dynamic driving tasks.
  • It is in compliance with all applicable federal motor vehicle safety standards.
  • The owner maintains proof-of-financial-liability coverage and carries it in the vehicle.
  • The vehicle must remain at the scene of an accident, and failure to comply may result in the owner being charged with related code violations.

The bill also authorizes a person to operate an on-demand driverless-capable vehicle network to transport goods and people. Automated driving systems will be governed and regulated by the Iowa Department of Transportation.
[4/17: 48-1 (No: Hogg)]

 

SF 303 – Replacement drivers’ license

SF 303 – Iowans under 21 carry a vertical driver’s license. Upon turning 21, they are not required to get a new horizontal license until it’s due for a renewal. The bill makes the person eligible to apply electronically for a replacement horizontal license for the unexpired months. The Iowa Department of Transportation will notify the individual prior to their 21st birthday of their eligibility for the replacement license.
[3/11: 46-0 (Excused: Edler, J. Smith, Zaun; Vacant: Danielson)]

 

SF 435 –Towable recreation vehicles

SF 435 creates a manufacturer-dealer agreement for non-motorized towable recreation vehicles and is outside the auto franchise section of the Code. It clarifies that both manufacturers and dealers are responsible when consumers have problems or need repairs or replacement.
[3/21: 46-0 (Absent: Bisignano, Celsi, R. Taylor; Vacant: Danielson)]

 

SF 629 – Excessive-weight vehicle permit updates

SF 629 requires the Department of Transportation (DOT) to develop and implement a single statewide system to receive applications for and issue permits that allow vehicles of excessive size or weight on state and local highways or streets. The DOT will determine, in consultation with local authorities, appropriate routes on which these vehicles can operate. DOT will set a permit fee by rule. Fees must be proportionate to those in Code section 321E.14. DOT must allocate a portion of the fees to local authorities.

The DOT must submit a report to the Legislature by December 31, 2021, on development and implementation of the system.

DOT may issue annual permits authorizing a vehicle or combination of vehicles to transport divisible loads of raw forest products from fields to storage, processing or other commercial facilities. The annual permit fee is $175. A vehicle or combination of vehicles for which a permit is issued may exceed the maximum weights in Code section 321.463 if the gross weight on any one axle does not exceed the limits in Code section 321E.7 (gross weight on any one axle: 20,000 pounds; gross weight on any one tandem axle with at least four tires: 46,000 pounds). Vehicles are prohibited from exceeding size limits in Code sections 321.454 through 321.457. Vehicles are prohibited from traveling on interstates. Permits are valid on non-primary highways if the local authority has approved the route within its jurisdiction.
[4/22: 37-12 (No: Celsi, Greene, Hogg, Miller-Meeks, Nunn, Quirmbach, Schultz, Segebart, Sinclair, J. Smith, R. Taylor, Zaun; Excused: Petersen)]