Tag: Blog

Judiciary Committee Report – Week 15, 2018

HF 2342 – Seizure and disposition of property by DNR;
HF 2397 – Employee’s criminal history and employer liability;
HF 2443 – Confidentiality of juvenile records and juvenile court jurisdiction.

FLOOR ACTION:

HF 2342 prohibits the state from confiscating any fish, furs, birds or animals, or mussels, clams or frogs that were seized because it was suspected that they were illegally possessed, taken, transported, etc., if the person suspected of and charged with illegal possession, etc., is not convicted. If there is no conviction, seized property must be returned within 30 days of a “not guilty” verdict, within 30 days of dismissal or within 30 days of the statute of limitations.

“Convicted” means a finding of guilt, payment of a scheduled fine, plea of guilty, deferred judgment, deferred or suspended sentence or delinquency adjudication, or when no charge is filed because the person agrees to provide information about another person’s criminal activity.

In addition, the state may only condemn property seized as a public nuisance (property used to illegally capture, kill, etc., wildlife, such as illegally shooting a bald eagle with a gun) if the person from whom the property was seized is convicted. If there is no conviction, the property must be returned.

Under current law, if property seized as a public nuisance is condemned pursuant to Chapter 483A, proceeds from the sale of the property go to the fish and game protection fund.

The bill requires the Department of Natural Resources to report to the Oversight Committees how much is deposited in the fund each year. In addition, the bill requires the seizing public agency to adopt a policy for detailed records on acquired property, the date it was acquired, how and when it was disposed, and financial records for property sold. The bill prohibits employees of the seizing agency or immediate family from purchasing condemned property, including weapons.

Under a Senate amendment, no fish or wildlife can be returned if it is illegal to possess, including those taken, possessed or transported unlawfully; and a purchaser at a sale of seized and confiscated property (held by the DNR) must sign a declaration that they are not an employee of a seizing agency or family member.
[4/16: 30-18 (No: Allen, Bisignano, Bolkcom, Boulton, Danielson, Dotzler, Dvorsky, Hart, Hogg, Horn, Jochum, D. Johnson, Lykam Mathis, McCoy, Petersen, Quirmbach, Ragan; Absent: Bertrand, Zumbach)]

 

HF 2397 prohibits the criminal history of an employee or former employee as evidence in a civil action against an employer, its employees or agents if it does not bear a direct relationship to the facts underlying the case, the record has been sealed, the employee has been granted a pardon, there was no conviction, or there was successful completion of a deferred judgment sentence.

A Senate amendment takes a different approach to employer liability protection. It creates a new Code Chapter 671A – Limitation on Liability for Negligent Hiring or Supervision of an Employee, Agent, or Independent Contractor Convicted of a Public Offense. Under the amendment:

Section 1:

  • There is no cause of action against a private employer, general contractor or premises owner solely for negligently hiring or failing to adequately supervise an employee, agent or independent contractor, based on evidence that they have been convicted of a public offense.
  • Employers still can conduct criminal history background checks and consider criminal history records in the employment process for some types of employment.
  • This new chapter does not create a cause of action, expand an existing cause of action or apply to the cause of action of negligent retention.

Section 2:

  • Liability protection is not applicable:
    • If the private employer, general contractor or premises owner knew or should have known of the conviction and the employee was convicted of any of these crimes:
  • A public offense committed while performing acts substantially similar to the employment or conditions that they was performed for the private employer. Factors to be considered are outlined in the amendment.
  • The conviction was for a sexually violent offense.
  • The conviction was for 1st degree murder.
  • The conviction was for 2nd degree murder.
  • The conviction was for 1st degree kidnapping.
  • The conviction was for 1st degree robbery.
  • The conviction was for the manufacture of drugs on real property or possessing controlled substances within 1000 feet of a school, public park or public swimming pool.
  • The conviction related to using or displaying a dangerous weapon while committing a felony.

There is no liability protection if the suit involves misuse of funds or property other than that of the employer, general contractor or premises owner, if the employee had been convicted of fraud, misuse of funds or property prior to the hiring, and the misuse was foreseeable because the employee was hired for work involving management of funds or property.
[4/16: 46-3 (No: Carlin, Quirmbach, Taylor; Absent: Zumbach)]

 

HF 2443 relates to the delinquency jurisdiction of juvenile court and the confidentiality and disclosure of certain juvenile court records. The bill:

  • Expands the definition of a delinquent act to include trespass violations.
  • Provides that a hearing for a child alleged to have committed a delinquent act must be held within two working days of their admission to a shelter care facility and within one working day of their admission to a detention facility. Current law requires hearings be held within 48 hours and 24 hours respectively.
  • Creates a new Code section in which official juvenile court records, except those alleging delinquency, must be confidential and are not public records. However, such confidential records must be disclosed without a court order to judges and professional court staff, the child and the child’s counsel, the child’s parent, guardian ad litem and members of a reviewing child advocacy board or a local citizen foster care review board, county attorney or designees, and other entities and individuals whose duties require access to the information.
  • Expands the list of those who may receive juvenile court records online or in an electronic customized data report prior to delinquency adjudication when the records pertain to an act that would be a forcible felony if committed by an adult. This includes those operating a juvenile diversion program who also receive police reports and related information.
  • Provides that maintaining or destroying sealed juvenile records will be prescribed by the state court administrator.
  • Requires the district court to dismiss charges and the clerk to seal any records if the charges were erroneously filed in district court, and juvenile court has exclusive jurisdiction.
  • Requires records for cases that initially filed in district court but transferred to juvenile court to be sealed after they have been forwarded to the juvenile court.
  • Provides that, without an order making juvenile court records public, the Department of Public Safety must not release the records.

[4/16: 48-0 (Absent: Bertrand, Zumbach)]

Natural Resources Committee Report – Week 14, 2018

HF 2466 – Management of spreadable diseases among wild animals

 

FLOOR ACTION:

HF 2466 directs the Natural Resource Commission (NRC) and the Department of Natural Resources (DNR) to prevent, control or eradicate infectious or contagious wildlife diseases. This improves DNR’s ability to manage wildlife diseases, especially those that pose threats to commercial livestock and their operations.

The bill also prohibits the transport of Cervidae (the family that includes deer and elk) carcasses into the state from states, provinces or countries where chronic wasting disease has been confirmed. The prohibition does not apply to portions of meat with no part of the head or spinal column attached; meat that is boned out or cut and wrapped; hides or teeth; antlers or skull plates; or finished taxidermy mounts. It also does not apply to nonresidents transporting carcasses directly through the state.

The Senate adopted an amendment on the floor to:

  • Limit DNR actions to what is specifically outlined in the bill.
  • Clarify that DNR must get approval of the landowner or occupant prior to entering private property when administering the wildlife disease program. Current law requires prior approval to access private property.
  • Require a written agreement between the landowner or occupant and the NRC before limiting the unnatural congregation of wild animals on the property.
    [4/17: 46-0 (Absent: Bertrand, Feenstra, Petersen, Zumbach)]

State Government Committee Report – Week 15, 2018

SJR 2006 – Amends Iowa Constitution to outline line of gubernatorial succession

 

FLOOR ACTION:

SJR 2006 proposes an amendment to the Iowa Constitution to outline the line of succession if a governor of Iowa is no longer able to serve. It specifies that the lieutenant governor has the powers of the governor when he or she assumes the office of governor. In the case of a permanent disability, death, resignation or removal from office, the lieutenant governor must assume the office of the governor. The former lieutenant governor will appoint a new lieutenant governor, who will have the same powers and duties as one who was elected, including the duty to act as governor, or to assume the office of governor and appoint a new lieutenant governor. The resolution must pass both legislative chambers this session and be referred to the 88th General Assembly for adoption before being submitted to the Iowa voters for ratification.

The House passed a strike-all amendment that is very similar to Senate version, but rewords some language. The House amendment is more explicit about the line of succession under Section 17 of Article IV. With the House amendment, these changes will be made to the Iowa Constitution:

  • The governor can fill a vacancy of lieutenant governor by appointment for the rest of the term. The lieutenant governor can become governor in case of death, impeachment, resignation, removal from office or any other reason that the governor is unable to serve. If both the governor and lieutenant governor are simultaneously unable to serve, the line of succession is as follows:
    • President of the Senate
    • Speaker of the House
    • President Pro Tempore of the Senate
    • Speaker Pro Tempore of the House

 

  • If none in the line of succession are able or willing to serve and the legislature is not in session the Iowa Supreme Court will convene the legislature, and a president of the Senate and speaker of the House will be elected. Once selected, the president-elect of the senate will become governor. If unable to serve, the speaker-elect of the house becomes governor.

This legislation is a result of an Attorney General’s opinion, which determined  that, in the Iowa Constitution, the powers of the governor devolved to the former lieutenant governor, and now-Governor Kim Reynolds could not appoint a new lieutenant governor. The Attorney General’s opinion was that Reynolds is holding the office of governor and lieutenant governor at the same time, and that there is no vacancy. After being sworn in as governor, Reynolds appointed Adam Gregg to serve as acting lieutenant governor. Acting Lt. Governor Gregg performs the function of the office and receives the salary but is not in the actual line of succession, should Governor Reynolds become unable to serve. The next in line of succession is currently the President of the Iowa Senate.
[4/17: 35-11 (No: Bolkcom, Boulton, Bowman, Dotzler, Dvorsky, Hogg, Horn, Jochum, D. Johnson, Mathis, McCoy; Excused: Bertrand, Feenstra, Petersen, Zumbach)]

Senate Democratic Budget Leader on GOP budget gridlock & mismanagement

Iowa Senate News Release
Senate Democratic Leader Joe Bolkcom: (319) 330-9541
For Immediate Release: April 17, 2018  

Statement from Senate Democratic Budget Leader Joe Bolkcom
on legislative Republicans’ budget gridlock and mismanagement

“The gridlock between Senate Republicans, House Republicans and Governor Reynolds is making their budget mess even worse. The budget targets released today by Senate Republicans are more proof that the budget crisis is hurting Iowans.

“In the 15 months that Republicans have controlled ALL of state government, they have borrowed more than $140 million and slashed more than $120 million in spending just to balance their budgets. If Iowa families managed their family budgets like this, they’d be forced to declare bankruptcy.

“Governor Reynolds and the Republican-controlled legislature have created this budget mess by failing to keep their campaign promises to Iowans to raise family incomes by 25 percent and create 200,000 new Iowa jobs within four years.

“Their misplaced priorities and mismanagement of taxpayer money is making life harder and reducing opportunities for Iowa families and their communities.”

-end-

Ways & Means Committee Report — Week 15, 2018

SF 2396 – Pilot project for park user fees at Lake Manawa. 

 

FLOOR ACTION:

SF 2396 would establish a pilot program for park user fees at Lake Manawa State Park in Council Bluffs. The Department of Natural Resources (DNR) would collect fees from nonresidents to access the state park and allow DNR to charge different rates for facility rental to residents and nonresidents. This system would mirror how the state of Nebraska charges fees for nonresidents to use their state parks. Lake Manawa is a busy state park that attracts lots of nonresident visitors because the park does not charge fees for access, unlike similar parks in the area. This has led to high use, the need for infrastructure repairs and demands on local law enforcement responding to illegal activity. It’s hoped the fees will cover park needs, while discouraging illegal activities. The pilot program would be repealed on July 1, 2021.
[4/12: 44-2 (No: Bolkcom, Dvorsky; Absent: Bertrand, Bisignano, Zumbach)]

Government Oversight Committee Report – Week 15, 2018

SJR 2011 – Authorizes ABATE to sell merchandise at Capitol on one day. 

 

FLOOR ACTION:

SJR 2011 allows the Brotherhood Aimed Towards Education (ABATE) to hold a motorcycle rally toy run on October 14, 2018, to collect toys for Iowa children. ABATE of Iowa wishes to sell commemorative t-shirts, sweatshirts, lapel pins and patches for the benefit of Iowa children and to defray the costs of a police escort. The resolution is needed because current rules prohibit merchandise sales on the State Capitol complex grounds without prior approval.
[4/12: 46-0 (Absent: Bertrand, Bisignano, Zumbach; 49 seated senators]

Education Committee Report – Week 15, 2018

HF 648 – Technical changes to Career and Technical Education;
HF 2442 – School sport concussion protocols. 

 

FLOOR ACTION:

HF 648 makes technical changes to the Career and Technical Education bill that passed in 2016 (HF-2392). The 2016 bill added the work-based learning program to the workers’ compensation section so that students are protected in case of injury. Because workers’ compensation is the exclusive remedy for an injured worker, businesses are exempt from lawsuits. For the program, HF-2392 added to the exemption accredited nonpublic schools, community colleges, and directors, officers and authorities in charge of a school. It also referenced a school district, but due to the group of schools involved in this program, the bill changes the reference to “corporation” and adds individual schools to the list.

The bill also changes the way funds are distributed to the Regional Planning Partnerships, shifting from reimbursement to disbursement, and allowing federal Perkins dollars to flow through to FFA programs. It clarifies that some consumable supplies can be purchased with partnership funds, such as feed for livestock. The bill passed the Iowa House 98-0.
[4/12: 47-0 (Excused: Bertrand, Zumbach; 49 seated senators)]

 

HF 2442 relates to school sport concussion protocols and coaching licensure. The bill requires the Department of Public Health, the Iowa High School Athletic Association and the Iowa Girls High School Athletic Union to develop training materials and courses on concussions, brain injuries and return-to-play protocols. A coach or contest official must complete the training at least every two years. A student removed from sports participation cannot recommence until they are evaluated by a license health care provider. The bill removes a school’s legal liability for the actions or non-actions of a licensed health care provider at an extracurricular interscholastic activity so long as the provider acts reasonably, in good faith and in the best interest of the student athlete. The Senate passed a largely technical amendment. The House accepted most of the suggested changes, except the following:

  • The “Extracurricular Interscholastic Activity” is for dance, cheer or any activity, contest or practice governed by the Iowa High School Athletic Association and the Iowa Girls High School Athletic Union. This means there will be consistent concussion protocols among sports. For example, a student who has a concussion from football wouldn’t be allowed to participate in cross country until cleared from concussion. The amendment also deletes the definition of the contact or limited activity identified by the American Academy of Pediatrics.
  • Under the extended liability of the Senate amendment, the scheduled event with the health care provider or EMT would be someone who is under a prearranged agreement with the school district or accredited nonpublic school. Also the “unforeseen circumstance” must be documented.

The Senate accepted the Houses changes on final passage.
[4/12: 46-0 (Excused: Bisignano, Bertrand, Zumbach; 49 seated senators)]

Appropriations Committee Report– Week 15, 2018

HF 648 – Career and Technical Education. 

 

FLOOR ACTION:

HF 648 makes technical changes to the Career and Technical Education bill that passed in 2016 (HF-2392). The 2016 bill added the work-based learning program to the workers’ compensation section so that students are protected in case of injury. Because workers’ compensation is the exclusive remedy for an injured worker, businesses are exempt from lawsuits. For the program, HF-2392 added to the exemption accredited nonpublic schools, community colleges, and directors, officers and authorities in charge of a school. It also referenced a school district, but due to the group of schools involved in this program, the bill changes the reference to “corporation” and adds individual schools to the list.

The bill also changes the way funds are distributed to the Regional Planning Partnerships, shifting from reimbursement to disbursement, and allowing federal Perkins dollars to flow through to FFA programs. It clarifies that some consumable supplies can be purchased with partnership funds, such as feed for livestock.

The bill passed the Iowa House 98-0.
[4/12: 47-0 (Excused: Bertrand, Zumbach; Vacant: Dix)]

Ethics Committee Report – Week 15, 2018

SR 124 (SSB 3211) – Adds harassment retaliation to Senate Code of Ethics. 

 

COMMITTEE & FLOOR ACTION:

SR 124 (SSB 3211) amends the Senate Code of Ethics to add harassment and retaliation. The changes specify that senators, lobbyists and clients of lobbyist must not engage in conduct that constitutes harassment or retaliation as provided in the personnel guidelines for the Iowa Senate. The change also gives the Ethics Committee the authority to investigate complaints of harassment and/or retaliation, and to take disciplinary action.
[Committee 4/17: short form; Floor 4/17: voice vote]

Rules & Administration Committee Report – Week 15, 2018

Senate Harassment Prevention Policy

 

COMMITTEE ACTION:

The Rules & Administration Committee adopted an updated Harassment Prevention Policy for the Senate’s Personnel Guidelines. The changes – coupled with a change to the Senate’s Code of Ethics – are another step toward ensuring the Iowa Senate will become a safe and healthy environment.

Because of these changes to the Personnel Guidelines:

  • Victims of harassment will have a clear path to file complaints and have them investigated in a fair, impartial and confidential manner. This includes victims of sexual harassment and other forms of unlawful harassment (e.g., race, ethnicity, age, disability, gender identify, sexual orientation, etc.). Existing Senate policies in this area were inadequate, unclear and needed to be improved.
    • In addition, the changes allow the Director of Human Resources to refer complainants to external investigators when the Senate harassment prevention remedies have been exhausted and the complainant requests additional investigation by an external investigator, or the complainant requests the referral of the complaint to an external investigator before or during the investigation.
  • Victims who step forward to file a complaint about harassment will be protected from retaliation or discrimination by anyone. The same protections will also be available for witnesses and others involved in any investigation. Existing Senate policies in this area were inadequate or non-existent.
  • There will be a clear process for punishing any Senator, employee or anyone else who takes retaliatory action against someone who has filed a complaint. The same process will also protect witnesses and others involved in any investigation. Existing Senate policies were inadequate or non-existent in this area.
  • There will be a clear process for disciplining any Senator, lobbyist, media employee or vendor who violates the anti-harassment policies. Existing Senate policies were inadequate or non-existent in this area.
  • All Senators, staff and interns will be required to attend training every year regarding the Senate’s anti-harassment policies and complaint procedures.
  • The Senate Majority Leader, Senate President, Senate Minority Leader, Secretary of the Senate and other staff supervisors will be trained at least once every General Assembly on how to properly receive, investigate and, if warranted, to take corrective action. There was previously no requirement for this kind of training.
    [4/17: short form]