Tag: Syndicated

Protecting Iowa’s Veterans from Fraud

A bill was signed into law this week that would help protect Iowa’s veterans from fraud. The bill, Senate File 2200, takes steps to safeguard veterans from organizations wanting to charge individuals for benefit assistance, when veterans are entitled to these services free of charge at a county veteran’s office. This bill requires that these […]

2018 Weekly Bill Tracking, Thurs. April 12 – Wed. April 18

WEEKLY BILL TRACKING Thurs. April 12 – Wed. April 18, 2018 HOUSE DEMOCRATIC RESEARCH STAFF Appropriations HF 2429       Transportation Budget. Appropriates a total of $380,792,669 from both the Road Use Tax Fund(RUTF) and the Primary Road Fund(PRF). The appropriations go to fund the Department of Transportation(DOT) and various road and infrastructure projects throughout the state. […]

State Budget Remains Uncertain

The scheduled date of adjournment has come and gone for the Iowa Legislature, but there is still a lot of work that remains on the state’s budget. The Iowa House took the first step in getting the budget completed by passing five budgets out of the House Appropriations Committee this week. While the sign of […]

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.


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



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



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.”


Ways & Means Committee Report — Week 15, 2018

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



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)]