Tag: Syndicated

Labor & Business Relations Committee – All-Bill Summary 2019

SF 304 – Prohibiting licensing sanctions for student loan default

SF 567- Professional licensing sanctions for felons

HF 650- Immunity from civil liability for negligent hiring

 

SF 304 – Prohibiting licensing sanctions for student loan default

SF 304 requires the state’s licensing boards to adopt rules that prohibit suspension or revocation of a professional license because the licensee is in default or delinquent on repayment of postsecondary education loans, solely on the basis of such default or delinquency.

The bill repeals Iowa Code sections relating to the process by which the Iowa College Student Aid Commission can initiate action to deny, revoke or suspend a license to someone who has defaulted. According to Iowa Student Aid Commission, they do not use this process now.
[3/11: 46-0 (Absent: Elder, J. Smith, Zaun; Vacant: Danielson)]

 

SF 567– Professional licensing sanctions for felons

SF 567 relates to professional licensing and the ability for licensing boards to deny, revoke or suspend a license because of a felony conviction. The bill allows the boards to grant an exception for a person who would otherwise be denied a license because of conviction for a felony, provided there is an extenuating circumstance that justifies the exemption. The bill also strikes current Code sections allowing the boards to revoke, deny or suspend a license for conviction of any felony.

The bill forbids the Iowa Department of Corrections to enroll an inmate in an apprenticeship program if the inmate is unable to obtain a necessary license to practice due to a felony conviction that is violent or sexual in nature. Prior to enrolling an inmate in an apprenticeship program, the Department of Corrections must receive written confirmation from the appropriate licensing board that the inmate could receive the necessary license to practice the profession if it appears that inmate may be disqualified from receiving such a license.

The bill provides specific guidance to the Electrical Examining Board and the Plumbing and Mechanical Systems Board when the boards consider exceptions for a person who would otherwise be denied a license due to a felony. The boards must consider the nature and seriousness of the offense, mitigating circumstances surrounding the commission of the offense, the age of the person at that time, letters of reference and other relevant evidence of rehabilitation. Also, the language provides a list of specific crimes that will be grounds for denial, revocation or suspension of the license.

These felonies must be grounds for denial, revocation or suspension of a license:

  • Conviction of a felony in Iowa that is sexual abuse in violation of 709.4.
  • Sexually violent felony offense as defined in section 229A.2.
  • Felony dependent adult abuse in violation of section 235B.20.
  • Forcible felony as defined in section 702.11.
  • Domestic abuse felony assault in violation of section 708.2A.

A conviction of a felony in violation of federal law or in violation of the law of another state will be given the same effect as it would if such conviction had been under Iowa law. Conviction for any other felony will not be grounds for denial, revocation or suspension. A person holding a license prior to July 1, 2019, does not need to obtain an exception to maintain their license.

The bill alters license requirements for barbering by allowing an individual who completes a barbering apprenticeship training program (registered by the Department of Labor) at the Department of Corrections to take the examination for a license to practice barbering.
[4/17: 50-0]

 

HF 650– Immunity from civil liability for negligent hiring

HF 650 prohibits a cause of action for damages against a private employer, general contractor or premises owner for negligently hiring an employee, agent or independent contractor who has been convicted of a public offense. However, a cause of action for negligent hiring based on evidence that the employee, agent or independent contractor has been convicted of a public offense is not prohibited if all of these criteria are met:

  • The employer knew or should have known of the conviction.
  • The employee was convicted of any of these crimes:
  • A public offense committed while performing duties substantially similar to those to be performed, taking into consideration these factors:
      • Nature and seriousness of the public offense.
      • Extent and nature of employee’s past criminal activity.
      • Age of employee when offense was committed.
      • Amount of time that has elapsed since the last criminal activity.
  • A sexually violent offense
  • Dependent adult abuse
  • First-degree murder
  • Second-degree murder
  • Felony assault
  • Domestic abuse assault
  • First-degree kidnapping
  • Robbery first degree
  • Manufacture or possession of a controlled substance on school grounds and other public properties.
  • A felony offense involving the use of a dangerous weapon.

The protections provided in this bill will not apply in a suit concerning the misuse of funds or property of a person other than the employer by an employee if, on the date the employee was hired, the employee had been convicted of a public offense that included fraud or the misuse of funds or property as an element of the public offense, and it was foreseeable that the position for which the employee, agent or independent contractor was hired would involve discharging a fiduciary responsibility in the management of funds or property.
[4/8: 50-0]

Statement: Republican politicians have done harm to all Iowa workers

Statement by Senate Democratic Leader Janet Petersen on Iowa Supreme Court decisions

“By taking away the rights of teachers, firefighters, nurses, correctional officers and other public servants, Republican politicians have done harm to all Iowa workers. Working Iowa men and women are the real victims of the assault by the Branstad/Reynolds Administration and Republican-controlled Legislature.

“Chief Justice Cady got it right when he said the law stripping workers of their rights ‘offends our constitution.’

“Senate Democrats continue to believe that all Iowa workers deserve respect, dignity and the right to bargain for health and safety protections. We will always stand side by side with ISEA, AFSCME and other unions who continue to stand up for the rights of public employees across the state.”

END

Statement on Governor signing Health & Human Services budget

“Governor Reynolds and legislative Republicans worked in lock step to pass a budget rich with perks for special interests and out-of-state corporations rather than putting Iowans first. They supported taking away the civil rights of Iowans; implementing policies that will result in more unplanned pregnancies and abortions; and ignoring the concerns of Medicaid recipients, health care providers and taxpayers who are being harmed by privatized Medicaid.

“Senate Democrats remain committed to expanding civil rights for Iowans, supporting policies that will result in fewer unplanned pregnancies and abortion, and making Medicaid accountable, affordable and sustainable again.”

–         – end –

Ways & Means Committee Report – Week 16, 2019

COMMITTEE ACTION:

SF 640 – Exemption from hotel/motel taxes for rental of lodging

FLOOR ACTION:

HF 741- Extends bond from 20 to 30 years for flood purposes

HF 760 – Exemption from hotel/motel taxes for rental of lodging

HF 767 – Electric vehicles

HF 768 – Beginning farmer tax credit program

HF 769 – Gross weight of special trucks

HF 778 – Capital gains deduction for sale of real estate involved in farming

HF 779 – Omnibus tax administration bill

SF 306 – Pilot project for park user fees at Lake Manawa

SF 597 – Sales tax exemption for nonprofit blood centers

SF 633 – Assessment of subdivided real property

 

COMMITTEE ACTION:

SF 640 – Exemption from hotel/motel taxes for rental of lodging

SF 640 would establish a new threshold for determining the length of stays that qualify for an exemption from state and local hotel/motel taxes. Currently, the costs of stays at rented lodging that exceed 30 days are exempt from paying the state and local hotel/motel tax. The bill would extend the minimum length of a stay at a hotel/motel to qualify for the exemption only on the portion of the stay exceeding 90 days. For rentals where there is a tenant relationship (apartments/manufactured housing), the minimum length of stay to qualify for the exemption would remain 31 days.

The bill also creates an exemption from the state and local hotel/motel tax for the price of lodging furnished by a nonprofit lodging provider renting to the friends and family of a hospital patient. This applies to stays at the Ronald McDonald House and similar facilities. Currently, hotel/motel tax is owed on the payment/donation given to the nonprofit by the family/friends who stay at the facility. There isn’t a fixed charge, but families can donate to the organization to cover their costs of stay. Because this is considered a payment for lodging (and thus a sale) under a Department of Revenue declaratory order, the hotel/motel tax is owed.
[4/25: Short Form]

 

FLOOR ACTION:

HF 741– Extends bond from 20 to 30 years for flood purposes

HF 741 would allow general obligation bonds issued to finance a flood-control project that was approved by the state flood mitigation board to be financed over a 30-year period instead of 20 years under current law. This is the same time frame that currently exists for cities and counties to issue bonds for essential purposes. The flood-control project that meets the terms outlined in the bill is in Cedar Rapids. There were 11 flood mitigation projects approved by the board and more could be coming if the Governor’s recommended funding is approved.
[4/26: 49-0 (Absent: Feenstra)]

 

HF 760 – Exemption from hotel/motel taxes for rental of lodging

HF 760 would establish a new threshold for determining the length of stays that qualify for an exemption from state and local hotel/motel taxes. Currently, the costs for stays at rented lodging that exceed 30 days are exempt from paying the state and local hotel/motel tax. The bill would extend the minimum length of a stay at a hotel/motel to qualify for the exemption only on the portion of the stay exceeding 90 days. For rentals where there is a tenant relationship (apartments/manufactured housing), the minimum length of stay to qualify for the exemption would remain at 31 days.

The bill also creates an exemption from the state and local hotel/motel tax for the sales price of lodging furnished by a nonprofit lodging provider renting to the friends and family of a hospital patient. This applies to stays at the Ronald McDonald House and similar facilities. Currently, hotel/motel tax is owed on the payment/donation given to the nonprofit by the family/friends who stay at the facility. There isn’t a fixed charge but families can donate to the organization to cover their costs of stay. Because this is considered a payment for lodging (and thus a sale) under a Department of Revenue declaratory order, the hotel/motel tax is owed.

The bill returned to the Senate after the House amended it. The Senate refused to concur with the House amendment, returning the bill to the House as originally passed by the Senate.
[4/27: 48-1 (No: Chapman; Absent: Feenstra)]

 

HF 767 – Electric 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 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 electric, hybrid and other high-efficiency motor vehicles. DOT produced recommendations with the goal of no net change in revenue, equity and low administrative costs. HF 767 is based on the recommendations from the DOT report.

Registration Fees – Battery electric vehicles are vehicles that have no internal combustion engine and are propelled exclusively by electricity. Under the bill, battery electric motors will now pay an additional registration fee of $65 in 2020, increasing to $130 after January 1, 2022. Plug-in hybrid vehicles will now 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 now 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 and will pay an excise tax of 65 cents per gallon. Vehicles using hydrogen fuel will have a special fuel sticker from the County Treasurer designating 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; Absent: Lykam, T. Taylor)]

 

HF 768 – Beginning farmer tax credit program

HF 768 amends the Beginning Farmer Tax Credit Program, which had allowed up to $12 million in tax credits for the last five years. The legislation that increased the maximum tax credits allowed per year included a sunset of that increase after a five-year period to review the program to ensure the increase remained necessary and that the credit was targeted to the right type of situation. After the sunset, that income tax credit was reduced to a maximum of $6 million for tax years 2019 and after.

Under this legislation, the tax credit limit for the beginning farmer program would be raised back to $12 million for tax years 2019 and beyond. The tax credit would also be reorganized as a single program rather than reverting to the Agricultural Asset Transfer Tax Credit and Custom Contract Farming Tax Credit. The bill maintains existing income and asset limitations for qualifying farmers and restricts the cost of the lease a beginning farmer can be charged by someone who claims the tax credit. The tax credit would no longer cover custom contract farming operations.
[4/25: 49-0 (Absent: Chapman)]

 

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 between 38 and 39 tons.
[4/26: 49-0 (Absent: Feenstra)]

 

HF 778 – Capital gains deduction for sale of real estate involved in farming

HF 778 would amend the contingent capital gains for farming property that will happen for tax year 2023 if the revenue triggers in SF 2417 from last session are met. SF 2417 amended the existing capital gains exemption for farm real estate to a new standard that would exist under the contingent tax system included in that bill. The new capital gains deduction that would exist under the contingent tax system was narrower than what currently exists, reducing the value of the existing capital gains deduction.

The current capital gains deduction is allowed for sales of six types of qualifying assets:

  • The qualifying sale of cattle, horses or breeding livestock.
  • The qualifying sale of real property used in a farm business.
  • The qualifying sale of real property used in a non-farm business.
  • The qualifying sale of timber.
  • The qualifying sale of a business.
  • The qualifying sale of employer securities to a qualified Iowa employee stock ownership plan.

The future (contingent) capital gain deduction is limited to:

  • The taxpayer “materially participated” in the farming business for at least 10 years and held the real property for at least 10 years; and sold the real property to a relative.
  • The deduction would be revoked if the relative sells or transfers the real property used in a farming business to a non-relative on the taxpayer within five years of the original sale.

The bill would amend the future (contingent) capital gains deduction so that it would apply in the following cases:

  • The taxpayer “materially participated” in the farming business for at least 10 years and held the real property for at least 10 years; or the taxpayer sold the real property to a relative.
  • This bill expands the definition of relative to include an entity in which a relative of the taxpayer has a legal or equitable interest in the entity as an owner, member, partner or beneficiary.
  • This bill strikes provisions related to restricting the capital gain deduction for the sale of real property used in a farming business if the relative sells or transfers the real property used in a farming business within five years of the original sale.
    [4/25: 49-0 (Absent: Chapman)]

 

HF 779 – Omnibus tax administration bill

Division I – Income and franchise tax changes – This division contains technical changes requested by the Department of Revenue. They include:

  • Technical changes to the new qualified business income deduction to incorporate the “cooperative” fix. This addresses the federal Tax Cut and Jobs Act (TCJA) that had inadvertently created a tax equity issue for people who sold their grain or other agricultural products through a cooperative.
  • Changes the administration of the school tuition organization (STO) so the amounts are calculated on a calendar year basis rather than tax year. This is how the program is currently administered, but the change is necessary because corporate tax years vary. This change standardizes how the program is married.
  • Clarification on the allocation of the early childhood development tax credit among married taxpayers who filed joint federal tax returns.
  • Provides for the coupling of the state franchise tax to the federal tax code. This was not included in SF 2417 last session.
  • Technical changes to the treatment of like/kind exchanges to couple with federal tax changes made after the TCJA.

 

Division II – Administrative changes – This division allows the department to adopt rules that will allow a taxpayer to designate another person to receive tax information. Currently the department only provides tax information to the individual who is designated on the tax form.

 

Division III – Sales and Use tax changes – This division contains a number of changes to sales and use taxes:

  • Clarifies the existing definition of “affiliate” to aid in the collection of sales and use taxes from affiliated businesses.
  • Changes the amount of service or warranty contract subject to the sales or use tax. The law currently says it is only based on one-half of the sales price of the service contract. The bill changes the calculation so that the price is based on the full price of the service contract.
  • Clarifies what is taxable under carpentry services. This relates to an Iowa Supreme Court case that involved construction services provided by Lowe’s. The bill makes it clear that carpentry repair and installation services are taxable. This mirrors administrative rules language that exists for electric or plumbing services. The administrative rules for carpentry did not include the two terms, creating uncertainty that the court ultimately decided.
  • Creates a new sales and use tax exemption for grain bins, including construction materials and replacement parts. This exemption is for sales going forward (not retroactive).
  • Clarifies the type of equipment not exempt from sales and use tax on sales or rentals of industrial machinery, equipment and computers. This change relates to telecommunications companies and is needed to prevent refund claims that could arise from other legislative changes that were not meant to create a new exemption for machinery and equipment used for manufacturing purposes.
  • Extends the sales tax exemption on digital products sold for commercial purposes to include digital service contracts.
  • Eliminates language creating a 200-transaction threshold for determining if a retailer is subject to the requirements for remote sellers to collect and remit sales tax. This leaves one test ($100,000 or more in sales) for determining whether or not a remote seller must comply with Iowa’s sales tax requirements. The transaction threshold is being eliminated in other states as well.
  • Reduces the frequency of required reports that must be filed by a “referrer” of online sales. A “referrer” is distinct from a marketplace facilitator. The bill also states that the department cannot collect tax or require filings for referrers until administrative rules are in place to establish the responsibilities of a referrer.
  • Directs the Department of Revenue to establish a task force to review and provide clarity regarding the definition of “computer” as used throughout the Code and administrative rules.

 

Division IV – Automobile Rental Excise Tax – This section is designed to provide clarity on the taxable portion of the rental price of an automobile rental and who is responsible for collecting sales taxes on these transactions. This would streamline the process for collecting and administering the automobile rental excise tax. There have been issues with online sales where the online platform doesn’t collect the full rental sales price at the time of the transaction.

 

Division V – Telephone company property – This division provides a fix to an issue that has arisen because of conflicting legislative language in bills that were enacted after last session. SF 2388 and another bill both amended the same Code section. The changes included in the bills have created uncertainty in how to implement them. This language is designed to address those issues.

 

Division VI – Targeted Jobs Withholding Tax Credit – This division includes changes to the targeted jobs withholding tax credit program. The program is available for specified jobs located in a pilot project city. Pilot project cities include Sioux City, Council Bluffs, Burlington and Keokuk/Fort Madison. Sioux City is the most active participant in this program.

The bill would extend the program by two years so that it would end after June 30, 2021. SF 631 had proposed a four-year extension. The program has been extended before, most recently last year when it was extended one year from 2018 to 2019. The bill also restricts the jobs the program applies to. Currently, the program can be used to benefit jobs that are being created or retained; the bill would only allow the program to benefit created jobs.

 

Division VII – School Tuition Organization tax credits – This division increases the amount of tax credits that can be issued under the School Tuition Organization (STO) tax credit program. The tax credit program cap is increased by $2 million to $15 million annually for Tax Year 2020. SF 631 had proposed a $4 million increase.

STOs provide scholarship assistance to a student who is eligible to receive a tuition grant under the Student Tuition Organization tax credit program. Eligible students are from families with incomes up to 400 percent of the federal poverty level.

 

Division VIII–Income Tax Checkoffs – This division would re-authorize the state fair and combined volunteer firefighter/veterans income tax checkoffs. The bill also establishes a notification process so the Legislature will know which income tax checkoffs are scheduled to be eliminated from the state income tax form. This language matches SF 635 that was approved unanimously by Senate Ways and Means.

Under current law, there is a two-year cycle for established income tax checkoffs. After those two years, the two checkoffs that have received the lowest amount of funds are eliminated from the state income tax return. For this cycle, the two lowest returns were the state fair and the combined volunteer firefighter/veterans checkoffs. The highest two checkoffs support wildlife habitat and child abuse prevention.

The state income tax return has a maximum of four slots available for income tax checkoffs. The current system allows an opportunity to consider which checkoffs are included on the state income tax return and provides an opportunity to add new checkoffs to the form.

 

Division IX– Powers and Duties of Director of Revenue – This division adds a new item to the Code section outlining the powers and duties of the director of the Department of Revenue. This change clarifies that the director can audit or examine all taxes collected or administered by the department. This will extend audit and examination authority to the moneys and credits tax for credit unions. Because of a law change last session, the department now administers this tax. It previously had been administered through counties.

 

Division X – Sales and Use Tax Exemption for Manufacturers – This division clarifies changes from SF 2417 that had restricted who qualified for the sales and use tax exemption for manufacturing processes. That bill had made it so anyone engaged in a designated business was unable to qualify for the manufacturing exemption. The bill allows the exemption for a company that is primarily engaged in manufacturing but also engaged in the listed activities. This is a minor adjustment to the change in definition of manufacturer in SF 2417 last year, not a full-scale reversal.

 

Division XI – State Research Activities Tax Credit (RAC) – This division amends the industries eligible to claim the state RAC to include agriscience. Last session, SF 2417 contained language designed to reign in the types of companies claiming the credit, and restore the credit to the activities intended under the legislation as passed in 2010. SF 2417 also prohibited those engaged in agricultural production, commercial and residential repair and installation, including HVAC, plumbing, security and electrical systems, from claiming the credit.

Recent rulemaking by the Department of Revenue to enact SF 2417 has already included agrisciences as an eligible industry because it is difficult to separate it from “life sciences” that are allowed under the legislation. Unlike SF 631 the bill does not extend the RAC to agricultural animal production.

 

Division XII – Adoption tax credit; timing of eligible expenses – This division allows adoption expenses to be included when claiming the adoption tax credit. Currently, the credit only allows expenses to be claimed during the year the adoption is completed. This means eligible expenses claimed in years before the adoption is completed can’t be included and requires the taxpayer to file amended returns for previous years to claim the credit for eligible expenses incurred during those years.

 

Division XIII – Utility Replacement Tax Task Force – This division extends the utility replacement task force by five years to January 1, 2024. SF 631 had proposed a 10-year extension. This task force reviews the implementation and operation of the utility replacement tax created to replace the previous property tax on utilities.

 

Division XIV – Repealing the alternative minimum tax for franchise taxes – This division repeals the alternative minimum tax (AMT) for franchise taxes beginning in tax year 2021. A one-year transition period allows the use of the AMT credit in tax year 2021 for those who have to pay the AMT in tax year 2020. This repeal mirrors the repeal of the corporate AMT that was included in SF 2417 last session.

 

Division XV – Geothermal system tax credit – This division will reinstate the state geothermal system tax credit that was eliminated in SF 2417 last session. The state credit is based off of the federal geothermal tax credit. The state credit will be issued on a first-come, first-served basis. The amount of credits issued in any one year is limited to $1 million.

 

Division XVI – Moneys and Credits Taxes – This division is a technical fix to a legislative change in 2018 that put the Department of Revenue in charge of collecting and assessing the moneys and credits tax on credit unions. The bill removes language that includes county boards of supervisors and county treasurers in the levying and collection process.
[4/27: 44-4 (No: Bolkcom, Celsi, Quirmbach, R. Taylor; Absent: Lykam, T. Taylor)]

 

SF 306 – Pilot project for park user fees at Lake Manawa

SF 306 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 who access the state park, and DNR could charge different rates for facility rentals to residents and nonresidents. This system would mirror how Nebraska charges for nonresidents to use their state parks. Lake Manawa is a busy state park that attracts a large number of nonresident visitors because the park does not charge fees for access, unlike similar parks in the area. This has led to high use, a need for infrastructure repairs and demands on local law enforcement responding to illegal activity. It is hoped the fees will cover park needs, while discouraging illegal activities. The pilot program would be repealed on July 1, 2022. The Senate concurred with a House amendment that created a similar program for Waubonsie State Park in Fremont County in southwest Iowa.
[4/25: 49-0 (Absent: Chapman)]

 

SF 597 – Sales tax exemption for nonprofit blood centers

SF 597 would provide a sales tax exemption for tangible property sold or laboratory test services furnished to a nonprofit blood center, as long as the tangible property or laboratory testing services is directly and primarily used in the processing of human blood. The nonprofit blood centers must be registered with the federal Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

This exemption is needed because tax legislation passed last session (SF 2417) redefined the term “manufacturing” to apply to a narrower scope of activity. This change in definition subjected tangible property and laboratory testing services used by nonprofit blood centers to the sales tax. SF 597 replaces the sales tax exemption the nonprofit blood centers had operated under and makes the change retroactive to May 30, 2018, which is the date SF 2417 was signed into law by Governor Reynolds.

On this vote, the Senate concurred with a House amendment that removed a provision that included non-profit blood centers in a sales tax exemption for the sale of digital products to commercial enterprises. The House amendment also removed the retroactive effective date, meaning the sales tax exemption will begin July 1, and no refunds will be issued for sales taxes paid since May 30, 2018.
[4/26: 48-0 (Absent: Lykam, T. Taylor)]

 

SF 633 – Assessment of subdivided real property

SF 633 would amend current Code language regarding the assessment of certain subdivided real property. Current law under 405.1 allows counties and cities to adopt ordinances so that land that has been subdivided for housing development is assessed as it was prior to subdivision until the property is sold for construction or the occupancy of housing or for a period of five years, whichever is shorter. The law also allows counties or cities to extend the ordinance regarding the assessment of those properties. A separate Code section (441.72) prohibits the increased assessment of subdivision property when the plat is recorded for a five-year period or until the property is improved and is not restricted to housing developments.

Under the bill, subdivided properties would simply maintain the prior assessment until the property is sold for construction or the occupancy of housing. It eliminates the need for an ordinance and removes the time limits on the assessments. The two Code sections create two processes for the assessment of these properties, and the bill tries to conform those two processes.

The committee adopted an amendment to further clarify the process for the assessment of properties platted for subdivisions. The amendment will repeal the process that exists under 405.1 since this process only applies to housing subdivisions, while 441.72 applies to all subdivided property. The amendment also amends the process under 441.72 to remove outdated language for subdivision plats recorded between 2004 and 2011.
[4/26: 49-0 (Absent: Feenstra)]

Transportation Committee Report – Week 16, 2019

FLOOR ACTION:

HF 499 – School bus exemptions

HF 767 – Electric vehicles

HF 769 – Gross weight of special trucks

 

FLOOR ACTION:

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 767 – Electric 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 electric, hybrid and other high-efficiency motor vehicles. DOT produced recommendations with the goal of no net change in revenue, equity and administrative costs. HF 767 is based on recommendations from the 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 and will pay an excise tax of 65 cents per gallon. Vehicles using hydrogen fuel will have a special fuel sticker from the County Treasurer designating 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)]

State Government Committee Report – Week 16, 2019

FLOOR ACTION:

HF 485 – Purchasing for targeted small business procurement goals

HF 694 – EMS licensure & interstate compact

FLOOR ACTION:

HF 485 – Purchasing for targeted small business procurement goals

HF 485 allows an emergency project to be eligible for a grant from the Community Catalyst Building Remediation Program Fund (without regard for application deadlines and the required percentage that is set aside for cities with small populations). An emergency project is defined as a remediation of an underused building that may present a unique and immediate opportunity or threat. This bill is codifying what currently is in the Iowa Economic Development Authority’s Administrative Rules. Tornado damage to Marshalltown in 2018 was the impetus for the bill.
[4/25: 49-0 (Excused: Chapman)]

 

HF 694 – EMS licensure & interstate compact

HF 694 establishes an Emergency Medical Service Personnel Licensure Interstate Compact to allow EMTs and paramedics licensed in Iowa to practice in other states. Participating states must meet standards set by the compact, including registration requirements, training requirements, investigation procedures and notification procedures. The compact allows a person to work within the same scope of practice in any compact state. The home state has sole authority to discipline a licensee. Member states in the compact participate in the Interstate Commission for EMS Personnel Practice.

The bill aligns Iowa Department of Public Health licensing authority language for EMS with language in the bill that establishes a multistate commission. It also establishes authority for IDPH to keep and retain new license application fees, which will include the required background check fee. Current law requires all licensing fees to be deposited into the EMS System Development Fund, which cannot be used by IDPH for administrative expenses. The bill will only affect new licensing applications. Renewal fees (which are the majority of the fees collected) will continue to be deposited into the EMS System Development Fund.
[4/25: 50-0]

Local Government Committee Report – Week 16, 2019

FLOOR ACTION:

SF 93 – Abandoned structures and nuisance properties

SF 502 – Political subdivision whistleblower protection

 

FLOOR ACTION:

SF 93 – Abandoned structures and nuisance properties

SF 93 makes changes to the abandoned structures and abatement law. The bill removes the length of time needed to consider a structure abandoned, along with evidence of financial responsibility, if the property is in need of abatement. A hearing is eliminated if those interested show intent and responsibility to restore the property in good faith. The bill’s aim is to motivate current owners to restore nuisance properties. The Senate concurred with the House amendment to exempt agricultural land throughout the bill.
[4/25: 50-0]

 

SF 502 – Political subdivision whistleblower protection

SF 502 requires a political subdivision to provide notification of whistleblower protection by the human resources department, along with information about how the state’s Office of Ombudsman offers protection. The legislation also provides for civil damages to the whistleblower. The Senate concurred with the House action to add the position of human resource management for the State of Iowa to the list to seek protection.
[4/25: 50-0]

Labor & Business Committee Report – Week 16, 2019

FLOOR ACTION:

HF 531 – Unemployment Insurance changes

 

FLOOR ACTION:

HF 531 – Unemployment Insurance changes

HF 531 makes changes to Iowa’s Unemployment Insurance Program. The bill reduces the benefits available to a claimant when their employer goes out of business; makes changes to the Voluntary Shared Work Plan; and provides that landscaping employers will contribute to the Unemployment Insurance Trust Fund at the same rate as construction employers.

The Senate adopted two amendments. The first disqualifies workers from eligibility for unemployment benefits for misconduct. The bill defines misconduct in the Code using language similar to what is in administrative rules. In addition, the bill enumerates a list (“including to but not limited to” list) of what is considered “misconduct.”

The other amendment requires Iowa Workforce Development to provide electronic confirmation and a confirmation number for an unemployment claim.
[4/25: 32-18, party-line]

Judiciary Committee Report – Week 16, 2019

FLOOR ACTION:

HF 328 – Definition of vulnerable elder

HF 421 – Transfers from a state mental health institute to DOC

HF 638 – Rental properties

HF 732 – Relating to the Medical Cannabidiol Act

SF 589 – Criminal omnibus bill

 

FLOOR ACTION:

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 vulnerable. 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 421 – Transfers from a state mental health institute to DOC

HF 421 addresses when a state mental health institute 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 dangerous to others at the facility, the administrator may apply for a court order to transfer the patient to IMCC to be housed in the forensic hospital inside the prison. The forensic hospital is a 14-bed hospital where some defendants who have been charged with a crime are court ordered to undergo a competency (to stand trial) evaluation, and if found not competent, the defendant undergoes treatment to restore him/her to competency. In addition, some people 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. Though 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 the governor without input from the Legislature.
[4/27: 31-16, Party-line (Absent: Dawson, Lykam, T. Taylor)]

 

HF 638 – Rental properties

HF 638 makes changes to various aspects of landlord-tenant laws. Under Chapter 562A relating to landlord and tenant relationships where the tenant rents an apartment or home, a rental agreement of $700 or less per month cannot charge a late fee that exceeds $12 per day or $60 per month. For rental agreements greater than $700 per month but less than $1,400, the late fee cannot exceed $20 per day or $100 per month. The bill changes late rental fees for any rental agreement in which the rent is at least $1,400 per month. Under the bill, the late fee cannot exceed 2% of the rent per day or 10 percent per month.

For rental agreements under the uniform mobile home park landlord tenant chapter, 562B, the bill maintains the late fees of $12 per day or $60 per month. When the rent is greater than $700 per month but less than $1,400, a rental agreement cannot exceed $20 per day or $100 per month. When rent is $1,400 or more per month, the late fee cannot exceed 2% of the rent per day or 10 percent of the monthly rent. Chapter 562B applies to landlord and tenant relationships when the tenant owns the manufactured home (a/k/a mobile home) but rents the lot that the home is placed on.

In addition, as amended on the Senate floor, the bill requires that a notice to cancel by a landlord under Chapter 562B, the mobile home park landlord and tenant act, must be for good cause. “Good cause” means a violation of the chapter by a tenant, a material violation of the manufactured home community or mobile home park rules or regulations, a change in the use of the land on which the mobile home park is located, or material noncompliance with the rental agreement by the tenant. Under current law, a landlord may terminate a lease without cause.

The bill, as passed by the Senate, also requires a landlord to provide at least 180 days’ notice to the tenants prior to any rent increase. Current law only requires 60 days’ notice.
[4/26: 48-0 (Absent: Feenstra, Zaun)]

 

HF 732 – Relating to the Medical Cannabidiol Act

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)]

 

SF 589 – Criminal omnibus bill

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

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.

The Senate concurred on a House amendment that will allow defendants to pursue direct appeals from guilty pleas for good cause. The original bill prohibited direct appeals from guilty pleas. The amendment also 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 enhancements for second or subsequent convictions.
[4/25: 49-0 (Absent: Chapman)]

Human Resources Committee Report – Week 16, 2019

FLOOR ACTION:

HF 422 – Telehealth for CCUSO residents

HF 642 – Sharing of information in human trafficking cases

FLOOR ACTION:

HF 422 – Telehealth for CCUSO residents

HF 422 allows the University of Iowa to provide health services for patients at the Civil Commitment Unit for Sexual Offenders (CCUSO) via telehealth when it is deemed medically necessary. This may save CCUSO some travel expenses if they don’t have to drive residents to Iowa City for treatment.
[4/25: 49-0 (Excused: Chapman)]

 

HF 642 – Sharing of information in human trafficking cases

HF 642 allows sharing of certain confidential information by the Iowa Department of Human Services to interdisciplinary teams. Currently, they can only share the information if the team is working on a child abuse investigation. This bill will allow information sharing in human trafficking cases when the interdisciplinary team’s sole focus is children in human trafficking cases.
[4/25: 49-0 (Excused: Chapman)]