Tag: Votes

Education Committee Report – Week 5, 2019

COMMITTEE ACTION:

SSB 1051 – Eligibility and reporting requirements for skilled workforce shortage tuition grant program

SSB 1052 – Requirements for eligibility under the all Iowa opportunity scholarship program

SSB 1099 – Public forums, speech at universities and community colleges

FLOOR ACTION:

HF 306 – FY20 state supplemental aid at 2.06 percent

 

COMMITTEE ACTION:

SSB 1051 – Eligibility and reporting requirements for skilled workforce shortage tuition grant program

SSB 1051 is a technical correction to eliminate the Iowa Workforce Development reference in the Skilled Workforce Shortage Tuition Grant statute that is scheduled for repeal July 1, 2019, and ensures that students enrolled in programs of study aligned with statewide high-demand jobs continue to qualify for funding. In addition, the bill amends the program to include a grandfather clause for students receiving grants who are enrolled in a program of study that is aligned with a high-demand job that is subsequently removed from eligibility.

The Skilled Workforce Shortage Tuition Grant statute references a section of the Iowa Code requiring a report to be produced quarterly. This Code section was rescinded during the 2018 legislative session. Because the College Student Aid Commission references an Iowa Workforce Development Code section that will be repealed, a technical correction must be made. In addition, the Skilled Workforce Shortage Tuition Grant does not provide a grandfather clause for students who are enrolled in a program of study that is subsequently removed from the list of high-demand jobs.
[2/11: Short Form]

 

SSB 1052 – Requirements for eligibility under the all Iowa opportunity scholarship program

SSB 1052 strikes the age provisions for two populations to ensure all applicants are held to the same eligibility criteria under the All Iowa Opportunity Scholarship.

Over the course of the past two years, two new student populations have been granted access to the All Iowa Opportunity Scholarship. House File 642 granted eligible foster care students first priority for funding; and House File 2502 granted students whose parent was a public safety worker killed in the line of duty second priority for funding. The defining language for each of these student populations contains an age threshold that would allow them to lose eligibility prior to receiving the maximum benefit under the program. There is no such age threshold for the general student population.
[2/11: Short Form]

 

SSB 1099 – Public forums, speech at universities and community colleges

SSB 1099 governs public forums, freedom of expression and freedom of association at community colleges and state universities. It requires Regent universities and community colleges to adopt statements protecting speech; the freedom to discuss, assemble and engage in spontaneous expressive activities subject to reasonable time, place and manner restrictions; and public areas of campuses as traditional public forums. Protected activities include all forms of peaceful assembly, protests, speeches (including by invited speakers), distribution of literature and circulating petitions. The bill requires that the outdoor areas of campuses be deemed traditional public forums. Specific areas cannot be deemed free speech zones, and policies cannot otherwise restrict expressive activities to a particular outdoor area of campus.

The bill also prohibits institutions from denying a student organization any benefit or privilege available to any other student organization. An aggrieved member of the campus community may bring an action against an institution responsible for a violation of this law and may assert such violation as a defense or counterclaim.

A committee amendment was offered that made some technical changes but did not address concerns regarding the continued protection of certain protected classes under Iowa’s Civil Rights Act.
[2/13: 11-4, party-line (Yes: Quirmbach voting “yes” with Republicans)]

 

FLOOR ACTION:

HF 306 – FY20 state supplemental aid at 2.06 percent

HF 306 is the FY20 state supplemental aid or basic school funding for the school year starting in July 2019. HF 306 provides for a 2.06 percent increase in basic school funding, which Republicans have said they will fund at $78.6 million.  This funding level includes a $22.5 million cut to the Area Education Agencies. If there was no additional cut to AEAs; SF 172’s 2.06 percent will cost $93.6 million. Governor Reynolds proposed 2.3 percent increase in state funding for schools.

General State Aid: HF 306 establishes a total cost per pupil of $6,875; an increase of $139 per pupil over last year. The 2.06 percent increase will cost the state $78.6 million more than last year. This assumes that the Legislature continues the $22.5 million AEA reduction in this year’s Standings Bill.

Categorical State Aid: The FY20 allowable growth rate for each of the State Categorical Supplements (Teacher Leadership and Compensation; Teacher Salary Supplement; and Professional Development and Early Intervention) totals $537.9 million, an increase of $10.7 million.

  • Teacher Salary Supplement: $304.9 million (increase of $6 million)
  • Professional Development Supplement: $34.6 million (increase of $680,000)
  • Early Intervention (general purpose allowed): $35.6 million (increase of $700,000)
  • Teacher Leadership Supplement: $162.7 million (increase of $3.3 million)

Budget Guarantee: This is the amount made up entirely of local property taxes to guarantee a school district receives 101 percent of the previous year’s funding level. It only occurs when a district’s enrollment decline is greater than the basic state funding percentage increase. It’s estimated that 117 districts will be on budget guarantee under 2.06 percent.

Property Taxes: Since 2013, the Legislature makes a determination on whether it will pay for the increment increase in property taxes associated with an increase in the percentage growth for schools. The total funding for this effort is now $62.1 million, an increase of $10 million over last year. This is not new money for schools, just shifting dollars from local property taxes to state funding.

A Democratic amendment to increase the state funding for schools by 3 percent, a $43 million increase over HF 306 levels, failed on a party-line vote.
[2/13: 35-13, party-line (Bisignano, Danielson, Kinney, Mathis voting “yes” with Republicans; Excused: Jochum, Nunn)]

Judiciary Committee Report – Week 5, 2019

COMMITTEE ACTION:

SF 237 – Judicial Nominating Commissions

SSB 1009 – Threat of a targeted attack and cyberharassment

SSB 1037 – Illegal practice of massage therapy

SSB 1057 – Sexual misconduct with offenders

SSB 1066 – Educational Debt Management Services

SSB 1072 – Surety bonds for travel trailer dealer licenses

COMMITTEE ACTION:

SF 237 – Judicial Nominating Commissions

SF 237 is a Republican proposal that makes drastic changes to the way judges in Iowa will be chosen, primarily through changes to the judicial nominating commissions. Currently, judicial nominating commissions recommend nominees whose names are sent to the Governor to fill judge vacancies on the Iowa Supreme Court, the Iowa Court of Appeals and district courts. Currently, the Governor appoints half the members of the commissions and Iowa attorneys elect half the members. This bill does away with the election of members to the judicial nominating commissions by resident attorneys. Instead, the House and Senate majority and minority leaders, will appoint members to the commissions. There is one State Judicial Nominating Commission and 14 District Judicial Nominating Commissions. This bill politicizes Iowa courts and is a power grab by Republicans who want control of the Judicial Branch. This process could result in extremist individuals being appointed as judges.
[2/11: 9-4, party line (Absent: Nunn)]

 

SSB 1009 – Threat of a targeted attack and cyberharassment

SSB 1009 establishes the criminal offense of assault by threat of a targeted attack. It will be a “D” felony when a person threatens to cause serious injury or death to people assembled in a public place, a school building or any occupied structure other than a single-family residence when the people threatened reasonably believe there is a possibility of death or serious injury, or have a reasonable expectation that the threat will be carried out. A “D” felony is punishable by up to five years in prison and a fine of at least $750 up to $7,500. “Public place” is defined as an indoor area, privately or publicly owned, where the public has access by right or by invitation, express or implied, regardless of whether or not payment is required.

The Committee adopted an amendment creating the crime of cyberharassment, which is when a person makes an electronic communication with the intent to threaten, intimidate or alarm another person; knowingly sends or posts comments, requests, suggestions or threats of physical harm to or about another or the other person’s property without legitimate purpose and in a manner that a reasonable person under the same circumstances would interpret to cause fear of physical or emotional harm. Cyberharassment will be second degree harassment, a serious misdemeanor, punishable by up to one year in jail and a fine of at least $315 but not to more than $1,875.
[2/13: short form (No: Hogg, Taylor; Absent: Petersen)]

 

SSB 1037 – Illegal practice of massage therapy

SSB 1037 imposes a criminal penalty for unlicensed people who practice massage therapy or hold themselves out as a massage therapist. Current law requires massage therapists in Iowa to be licensed. Unlicensed people are prohibited from engaging in massage therapy or holding themselves out in any way as a massage therapist or masseuse, or using any other word or title that implies the person is a massage therapist.

This bill makes it a serious misdemeanor for an unlicensed person to engage in or hold themselves out as a massage therapist. Currently, under Chapter 152C relating to the regulation of massage therapists, unlicensed people are only subject to a civil penalty. A serious misdemeanor is punishable by up to two years in prison and a fine.
[2/13: short form (Absent: Petersen)]

 

SSB 1057 – Sexual misconduct with offenders

SSB 1057 is a Department of Corrections bill that would make it a “D” felony, rather than the current aggravated misdemeanor, for any peace officer or Department of Corrections employee, contractor, vendor, volunteer or any agent of the Department to engage in a sex act with an offender if the peace officer or employee has knowledge that the person is committed to the Department’s custody. The bill also applies to officers, employees or agents of a judicial district department of correctional services (community based corrections). A “D” felony is punishable by up to five years in prison and a fine of at least $750 but not more than $7,500. An aggravated misdemeanor is punishable by up to two years in prison and a fine.

The committee adopted an amendment to the bill, which increases the penalty for officers, employees, agents, etc., who engage in sexual misconduct with juvenile offenders who are placed in a juvenile detention facility and persons committed to a county jail. The amendment increases the penalty under these circumstances to a “D” felony as well.
[2/13: short form (Absent: Petersen)]

 

SSB 1066 – Educational Debt Management Services

SSB 1066 is an Attorney General proposal that that relates to debt management services in connection with educational loans. The Attorney General worked with the Division of Banking to craft this legislation.

Under current law, the Banking Division at the Iowa Department of Commerce licenses and regulates those engaged in the business of debt management. This bill requires those who serve as intermediaries between debtors and creditors or loan servicers of the debtor for the purposes of modifying an educational loan to be licensed and subject to the requirements of Chapter 533A relating to Debt Management and Regulation by the Division of Banking.

Under the bill:

  • A licensee shall not receive any compensation in connection with educational loan debt management services until after the licensee has fully performed all services under the contract.
  • Debtors have an unconditional right to cancel a contract prior to midnight of the third business day following the date of the contract, and cancellation will occur when the debtor delivers by any means, a written notice of cancellation to a specified address supplied by the licensee. This includes by mail delivery, e-mail delivery and personal delivery.
  • There are requirements for contracts for educational loan debt management services, including the size of the type in the contracts. In addition, any contract must include a disclosure statement regarding the debtor’s rights of cancellation.
  • The bill sets out behaviors and prohibitions that licensees may not engage in relating to the educational loans debt management services.
  • Violations of provisions of the bill will be a consumer fraud pursuant to Code section 714.16.

The committee adopted an amendment to clarify that this legislation will apply to licensees who engage primarily in the business of educational loan debt management, not any licensee who does a limited amount of educational loan debt management. It is intended to focus on the bad actors who do only or mostly educational loan management.
[2/13: short form (Absent: Petersen)]

 

SSB 1072 – Surety bonds for travel trailer dealer licenses

SSB 1072 is an Attorney General bill that increases the required amount for a surety bond for a travel trailer dealer’s license from the Iowa Department of Transportation. The bond amount is increased to $75,000 from $25,000. 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 travel trailers.
[2/13: short form (Absent: Petersen)]

Transportation Committee Report – Week 5, 2019

COMMITTEE ACTION

SF 76 –Electronic communication devices when driving

SF 88 –Registration plates and window tinting

SSB 1050 –Required notices of certain aircraft

 

COMMITTEE ACTION

SF 76 –Electronic communication devices when driving

SF 76 expands Iowa Code to prohibit any use of an electronic device when driving, but exempts public safety agencies performing duties, health care professionals in the course of an emergency and anyone reporting an emergency situation. A violation is a moving violation, and the fine is increased from $30 to $100. Current law prohibits the use of a hand-held electronic device to write, send or view messages when driving a motor vehicle (texting and driving).
[2/13: 12-0 (Absent: Zumbach)]

 

SF 88 –Registration plates and window tinting

SF 88 allows the Iowa Department of Transportation to issue a $35 blackout special registration plate. The plate’s background must be black and the numbering white. The vehicle owner must not place a frame that blocks plate number, state or county name, or validation/registration sticker. Monies collected by the DOT go to the Statutory Allocation Fund and are returned to each county’s county mental health and disabilities services fund.

Additionally, the bill allows a minimum standard of transparency of 35 percent light transmittance (window tint) and sets a $50 fine for violation of the provision. A driver must lower their side window to the lowest possible position before an officers approaches the vehicle.
[2/13: short form (Absent: Zumbach)]

 

SSB 1050 –Required notices of certain aircraft

SSB 1050 eliminates the burden on aircraft owners to keep current paper registration certificates in their aircraft if they have been junked or destroyed by fire or accident, since 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 DOT.
[2/13: short form (Absent: Zumbach)]

Ethics Committee Report – Week 5, 2019

FLOOR ACTION:

SR 2 – Senate Code of Ethics

FLOOR ACTION:

SR 2 – Senate Code of Ethics

SR 2 is the Code of Ethics governing the conduct of members of the Senate. It updates the reference to the new General Assembly and makes a clarification in three locations to include explicitly the joint rules governing lobbyists as a basis for complaint. The bill clarifies that discrimination, abuse or harassment, as provided and defined in the personnel guidelines of the Iowa Senate, applies to the Senate Code of Ethics. It removes language that a complaint must be filed within three years to be considered timely and also strikes provisions that senators with a conflict of interest can participate in floor debate.
[2/13: voice vote (Absent: Jochum, Nunn)]

Appropriations Committee Report – Week 5, 2018

COMMITTEE ACTION:

SF 171 – School Funding: Transportation and Per Pupil Equity

FLOOR ACTION:

HF 307- School Funding: Transportation and Per Pupil Equity

 

 

COMMITTEE ACTION:

SF 171 – School Funding: Transportation and Per Pupil Equity

SF 171 is year two of policy and funding efforts to decrease the transportation and per pupil inequities within Iowa’s school aid formula. First, SF 171 adds an additional $5 per student on top of the state supplemental aid for the upcoming budget year. This equates to an additional $2.3 million for schools. It is estimated that 179 school districts will receive additional funding, 170 of which will see the full $5 per student increase. This is new money for those schools. The rest of the school districts will get a small property tax decrease because $5 of their current district cost per pupil will be paid for by state dollars. These districts won’t see “new” money under this portion of this bill.

Second, this bill addresses the transportation inequity. Schools pay for transportation costs out of their general fund budgets. For larger geographical districts, this results in more money going to transportation costs than other districts. SF 171 provides $7.8 million increase in funding for FY20. This is on top of last year’s $11.2 million appropriation for a total investment of $19 million. Not every school district will receive transportation assistance. If a school district exceeds the statewide adjusted transportation cost per pupil, a portion of $19 million will be distributed to them. Transportation costs are recalculated every year. An estimated 190 districts will receive funding in FY20, which is 57.1 percent of all Iowa school districts.
[2/7: 20-0 (Excused: Lykam)]

 

FLOOR ACTION:

HF 307– School Funding: Transportation and Per Pupil Equity

HF 307 is year two of policy and funding efforts to decrease the transportation and per pupil inequities within Iowa’s school aid formula. First, HF 307 adds an additional $5 per student on top of the state supplemental aid for the upcoming budget year. This equates to an additional $2.3 million for schools. It is estimated that 179 school districts will receive additional funding, 170 of which will see the full $5 per student increase. This is new money for those schools. The rest of the school districts will get a small property tax decrease, because $5 of their current district cost per pupil will be paid for by state dollars. These districts won’t see “new” money under this portion of this bill.

Second, this bill addresses the transportation inequity. Schools pay for transportation costs out of their general fund budgets. For larger geographical districts, this results in more money going to transportation costs than other districts. HF 307 provides $7.8 million increase in funding for FY20. This is on top of last year’s $11.2 million appropriation, for a total investment of $19 million. Not every school district will receive transportation assistance. If a school district exceeds the statewide adjusted transportation cost per pupil, a portion of $19 million will be distributed to them. Transportation costs are recalculated every year. An estimated 190 districts will receive funding in FY20, which is 57.1 percent of all Iowa school districts.

The bill requires a report every five years to the Legislature on the effectiveness of the transportation funding and any appropriate recommendations. HF 307 replaces SF 171. The bill will now go to the Governor.
[2/13: 48-0 (Excused: Jochum, Nunn)]

Rules & Administration Committee Report – Week 5, 2019

FLOOR & COMMITTEE ACTION:

SR 3 – Senate Rules

SCR 5 – Joint Rules

 

FLOOR & COMMITTEE ACTION:

SR 3 – Senate Rules

SR 3 is the permanent rules for the Senate in the 88th General Assembly. Prior to passage of these rules, the Senate is operating under temporary rules (those from the 87th General Assembly). In addition to updating the General Assembly number from 87th to 88th, there are non-substantive updates and notable changes, including:

  • Changing the affirmative voting word to “yea” (from “aye”) to be consistent with the Iowa Constitution.
  • Adding that Senators may introduce school groups, not just the President of the Senate.
  • Clarifying that a committee doesn’t have to meet just to announce subcommittee assignments; those will be put in the journal.
  • Adding that a committee cannot consider legislation until a public subcommittee is held.
  • Clarifying that the Secretary of the Senate is not the supervisor of caucus or leadership staff.
  • Extending the time to assign subcommittees for Governor’s appointees to three days (from one).
  • Making funnel deadlines earlier in the second year of the General Assembly.
    [Committee 2/7: 9-0 (Absent: Feenstra, Jochum); Floor 2/13: vv]

 

SCR 5 – Joint Rules

SCR 5 is the joint rules for the House and Senate. The sole change is updating the 87th General Assembly to the 88th General Assembly.
[Committee 2/7: 9-0 (Absent: Feenstra, Jochum); Floor 2/13: vv]

Agriculture Committee Report – Week 5, 2019

COMMITTEE ACTION:

SSB 1111 – Wild golden oyster mushroom sales

SF 170 – Agricultural extension council report deadlines & elections

FLOOR ACTION: None

 

 

COMMITTEE ACTION:

SSB 1111 – Wild golden oyster mushroom sales

SSB 1111 allows the sale of wild golden oyster mushrooms at farmers markets under authority of the Iowa Department of Inspections and Appeals.
[2/12: short form]

 

SF 170 – Agricultural extension council report deadlines & elections

SF 170 moves the deadline for county agricultural extension councils to submit annual financial reports from August 1 to September 1. The bill also changes special elections to fill a vacancy on the county agricultural extension council to the next general election.
[2/12: short form]

 

FLOOR ACTION: None

Transportation Committee Report – Week 4, 2019

COMMITTEE ACTION:

SF 42 –Displaying one plate on antique vehicle

SF 43- Maximum capacity for vehicles operated by a school

SF 58 –Allowing certain vans and pick-ups as school buses

SF 184 –Transporting certain loads exceeding weight limits

SF 185 – Motor vehicle registration fees for disabled veterans

SF 187- Gross weight of special trucks

SSB 1048 – Increased length for car haulers

SSB 1049 –Commercial driver training requirements

 

COMMITTEE ACTION:

SF 42 –Displaying one plate on antique vehicle

SF 42 permits antique vehicles (25 years and older) or a vehicle that would require modification by adding or mounting hardware, drilling or adhesives to display only the rear plate. The other registration plate must be carried in the vehicle at all times. Police can only enforce a violation as a secondary offense.
[2/6: short form (No: Kinney)

 

SF 43- Maximum capacity for vehicles operated by a school

SF 43 exempts any motor vehicles designed to carry no more than 11 passengers from the definition of a “school bus.” Current law allows no more than nine.
[2/4: short form]

 

SF 58 –Allowing certain vans and pick-ups as school buses

SF 58 allows pickups designed to carry nine passengers or fewer, including the driver, to be used as school buses. The vehicle must have safety belts or safety harnesses, and the driver must comply with all qualifications, licenses and instructions as other drivers, but shall not be required to obtain a commercial driver’s license (CDL). If the pickup has towing capacity, students cannot be transported when the vehicle is being used to tow.
[2/4: short form]

 

SF 184 –Transporting certain loads exceeding weight limits

SF 184/SSB 1045  allows DOT and local authorities to issue an annual permit ($175) authorizing trucks to transport divisible loads of raw forest products  from fields to storage, processing or commercial facilities. This permits a gross weight of up to 130,000 pounds and restricts travel on the interstate highway system. A permit issued by the Iowa Department of Transportation will be valid on non-primary highways if it is the shortest route to the highway.
[2/4/19: 10-3 (No: J. Smith, Kinney, T. Taylor)]

 

SF 185 – Motor vehicle registration fees for disabled veterans

SF 185/SF 61 exempts veterans who are Iowa residents with a service-related disability rating of 70 percent or higher from paying motor vehicle registration fees. The Iowa Department of Transportation estimates a cost of $1.6 million to the Road Use Tax Fund (RUTF).
[2/4: short form]

 

SF 187- Gross weight of special trucks

SF 187/SF 83 allows a special truck used for certain farming purposes to carry a gross maximum weight of 39 tons, up 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.
[2/4: short form]

 

SSB 1048 – Increased length for car haulers

SSB 1048 allows stinger-steered transporters (car hauls) to have an overall length of 80 feet and brings Iowa into compliance with federal code. Current Iowa law is 75 feet.
[2/6: short form]

 

SSB 1049 –Commercial driver training requirements

SSB 1049 requires Iowa to comply with federal regulations for commercial driver’s license (CDL) or face loss of federal highway funding. It requires the Iowa Department of Transportation to check the national drug and alcohol clearinghouse to determine if an applicant qualifies for issuance, renewal or upgrade. The bill also allows an Iowa nonprofit corporation that serves as a trade association for Iowa-based motor carriers to be a third-party tester.
[2/6: short form]