Judiciary Committee Report – week 11, 2017

SF 220 – Prohibiting the use of automated or remote traffic enforcement systems
SF 361 – Temporary delegation of parental authority
SF 433 – Relating to termination of parental rights and adoption
SF 434 – Sealing of juvenile delinquency records
SF 465 – Medical Malpractice
SF 466 – Juror master list and shorthand reporters
SF 467 – Fiduciary access to digital assets
SF 468 – Stalking
HF 371 – Relating to quiet title actions and quitclaim deeds
HF 517 – Firearms Omnibus Bill
HF 527 – Use of Department of Corrections Institutions



Senate File 220, as amended with a strike-after amendment, prohibits the Iowa Department of Transportation from operating an automated traffic law enforcement system, except as permitted in this legislation. Under the bill, local governments can operate automated systems under these conditions:

  • Local governments must do a self-certification process relating to where a system is to be placed with a justification report that includes:
    • The high-crash or high-risk location
    • Existing speeds
    • Traffic volumes
    • Accident history
    • Alternative solutions to address safety
    • Discussions with partners on ways to increase safety
    • Why an automated system is the best solution
  • There must be a public hearing where the justification report is available.
  • Local governments must adopt a local ordinance for each location where a system will be placed.
  • The systems must be located in a high-crash, high-risk location with demonstrated safety need per the justification report.
  • When placing an automated system, the local authority must post signage visible to passing drivers.
  • A citation cannot be issued until a peace officer has reviewed the citation and recorded images.
  • The fine or civil penalty cannot exceed fines for scheduled traffic violations.
  • The systems must be internally calibrated daily, and there must be a monthly calibration by a trained individual.
  • Local governments must keep a log of the calibrations, which will be admissible in court.
  • Local governments must maintain records on the number of traffic violations and accidents where the devices are located. Those will be public records.
  • Local authorities with automated enforcement systems must file an annual report with the Legislature regarding the effectiveness of the automated traffic enforcement system.
  • If a jurisdiction wants to place an automated traffic enforcement system on a primary road, they must get approval from the Department of Transportation in accordance with rules adopted by the Department.
  • Automated traffic enforcement systems approved or allowed to operate by the Department and in operation prior to January 1, 2017, may continue to operate.
  • Local authorities must establish an appeal process for citations.
  • Residents of any locality that has traffic enforcement systems may petition the local authority for the removal of the system. If a valid petition is filed, the city council or county board of supervisors will vote on whether to repeal the ordinance authorizing the devices.
  • Money collected is deposited in local accounts for the secondary road fund or street construction fund, or will be used for public safety.
    [3/22: 31-18 (Anderson, Bertrand, Chapman, Chelgren, Edler, Feenstra, Greene, Guth, Horn, C. Johnson, D. Johnson, Kraayenbrink, McCoy, Schultz, Segebart, Sinclair, Taylor, Zaun “no”; Shipley absent)].


Senate File 361 allows parents and guardians to sign a power of attorney delegating to another person authority regarding the care of the child. The power of attorney must be signed by all parents, guardians and legal custodians, and be acknowledged before a notary public or other authorized individual. The power of attorney is for up to 90 days and can be extended once for another 90 days. The power of attorney can be revoked by the parents at any time.
[3/22: 47-2 (Hogg, McCoy “no”; Shipley absent)]


Senate File 433 is intended to deal with the growing problem of adoption fraud. The bill:

  • Limits adoption services only to state licensed adoption agencies and attorneys. Both are strictly regulated for ethical practices and competency.
  • Toughens penalties for scamming prospective adoptive parents.
  • Caps allowable expenses payable to expectant parents who are making an adoption plan.
  • Requires that all expenses paid to expectant parents be documented and reported to the court in the termination proceeding, as well as in the adoption proceeding, to catch abuses immediately rather than at final adoption.
  • Requires adoption agencies to use separate escrow accounts for adoptive parents’ funds for birthparent expenses, rather than commingling them with agency funds, and requires a detailed accounting of expenditures to adoptive parents.
    [3/21: 49-0 (Shipley absent)]


Senate File 434 allows a person’s juvenile delinquency records to be sealed even though the person committed a felony, aggravated misdemeanor or a serious misdemeanor within the two years after the last action in the juvenile case, if 10 years have passed since the person’s conviction for the felony, aggravated misdemeanor or serious misdemeanor.
[3/21: 28-21 (party-line, D. Johnson “no”)]


Senate File 465 establishes a $250,000 cap on noneconomic damages that can be recovered by a plaintiff in a medical malpractice case; creates overly strict requirements for qualifying as an expert witness; and requires certificate of merit affidavits for expert witnesses. The Senate adopted an amendment that deleted a section relating to allowing evidence of compliance with appropriate evidence-based medical practice guidelines as an affirmative defense, but did not allow departure from those guidelines to create a presumption of negligence. In addition, the amendment removed the section of the bill that sets a cap on attorney contingency fee arrangements in medical malpractice cases.
[3/20: 28-21 (party line, D. Johnson “no”; Shipley absent)]


Senate File 466 is a proposal from the Judicial Branch that addresses Iowa’s Jury Management System and governance of Iowa’s shorthand reporters.  The bill includes these provisions:

  • Juries: The bill modernizes Iowa’s Jury Management System by eliminating the jury commission to draw juror lists. It clarifies the role and responsibilities of local jury managers; requires the master jury list to be updated electronically each year; and specifies that non-operator identification lists will be used in compiling the master jury list.
  • Shorthand reporters: The bill provides that the Iowa Supreme Court must supervise the Board of Examiners of Shorthand Reporters and have authority to review and modify any Board action. The Supreme Court may establish rules for supervision of the Board of Examiners of Shorthand Reporters. If a shorthand reporter’s certification is placed in exempt status, the reporter may transcribe and certify a proceeding that was reported while the reporter was in active status, and the reporter will be subject to the jurisdiction of the Board of Examiners of Shorthand Reporters if circumstances require.
    [3/16: 48-0 (Bertrand, Zumbach absent)]


Senate File 467 prevents a beneficiary of a life insurance policy who is convicted of felonious assault, felonious sex abuse, attempted murder, kidnapping or human trafficking against the insured within the six months prior to the death of the insured, from receiving proceeds of a life insurance policy. Under current law, the felony doesn’t have to be related to the death of the insured. Under the bill, the insured may affirm in a notarized writing that the beneficiary should receive any benefit under the life insurance policy despite the felony conviction.
[3/16: 48-0 (Bertrand, Zumbach absent)]


Senate File 468 expands the definition of “course of conduct” for the crime of stalking to include repeatedly using technology to locate, listen to or watch another person without a legitimate purpose. In addition, the elements to prove stalking are modified: a person commits stalking when they purposely engage in conduct that would cause a reasonable person to feel terrorized, frightened, intimidated or threatened. Under current law, a person must fear that the stalker intends to cause them or an immediate family member bodily injury or death. In addition, the bill requires that the stalker knows or should know that a reasonable person would feel terrorized, frightened, intimidated or threatened, or fear bodily injury or death by their conduct.
[3/21: 49-0 (Shipley absent)]



House File 371 amends current law to allow a judge to assess a reasonable amount of attorney fees against the defendant in quiet title actions. The bill also increases the fee to a party holding an apparent adverse interest in property when the party holding the adverse interest executes a quitclaim deed. The party requesting the quitclaim deed must make the request in writing and provide a draft of the quitclaim deed to the adverse party.
[3/22: short form (Petersen, Shipley absent)]


House File 517 is an omnibus firearms bill that makes these changes to Iowa’s firearms laws:

  • Division I – Offensive Weapons – Sections 1 & 2 – Legalizes in Iowa possession of short- barreled rifles and short-barreled shotguns, as defined by federal law, if the person in possession complies with federal law. A violation will be a “D” felony.
  • Division II – Carrying and Possession of Weapons
    • Section 3 – Removes redundant language.
    • Section 4 – Adds language to the going armed with intent section: “Intent cannot be inferred from mere carrying or concealment of any dangerous weapon, including carrying a loaded firearm in a vehicle or about a person’s body.”
    • Section 5 – Allows private investigators and private security officers to carry firearms on school grounds while performing their duties if they have a permit to carry.
    • Section 6 – Makes it a serious misdemeanor to possess a dangerous weapon while intoxicated. It is currently an aggravated misdemeanor. If a person is convicted of an aggravated misdemeanor involving a firearm in Iowa, they will be prohibited from possessing a firearm under Iowa law. It will not be a crime to possess a dangerous weapon on your own property while intoxicated. Also, it will not be a crime to temporarily possess a dangerous weapon while intoxicated to use the weapon in self-defense or defense of another.
    • Section 7 – If carrying a revolver, pistol or pocket billy concealed, a person must have their permit to carry with them. A violation is a simple misdemeanor, under current law. However, if the person proves to the clerk of court that they had a valid permit to carry at the time of the offense, the charge will be dismissed. The person must pay all court costs.
  • Division III- Permit to Carry Weapons and Firearm Safety Training
    • Section 8 – Changes “firearms training program” to “firearm safety training.”
    • Sections 9 & 10 – Only need to show evidence of training one time within the 24-month period prior to the date of application for an initial permit to carry and demonstrate knowledge of firearm safety through any of the following:
      • Handgun safety training course available offered by a law enforcement agency, community college, college, private or public institution or organization, or a firearms training school, using instructors certified by the National Rifle Association, Department of Public Safety or another police department
      • A handgun safety training course for security guards, investigators or special deputies that is approved by the Department of Public Safety
      • Completion of small arms training while in the military prior to application
      • Completion of a law enforcement agency training course that qualifies a peace officer to carry a firearm
      • Completion of a hunter safety course that covers handgun safety training
        • No training is required for renewal of permits issued after December 31, 2010.
        • Training may be over the Internet if verified by the instructor or course provider.
        • If an applicant’s permit expires, firearms safety training is not required for a renewal.
        • Renewals of permits may be made 30 days before or 30 days after expiration of the permit. The cost for an initial permit is $50. Renewal is $25. The Department of Public Safety gets a portion of the fees to implement the law.
      • Section 11 – Permits will be uniform throughout the state as implemented by the Department of Public Safety.
      • Section 12 – The loser pays the cost of an appeal of a denial of a permit by a sheriff. Current law requires the sheriff to pay for all appeals.
    • Division IV – Permit to Acquire Pistols or Revolvers – Sections 13 through 22 – Permits to acquire are no longer annual permits but will be for five years and will have a uniform appearance as prescribed by the Department of Public Safety. Sheriffs may conduct annual criminal history checks concerning those who have permits to acquire. The sheriffs set the fees for permits to acquire.
    • Division V – Possession of Pistols or Revolvers by Those Under 14 – Sections 23 & 24 – Parents, guardians and spouses 21 or older may allow their spouse of child under 21 to possess a pistol, revolver or ammunition while direct supervision. The parent, guardian or spouse must maintain a physical presence near the supervised person (conducive to hands-on instruction) and maintains visual and verbal contact. The parent, guardian or spouse can permit the child or spouse under 21 to possess a pistol or revolver while receiving instruction from an instructor. If a parent or guardian allows a minor to possess a pistol or revolver, they will be strictly liable for damages caused by the minor.
    • Division VI- Confidentiality of Permit Holder Information – Section 25 – Permits to carry and permits to acquire will be confidential except for:
      • Statistical purposes, if no identifying information is revealed
      • Release of information to a law enforcement to investigate violations of the law or for a background investigation
      • Employers who require an employee to carry a professional permit
      • Court order requires or the permit holder has consented to the release
      • Note: professional permits to carry (e.g., peace officer and correctional officer) are not confidential under this section.
    • Division VII – State Preemption – Section 26 – If a city, county or township after July 1, 2017, adopts an ordinance regulating firearms when the ownership, possession, transfer or transportation is otherwise legal under state law, a person adversely affected by the ordinance may file suit for declarative and injunctive relief. A prevailing plaintiff will be awarded costs and attorney’s fees.
    • Division VIII – Pistols or Revolvers in the Capitol Building and on the Capitol Grounds – Section 27 – Those with permits to carry will be able to carry concealed pistols and revolvers in the Capitol and on the surrounding grounds, including state parking lots and parking garages. The Department of Administrative Services will still be able to write rules relating to carrying weapons in other Capitol Complex buildings.
    • Division IX – Emergency Powers
      • Section 28. Repeals current law specifying that in a declaration of a state of public disorder, the Governor may prohibit possession of firearms or other deadly weapons at any place other than a person’s home or business, except by law enforcement officers.
      • Section 29. Repeals current law specifying that in a disaster emergency, the Governor may suspend or limit the sale, dispensing or transportation of firearms, but leaves in place such authority regarding alcohol, explosives and combustibles.
      • Section 30. Adds a section to Iowa Code Chapter 29C specifying that the Chapter will not be construed to authorize the Governor to prohibit, regulate or curtail possession, carrying, transportation, transfer or defensive use of firearms or ammunition, or to suspend or revoke carry permits, or to seize or confiscate firearms or ammunition. The new section also specifies that emergency powers applied to firearms dealers are permissible if such restrictions are applied to all businesses in an affected area.
    • Division X – Use of Force (aka “stand your ground”)
      • Section 31. Changes current law specifying that reasonable force, including deadly force, may be used if an alternative course of action entails a risk to life or safety, or requires one to abandon or retreat from one’s dwelling or place of business or employment, to instead provide that a person who is not engaged in illegal activity has no duty to retreat from any place where the person is lawfully present. The change also includes the addition of language specifying that a person may be wrong in the estimation of danger or the force necessary to repel the danger, as long as there is a reasonable basis for the belief, and the person acts reasonably in response to that belief.
      • Section 32. Adds a provision specifying that “deadly force” does not include a threat to cause serious injury or death by producing, displaying or brandishing a deadly weapon, as long as actions are limited to creating an expectation that the person may use deadly force.
      • Section 33. Establishes a presumption that deadly force is necessary if a person unlawfully enters a dwelling, place of business or employment, or occupied vehicle, or a person unlawfully removes or attempts to remove another person from a dwelling, place of business or employment, or occupied vehicle. Establishes exceptions to the newly established presumption clauses.
      • Section 34. Specifies that use of reasonable force is permissible to defend oneself from actual or imminent use of force.
      • Section 35. Changes current law to specify that a person who reasonably believes (instead of “knows”) that a forcible felony is being or will imminently be perpetrated to prevent or terminate the forcible felony.
      • Section 36. Adds an immunity clause to specify that a person who is justified in using reasonable force against an aggressor in defense on oneself, another person or property is immune from criminal or civil liability.
      • Section 37. Amends current law civil liability provision to make it clear that civil liability immunity extends not only to those injured, but also to a person who causes death against an aggressor through application of reasonable force.
    • Division XI – Fraudulent Purchase of Firearms or Ammunition (Straw Purchases) – Section 38 – It will be a “D” felony to knowingly induce a firearms dealer or private seller to transfer a firearm or ammunition in violation of state or federal law. It is also a “D” felony to provide false information to a dealer or seller with the intent to deceive regarding the legality of the transfer of a firearm or ammunition.
    • Division XII – Snowmobiles and All-Terrain Vehicles – Sections 39 & 40 – Changes the law to allow open carry of loaded pistols and revolvers by those operating or riding on snowmobiles or all- terrain vehicles on another’s property, if the person is otherwise complying with the law. Current law requires firearms to be secured in a retention holster when on snowmobiles or all-terrain vehicles on another’s property.
    • Division XIII – Target Shooting – Section 41 – A person who owns or rents private premises in an unincorporated area of a county may discharge a firearm for target shooting on the premises and such shooting is not a violation of a noise ordinance or a public or private nuisance or otherwise prohibited by state or local law. Target shooting means the discharge of a firearm at an inanimate object for amusement or a test of skill. See 481A.123 (1), which prohibits shooting within 200 yards of another home.)
    • Division XIV – Effective Date and Applicability Provisions – The sections providing for underage possession of firearms and pistols and confidentiality of permits are effective upon enactment. The confidentiality of permits applies to all holders of permits to carry and acquire and to applicants for nonprofessional permits to carry and acquire on or after the effective date of the Act.
      [3/16: 10-2 (Boulton, Petersen “no”; Bisignano present)]


House File 527 is a proposal from the Department of Corrections. It repeals four Code sections on how the Rockwell City, Mt. Pleasant, Clarinda and Newton prisons are to be used. The Department indicates that repealing these sections is necessary because the facilities are now used for differently.
[3/16: 11-2 (Petersen, Bisignano “no”)]