Judiciary Committee Report – week 13, 2017

HF 52 – Bailiffs and interference with official acts
HF 133 – Duties of guardians ad litem and attorneys for children in dissolution and custody cases
HF 146 – Forcible entry and detainer
HF 183 – Notice of emergency protective orders relating to dependent adults
HF 517 – Firearms omnibus bill
HF 526 – Harassment and invasion of privacy
HF 579 – Sentencing reform
HF 603 – Eminent domain


House File 52 adds county bailiffs to the list of professions that are included in the Code section relating to interference with official acts. If a person knowingly resists or obstructs a bailiff in the performance of their duties, that person can be charged with interference with official acts. Under current law, peace officers, jailers, emergency medical providers and firefighters are considered officials under the law.
[4/3: 49-0 (Bertrand absent)]


House File 133 clarifies the roles and distinctions between a guardian ad litem appointed to represent the best interests of a child and an attorney appointed to represent a child in a family law case. It prevents a person from acting as both the guardian ad litem and a child’s attorney. An attorney’s job is to advocate for the child’s wishes, while a guardian ad litem advocates for the child’s best interests. The bill details and expands the duties of the children’s attorneys and guardians ad litem, and clarifies that lawyers should not testify as witnesses or reporters in family law cases.
[4/3: 49-0 (Bertrand absent)]


House File 183 expands the categories of those who could be served with a petition for protective services relating to a dependent adult. Current law sets out an order of priority of those who are to be served. Once the Department of Human Services has served a person in one of the categories, it is not required to serve anyone else in the other categories. This bill adds a dependent adult’s spouse (only if they are not legally separated), the dependent adult’s parents and the dependent adult’s grandparents.
[4/3: 49-0 (Bertrand absent)]


House File 517 is a firearms omnibus bill that makes many changes to Iowa’s firearms laws. The bill has 14 divisions.

Division I – Offensive Weapons: Sections 1 and 2 – This division legalizes possession of short- barreled rifles and short-barreled shotguns, as defined by federal law, in Iowa, if the person in possession is in compliance with federal law. It will be a “D” felony if a person possesses a short-barreled rifle or short-barreled shotgun in violation of federal law.

Division II – Carrying and Possession of Weapons

  • Section 3 – This is a conforming amendment that removes redundant language.
  • Section 4 – This section adds language to “going armed with intent section,” which says that “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 engaged in the performance of 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, that person is consequently 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. It is a simple misdemeanor if a person fails to have the permit with them under current law. However, if the person presents to the clerk of court evidence of a permit to carry that was valid at the time of the offense, the charge will be dismissed, but they still must pay all court costs.

Division III- Permit to Carry Weapons and Firearm Safety Training

  • Section 8 – Conforming amendment that changes “firearms training program” to “firearm safety training.”
  • Sections 9 & 10 – A person only must show evidence of training one time within the 24-month period prior to the date of application for an initial permit to carry, and must demonstrate knowledge of firearm safety through any of the following:
    • Handgun safety training course available for the public 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 or Department of Public Safety or another state’s police department
    • Any handgun safety training course for security guards, investigators, special deputies, etc. approved by the Department of Public Safety
    • Completion of small arms training while in the military at any time prior to the application
    • Completion of 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 approved by the Natural Resources Commission.
      • No training required for renewal of permits issued after December 31, 2010.
      • Training may be conducted over the Internet if verified by instructor or provider of the course.
      • If an applicant’s permit expires, firearms safety training will not be 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 and the cost for a 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, and if the applicant for the permit withdraws his or her appeal, he or she must pay the sheriff’s costs. Current law requires the sheriff to pay for all appeals.
    • The Department of Public Safety will promulgate rules to ensure permits issued in one county are transferable when the permit holder moves to another county.

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 on those who have permits to acquire. Sheriffs set the fees for permits to acquire.

Division V – Possession of Pistols or Revolvers by Those Under 21: Sections 23 and 24 – parents, guardians and spouses who are 21 or older may allow an under 21 spouse or child to possess a pistol, revolver or ammunition while under direct supervision, which means the parent, guardian, or spouse or an instructor must maintain a physical presence near the supervised person conducive to hands-on instruction, and maintain visual and verbal contact at all times. It will be child endangerment if any parent, guardian, spouse or instructor is intoxicated while supervising or instructing a person under 21. If a parent or guardian allows a minor to possess a pistol or revolver, they will be liable for any resulting damages.

Division VI- Confidentiality of Permit Holder Information: Section 25 – All permits to carry and permits to acquire will be confidential except for:

  • Statistical purposes if no identifying information is revealed
  • Release of information to law enforcement is necessary for the performance of a lawfully authorized duty
  • Employers who require an employee to carry a professional permit
  • Court order requires or the permit holder has consented to the release

Division VII – State Preemption: Section 26 – If a city, county or township before, on or after July 1, 2017 adopts an ordinance, rule or policy regulating firearms when the ownership, possession, transfer or transportation is otherwise lawful under state law, a person adversely affected by the ordinance may file suit for injunctive relief.

Division VIII – Pistols or Revolvers at the Capitol: Section 27 – Those with permits to carry can carry pistols and revolvers concealed in the Capitol and on the grounds surrounding the Capitol, including state parking lots and parking garages, upon the showing of a valid permit to carry to Capitol security. The Department of Administrative Services will write rules relating to prohibiting the carrying weapons in other Capitol Complex buildings.

Division IX – Emergency Powers:

  • Section 28. Repeals provision of current law specifying that in a declaration of a state of public disorder, the Governor may prohibit the possession of firearms or any other deadly weapon by a person other than at that person’s place of residence or business, except by law enforcement officers.
  • Section 29. Repeals provision of 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 or defensive use of firearms or ammunition, or to suspend or revoke carry permits, or to seize or confiscate firearms or ammunition. The bill allows the Governor to authorize the transfer of firearms and ammunition only. 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 and Deadly Force:

  • Section 31. Adds 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 the production, display or brandishing of a deadly weapon, as long as the actions of the person 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 new 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 provisions of current law to specify that a person who reasonably believes (instead of “knows”) that a forcible felony is being or will imminently be perpetrated may prevent or terminate perpetration of 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 a provision in current law to make it clear that civil liability immunity extends not only to a person who causes injury, but also to a person who causes the death of an aggressor through reasonable force.
  • If a person uses deadly force, they will notify law enforcement. In addition, the person using deadly force must not tamper with any of the physical evidence at the scene.

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 and 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 may discharge a firearm for target shooting. Such shooting is not a violation of a noise ordinance, a public or private nuisance, or otherwise prohibited by state or local law. Target shooting means discharging a firearm at an inanimate object for amusement or test of skill. See Iowa Code 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.
[4/4: 33-17 (Bisignano, Bolkcom, Boulton, Danielson, Dotzler, Dvorsky, Hart, Hogg, Jochum, D. Johnson, Kinney, Lykam, Mathis, McCoy, Quirmbach, Ragan “no”)]



House File 146 relates to forcible entry and detainer. It states that notice requirements for a forcible entry and detainer will be deemed satisfied if the defendant or the defendant’s attorney appear at the hearing. The Committee adopted an amendment clarifying that if the hearing is held fewer than three days after service of the original notice or if the notice is deemed satisfied because the defendant or the defendant’s attorney shows up at the hearing, the court must inform the defendant that the defendant has the right to a continuance and will grant a continuance if the defendant wants one to prepare for the hearing or to retain an attorney.
[Floor 4/5: 50-0; Committee 3/30: short form (Sinclair absent)]



House File 526 creates a new form of criminal harassment. The bill primarily addresses concerns about what is referred to as “revenge porn.” However, that term is misleading because dissemination is not always done for revenge. It may be more aptly referred to as “nonconsensual pornography.” The bill makes it illegal to disseminate nude or partially nude images of another person without that person’s consent. It would also be illegal to distribute images of another person engaged in a sex act without that person’s consent. Per the new language, “A person commits harassment when, with the intent to intimidate, annoy or alarm another person,” if they disseminate, publish, distribute, post, or cause to be disseminated, published, distributed or posted, a photograph or film showing another person in a state of full or partial nudity or engaged in a sex act, knowing that the other person has not consented to the dissemination, publication, distribution or posting. This offense will be harassment in the first degree, which is an aggravated misdemeanor. The bill sets out specific situations that would not constitute harassment under the new language.

The bill also amends language in the “invasion of privacy” criminal code section, which currently requires a person to have knowledge that another is viewing, photographing or filming them for sexual gratification. The amendment removes the words “does not have knowledge”.

[3/30: 11-1 (Taylor “no”; Sinclair absent)]


House File 579 is referred to as a “sentencing reform” bill. Highlights of the bill include:

  • Sections 1, 2, and 3 narrow the disparity between drug weights for crack and powder cocaine in drug trafficking offenses in section 124.401. The current quantities create a disparate ratio of 10-to-1. The bill enhances fairness by changing that ratio to 5-to-1, as follows:
Drug type Current § 124.401 weights (10:1) New § 124.401 weights (5:1) Felony sentences
Crack (“cocaine base”) 50+ 100+ grams Class B (up to 50 years)
Powder cocaine 500+ grams 500+ grams
Crack (“cocaine base”) 10-50 grams 20-100 grams Class B (up to 25 years)
Powder cocaine 100-500 grams 100-500 grams
Crack (“cocaine base”) Up to 10 grams Up to 20 grams Class C (up to 10 years)
Powder cocaine Up to 100 grams Up to 100 grams


  • Sections 4, 5, 8, 9 and 10 repeal Iowa’s Class C drug felony mandatory minimum sentences (currently, 20 months). The reform is retroactive, which means that currently incarcerated Class C drug offenders would become immediately eligible for parole on July 1, 2017.
  • Sections 6 and 12-17 require people convicted of attempted murder of a police officer to serve 100 percent of the sentence imposed, and adjust the earned time credit provisions of the code accordingly.
  • Section 7 creates a sentencing rule that permits (but does not require) courts to give people “standard sentences” that vary from applicable mandatory minimum terms, enhancements or limitations on parole, work release or good time credits in certain cases. To receive a standard sentence:
    • There must be “a compelling reason that imposing a sentence other than a standard sentence would result in substantial injustice to the defendant,” AND
    • A sentence other than a standard sentence is not necessary to protect the public, AND
    • The current offense does not fall into one of more than 40 excluded offense categories. Excluded offenses include Class A felonies (except for one methamphetamine offense).
    • Note: The Judiciary Committee adopted an amendment that would use the word “alternative” rather than “standard” when referring to deviating from an enhanced sentence and added more crimes to the list of crimes that would not be eligible for an “alternative” sentence.
  • Section 11 permits, upon motion of the court or recommendation of the Department of Corrections, the reconsideration of a sentence for a Class C or D felony within a year after a person was sentenced. The court must provide notice of reconsideration to all parties and may hold a hearing, if necessary. The court may or may not impose a different sentence, and that decision cannot be appealed.
    [3/30: 8-4 (Taylor, Bisignano, Garrett, Kinney “no”; Sinclair absent)]


House File 603 makes changes to Iowa’s eminent domain law. Highlights of the bill include:

Division I: Excludes “aboveground merchant line” from the definition of public purpose for eminent domain and includes the construction of aboveground merchant lines in the definition of private development purposes. This limits use of eminent domain for constructing aboveground merchant lines. This Division is intended to prohibit construction of the Rock Island Clean Line, which was a proposal to build transmission lines to carry wind-produced energy through Iowa into Illinois.

Division II: This Division relates to lake development or creation of a lake and is intended to permanently stop the Clark County Reservoir Project. The bill specifically describes a county and a lake project that would only apply to Clark County and requires that a lake project that fits that description must comply with additional requirements to condemn property for developing a lake for drinking water.

Division III: Before a landowner can be dispossessed of certain property under condemnation proceedings, they must be paid for damages to the property. Current Code applies this requirement to a landowner’s residence, dwelling house, outbuildings, orchards or gardens. This Division adds businesses and farm operations to the requirement relating to dispossession and adds additional requirements for determining damages when a business or farm operation is condemned for eminent domain. If a displaced person disagrees with the appraisal, they can hire an independent appraiser. If the two appraisals are not equal and an amount cannot be agreed on, the amount to be paid will be the average of the amounts. The acquiring agency must cover any increased interest costs and other debt service costs that the displaced person must pay to acquire comparable replacement property. The acquiring agency must pay additional costs prior to dispossession when the property is a business or farmland.
[3/30: short form (Sinclair absent)]