The following bills were passed by the Legislature and signed into law by the Governor.
SF 237 – CPA firm reciprocity
SF 351 – Eliminates Iowa’s emergency response commission
SF 399 – Secretary of State technical elections bill
SF 408 – Architect licensure
SF 410 – Declaration of disposition of persons remains
SF 411 – Contractor registration fees for IWD and IDPH
SF 442 – Voluntarily exclusions from racetrack or gambling facility
SF 489 – Legalizing consumer fireworks
SF 500 – 911 consolidation study recommendations
SF 505 – First-time homebuyer savings account
HF 89 – Des Moines Public School Retirement Systems Merger
HF 231 – Apprenticeship training program for instate Iowa residents only
HF 293 – Iowa Prison Industries and private business bidding
HF 295 – Pre-emption
HF 462 – Confidentiality of certain gaming records
HF 467 – ICN and public safety
HF 471 – Precinct Consolidation
HF 516 – Voter Suppression
HF 541 – Real estate licenses or disclosure
HF 566 – School board election same as city election
HF 568 – Pari-Mutuel Wagering for horse and dog racing standards
HF 569 – 403b retirement programs increases
HF 601 – Cyber security confidentiality by a government body
HF 607 – Alcohol Beverage Division technical bill
SF 237 modifies Iowa’s statute on Certified Public Accountant (CPA) firm practicing privileges without obtaining the state’s certificate. The changes mirror individual CPA reciprocity/practicing privilege changes made in 2006. All states had individual CPA reciprocity exceptions, and 16 states allowed firm reciprocity across state lines without state certification. Firms still must comply with accounting board and state requirements. The Consumer Protection Division of the Iowa Attorney General’s office confirms that Iowans will continue to have a high level of consumer protection with these changes.
[3/8: 49-0 (Chelgren excused)]
SF 351 eliminates the Iowa Emergency Response Commission and transfers the powers and duties to the Department of Homeland Security & Emergency Management. It also makes technical changes and renumbers the remaining Code sections. These changes streamline government processes and remove duplicative duties.
SF 399 makes technical corrections for filling a school board vacancy. A person appointed to fill a vacancy on a community college board will serve until a member is elected at the next school election or at an intervening special election.
[3/27: 46-0 (Bertrand, Bisignano, Danielson, D. Johnson excused)]
SF 408 requires licensure rather than registration of architects practicing in Iowa and makes conforming changes to Code sections that reference registration as an architect. The term “licensure” is used when a professional’s actions are regulated by a Practice Act, and the credentials are more rigorous (involving education, training and examination). “Registration” refers to a state roster that may include regulation by a Title Act, which does not apply in Iowa. The Iowa Chapter of the American Institute of Architects requested the legislation to better reflect the occupational regulation based on public health, safety and welfare. In Iowa, engineers and landscape engineers are licensed rather than certified, and all states bordering Iowa (except Wisconsin) require architect licensure.
[3/28: 49-0 (Rozenboom excused)]
SF 410 deals with the disposition of a person’s remains after death and who has the authority to make those decisions. A written declaration concerning the final disposition of a body after death and the ceremonies do not need to be in or attached to a durable power of attorney for health care. This allows the Disposition of Remains document and the Power of Attorney for health care decisions to be attached or stand alone. One does not trump the other.
[3/9: 48-0 (Anderson, Bertrand excused)]
SF 411 relates to a unified licensure and registration system for plumbing and mechanical systems (HVAC) and contractors. Plumbers and HVAC workers had registered with Iowa Department of Public Health (IDPH) and contractors registered with Iowa Workforce Development (IWD). Plumbers and HVAC technicians have a three-year license schedule, while a contractor’s registration happens every year. There will now be a one-stop shop for registration and fees under IDPH, and the appropriate money from contractor registrations will be transferred to IWD.
[3/14: 49-0 (Horn excused)]
SF 442 makes changes to the process by which a person can be voluntarily excluded from a racetrack or gambling facility. A person who is voluntarily excluded must be excluded only from the wagering area and gambling floor, not the whole facility. Exclusion will be five years (which can be renewed upon request) or for life. Previously, a request to be voluntarily excluded was for life. A person who has been voluntarily excluded for life under previous law can apply for admittance under the new law. A person who had signed up to be voluntarily excluded must be given information on gambling treatment programs and signs of excessive gambling before they can be removed from the exclusion list.
[4/12: 47-2 (Quirmbach, Zaun “no”; Bertrand absent)]
SF 489 allows the commercial sale of fireworks. Under previous Iowa law, snakes and sparklers were the only fireworks legal to possess or light. A violation was a simple misdemeanor. However, a county board of supervisors or the Department of Natural Resources (DNR) could grant a permit to display fireworks if it was handled by a competent operator. Changes include:
- License and Fees: The state fire marshal will establish a consumer fireworks seller’s license. There will be two classes of consumer fireworks and five fee levels:
- $1,000 annual licensing fee for a retailer at a permanent building who devotes 50 percent or more of their space to selling or displaying first-class consumer fireworks.
- $500 annual licensing fee for a retailer at a temporary structure who devotes 50 percent or more their space to selling or displaying first-class consumer fireworks.
- $400 annual licensing fee for a retailer who devote less than 50 percent of their space to selling or displaying first-class consumer fireworks.
- $400 annual licensing fee for a community group that sells first-class consumer fireworks.
- $100 annual licensing fee for a retailer or community group that sell only second-class consumer fireworks.
- Insurance: Retailers and community groups must maintain commercial general liability insurance with specified coverage amounts.
- Annual Registration Fee: $1,000 annual registration fee for a wholesaler, which is deposited in the consumer fireworks fee fund. The fund will be used for the state fire marshal’s duties related to consumer fireworks and grants to local fire protection and emergency medical service providers.
- Violations: A consumer fireworks seller can have their license revoked for intentionally violating requirements. A violation of a licensing or registration provision established in Code or by rule is a simple misdemeanor, punishable by confinement for no more than 30 days or a fine of at least $65 but not more than $625, or both.
- Timeline for Selling and Using/Setting Off: Consumer fireworks can be sold and used from June 1 to July 8 and from December 10 to January 3.
- Underage Buying/Selling: Selling consumer fireworks to someone under 18 is a simple misdemeanor. Anyone under 18 who purchases consumer fireworks commits a simple misdemeanor. A simple misdemeanor is generally punishable by confinement for no more than 30 days or a fine of at least $65 but not more than $625 or both, but the bill provides for a fine of at least $250.
- Restrictions/Opt Out: The state fire marshal may suspend the use of consumer fireworks, display fireworks or novelties if they would constitute a threat to public safety. Penalty is a simple misdemeanor and at least a $250 fine.
- A county board of supervisors or city council may adopt an ordinance or resolution to prohibit or limit the use (NOT the sale) of consumer fireworks or display fireworks if they are a threat to public safety or a nuisance. Penalty is a simple misdemeanor and $250.
- Rulemaking and Effective Dates: The state fire marshal will adopt emergency rules to implement the law, which takes effect upon enactment.
[3/22: 34-14, party-line (with Allen, Bowman, Danielson, Dotzler, Horn, Lykam, Taylor voting “yes”; D. Johnson voting “no”; Brown, Shipley absent]
SF 500 makes recommended changes from a 911 Public Safety Answering Point (PSAP) Consolidation Study. It contains technical changes, including moving from E911 to 911 and updating various definitions to reflect current practice; includes a consolidation plan that combines wireline 911 networks into wireless 911 networks; creates a shared service environment for Public Safety Answering Points call processing equipment; and includes costs for development, deployment, operation and maintenance. Technical reasons for having two networks are eliminated, and the shared service is a possible cost-saving measure.
Funding changes include:
- Leaving PSAP pass through at 60 percent.
- Creating PSAP GIS grants at $15,000 per PSAP.
- Eliminating Land Mobile Radio funding.
- Carryover operating surplus for FY18: $7 million for consolidation grants of $200,000; the remainder goes to PSAP for “receipt and disposition.”
- Putting $9 million toward support for the consolidation plan.
The Department of Homeland Security & Emergency Management will develop a plan to combine the wireline 911 network with the next generation 911 network. The plan must describe anticipated costs, use of surcharges, use of shared services technology and suggested amendments to Code chapter 34A to allow the plan to be implemented. The department must submit the plan to the Legislature by January 15, 2018.
[4/17: 48-1 (Bisignano “no”; McCoy absent)]
SF 505 creates a new state income tax exemption for qualified deposits to a First-time Homebuyer Savings Account. Withdrawals from the account are tax-free if the money is used for a down payment and closing costs for a single-family, owner-occupied home in Iowa. To set up an account, a person must submit a form to the Department of Revenue designating the account as a First-time Homebuyer Savings Account. The beneficiary may access the fund to purchase their first home. The account holder may change the beneficiary at any time or may designate himself as the beneficiary. Contributions may be made by any person, in any amount. There is no cap on donations/contributions to the account. The account holder may withdraw funds at any time.
An account holder may deduct contributions from their income taxes. The deducted amount may not exceed $2,000 per year for an individual or $4,000 for married taxpayers. These amounts are adjusted for inflation each calendar year. The new law exempts any interest or earnings received from the holder’s accounts. The total amount that may be deducted from one’s income tax for these two tax incentives cannot exceed an aggregate lifetime limit of 10 times the maximum deduction determined above for the applicable year ($20,000 for 2016), or double that amount for married taxpayers with a joint account ($40,000 for 2016).
The account holder can claim the tax incentives for 10 tax years from opening the account, or on the date when account funds are withdrawn, whichever comes first. Any amount remaining in the account after the 10th year must be added to net income of the account holder that tax year. Nonqualified withdrawals from the account will be added to net income and are subject to a 10-percent penalty unless the withdrawal was made because of death, disability or bankruptcy. The law prohibits money for house/closing costs from being allowed as an itemized deduction on Iowa individual income taxes. The tax provisions will begin on or after January 1, 2018.
[4/17: 49-1 (Bolkcom “no”)]
HF 89 allows a school board with a pension or annuity retirement system (Des Moines Public Schools) to adopt a resolution to merge with the state retirement system (IPERS).
[4/13: 49-0 (Bertrand excused)]
HF 231 clarifies that Iowa’s Economic Development Authority (IEDA) has broad general powers and specific program powers over all of the department’s statutory programs and administrative rules, including programs created pursuant to Code chapters 15, 15A, 15B, 15E, and 15J. Specifically, to qualify for financial assistance for apprenticeship training, a person must be an Iowa resident.
HF 293 reflects current practice. It requires the Department of Administrative Services to adopt rules that would reverse state law concerning when state government agencies must purchase goods from Iowa Prison Industries. Previously, unless there is an exception in state Code, government agencies had to purchase from Iowa Prison Industries. Now, Iowa Prison Industries may bid on all projects unless specifically excluded by current code.
HF 295 prohibits a city or county from adopting an ordinance, motion, resolution or amendment on conditions of employment that exceed or conflict with federal or state law on minimum or living wage rate, employment leave, hiring practices, benefits, scheduling, or other terms or conditions of employment. It also voids any action adopted prior to this law taking effect. The same provisions apply to the sale or marketing of consumer merchandise and containers. The bill is effective upon enactment.
[3/27: 29-21, party-line (D. Johnson voting “no” with Democrats)]
HF 462 deals with the confidentiality of certain gambling records. The Iowa Racing & Gaming Commission (IRGC) has access to all casino records to ensure they uphold the standards and integrity of gambling. Accordingly, except for what is to be made public as outlined in statute (i.e., admissions, amount wagered and adjusted gross receipts), all other records kept by the casino are considered sensitive and proprietary-confidential, and not to be shared with competitors. Records listed in the bill would be kept confidential, while a casino’s certified audit would be made public.
[3/20: 49-0 (Shipley excused)]
HF 467 allows the communications systems of law enforcement agencies to be considered under the purview of the Iowa Communications Network (ICN) if requested by the agency. Previously, law enforcement communications systems were excluded from the types of services the ICN provides. The ICN is assisting with the Land Mobile Radio network deployment by providing vendor management and project management services. This will ensure that the ICN can partner with and assist the Department of Public Safety in communications services. It does not expand the definition of who can use the ICN, nor does it require the Department of Public Safety to use the ICN.
[4/3: 49-0 (Bertrand excused)]
HF 471 allows county auditors to consolidate precincts for primary and general elections. The Code currently allows this consolidation option for school and city elections.
[4/4: 43-7 (Bolkcom, Hogg, Horn, McCoy, Petersen, Quirmbach, Taylor “no”)]
HF 516 deals with election procedures, including voter identification, absentee ballots, voter registration, and straight-party voting.
Division I- General Provisions
- Any violation of chapter 48A (Voter Registration) not already assigned a penalty is now election misconduct in the 4th degree, a simple misdemeanor.
- A person must submit their voter registration within seven days of receiving the form. If the election is within three days, the form must be submitted within 24 hours. There previously was no deadline.
- A person can’t request a ballot more than 120 days before an election.
- Absentee ballots
- The latest date to request an absentee ballot is 10 days before a general election and 11 days before a primary. This goes into effect January 1, 2018.
- The voter must put their voter verification number on their request form.
- The request for ballot must be the same as the voter registration deadline.
- If a request is picked up by a political party or agent after the deadline, it must be returned in 24 hours.
Division II- Voter Identity and Signature Verification
- Same Day Registration Changes: Previously, to register to vote on Election Day, a person could show photo ID, fill out the registration form, sign an oath and provide proof of residency. If the ID does not have a photo, the person could use a residential lease, property tax statement, utility bill, bank statement, paycheck, government check or other government document. Now, the document must be dated within 45 days.
- Voter Registration Card: The Secretary of State (SOS) will compare lists with the Department of Transportation (DOT) to determine those eligible for a voter registration card. The county auditors send out the cards. The registration card provision will only be implemented if the Legislature determines there is enough money to do so. There are no appropriations in the legislation. One-time cost to SOS is estimated at $200,000, in addition to various local costs. The commissioner of elections must send acknowledgement within 21 days if a person registers to vote on Election Day. This would include their voter registration card.
- Photo ID Requirements: Previously, a registered voter could vote without showing identification, though a precinct official may require a voter to show ID if they do not recognize them, the person has moved from where they registered to vote, or their right to vote is being challenged.
- Now, before any voter is given a ballot, they must show an accepted form of ID, including:
- Iowa Driver’s License/ Non Operator’s ID
- United States passport
- United States military ID or veterans ID (a veterans ID that does not contain a signature is not subject to challenge).
- No ID is required for residents or patients in a nursing home or hospital.
- If a precinct official determines that photo appears to be someone else, they may challenge the status of a voter, and that person must fill out a provisional ballot. A person who cannot establish identity is allowed to vote on a provisional ballot.
- If a registered voter cannot provide the required identification, they may present:
- A voter registration card provided by the SOS or county auditor.
- An out-of-state driver’s license/non-operator ID.
- An identification card issued by an employer.
- A student ID issued by an Iowa high school or Iowa postsecondary school.
- All of these must have a photo and an expiration date (except for the “free” SOS card).
- If a registered voter cannot provide identification, they may establish identity by having another registered voter who lives in the precinct attest by signing an oath for them.
- A person filling out a provisional ballot must go to their auditor’s office and provide an appropriate form of identification before the ballot is counted. The process for filling out a provisional ballot does not change, but there are more regulations that will increase the number of provisional ballots cast. In 2016, there were 2,475 provisional ballots cast; 648 were rejected. New language allows the commissioner of elections to dispute an application for an absentee ballot if the signature appears to be signed by someone else. The commissioner must notify and allow for a new request or the voter can update the signature on record over the phone, in person or in writing.
- This division takes effect when the Legislature approves an appropriation sufficient to implement its provisions and applies to all elections on or after the effective date.
Division III – Polling Places: At least 72 counties use some type of electronic poll books, though not all of these counties use electronic poll books at every precinct. Photographic devices and the display of voted ballots are prohibited if the intent is to interfere with other voters or orderly operation of the polling place. There is a ban on the use of cameras, telephones, pagers or other electronic communication devices in the voting booth.
Division IV – Election Certification and Audits: Previously, Iowa law did not require a post-election audit. Now, the County Commission must complete a certification no later than 20 days after the General Election.
Division V – Voter Misconduct and Reporting: County attorneys will review voter registration documents for every same-day registrant and report findings to the auditor and Secretary of State. The SOS will inform the county auditor if there are reports of people voting twice in the same election, and the county auditor will information the county attorney if they receive reports of a person attempting to vote twice.
Division VI- Straight Party Voting: Iowa is one of 10 states that have allowed voters to vote a straight ticket. Straight-party voting is now eliminated for Iowans.
Division VII – Public Education: The SOS and stakeholders must work with county auditors to develop and implement a public education plan that includes multimedia advertising. No funding is provided.
[4/13: 28-21, party-line (D. Johnson voting “no” with Democrats; Bertrand excused)]
HF 541 changes references to “real estate broker,” “broker associate” and “salesperson” throughout Code chapter 543B to “real estate licensee” or “licensee.” Under the new law:
- “Conviction” includes only indictable offenses, which brings consistency to the Code chapter.
- Three license law violations within three years results in revocation of license. It had been three violations within five years.
- A designated broker can manage more than one office or physical location of business.
- The Real Estate Commission may assess civil penalties to non-licensees acting in real estate without a license and sells real estate as a course of business.
- An agency disclosure should be given to the primary client of the licensee.
- Delivery of a seller’s disclosure form to another agent or client may be done electronically.
HF 566 moves the date of school board, community college board and Area Education Agency board elections from September to the same date as city elections in November and makes conforming changes, effective on July 1, 2019. According to the Secretary of State, in the last four school elections, the voter turnout average was 6.5 percent. The average voter turnout for city elections in that same timeframe was 21.3 percent. County auditor’s bill election costs to the respective cities and school districts. The one-time fiscal impact to the Secretary of State’s office for programming and GIS costs is estimated to be $50,000. Cost savings under the new procedure will vary and may not be realized by every jurisdiction.
[4/6: 36-13 (Bisignano, Bolkcom, Boulton, Bowman, Dvorsky, Hogg, Kinney, Jochum, Lykam, McCoy, Petersen, Quirmbach, Taylor “no”; Bertrand absent)]
HF 568 makes uniform pari-mutuel horse and dog racing standards that come from the industry. The Code section related to drugging or numbing race horses or dogs is updated to current industry standards, which indicate that ice is not a freezing device or substance for numbing. In addition, dosage amounts/limits of furosemide or phenylbutazone to race horses must be set by the racing and gaming commission. Furosemide must be administered to a horse by a veterinarian licensed by the commission, instead of by a veterinarian employed by the owner or trainer of the horse. A dog or horse track can directly check the setoff requirements for those winning more than $1,200. The setoff requirements are a list of those who owe money to an eligible public agency.
HF 569 says that any 403b supplementary retirement plan offered for sale must be included in 403b options for state and school districts employees. The Department of Administrative Services (DAS) will offer up to 30 plans to state employees and consumers in schools.
Previously, DAS has reviewed and picked six of the best 403b plans (based on low fees, required adequate level of service, etc.) to offer state employees. There is also an “optional provider list” of 403b plans offered to employees that don’t qualify for the recommended list. In 2015, DAS conducted an RFP in which any plan/insurance salesperson could submit their plan. While insurance agents like this legislation, education groups want to keep the DAS review and recommended list of supplemental retirement plans to help consumers get the best products for the lowest cost.
[4/12: 41-8 (Bolton, Bolkcom, Hogg, Horn, Jochum, Petersen, Quirmbach, Taylor “no”; Bertrand absent)]
HF 601 provides for the confidentiality of certain government cyber-security and infrastructure information, at the request of municipal utilities, who thought the provisions were already covered in Iowa law. HF 601 mirrors a law protecting cyber-security information for the Iowa Utilities Board.
HF 607 contains a number of technical and changes to the Alcoholic Beverages Division. The technical changes include removing redundant language, clarifying current practices, and standardizing language regarding the contents of applications for liquor control licenses, wine permits and beer permits.
- Streamline licensing for beer manufacturers and wholesalers who had been governed by separate classes of permits.
- Allow brewpubs to sell their beer for consumption off premises in a growler without the beer passing through a wholesaler. This also places on the brewpub the responsibility for remitting the barrel tax for beer sold in a growler.
- Allow an Iowa brewery with a taproom to sell wine by the glass for consumption on premises. Native wineries are already allowed to sell beer for consumption on premises in addition to wine.
- Change the terminology for Iowa distilled spirits from “micro-distilleries” and “micro-distilled spirits” to “native distilleries” and “native distilled spirits.” This mirrors current terminology for Iowa-produced wines and beer.
- Allow native distilleries with production of 100,000 gallons or fewer annually to sell up to nine liters per day. Previous law limited the sale of distilled spirits by native distilleries to 1.5 liters. A native distillery with production of more than 100,000 gallons annually is limited to 1.5 liters. Native distilleries with production of 100,000 gallons or fewer may sell their product at retail for consumption on premises.