SF 113 – Operating while intoxicated 3rd offense and habitual offender
SF 113 provides that a person charged with a third or subsequent Operating While Intoxicated (OWI, a class “D” felony”) can also be charged as a habitual offender if the person has been convicted of at least two felonies previously. The maximum sentence for a habitual offender is up to 15 years with a three-year mandatory minimum. This bill is in response to a 2018 Iowa Supreme Court decision, Noll v. Iowa Dist. Court for Muscatine County, which held that a person convicted of a third or subsequent OWI could not be sentenced as an habitual offender under Code section 902.8 even though the person may have been previously convicted of two felonies.
[2/18: 48-0 (Absent: Miller-Meeks, Vacancy: Danielson)]
SF 267 – Illegal practice of massage therapy
SF 267 makes it a crime for unlicensed individuals to practice massage therapy or hold themselves out as a massage therapist. Current Iowa law requires massage therapists in Iowa to be licensed. Unlicensed individuals cannot engage 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 at a massage therapist. Currently under Chapter 152C relating to the regulation of massage therapists, unlicensed individuals are only subject to a civil penalty. A serious misdemeanor is punishable by up to two years in prison and a fine.
[2/20: 48-0 (Absent: Miller-Meeks; Vacancy: Danielson)]
SJR 10 – Constitutional amendment conferring firearms rights
SJR 10 proposes an amendment to the Iowa Constitution conferring the right of the people to keep and bear arms. In addition, the resolution says, “The sovereign state of Iowa affirms and recognizes this right to be a fundamental individual right. Any and all restrictions of this right shall be subject to strict scrutiny.”
[2/20: 10-4, party line (Absent: Kinney)]
SF 12 – Female genital cutting
SF 212 makes “female genital mutilation” of a minor a crime. Under the bill, a person who performs female genital mutilation of a minor commits a “D” felony. It will not be a violation of the law when a licensed medical professional in Iowa performs the surgical procedure when necessary to protect the health of the minor on whom the procedure is performed; when the procedure is performed on a minor who is in labor or who has just given birth and is related to the labor or birth. The bill makes it a “D” felony to knowingly transport a minor outside of Iowa for female genital mutilation. This past November, a U.S. District Judge found that the federal law banning female genital cutting was unconstitutional. As a result, a number of states have begun to criminalize it.
[2/20: short form (Absent: Kinney)]
SSB 1004 – Traffic camera ban
SSB 1004 bans traffic cameras in Iowa. The bill prohibits the state or any political subdivision from using an automated or remote system for traffic-law enforcement. Provisions in the bill include:
- Automated or remote system for traffic-law enforcement is defined as a camera or other optical device designed to work in conjunction with an official traffic-control signal or speed-measuring device to identify vehicles breaking the traffic laws and to issue citations by mail or electronic means.
- Prior to July 1, 2019, local authorities must discontinue using automated or remote systems for traffic-law enforcement and must remove any equipment.
- Effective July 1, 2019, all local ordinances authorizing the systems are void. However, any citation issued or mailed prior to July 1, 2019 is not invalid.
The bill is effective upon enactment.
[2/20: 9-5 (No: Bisignano, Dawson, Hogg, Nunn, Petersen; Absent: Kinney)]
SSB 1013 – Fees in probate
SSB 1013 is the perennial Bar Association bill, which the Probate Section of the Bar has been trying to get passed for many years, relating to the court costs (fees) that are charged to an estate when a decedent’s estate is being probated (being settled through the court). The Bar Association claims that various counties are assessing court costs differently, resulting in inconsistencies across Iowa. This bill excludes certain types of property when calculating court costs when an estate is being probated. Excluded property includes joint tenancy property, transfers during a decedent’s lifetime and assets payable directly to beneficiaries.
[2/19: short form]
SSB 1016 – Expert witness testimony in child sexual abuse cases
SSB 1016 is a county attorneys’ priority, which was filed because of inconsistent court decisions relating to expert witness testimony in child sex abuse and abuse cases. The bill provides that testimony from a qualified expert witness is admissible in child sexual abuse, child abuse and child endangerment cases. Allowed testimony includes testimony based upon the expert’s education, training and experience relating to the various reasons child victims delay disclosure or intermittently disclose details of sexual abuse and child endangerment; the process engaged in by perpetrators of sexual abuse to groom their victims, or grooming behaviors in general; various reasons that child victims recant allegations of sexual abuse or child endangerment; and possible symptoms or post-allegation behaviors of a child who is the victim of sexual abuse or child endangerment.
[2/19: short form]
SSB 1055 – Program update for 24/7 sobriety legislation
SSB 1055 is intended to fix issues with the 24/7 Sobriety pilot program that passed in 2017. The bill sets a minimum of 90 days that a person must participate in the program. Current law does not set any minimum. In addition, the bill requires that the last 30 days of participation must be without a failed test. The bill also extends the sunset date for the pilot program by two years to July 1, 2024, as it has taken an extended time to get the program up and running. Woodbury County is the first pilot county and they are scheduled to begin their program this spring.
[2/19: short form]
SSB 1056 – Transport from the MHIs to the Department of Corrections
SSB 1056 relates to when a patient at one of Iowa’s Mental Health Institutes may be transferred to the Iowa Medical Classification Center at Coralville, a Department of Corrections facility. Current law says that when a patient at a state mental health institute becomes dangerous to the safety of others at the facility, the administrator may apply for a court order to transfer the patient to the Iowa Medical and Classification Center (IMCC) at Coralville to be housed in the forensic hospital inside the prison. The forensic hospital is a 14-bed hospital where some defendants who have been charged with a crime are court ordered to undergo a competency (to stand trial) evaluation, and if found not competent, the defendant undergoes treatment in to restore him/her to competency. In addition, some people at the forensic hospital have been found not guilty by reason of insanity. Under this bill, the MHI administrator would need the consent of the director of the Department of Corrections to apply for a court order to transfer a patient to the IMCC. There is a constant waiting list for beds at the forensic hospital. Though the forensic hospital at the IMCC is inside the prison, it is not considered a prison facility.
[2/19: 10-5. party line]
SSB 1068 – Changes to the state tort claims act
SSB 1068 is a proposal from the Attorney General that makes changes to the State Tort Claims Act. This change is necessary to defend and indemnify any state employee in an action against an employee.
[2/19: short form]
SSB 1070 – Changes to Iowa’s sexually violent predator chapter
SSB 1070 is a proposal from the Attorney General that makes changes to Iowa’s sexually violent predator law in Chapter 229A. Sexually violent predators are those who have been convicted of more than one sexually violent crime as defined in Chapter 229A, and through a process set out in Code, it has been determined that they are highly likely to engage in repeated acts of predatory sexual violence, and that the existing involuntary commitment procedure under chapter 229 is inadequate to address the risk they pose to society. Consequently, after serving any criminal sentence, these individuals are civilly committed to the sexually violent predator unit administered by the Department of Human Services for rehabilitation. The bill:
- Defines the term “presently confined,” which currently lacks a definition in the Code. Presently confined will include those who are incarcerated, detained, or placed in a correctional facility, jail or comparable facility.
- Provides that all forms of sexual exploitation of a minor, including possessing child pornography, are “sexually violent offenses.” Under current law, possessing child pornography is not considered a sexually violent offense.
- Clarifies that the notice provisions relating to sexually violent predators do not limit who may be subject to commitment as sexually violent predators.
- Provides that fact-findings made by an administrative law judge may be admitted into evidence at a sexually violent predator trial.
[2/19: short from]
SSB 1074 – Medical costs for jail prisoners
SSB 1074 relates to medical costs for inmates in Iowa’s county jails. Under current law, Code section 356.5, county jails must furnish prisoners with necessary medical aid. Frequently, the counties end up paying for the medical treatment that is provided to the prisoners. This bill sets out a system and prioritized method for payment for prisoner medical care. Under the bill:
- A prisoner has the primary responsibility for payment of the costs of required medical care.
- Providers of medical care must seek reimbursement from the following in this order:
- From a health insurer if the prisoner has insurance coverage. Prisoners are required to cooperate with the provider to secure payment from the insurer.
- From any other available source, such as the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, the Social Security Administration, the Department of Human Services or other similar source.
- If reimbursement is not available from an insurer or another source, the appropriate government agency (e.g., U.S. government or a city) must pay. Reimbursement from the government agency will be at the Medicare rate, the Medicaid rate or at the rate negotiated between the government agency and the provider.
- Payments required to be paid by a government agency under paragraph “c” are to be made within 90 days following a demonstration that no alternative reimbursement is available.
- Cities and counties can seek reimbursement from a prisoner for medical care costs.
[2/20: 9-5 (No: Bisignano, Hogg, Petersen, Sinclair, R. Taylor; Absent: Kinney)]
SSB 1075 – Cruelty to companion animals
SSB 1075 relates to the mistreatment of animals other than wild animals and livestock. The bill provides definitions of animal abuse, animal neglect, animal torture, animal abandonment and animal endangerment, and sets out penalties for these offenses which increase depending upon the severity of the injury to the animal. The penalties are enhanced if a person has previously been convicted of animal mistreatment and other animal-related offenses. Details include:
- Under the bill, an owner could be charged with animal abuse. Current law does not provide for an owner being charged with abuse.
- Animal abandonment is a new offense being added to the “Injury to Animals” chapter and is defined as knowingly or recklessly relinquishing custody of an animal at a location in which the person does not hold a legal or equitable interest.
- Animal endangerment is also a new crime, defined as when a person confines an animal in a stationary motor vehicle and endangers the wellbeing of the animal because of extreme temperature or lack of adequate ventilation.
- The court must order an evaluation upon conviction if the defendant is a juvenile or an adult found guilty of an aggravated misdemeanor or a class “D” felony under this Chapter.
- The court must also enter an order prohibiting a defendant from owning or obtaining custody of an animal or residing in the same dwelling where an animal is kept for not less than ten years depending upon the severity of the offense.
- The bill provides for law enforcement or animal warden to rescue an animal from a stationary motor vehicle if an animal is in distress.
The committee adopted an amendment that removes commercial establishments from the provisions of the bill relating to animal abuse and animal torture if the commercial establishment is conforming to the standards of care as set out in Chapter 162 relating to care of animals in commercial establishments. However, commercial establishments would be subject to the animal neglect provisions of the bill.
[2/20: 12-2 (No: Garrett, Shipley; Absent: Kinney)]
SSB 1107 – Medical amnesty: immunity from prosecution for underage drinking
SSB 1107 provides immunity from criminal prosecution for alcohol-related offenses if a person under 21 in good faith contacts first responders or law enforcement for emergency assistance for an alcohol-related overdose or because of an assault, sexual abuse or human trafficking. The reporting person or individuals acting in concert must be the first to seek emergency assistance, provide their name(s) and contact information to medical or law enforcement personnel, remain on the scene until assistance arrives or is provided, and cooperate with medical and law enforcement personnel. This legislation has been promoted for several years by Iowa college students and others. Some underage individuals will not call for emergency medical help for others who may need the medical assistance because they fear prosecution. This legislation could potentially save lives. Immunity from prosecution will apply to these offenses:
- Public intoxication
- Underage possession or attempt to purchase
- Use of a fake license by an underage person to obtain alcohol
- Open container in a vehicle applicable to the underage driver and any underage passenger
In addition, the person for whom emergency assistance was sought will not be charged or prosecuted for any of the listed offenses. The bill also prohibits the three state universities from imposing certain disciplinary measures on students who are immune from prosecution pursuant to this legislation.
[2/20: short form (Absent: Kinney)]
SSB 1138 – Jury service exemption for older individuals
SSB 1138 exempts anyone 72 or older from jury service if the person wishes to be exempted and notifies the court.
[2/20: short form (Absent: Kinney)]
SSB 1140 – Nonsubstantive Code Editor’s Bill
SSB 1140 is the bill commonly referred to as the Nonsubstantive Code Editor’s bill. This bill is submitted each year by the Iowa Code Editor to the Judiciary Committee to make Code changes that exceed the Code Editor’s editorial authority but are nonsubstantive and noncontroversial in nature. In some cases, the changes are within the Code Editor’s authority but are significant enough that public notice of the changes by means of this bill is considered important.
[2/19: short form]