SJR 18 – Constitutional amendment on right to keep, bear arms (Does not require Governor’s signature)
SJR 18 proposes an amendment to Iowa’s Constitution relating to the right “to bear arms.” Iowa’s Constitution currently does not have any language relating to the right to possess firearms. The proposed amendment in SJR 18 confers the right of the people to keep and bear arms. In addition, the proposed language says: “The sovereign state of Iowa affirms and recognizes this right to be a fundamental individual right. Any and all restrictions of this right will be subject to strict scrutiny.” To change Iowa’s Constitution, a proposed amendment must pass two consecutive General Assemblies (GA). This proposed amendment will need to pass during the 89th GA as well. If it does, it will be put to a vote of the people of Iowa.
[3/13: 33-16 (Yes: Republicans, R. Taylor; Vacant: Danielson)]
SF 112 – Certification of trust requirements
SF 112 is a Bar Association proposal that allows any current trustee or an attorney for a current trustee to sign off on and execute certification of trust documents in lieu of the requirement that all trustees sign off on the certification of trust documents. A certification generally is a summary or quotation from selected parts of the trust documents and allows a person or entity, such as a bank, to know the correct name of the trust and to be sure that the trust has power over its assets. Under the bill, the trustee or attorney for the trustee who signs the certification of trust must be sworn under penalty of perjury. A certification usually does not identify the beneficiaries or the assets; that information is kept confidential. This legislation will streamline legal processes and facilitate transactions while maintaining privacy.
[3/21: 46-0 (Absent: Bisignano, Celsi, R. Taylor; Vacant: Danielson)]
SF 113 – Operating while intoxicated third offense and habitual offenders
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 previously been convicted of at least two felonies. 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 a 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; Vacant: Danielson)]
SF 158 – Post conviction relief and the underlying trial court record
SF 158 is an Iowa Bar Association proposal that addresses access to underlying criminal court files in applications for post-conviction relief (PCR). The bill deletes current Code language, which reads that if an “application for post-conviction relief is not accompanied by the record of the proceedings then the respondent shall file with its answer the record or portions thereof that are material to the questions raised in the application.”
The bill inserts new Code language requiring the underlying trial court record and any previous application for PCR to automatically become part of the record in a PCR claim. The bill further requires clerks of court to make the underlying trial court record accessible to the applicant’s attorney, the county attorney and the Attorney General. If the court record is not available in electronic format, the clerk must convert it to electronic format and make it available. In addition, any previous application for PCR must be converted to electronic format if necessary and made available.
In PCR cases, no court order will be required for the applicant’s attorney, the county attorney and the Attorney General to get access to the underlying trial court record. In addition, the bill prohibits the Judicial Branch from charging applicants, county attorneys and the Attorney General for access to the court record.
[3/20: 49-0 (Vacant: Danielson)]
SF 267 – Criminal penalty for illegal practice of massage therapy
SF 267 provides a criminal penalty when unlicensed individuals practice massage therapy or hold themselves out as massage therapists. Current Iowa law requires massage therapists to be licensed. Unlicensed individuals cannot engage in massage therapy or hold themselves out as a massage therapist or masseuse, or use any other word or title that implies the person is a massage therapist. However, a violation is a civil penalty, not a crime. This bill makes it a serious misdemeanor for an unlicensed person to engage in or hold themselves out at a massage therapist. A serious misdemeanor is punishable by up to two years in prison and a fine. The bill allows for an affirmative defense to a charge of practicing massage therapy without a license if the defendant claims to be a victim of human trafficking.
[4/22: 49-0 (Absent: Segebart)]
SF 333 – Non-substantive code editor’s bill
SF 333 is the non-substantive 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 non-substantive and non-controversial. In some cases, the changes are within the Code Editor’s authority but are significant enough that public notice of the changes is important. Examples of non-substantive changes include separating paragraphs into subparagraphs but not altering the language, or fixing grammatical mistakes.
[3/28: 48-0 (Absent: Breitbach, Nunn)]
SF 346 makes “female genital cutting” of anyone under 18 a crime. Under the bill, a person who performs female genital cutting 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, or when the procedure is performed on a minor who is in labor or who has just given birth and the procedure is related to the labor or birth. The bill also makes it a “D” felony to knowingly transport a minor for female genital cutting. In November 2018, a U.S. District Judge found that the federal law banning female genital cutting was unconstitutional. As a result, states have begun to criminalize it.
The bill requires the Crime Victim Assistance Division of the Attorney General’s office to conduct an education campaign to increase awareness about the health risks of, the prohibitions against and the criminal penalties associated with female genital cutting. In addition, the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics must develop educational programming for physicians to provide safe health care and treatment to women who are victims of female genital cutting.
[4/16: 49-0 (Absent: Shipley)]
SF 364 is intended to fix issues with the 24/7 Sobriety pilot program that passed in 2017 (SF 444). The bill sets a minimum of 90 days that a person must participate in the program. Current law does not set a minimum. 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, because it has taken more time than anticipated to get the program up and running. Woodbury County is the first pilot county and that program is scheduled to begin this spring.
SF 377 – Municipal tort liability for not-for-profits that provide emergency services
SF 377 extends immunity from tort liability that is currently granted to municipalities for claims based upon or arising out of an act or omission in connection with emergency response services, to nonprofit corporations providing the same services pursuant to a written contract with a city, county, township or benefitted fire district.
[3/12: 49-0 (Vacant: Danielson)]
SF 379 – Qualifications to practice law in Iowa
SF 379 is a Judicial Branch proposal that eliminates provisions in the Iowa Code that limit attorney admissions to practice law in Iowa to applicants who are residents of Iowa. The U.S. Supreme Court ruled that this requirement is unconstitutional and that nonresidents of Iowa are eligible to apply to practice law in this state. The bill also authorizes an attorney who has been admitted to practice law in a territory of the U.S. to be admitted to practice law in Iowa without an examination. Thus, an attorney from a U.S. territory would be treated just like an attorney from another state or the District of Columbia. The bill also allows an out-of-state attorney from the District of Columbia or a U.S. territory to apply to appear pro hac vice (for this event) in an Iowa case with a local attorney. The local attorney does not need to be a resident of Iowa, but must be admitted to practice law in Iowa.
[4/9: 48-0 (Absent: Bisignano, Feenstra)]
SF 532 – Notice and opportunity to repair construction defects
SF 532 sets up a required process to resolve construction disputes before a class-action lawsuit can be filed for construction defects causing injury to property, real or personal. The bill sets out time limits for the process and conditions to be met before claimants go to court. No court action is allowed until claimants comply with the requirements of this bill. These requirements apply only to new construction and class actions. The general contractor and any subcontractors must be given notice of claims prior to court filing and must get an opportunity to inspect the property to determine the nature and cause of defects, as well as the repairs necessary to remedy them.
[3/20: 42-7 (No: Bisignano, Bolkcom, Boulton, Celsi, Dotzler, Jochum, Petersen; Vacant: Danielson)]
SF 569 – Series limited liability companies
SF 569 creates the Uniform Protected Series Act relating to limited liability companies (LLCs). Iowa law currently provides for business entities called “series limited liability companies” but has few details on how they function. A series is like an unincorporated division or “cell” established within a limited liability company by its operating agreement. This legislation is a product of the Uniform Law Commission and has been developed over several years of study. It expands Iowa law, and provides creation, filing, reporting and recordkeeping provisions for series limited liability companies.
In addition to “vertical liability shield,” which shields shareholders of corporations and members of limited liability companies from personal liability for debts and obligations of the corporation or LLC, a series established by an LLC in conformity with the law will qualify for “horizontal liability shield” that shields the series’ assets from debts and liabilities of the LLC and other series it has established.
The Bar Association indicates that the benefits of the bill will include:
- Requiring a filing to establish a protected series to ensure accurate and available information at the Secretary of State’s office on how many series LLCs have established protected series. Currently, there is no way of knowing how many have been established in Iowa.
- Requiring a more specific description of what records must be created, maintained and preserved for the series to be a protected series.
- Allowing for disregarding of the liability shields under certain conditions.
- Providing a more thorough definition and description of the nature of a protected series, which will facilitate business transactions.
[3/26: 49-0 (Absent: Breitbach)]
SF 570 – Immunity from civil liability for volunteers during disasters
SF 570 provides immunity from civil liability to Iowa licensed architects and engineers who in good faith and at the request of or with the approval of a national, state or local public official, a law enforcement official, a public safety official or a building inspection official, voluntarily and without compensation provide architectural, engineering, structural, electrical, mechanical or other design professional services related to a disaster emergency. This immunity applies during a disaster emergency proclaimed by the governor or declared by the president. In addition, the architect or engineer must believe the request or approval has been made by the official in their official capacity. The bill was effective upon enactment.
[4/23: 49-1 (No: Bisignano)]
SF 589 makes changes to multiple areas of criminal law, including penalties and procedures. A number of changes pertain to criminal appeals and appear to be in response to court decisions that favored defendants. Parts of the bill are advantageous to criminal defendants and some are not. This extensive bill touches multiple areas of the criminal law.
This bill makes changes to:
- Expungement – allows for expungement of various misdemeanor convictions.
- Robbery – makes various changes to the robbery chapter.
- Theft, fraud, forgery and other property crimes – increases the value of property stolen that qualifies for specific criminal charges.
- Criminal proceedings.
- Criminal penalties.
Division I- Expungements:
Section 1 allows those convicted of public intoxication, simulated public intoxication or public consumption under state law or a local ordinance, to have the conviction expunged after two years if they have no other criminal convictions, other than traffic violations, in that two-year period.
Section 2 allows those convicted of misdemeanor offenses to apply to the county where the conviction occurred to have the record expunged. The conviction will be expunged if:
- Eight or more years have passed since the conviction.
- There are no pending criminal charges against the defendant.
- All court costs, fees, fines and restitution have been paid.
The following misdemeanors cannot be expunged:
- Public intoxication or underage possession.
- Dependent adult abuse.
- Any driving without a license offense.
- Any sex offense that is registerable.
- Involuntary manslaughter.
- Assault using or displaying a dangerous weapon.
- Any domestic abuse assault.
- Removal of an officer’s communication device.
- Trespass with intent to commit a hate crime.
- Any obstruction of justice.
- Interference with judicial process.
- Misconduct in office.
- Misuse of public records and files.
- Any weapons offense.
- Any protection of family crimes, such as bigamy or child endangerment.
- Any misdemeanor violations of the obscenity chapter (e.g., dissemination of obscene material to a minor).
- Any sexually predatory offenses.
- Certain offenses comparable to federal motor carrier violations.
- Convictions under prior law comparable to any of those listed above.
The application will be denied if:
- The defendant is the subject of a protective order or a no-contact order.
- The defendant has subsequently been convicted of or granted a deferred judgment for any criminal offense other than a traffic offense under Chapter 321 or a similar local ordinance.
- The defendant has previously been granted two deferred judgments.
A defendant can only apply for one expungement in a lifetime. However, an application may request expungement of more than one misdemeanor offense if the offenses arose from the same occurrence. The expunged record is confidential but will be made available upon court order. The Department of Public Safety must remove the record of conviction from its criminal history data files.
The fiscal note estimates an annual cost to the Judicial Branch of between $57,453 and $184,953. In addition, although it will be beneficial for defendants to have their misdemeanor record expunged, it can only be done eight years or more after the date of the conviction. In that time, the criminal record will be captured by information mining businesses and may still be found via an Internet search.
Division II – Robbery:
- Removes robbery in the third degree from the Code. Robbery in the third degree is theft accompanied by simple misdemeanor assault.
- Changes the mandatory minimum for robbery in the first degree from 70% to between 50% and 70%, as determined by the court at the time of sentencing.
The fiscal note shows a correctional impact and a minority impact from these changes, in particular removing robbery in the third degree from the Code. Fifty-two percent of those convicted in Iowa of robbery in the first, second or third degree are African-American. The robbery changes will bring an estimated 34 additional Class C felony convictions per year; about 17 of them will be African-Americans, thus increasing Iowa’s disproportionate minority incarceration. The robbery changes are estimated to cost the justice system $423,800 annually, starting in 2021.
Division III – Property crimes:
- Arson – Increases the amount of personal property damaged by arson from $500 or above to $750 or above to qualify as arson in the 2nd degree, a Class “C” felony.
- Degrees of theft – raises the value of the property stolen to qualify for certain degrees of theft:
- To qualify as theft in the 2nd degree, the theft amount increases from between $1,000 and $10,000 to between $1,500 and $10,000. It is a “D” felony.
- Theft 3rd degree increases from between $500 and $1,000 to between $750 and $1,500. It is an aggravated misdemeanor.
- Theft 4th degree increases from between $200 and $500 to between $300 and $750.
- Theft 5th would be any theft up to $300. It is a simple misdemeanor.
- Aggravated theft (theft with a simple assault) – Increases from up to $200 to up to $300.
- Removing a Theft Detection Device:
- Simple misdemeanor charge if merchandise stolen does not exceed $300. Currently, it’s a simply misdemeanor for theft up to $200 when a theft detection device is removed.
- Serious misdemeanor charge if the merchandise stolen exceeds $300. Currently, it’s a serious misdemeanor if the value exceeds $200.
- Fraudulent practice in the 2nd degree, a “D” felony:
- Currently $1,000 up to $10,000.
- Bill changes it to $1,500 up to $10,000.
- Fraudulent practice in the 3rd degree, an aggravated misdemeanor:
- Currently between $500 and $1,000.
- Bill changes it to between $750 and $1,500.
- Fraudulent practice in the 4th degree, a serious misdemeanor:
- Currently $200 up to $500.
- Bill changes it to between $300 and $750.
- Fraudulent practice in the 5th degree, a simple misdemeanor:
- Currently up to $200.
- Bill changes it to up to $300.
Use of a stolen, forged or revoked credit card:
- Class “D” felony:
- Currently $1,000 up to $10,000.
- Bill changes it to $1,500 up to $10,000.
- Aggravated misdemeanor:
- Currently up to $1,000.
- Bill increases it up to $1,500.
- Class “D” felony:
- Currently $1,000 up to $10,000.
- Bill changes it to $1,500 up to $10,000.
- Aggravated misdemeanor
- Currently up to $1,000.
- Bill changes it to up to $1,500.
- 2nd degree a Class “D” felony:
- Currently, damage must be $1,000 to $10,000.
- Bill increases it to between $1,500 and $10,000.
- 3rd degree – an aggravated misdemeanor:
- Currently, damage must be $500 to $1,000
- Bill increases it to between $750 and $1,500
- 4th degree – a serious misdemeanor:
- Currently, damage must be $200 to $500.
- Bill increases it to between $300 and $750.
Trespass that results in damage to property or injury to a person:
- Increases the amount to qualify as a serious misdemeanor from $200 to $300.
- Increases the amount to qualify as an aggravated misdemeanor for the crime of intent to commit a hate crime from greater than $200 to greater than $300.
- Increases the amount of damage to railroad property to qualify as 4th degree railroad vandalism, a “D” felony, from between $1,000 and $10,000 to between $1,500 and $10,000.
- 5th degree railroad vandalism, an aggravated misdemeanor, is increased from between $500 and $1,000 to between $750 and $1,500.
- Amounts for 6th and 7th are increased as well.
Transmission of Unsolicited Bulk Electronic Mail:
- Increases the amount to qualify as a “D” felony from greater than $1,000 to greater than $1,500.
Increasing the amounts/value of property necessary to commit certain levels of theft will increase the number of lower-level convictions and decrease the higher-level convictions. The fiscal note cannot determine costs related the justice system. However, the percentage of African-Americans who are convicted of the various theft offenses ranges from 18% to 24%.
DIVISION IV –Theft, Fraud and Forgery Revisions
- Can consolidate multiple theft charges under 714.1 (1-10) into one accusation of theft.
- Adds state-issued documents to the list of documents that can be forged. Possession of a forged state document is a class D felony. Employers may be subject to a civil penalty relating to accommodation of forgery if they know that state documents presented by an employee have been forged.
- This seems to mean that anyone, including young people under 21 who have fake IDs would be guilty of possessing a forged document, a class D felony. That may not be the intent of this language, but it can be read this way.
- “Lottery Scam” section – Extends the statute of limitations from three years to five years for fraud or breach of fiduciary obligation.
Division V – Criminal Proceedings
- Defendant cannot file a direct appeal from a guilty plea, except for class “A” felonies and for good cause. (This may reduce the number of guilty pleas.)
- Discretionary review is available from an order denying a motion in arrest of judgment on grounds other than ineffective assistance of counsel.
- There can be no ineffective assistance of counsel claim on direct appeal.
- A defendant who is represented by counsel on appeal or in post-conviction relief proceedings cannot file a pro se (by himself or herself) filing, and the court cannot consider a pro se filing by the defendant.
- Jury can return a “general verdict” when the prosecution relies on multiple theories of guilt, and an appeals court cannot set aside or reverse the verdict if one of the theories is sufficient.
- If a defendant challenges a guilty plea based on an alleged defect in the plea proceedings, the plea cannot be vacated unless the defendant demonstrates that they more than likely would have pled guilty if the defect had not occurred.
- A claim of ineffective assistance of counsel must be brought within the three-year period allowed for post- conviction relief claims.
- Before imposing a sentence, the court must verify that the defendant and the defendant’s lawyer have read and discussed the presentence investigation report; provide the defendant’s attorney an opportunity to speak on the defendant’s behalf; address the defendant personally to permit them to make a statement or present mitigating information; provide the prosecuting attorney an opportunity to speak; address any victim of the crime who is present at the sentencing; and allow them to be heard.
Division VI – Arson
- Requires a mandatory minimum sentence of between 50% and 70% for arson in the 1st degree, a “B” felony (25 years).
- The fiscal note estimates that prison costs will increase as the length of prison stays for those convicted of arson increases. Beginning in FY22, the increased cost will be $21,822, and by FY29, the annual cost will be $276,000. This will also tend to have a negative effect on Iowa’s minority prison population, as African-Americans account for 15% of arson convictions.
Division VII – Limitation of Criminal Actions
- Increases the criminal statute of limitations for sex abuse committed on or with a minor from 10 years after the minor turns 18 to 15 years after the minor turn 18.
- Increases the criminal statute of limitations for sexual exploitation by a counselor therapist, or school employee committed against a minor from 10 years after the victim turns 18 to 15 years after the victim turn 18.
Division VIII – Second and Subsequent Public Intoxication Convictions
This division removes enhanced penalties for multiple public intoxication convictions. Under current law, a first offense for public intoxication is punishable as a simple misdemeanor; a second conviction is punishable as a serious misdemeanor; and a third or subsequent conviction is considered an aggravated misdemeanor, which is punishable by up to two years in prison and a fine. This bill will make all public intoxication convictions simple misdemeanors with no enhanced penalties for second or subsequent convictions.
[4/25: 49-0 (Absent: Chapman)]
SF 590 – Payments from indigent defense fund for privately retained attorneys
SF 590 sets out requirements for indigent defense funds to be paid to privately retained attorneys in criminal cases. There are times when a criminal defendant will hire a private attorney to represent him or her, and the defendant will give the attorney a retainer. However, the defendant may not have the money to continue paying the private attorney as the case progresses, so an application is made to the court to have the state pay for the costs of the privately retained attorney. For the state to grant an application and authorize payment, the court must find:
- That the defendant is indigent.
- The costs are reasonable and necessary for the representation of the indigent person in a case for which counsel could have been appointed.
- The moneys paid or to be paid to the privately retained attorney by or on behalf of the indigent person are insufficient to pay all or a portion of the costs.
The calculations to be used by the court must be the hourly rate that is currently authorized by Code for indigent defense cases, not the privately retained attorney’s hourly rate. If the court finds that the costs incurred by the privately retained attorney are reasonable and that the state should pay some or all of the fees, the state public defender will review the amount that the court has authorized. This requirement will apply to payments to witnesses, evaluators, investigators and certified shorthand reporters, and other costs incurred by a privately retained attorney in the legal representation.
[3/26: 32-17 (No: Bisignano, Bolkcom, Boulton, Celsi, Dotzler, Giddens, Hogg, Jochum, Lykam, Mathis, Petersen, Quirmbach, Ragan, J. Smith, R. Taylor, T. Taylor, Wahls; Absent: Breitbach)]
HF 224 expands the crime of Lascivious Conduct with a Minor. Under current Iowa law, “lascivious conduct” is when an adult who is in a position of authority over a minor (anyone under 18) forces, persuades or coerces a minor, with or without consent, to disrobe or partially disrobe for the purpose of arousing or satisfying the sexual desires of either of them. It is punished as a serious misdemeanor.
For purposes of the new subsections, “minor” is defined as any person 14 or 15 years of age. Those under 14 are already covered by current law. The bill will make it a lascivious act for any adult who is in a position of authority over a minor (age 14 or 15) to do any of the behaviors listed below with or without consent for the purpose of arousing or satisfying the sexual desires of either of them. There is a “hole” in current Iowa law when certain behaviors are perpetrated against 14 and 15 year olds and these behaviors can only be charged as assault, not as a sex offense or lascivious act.
- Fondle or touch the inner thigh, groin, buttock, anus or breast of the minor.
- Touch the clothing covering the immediate area of the inner thigh, groin, buttock, anus or breast of the minor.
- Solicit or permit the minor to fondle or touch the inner thigh, groin, buttock, anus or breast of the person.
- Solicit the minor to do any of the following: fondle or touch the pubes or genitals of the minor; permit or cause the minor to fondle or touch the person’s genitals or pubes; or cause the touching of the person’s genitals to any part of the body of the minor.
This bill will ensure that these behaviors perpetrated against a 14 or 15 year old by a person who is in a position of authority over them will be punished appropriately.
Under the legislation, the behaviors are punishable as serious misdemeanors.
The bill also makes the following behaviors lascivious conduct punishable as aggravated misdemeanors if done for the purpose of arousing or satisfying the sexual desires of either of them. Under current law, these behaviors are only considered indecent contact when committed with a child under 14. The bill will ensure that if these behaviors are perpetrated by an adult with authority over 14 and 15 year olds, the penalty will be appropriate.
- Fondling or touching the pubes or genitals of the minor.
- Permitting or causing the minor to fondle or touch the person’s genitals or pubes.
- Causing the touching of the person’s genitals to any part of the body of the minor.
- Soliciting the minor to engage in a sex act or solicit a person to arrange a sex act with the minor.
- Inflicting pain or discomfort upon the minor or permitting the minor to inflict pain or discomfort of the person.
HF 266 – Civil commitment of sexually violent predators
HF 266 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.
[3/26: 49-0 (Absent: Breitbach)]
HF 323 – Exploitation of a dependent adult by a caretaker
HF 323 changes the definition of exploitation of a dependent adult by a caretaker in Code Chapter 235B relating to Dependent Adult Abuse Services administered by the Department of Human Services. Current law requires that exploitation by taking unfair advantage of a dependent adult or the adult’s physical or financial resources by a caretaker must be done for “one’s own personal or pecuniary profit.” The bill removes the requirement that the exploitation be done for one’s own personal or pecuniary profit.
[4/10: 49-0 (Absent: Feenstra)]
HF 328 – Definition of vulnerable elder
HF 328 amends the definition of “vulnerable elder” in Chapter 235F relating to elder abuse. In the Chapman case, the Iowa Supreme Court interpreted the Code definition of vulnerable elder to be a person 60 or older. The bill changes the definition to require more than age to be considered in determining if someone is a vulnerable elder. Under this bill, the Code will read: “Vulnerable elder means a person sixty years of age or older who is unable to protect himself or herself from elder abuse as a result of a mental or physical condition or because of a personal circumstance which results in an increased risk of harm to the person.”
[4/25: 49-0 (Absent: Chapman)]
HF 391 – Increased amount of surety bond for travel trailer dealer license
HF 391 increases the required amount for a surety bond for a travel trailer dealer’s license issued by the Iowa Department of Transportation. The bond amount is increased from $25,000 to $75,000. 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 them.
[4/11: 49-0 (Absent: Brown)]
HF 421 – Transfer of mental health patients to the Iowa Medical Classification Center
HF 421 addresses when a state mental health institute (MHI) patient may be transferred to the Iowa Medical Classification Center (IMCC) at Coralville, a Department of Corrections facility. Under current law, when a patient at a state mental health institute becomes a danger to others at the facility, the administrator may apply for a court order to transfer the patient to the IMCC to be housed in the forensic hospital inside the prison. The forensic hospital is a 14-bed hospital where certain defendants who have been charged with a crime are court ordered to undergo competency (to stand trial) evaluations, and if found not competent, defendants undergo treatment intended to restore competency. In addition, some patients at the forensic hospital have been found not guilty by reason of insanity and have been court ordered to the IMCC. 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. Although the forensic hospital at IMCC is inside the prison, it is not considered a prison facility.
The bill also removes references in the Code to the mental health institutes in Clarinda and Mt. Pleasant and to the Iowa Juvenile Home. These facilities were closed by Governor Branstad without input from the Legislature.
[4/27: 31-16, party-line (Absent: Dawson, Lykam, T. Taylor)]
HF 569 – Personal degradation of a dependent adult is dependent adult abuse
HF 569 adds a new category, Personal Degradation, to the definition of dependent adult abuse in Chapter 235B. There is currently a definition of dependent adult abuse that includes Personal Degradation in Chapter 235E, relating to caretakers who are staff members of a facility or program that provides care, protection or services to a dependent adult.
This new definition of abuse applies to a caretaker with responsibility for protecting, caring for or having custody of a dependent adult as a result of assuming the responsibility voluntarily, by contract, through employment or by court order. Thus, a person who fits that definition of caretaker could commit personal degradation of a dependent adult under this bill. Personal degradation is defined as a “willful act or statement by a caretaker intended to shame, degrade, humiliate or otherwise harm the personal dignity of a dependent adult, or where the caretaker knew or reasonably should have known the act or statement would cause shame, degradation, humiliation, or harm to the personal dignity of a reasonable person.” This includes taking, transmitting or displaying an electronic image of a dependent adult by a caretaker with the intent to harm the personal dignity of the dependent adult. However, personal degradation does not include taking, transmitting or displaying an electronic image of a dependent adult for reports to law enforcement, the Department of Human Services or another regulatory agency.
The bill allows the department to determine if the abuse is a minor, isolated incident that is unlikely to reoccur and therefore not included in the central dependent adult abuse registry and not considered to be founded dependent adult abuse. However, the department will maintain the assessment record for five years. Also, if there is a subsequent report of dependent adult abuse that meets the new definition and occurs within the five-year record retention period and is committed by the same caretaker, it will not be considered a minor, isolated occurrence unlikely to reoccur.
HF 591 – Minor guardianships in juvenile court
HF 591 creates a new Code Chapter, 232D, the Iowa Minor Guardianship Proceedings Act, relating to minor guardianships and requiring that they be under the jurisdiction of juvenile court. A minor is defined as anyone under the age of 18. Thus, all current minor guardianships will be transferred from probate court to juvenile court, and going forward, all new minor guardianships will be filed in juvenile court. The bill:
- Sets out requirements for a minor guardianship with parental consent as well as for a minor guardianship without parental consent, including requirements for the petition for guardianship and the required notice to interested parties.
- Requires that guardianships with parental consent include an agreement between the parents and guardian to be filed with the court outlining the responsibilities of the guardian, the responsibilities of the parents and the expected duration of the guardianship.
- Requires that guardianships without parental consent must be evidenced by clear and convincing evidence that no parent is willing or able to care for the child and appointment of the guardian would be in the best interests of the child.
- Authorizes minor guardianships in termination of parental rights cases and child in need of assistance cases.
- Requires that all proposed guardians have background checks, which would include a criminal history check, child abuse registry check, dependent adult abuse registry check and sex offender registry check.
- Allows the court to appoint an attorney for the minor and an attorney for the parents if the parents object to the appointment of a guardian and request an attorney but are unable to pay for an attorney.
- Allows the court to appoint a court visitor (formerly referred to as a guardian ad litem) who cannot be the attorney for the minor and who must file a report with the court after an investigation regarding the potential appointment of a guardian.
- Sets out the responsibilities and duties of a guardian and requires the guardian to file reports, including an initial care plan for the minor and annual reports thereafter. The required reports may not be waived.
- Sets out procedures for removal of a guardian, as well as for termination and modification of guardianships.
[4/10: 49-0 (Absent: Feenstra)]
HF 610 – Adult guardianships and conservatorships
HF 610 changes Iowa’s adult guardianship and conservatorship laws, which will apply to minor conservatorships as well. The bill is based on recommendations from the Judicial Branch Guardianship and Conservatorship Task Force. The bill:
- Requires criminal background checks for proposed guardians and conservators, as well as checks of the dependent adult abuse, sex offender and child abuse registries.
- Requires a conservator surety bond or a similar alternative to protect the assets of the person under conservatorship.
- Requires stronger requirements for court monitoring of guardians and conservators to ensure they perform their duties and that those under guardianship receive needed care and protection.
- Requires a hearing on the proposed guardianship or conservatorship and that a record of the hearing be made.
- Authorizes a “court visitor” to provide the court with information on whether a conservatorship or guardianship is appropriate.
- Requires the court to consider less drastic alternatives to guardianships and conservatorships that might be appropriate, and requires the court to consider limited guardianships or conservatorships.
[4/10: 49-0 (Absent: Feenstra)]
HF 679 – Substantive code editor’s bill
HF 679 is submitted annually by the Iowa Code Editor to the Judiciary Committee pursuant to Iowa Code Section 2B.6 and Joint Rule 11. The substantive Code Editor’s bill makes various changes throughout the Code, including, but not limited to, correcting language to conform to other Code language or current practices, eliminating conflicting language or ambiguous language, and repealing or striking redundant language.
[4/9: 48-0 (Absent: Bisignano, Feenstra)]
HF 681 –Criminal history checks for work with children, elderly, disabled
HF 681 permits entities that provide care for children, the elderly or those with disabilities, or care placement services to request a national criminal history record check by the FBI on covered individuals through the Department of Public Safety whose authority to do the criminal history checks is derived from authority it has pursuant to the National Child Protection Act. Covered individuals include those who may have access to children, the elderly or individuals with disabilities served by a qualified entity and who are employed by, volunteer with or seek to volunteer with a qualified entity. Qualified entities can include a business or organization, whether public private, for-profit, nonprofit or voluntary that provides care or placement services. The covered individual will provide fingerprints, which will be submitted to the Division of Criminal Investigation to complete the criminal history check. The Department of Public Safety will adopt rules to administer this Chapter.
[4/23: 49-0 (Absent: Petersen)]
HF 707 – Juvenile delinquency proceedings, termination of parental rights notice
HF 707 provides that in juvenile delinquency proceedings and termination of parental rights proceedings, the service of summons or notice may be sent by email or other electronic means with the consent of the party to be served. Current law allows in-person service or service by certified mail. In the juvenile delinquency cases, notice will go to the juvenile and the parent or guardian. In termination of parental rights proceedings, notice will go to living parents of the child, a guardian of the child, custodian of the child, a guardian ad litem, the petitioner or the person standing in the place of the parents of the child. Notice by electronic means in termination of parental rights proceedings must be sent at least seven days prior to the hearing.
HF 719 – Conciliation related to dissolution of marriage
HF 719 provides that the court, on its own motion or upon the motion of a party, may decide whether the parties to a divorce must participate in conciliation. Under current law, a court must order conciliation, and parties are required to participate in conciliation upon the application of either party. Conciliation can only be waived upon a showing of elder abuse or domestic abuse. This bill would make any conciliation requirement solely up to the discretion of the court.
[4/18: 49-0 (Absent: Mathis)]
HF 732 – Medical cannabidiol—BILL VETOED
HF 732 makes these changes to the current medical cannabidiol program:
- Amends “debilitating medical condition” under Code definitions by replacing “untreatable pain” with “severe or chronic pain.”
- Allows licensed physician assistants and registered nurse practitioners to provide written certification attesting to patients’ eligibility for the medical cannabis program.
- Removes the current 3% THC cap and replaces it with 25 grams over 90 days maximum disbursement.
- Removes the prohibition on certain felons applying for medical cannabidiol registration card.
- Allows medical cannabidiol dispensaries to employ licensed pharmacists or pharmacy technicians.
- Creates a waiver process that allows a provider to certify a qualified patient to receive more than 25 grams of THC over a 90-day period if the health care practitioner determines 25 grams is not adequate or the patient’s debilitating condition is a terminal illness with life expectancy of less than one year.
- Directs the Iowa Department of Public Health to adopt rules for collecting and evaluating data relating to patient demographics, effective treatment options, clinical outcomes and quality-of-life outcomes for reporting on benefits, risks and outcomes for patients participating in the program.
[4/27: 40-7 (No: Behn, Breitbach, Carlin, Costello, Feenstra, Garrett, Whiting; Absent: Dawson, Lykam, T. Taylor)]
HF 734 – Changes to Iowa’s DNA profiling laws
HF 734 updates Iowa’s law for a defendant to pursue DNA testing after a conviction. Dozens of convicted individuals across the country have been exonerated through DNA testing. With technology improvements, DNA evidence can be tested with smaller evidentiary samples. Iowa’s law is written in such a way that it prohibits convicted defendants from obtaining updated DNA testing. This bill will allow defendants, under specified conditions, to apply for post-conviction DNA testing.