State Government – Week of Feb. 15, 2010
STAFF CONTACT: Theresa Kehoe
SF 2067 – Ethics Regulations for Executive & Legislative Branch, Local Officials & Employees
SF 2128 – Mandatory Electronic Filing
SF 2194 – Technical Changes to Elections & Voter Registration
SF 2195 – Campaign Finance Requirements & Reporting
SF 2196 – Administration of Election Laws
SF 2215 – Genetic Testing
SF 2218 – Double Election Boards
SF 2247 – Game Enforcement Officers
SF 2311 – Regulating Emergency Medical Care Providers
SF 2312 – Licensing of naturopathic physicians
SF 2353 – ICN Connection Facilities
SF 2354 – Independent Expenditures by Corporations
SF 2355 – Licensure of persons engaged in fire protection system installation
SF 2067 is the proposed Ethics and Campaign Disclosure Board bill on changes to the ethics laws in Chapter 68B. Highlights include:
- Section 1 excludes from the definition of an administrative “rule” an advisory opinion issued by the Ethics Board under Iowa Code section 68B.32A(12), the same as is already in the law for Attorney General’s opinions.
- Section 2 clarifies that the limitation under CURRENT law on public officials and employees selling goods or services to state agencies does NOT apply to sales done as part of official state duties. The application of the law has always been that the limitation applied only when the public official or employee was making a sale as part of his or her outside employment, but we need to get it clarified in the law.
- Section 3 requires an executive branch official or employee who makes a permissible sale of a good or service, as part of private sector employment, to a state agency to file a report with the Ethics Board disclosing the sale. This is similar to other types of reports the Board receives. This does NOT apply to the legislative branch.
- Section 4 makes a technical correction to the duties of the Ethics Board. The current provision lists a number of reports that the Board receives under Chapter 68B. However, the current list does not capture all of the reports filed with the Board. This amendment resolves this issue. Section 4 also permits the Board to retain 10 percent of a civil penalty that it imposes for a violation of a law or rule under its jurisdiction as a repayment receipt for Board expenses associated with investigating and resolving the violation.
- Section 5 directs the Ethics Board to adopt rules to sanction an individual who provides false information to the Board during an investigation. There have been some instances over the years when someone has provided false information as part of an investigation and this type of conduct should be a separate violation.
- Section 6 makes the bill effective upon enactment. [2/15: 46-0]
SF 2128 is proposed by the Ethics and Campaign Disclosure Board and deals with expanding the mandate that campaign reports be filed electronically via the Board’s Web site.
CURRENT LAW ON ELECTRONIC FILING:
New committees for state office are required to file electronically effective January 1, 2010. State parties and PACs are required to file electronically effective May 1, 2010. All other committees for state office are required to file electronically January 1, 2012. No campaign committee needs to be formed until $750 in transactions has been exceeded.
CHANGES UNDER SF 2128:
- Sections 1 and 2 move the current law on out-of-state and federal PACs from Iowa Code section 68A.201 to new 68A.201A. The only NEW language is on page 2 lines 5-6 that require filings with these groups to be done electronically effective January 1, 2011.
- Section 3 would require the following committees to file electronically effective January 1, 2011:
- County statutory political committees (county central committees).
- Any other committee at the county, city, school or other political subdivision level that exceeds $2,000 in campaign activities. [2/15: 46-0]
SF 2194 makes technical changes to Iowa’s elections and voter registration laws. [2/16: 48-0]
SF 2195 is proposed by the Ethics and Campaign Disclosure Board to amend the campaign laws in Chapter 68A as follows:
- Sections 1-3 would require disclosure under the campaign laws of the political activities of an organization when the organization is advocating that an individual run for office but the individual has not announced an intention to run for office. The “Draft Candidate Jane Doe” effort.
- Section 4 directs the Board to adopt rules to define “fair market value” for purposes of campaign property and the disposal/transfer of campaign property. This is intended to give both the regulated community and the Board’s staff some guidance on how to handle this issue.
- Section 5 clarifies that in city elections, if a runoff is necessary, ONLY those candidates who are involved in the runoff are required to file campaign disclosure reports five days before the runoff election date.
- Section 6 clarifies that a permanent organization temporarily engaging in political activities is required to disclose its campaign activities when involved in a ballot issue election as well as a candidate election. This has been the policy of the Ethics Board for years and is reflected in rules, but it needs to be spelled out in statute.
- Section 7 cross-references the “paid for by” statute and the “campaign sign statute” for purposes of when a “paid for by” is not required on campaign signs.
- Section 8 directs the Board to adopt rules prohibiting the owner, publisher or editor of a “sham newspaper” from promoting the candidacy of ANY person (currently the law/rule only deals with situations when the owner, publisher or editor is the candidate). This is to help sort out situations when someone is using a so-called newspaper when in fact it is really campaign material. [2/16: 48-0]
SF 2196 is proposed by the Secretary of State and makes changes to the administration of Iowa’s election laws. Highlights include:
- Makes changes to conform with the federal census requiring precincts and townships.
- Gives County Auditors the flexibility to name precinct election officials who are willing to serve without pay.
- Allows County Auditors to appoint a substitute precinct chairperson, which is necessary in the event a precinct chairperson cannot serve on Election Day due to unexpected illness or other emergency.
- Makes changes to reduce the number of provisional ballots cast at polling places on Election Day.
- Allows observers for nonpartisan candidates to witness the counting of ballots in elections where double counting boards are used.
- Allows voters with incomplete affidavits to request replacement absentee ballots to account for situations where a voter is not able to come to the auditor’s office to complete an incomplete affidavit or go to the polls on Election Day to cast a provisional ballot. This could be used for voters who are homebound or temporarily out of state.
- Provides for a procedure for objecting to nomination papers of community college directors. [2/16: 47-0]
SF 2215 prohibits a person from obtaining genetic information or samples for genetic testing from an individual without first obtaining that individual’s informed and written consent. Exceptions to the consent requirement include when required by federal or other state law provisions; to identify an individual in the course of a criminal investigation by a law enforcement agency; to identify deceased individuals; to establish parental identity; to screen newborns; for medical repositories or registries so long as the information does not contain personally identifiable information of an individual and for the purposes of medical or scientific research and education. Insurance administrators, health plans and health insurers are prohibited from releasing genetic information without prior written authorization or discriminating against an individual or a member of an individual’s family on the basis of genetic or genetic testing. [2/16: 48-0]
SF 2218 makes changes to Iowa’s election laws relating to double election boards and to the use of automatic tabulating equipment in certain elections.
- Division I eliminates the option of the county commissioner of elections to appoint a double election board.
- Division II provides that the use of conventional paper ballots at certain elections that the county commissioner of elections has determined will have a low voter turnout is discretionary. If the county commissioner uses conventional paper ballots, they are required to use ballots and instructions similar to those used at elections using optical scan equipment. The commissioner is required to use optical scan equipment if the commissioner receives a petition signed by not less than 100 eligible voters requesting.
- The bill is effective upon enactment. [2/16: 37-11]
SF 2247 authorizes the Department of Administrative Services to change the class title designation of a gaming enforcement officer to “special agent.” The change in designation shall not create new employee rights. The change in designation is for official designation purposes only and shall not modify the existing job classification or duties for a gaming enforcement officer as of July 1, 2010. [2/16: 48-0]
SF 2311 provides for the licensure, rather than certification, of emergency medical care providers. A procedure for the approval of training programs is established for emergency medical care providers. The programs must be approved by the Department of Health and may be provided by an Iowa college approved by the North Central Association of colleges and schools or by an Iowa hospital. [2/11: 10-5]
SF 2312 requires the licensing of naturopathic physicians. The practice of naturopathic medicine is defined to mean the provision of naturopathic medical services including physiotherapy, natural healing processes and minor surgery and has as its objective the maintaining of the body in, or of restoring it to, a state of normal health. Educational and testing requirements as a condition of licensure are established. The bill provides for the establishment of a board of naturopathic medicine responsible for establishing rules regarding the licensing and practice of naturopathic medicine and makes changes in Code chapter 147 consistent with the establishment of the new board. The bill provides that qualified members of other professions, including physicians and nurses, are not prevented from providing services consistent with naturopathic medicine, but these persons shall not use a title or description denoting that they are naturopathic physicians. The bill provides for the appointment of the initial board and a transitional licensing provision for persons seeking licensure prior to July 1, 2011. SF2312 was approved “without recommendation.” [2/11: 10-5]
SF 2353 relates to the provision of services over presently leased Iowa Communication Network (ICN) connection facilities. Currently, the state is required to lease all connections that apply to part III connections, the judicial branch, the judicial district departments of correctional services, and state agencies that are paid for with state funding from qualified providers and is prohibited from owning such connections except for facilities owned by the state as of January 1, 1994. The bill authorizes the state to provide fiberoptic cable facilities or other facilities with sufficient capacity as determined by the Iowa Telecommunications and Technology Commission (ITTC), in consultation with authorized users, in a manner other than through a lease under specified circumstances.
Facilities with sufficient capacity may be provided in a manner other than pursuant to a lease when determined warranted by a committee appointed by the ITTC. The committee is directed to review all instances involving an incumbent provider with an existing leased connection terminating ownership of the connection or ceasing to provide the necessary level of maintenance service associated with the connection.
The committee shall also review, under specified circumstances, instances when an authorized user who is responsible for the connection’s payment requests that the commission review the manner in which network services are provided to them as a result of the cost or capacity of their connections. This review shall not be construed to authorize the commission or the committee to affect the terms of an existing lease.
The committee shall notify the commission and an authorized user of its determination within 30 days of receiving a request for review and that a decision to proceed with implementation of the committee’s decision shall be at the discretion of the authorized user. The commission is prohibited from providing a connection in a manner other than pursuant to a lease without the approval of the committee, but a determination by the committee that the state shall construct a part III connection or purchase an existing part III connection shall be subject to commission approval. [2/11: 10-5]
SF 2354 would allow corporations to make independent expenditures to influence public opinion, under certain conditions. Highlights include:
- Requires a corporation to obtain the approval of a majority of its shareholders prior to making any independent expenditure to influence public opinion on matters not related to the corporation’s products or services.
- Independent expenditure statement when made by a corporation: The statement shall disclose the names and addresses of all individual shareholders and the names and addresses of the shareholders in any corporation which is itself a shareholder in the corporation making the independent expenditure.
- A person making an independent expenditure shall not engage or retain an advertising firm or consultant that has also been engaged or retained by the candidate, candidate’s committee or ballot issue committee that is the subject of the independent expenditure.
Attribution statement on published material:
- Published material also includes television, video or motion picture advertising.
- The attribution statement for a corporation shall contain a statement that does all of the following:
- Identifies the chief executive officer of the corporation by name.
- Identifies how much of the corporation’s general treasury was spent in aggregate on the published material.
- Certifies the chief executive officer’s personal conclusion that making the expenditure for the published material form the corporation’s general operating funds significantly advances the corporation’s business interest.
- For television, video or motion picture advertising, the attribution statement shall be displayed on the screen in a clearly readable manner for at least four seconds.
Financial institution, insurance company and corporation contributions prohibited:
- Except as provided in subs 3, 4, 5, and 6, an insurance company, savings and loan association, bank, credit union or corporation shall not make a monetary or in-kind contribution to a candidate or committee except for a ballot issue committee.
- Except as provided in sub 3, a candidate or committee, except for a ballot issue committee, shall not receive a monetary or in-kind contribution from an insurance company, savings and loan association, bank, credit union or corporation.
- An insurance company, savings and loan association, bank credit union or corporation may use money, property, labor or any other thing of value of the entity for the purposes of soliciting its stockholders, administrative officers and members for contributions to a political committee sponsored by that entity and for financing the administration of a political committee sponsored by that entity. The entity’s employees, to whom the foregoing authority does not extend, may voluntarily contribute to such a political committee but shall not be solicited for contributions.
- A candidate or committee, except for a ballot issue committee,e may not solicit, request and receive money, property, labor and any other thing of value from a political committee sponsored by an insurance company, savings and loan association, bank, credit union or corporation as permitted by this subsection. The prohibitions in subs 1 and 2 shall not apply to an insurance company, savings and loan association, bank, credit union or corporation engaged in any of the following activities:
- Using its funds to encourage registration of voters and participation in the political process or to publicize public issues.
- Using its funds to expressly advocate the passage or defeat of ballot issues.
- Using its funds to place campaign signs as permitted under 68A.406.
- Using its funds for independent expenditures as provided in 68A.404.
- The prohibitions in subs 1 and 2 shall not apply to media organizations when discussing candidacies, nominations, public officers or public questions. The board shall adopt rules prohibiting the owner, publisher or editor of a sham newspaper from using the sham newspaper to promote in any way the candidacy of such a person for any public office. As used in the subsection, “sham newspaper” means a newspaper that does not meet the requirements in 618.3, and owner means a person having an ownership interest exceeding 10 percent of the equity or profits of the newspaper.
- The prohibitions in subs 2 and 2 shall not apply to a nonprofit organization communicating with its own members. The board shall adopt rules to administer this subsection.
- For purposes of this section “corporation” means a for-profit or nonprofit corporation organized pursuant to Iowa laws, the United States or any other state, territory or foreign country.
Filing Requirements for Corporations 490.120:
- Requires that filing documents of a corporation must contain a statement that the corporation agrees to refrain from any campaign activities prohibited under 68A. [2/11: 11-4 (Behn, Wieck, Hartsuch, Seymour voting no)]
SF 2355 makes changes to Iowa’s fire protection system installation laws. Highlights include:
- Under current law, persons who perform fire protection system installation or fire protection system maintenance must be licensed as a fire sprinkler installer and maintenance worker. This bill changes that designation to fire protection system installer and maintenance worker.
- The bill revises apprenticeship requirements for trainees. The bill eliminates references to a four-year apprenticeship and instead requires completion of a fire protection apprenticeship program approved by the United States Department of Labor or completion of two years of full-time employment as a trainee.
- The fire marshal, by rule, may restrict the scope of work authorized by a license. The bill eliminates a current provision that allows a governmental subdivision that administers an inspection program relating to the installation of a fire protection system on July 31, 2009, to continue that inspection program.
- Persons who demolish part of a system do not need to be licensed, if the system is taken out of service. A company manager is required to supervise the work of an apprentice or to perform system restoration work, if the manager is certified in fire protection technology.
- The bill eliminates current language exempting from the Code chapter custodians in schools, hospitals and government facilities performing sprinkler maintenance. The bill adds a general exemption for routine maintenance.
- The bill extends the period for temporary licensure, pending passage of the examination, from June 30, 2010, to December 31, 2010. [2/11: 15-0]