State Government Committee Report – week 8, 2017

HF 293 – Iowa Prison Industries and private business bidding
SF 284 – Increasing penalties for eluding law enforcement unmarked cars
SF 351 – Eliminates Iowa’s emergency response commission
SSB 1056 – First-time homebuyer savings account
SSB 1080 – Permanent emergency personnel position in Homeland Security
SSB 1082 – 911 PSANP consolidation study recommendations
SSB 1103  – Voluntarily exclusions from racetrack or gambling facility
SSB 1104 – Secretary of State technical elections bill
SSB 1110 Resolution calling for an Article V convention to limit federal government
SSB 1111 – Declaration of disposition of persons remains
SSB 1112 – Confidentiality of certain gaming records
SSB 1113 – Contractor registration fees for IWD and IDPH
SSB 1126­ – Energy conservation building code requirements rollback
SSB 1129Birth certificate corrections and requirements moving forward
SSB 1135 – Increased penalties for protestors on highways
SSB 1136 – Expanded uses of preschool funding



HF 293 requires the Department of Administrative Services (DAS) to adopt administrative rules that would in effect reverse state law concerning when state government agencies must purchase goods from Iowa Prison Industries (IPI). Currently, unless there is an exception in state Code, government agencies must purchase from IPI. The next sentence of the bill was amended in committee, and it reverses the first sentence to the extent that it allows Iowa Prison Industries to bid on all projects unless specifically excluded by current code. This legislation now basically reflects current practice.
[3/1: 50-0]


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 other technical changes to transfers and renumbers the remaining Code sections. This bill was sponsored by the Department of Homeland Security. All interested parties agree that it streamlines government processes and removes duplicative duties.
[3/1: 50-0]



SSB 1056 creates a new state income tax exemption for qualified deposits to a First-time Homebuyer Savings Account. The assets of an account are to be used for the down payment and allowable closing costs associated with the purchase of a home. Withdrawals from the account are tax-free as long as 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 much submit a form to the Department of Revenue (DOR) designating the account as a First-time Homebuyer Savings Account. The person designated as the beneficiary will be able to access the fund for the purchase of their first home. The account holder may change the designated beneficiary at any time and/or may designate themselves as the beneficiary. Contributions to an account 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 from their account at any time.

The bill provides two individual income tax incentives relating to the accounts. First, an account holder is allowed to deduct the contributions made during the year 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. Second, the bill exempts any interest or earnings received from the account 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 when they opened 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 hold 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 bill prohibits the amount of money from a First-time Homebuyer Savings Account used for funding the house/closing costs from being allowed as an itemized deduction for Iowa individual income tax purposes.  The tax provisions will begin on or after January 1, 2018.

A previously introduced version of this bill had the new tax credit deferring state revenues up to $4.3 million annually after five years of implementation. A committee amendment was suggested by the Bankers Association to make technical corrections to the set up and fee structure of these accounts.
[2/28: short form]


SSB 1080 allows the Department of Homeland Security to hire and fire outside of Chapter 20 and merit employee procedures for any employee they hire in the future. Their rationale is that because of emergency response preparedness, they expand and contract employees in very situational and short-term capacities. The Department has specific concerns about layoff procedures/reduction in forces procedures after an emergency. The bumping right and Rebuild Iowa Fund procedures left the department without employees with specific skill sets. Noting this session’s previous legislation gutting Chapter 20, it is unclear that this bill will have any substantial impact.
[2/28: 8-6 (Schneider excused)]


SSB 1082  makes recommendations contained within the 911 PSANP Consolidation Study as was presented to the Legislature this year. There are various technical changes in the bill, including moving from E911 to 911 and updating various definitions to reflect current practice. The bill includes a consolidation plan that combines wireline 911 network into wireless 911 network. It creates shared service environment for PSAP call processing equipment and includes costs for development, deployment, operation and maintenance. The technical reasons for having two networks have been eliminated, and the creation of the shared service is a possible cost-saving measure for the PSAP.


The bill makes these funding changes:

  • Leaves PSAP pass through at 60 percent
  • Creates PSAP GIS grants – $15,000/PSAP
  • LMR funding eliminated
  • Carryover Operating Surplus (FY18: $7 million is used for a consolidation grants of $200,000 and the remainder is passed to PSAP for “receipt and disposition”)
  • Creates $9 million to support the consolidation plan

Finally, the bill requires the Department of Homeland security & Emergency Management to develop a plan to combine the wireline 911 network with the next generation 911 network. The plan must describe anticipated costs, use of surcharges and use of shared services technology. The plan must also include suggested amendments to Code chapter 34A to allow the implementation of the plan. The department must submit the plan to the Legislature no later than January 15, 2018. A technical committee amendment was adopted unanimously.
[3/1: 11-4 (Bisignano, Danielson, Jochum, Petersen “no”)]


SSB 1103 makes changes to the process by which a person can be voluntarily excluded from a racetrack or gambling facility. It says that a person who is voluntarily excluded must be excluded only from the wagering area and gaming floor, as opposed to the whole facility. The bill also provides new timeframes:  (a)  five years (which can be renewed upon request) or (b)  for life. Under current law, a request to be voluntarily excluded is for life. The bill also allows  a person who has been voluntarily excluded for life under current law to apply for admittance under the new law/rules. A similar bill (SF 204) was vetoed by Governor Branstad is 2012.
[3/1: short form]


SSB 1104 presents itself as a non-controversial Secretary of State elections bill. The bill clarifies what to do if a candidate nominated for partisan office by a political convention withdraws his/her name from nomination. This process was made identical to the withdrawal provisions presently provided for candidates from nonparty political organizations 44.9(4b). In the event that a candidate does withdraw, the nominating entity would have an opportunity to fill that ballot vacancy only in the event that the candidate filing deadline has not yet passed.

A committee amendment strikes most of Division II (sections 2-7) that relates to voter registrations and organizational and personal misdemeanors and penalties. The rest of this division is technical corrections.

Division III prohibits a representative of a political party on a precinct election board from changing political parties to vote absentee in the election for which they are serving as a representative. It also allows the individuals to be present at polling places for the purposes of any educational voting program.

Division IV allows tenants of dementia-specific assisted living programs to vote by absentee ballot in the same manner allowed for patients or residents in hospitals or health care facilities.

The rest of the bill is technical corrections to clean up the school board election process.
[2/28: short form (Schneider excused)]


SSB 1110 is a joint resolution that calls for a Constitutional Convention to propose an amendment to the United States Constitution to impose fiscal restraints on the federal government and limit the federal government’s power and jurisdiction. The joint resolution additionally provides that pursuant to Article V of the United States Constitution, the Iowa Legislature joins in the applications of eight other states for a convention to impose fiscal restraints. The states that have passed this resolution so far include Alabama, Alaska, Florida, Georgia, Indiana, Louisiana, Oklahoma and Tennessee. The joint resolution provides that it must serve as a continuing application to call a constitutional convention until at least two-thirds of the legislatures in the states that have made this same application for a convention, or the Legislature acts to withdraw the application.
[2/28: 12-3 (Bisignano, Jochum, Petersen “no”)]


SSB 1111 is a bill that deals with the disposition of someone’s remains after death and who has the authority to make those decisions. There was an incident in Iowa where a person’s latest will said something different than what the caregiver had in a healthcare power of attorney form. The bill, as introduced, says that a written declaration concerning the final disposition their body after death and the ceremonies planned after death is not required to be contained in or attached to a durable power of attorney for health care. The declaration otherwise gives the designee sole responsibility and discretion for making such decisions, the declaration may include a directive indicating whether the declarant does or does not want to be cremated. If the declaration includes such a directive, the designee does not have discretion to make a different decision concerning cremating or not cremating the declarant’s remains.

An amendment was offered that struck much of the language of the introduced version and, in effect, allows the Disposition of Remains document and the Power of Attorney for healthcare decisions to be attached or stand alone. Either together or separate, they are valid, and one does not trump the other.
[2/28: short form]


SSB 1112 says certain records provided by a licensee (a casino) to the Racing & Gaming Commission must be kept confidential by the commission, unless otherwise ordered by a court, by the lawful custodian of the records or by another person duly authorized to release such information. The bill lists the records to be kept confidential: promotional play receipts records, patron and customer records, surveillance records, security reports and network audits, internal control records, employee records and most audit information obtained by the commission, as applicable.
[2/28: short form]


SSB 1113 relates to a unified licensure and registration system for plumbing and mechanical systems (HVAC) and contractors. Currently, plumbers and HVAC workers register with Iowa Department of Public Health (IDPH) and contractors register with Iowa Workforce Development (IWD). Plumbers and HVAC technicians have a three-year license schedule, while a contractor’s registration happens every year. This bill sets up a one-stop shop for registration and fees under IDPH and the appropriate money from contractor registrations will be transferred to IWD.
[2/28: short form]


SSB 1126­ relates to energy conservation requirements contained within the state building code or adopted by governmental subdivisions. Current code requires new single-family residential construction started after July 2008 to comply with the newest energy conservation requirements adopted by the state building code commissioner. The state building code commissioner currently has a process by which they will adopt the latest version of the national energy conservation requirements and make amendments to those per input from Iowa builders and interested parties. The energy conservation requirements supersede and replace any other minimum requirements adopted by a local governmental and their building codes. This bill removes the requirement that conservation requirements are to supersede those put forth by local governments or their building code requirements. The legislation says that if a local government adopts minimum energy conservation requirements that at least meet the 2009 edition of the international energy conservation code, then builders must comply with those requirements, and not the most updated version, adopted by the state commissioner. The bill applies retroactively to July 1, 2010.
[2/28: 10-5 (party-line, except Bowman voting “yes” with Republicans)]


SSB 1129 related to the certified copy of a certificate of birth mailed to a parent by the state registrar following a child’s birth. During the time from May 1993 to October 2009, the Iowa Department of Public Health issued a smaller version of a child’s birth certificate. These smaller copies did not contain all the required information found on a normal-sized birth certificate and impacted the child’s ability to get a passport or provide proof of identification in other circumstances. The bill says that if a parent was issued a smaller birth certificate the state must mail out, upon request, a normal-sized certified copy free of charge since the parent already paid the $20 fee for the smaller-sized version. A committee amendment clarifies that all birth certificates from now on must contain all the required information printed on the normal-sized birth certificate. The amendment cleans up the $20 fee language and makes that applicable for everyone moving forward. The amendment also requires the IDPH to post notice of the issue with birth certificates for the years between 1993 and 2009 and the ability for anyone impacted to receive a replacement certificate free of charge. This public notice must be listed until June 30, 2022.
[2/28: short form]


SSB 1135  prohibits a person from loitering or placing any obstruction with the intention of blocking the normal movement of motor vehicle traffic on a highway. Under current law, a person is prohibited from placing an obstruction in the highway right-of-way, including the traveled portion of the roadway. A person who violates this provision is guilty of creating a public nuisance, an aggravated misdemeanor. Any obstruction is subject to removal. This bill increases all penalties levels. Under current law, the police can issue a simple misdemeanor because they can write a citation and clear the highway faster. The departments of Transportation and Public Safety would like to keep current penalty levels. Under this proposal, a person who commits a first violation of loitering or placing any obstruction is guilty of a serious misdemeanor punishable by imprisonment not to exceed one year and a fine of at least $315 but not to exceed $1,875. A person who commits a second violation is guilty of an aggravated misdemeanor punishable by imprisonment not to exceed two years and a fine of at least $625 but not to exceed $6,250. A person who commits a third or subsequent violation is guilty of a class “D” felony punishable by imprisonment not to exceed five years and a fine of at least $750 but not to exceed $7,500.

The person is subject to prosecution by the county attorney in the county where the highway is located. However, if the county attorney fails to initiate prosecution within 30 days, the Attorney General may initiate and carry out the prosecution in cooperation, if possible, with the county attorney. The Attorney General does not have a mandate to interfere with county prosecutions on any other crime and would not like to be included in this bill.

The bill does not apply to a person who blocks the movement of traffic to obtain law enforcement, medical or mechanical assistance.
[3/1: 12-3 (Bisignano, Jochum, Petersen “no”)]


SSB 1136  expands the use of categorical preschool funds and reserves for such expenditures as personal health and hygiene items and safety equipment, as opposed to administrative costs as those items currently are coded. The bill includes definitions for “personal health and hygiene items” and “safety equipment” and takes effect upon enactment.
[3/1: short form]


SF 284 increases the penalties for eluding a law enforcement marked or unmarked vehicle. Current law says that the driver of a vehicle commits a serious misdemeanor if the driver willfully eludes a marked official law enforcement vehicle. A serious misdemeanor is punishable by a fine not to exceed $1,875 and imprisonment not to exceed one year. The bill increases the penalty to an aggravated misdemeanor and applies the provision to unmarked law enforcement vehicles. An aggravated misdemeanor is punishable by a fine not to exceed $6,250 and imprisonment not to exceed two years.

Current law also says that the driver of a vehicle commits an aggravated misdemeanor if the driver willfully eludes a marked official law enforcement vehicle and, in doing so, exceeds the speed limit by 25 miles per hour or more. The bill increases the penalty to a class “D” felony and applies the provision to unmarked law enforcement vehicles. A class “D” felony is punishable by a fine not to exceed $7,500 and imprisonment not to exceed five years.

Current law says that the driver of a vehicle commits a class “D” felony if the driver willfully eludes a marked official law enforcement vehicle; exceeds the speed limit by 25 miles per hour or more; and the driver is participating in a public offense that is a felony, the driver is operating while intoxicated or under controlled substances, or the offense results in bodily injury to a person other than the driver.  The bill increases the penalty to a class “C” felony and applies the provision to unmarked law enforcement vehicles. A class “C” felony is punishable by a fine not to exceed $10,000 and imprisonment not to exceed 10 years. The bill likewise increases the penalty for unintentionally causing a serious injury to a person while eluding from a class “D” felony to a class “C” felony. Finally, current law provides that a person commits a class “C” felony when the person unintentionally causes the death of another person by eluding a pursuing law enforcement vehicle. The bill increases the penalty to a class “B” felony. A class “B” felony is punishable by imprisonment not to exceed 25 years.

The next section allows police to retain possession of a vehicle suspected to have been used in eluding police until final disposition of any criminal proceeding related to the violation. Police say they want this forfeiture section to entice the car owner to cooperate with them and tell them who may have been using their car. Currently, a person can refuse to cooperate with police without penalty.
[3/1: 11-4 (Bisignano, Danielson, Jochum, Petersen “no”)]