SF 237 modifies Iowa’s statute on Certified Public Accountant (CPA) firm practicing privileges without obtaining the state’s certificate. The changes mirror individual CPA reciprocity/practicing privilege changes made in 2006. Currently, all states have individual CPA reciprocity exceptions, and 16 states have moved to include firm reciprocity across state lines without requiring state certification. Firms will still have to comply with all accounting board and state requirements. The Consumer Protection Division of the Iowa Attorney General’s office reviewed this bill at the request of Senate Democrats and confirmed that Iowa consumers would continue to have a high level of consumer protection under these changes.
[3/8: 49-0 (Chelgren excused)]
SF 33 requires a primary runoff election be held to determine a party’s nominee in the case of an inconclusive primary election. Under current law, an inconclusive primary occurs when there are not a sufficient number of candidates who received at least 35 percent of the vote in the primary election to fill the necessary number of nominations for an office. Current law provides that nominations following an inconclusive primary be filled by the party’s state convention, congressional district convention, party precinct committee members, county convention delegates or county convention precinct delegates, as applicable. Primary runoff elections must be held four weeks after the primary election. They must also be conducted and canvassed in the same manner as primary elections.
SF 33 says that the two candidates who received the highest number of votes cast for the nomination will be the candidates in the primary runoff election. The candidate who receives the highest number of votes cast by voters of the nominating party in the primary runoff election will be the nominee or nominees of that party for that office in the general election.
Concerns were raised about the legality and feasibility of this legislation. First, the Secretary of State’s Office says that federal law requires a minimum of 45 days before establishing a runoff. This timeframe will substantially impact voters overseas. A committee amendment changed the timeframe to be the first Tuesday, following the first Monday in August, which is approximately 54 days after the convention. There is also a $2.5 million fiscal note attached to this legislation.
[3/2: short form (Horn excused)]
SSB 1107 says that any 403b supplementary retirement plan offered for sale must be included in 403b options for state and school districts employees. Currently, the Department of Administrative Services (DAS) reviews and picks six of the best 403b plans (based on low fees, required adequate level of service, etc.) to offer state employees. There is also an “optional provider list” of 403b plans offered to employees that don’t qualify for the recommended list. In 2015, DAS conducted another RFP process where any plan/insurance salesperson could submit their plan. The Insurance Agents group is a proponent of this legislation. Educational groups are advocating for keeping the DAS review and recommendation of a list of supplemental retirement plans to help consumers get the best products for the lowest cost. A committee amendment limited the options to 30 different plans and provided a procedure for DAS to offer up to 30 plans to state employees and consumers in schools.
[3/2: 14-3 (Bowman, Jochum, Petersen “no”; Horn excused)]
SSB 1163 is the Voter ID/elections bill that was introduced by Secretary of State (SOS) Paul Pate. The bill:
- Requires voters to present ID to vote. Restricts types of ID that can be used, including not allowing college-issued IDs to be eligible for purposes of registering to vote.
- Does not allow for the request for an absentee ballot if it is more than 120 days before the date of the election. It also pushes back the latest date to request an absentee ballot to 10 days before the General Election and 11 days before the Primary Election.
- Sets the turnaround deadline for voter registration applications obtained by political party agents to seven days.
- If within three days of the voter registration deadline, the application must be turned in within 24 hours.
- Changes the deadline for absentee ballot request from the Friday before the election to the same day as the voter registration deadline (10 days prior to the election).
- Requires voters to put their voter verification number on their absentee request form. A voter verification number is a voter’s driver’s license number or voter identification number on the card provided by the Secretary of State.
- Establishes a new Voter Verification Card system. According to the SOS, there are 150,000 registered voters who do not have an ID. This does not include eligible voters who are currently not registered, which, according to the ACLU, total 260,349.
- NOTE: An amendment state that this only applies if the Legislature appropriates enough money for the cards. The estimated cost for the initial startup is $400,000. The estimated annual cost in subsequent years is $85,000.
- Establishes a new Voter Identity & Signature Verification system (which would apply to all elections held on or after July 1, 2017). Current law allows for a registered voter to vote in an election in Iowa without having to show a form of identification. However, a precinct official may currently require a voter to show ID if they do not recognize them, if a person has moved from where they registered to vote or if their right to vote is being challenged. Under the proposed legislation, every Iowan must show poll workers an accepted form of identification before receiving a ballot. Accepted forms of identification include:
- Voter Verification Card
- Iowa Driver’s License/Non Operator’s ID
- United States passport
- United States military ID or veterans ID (a veterans ID that does not contain a signature is not subject to challenge)
- Letter or card from county auditor confirming the registration, as long as it is signed before being presented to the election official.
- If a registered voter cannot provide the required identification, they may also present these forms of ID as long as they have a photo, expiration date and signature:
- An out-of-state driver’s license/non-operator ID
- An identification card issued by an employer
- A student ID issued by an Iowa high school or Iowa postsecondary school
- Requires poll workers to examine the ID to determine if voter appears to be person on the ID. If someone challenges the status of a voter or their ID, that person may still fill out a provisional ballot.
- An amendment strikes the appropriation of $550,000 for the creation of an Electronic Poll Book Revolving Loan Fund, administered by the SOS.
- The funds are to be loaned to county auditors for the purchase or update to electronic poll book technology.
- Money spent cannot exceed 30 percent of money in the loan fund, and loans should not bear interest.
- Bans the use of photographic devices and the display of voted ballots if the intent is to interfere with other voters or orderly operation of the polling place. Currently, there is a ban on the use of cameras, telephones, pagers or other electronic communication devices in the voting booth.
- Requires post-election audit of elections. The audits cannot overturn the results of an election.
[3/2: 10-4 (Bowman voting “yes”; Horn excused)]