Veterans Affairs Committee Report – week 7, 2018

SF 2200 – Veterans benefits services, events disclosure
SF 2201 – Public Defense omnibus technical updates
SF 2365 – Misrepresentation of service dogs
SF 2366 – IDVA omnibus
SF 2367 – School residency for children of parents on active-duty 



SF 2200 is a recommendation by the Iowa Attorney General to strengthen laws applicable to for-profit veterans’ benefits services that provide advice or assistance for a fee. A person who advertises or promotes an event, presentation, seminar, workshop or other public gathering on veterans’ benefits or entitlements must include a disclosure and disseminate it verbally and in writing at the beginning of the event. The written disclosure must be in the same type size and font as the term “veteran” or any variation of that term used in promotional materials or at the event. The disclosure must be in this format: “This event is not sponsored by, or affiliated with, the United States Department of Veterans Affairs, the Iowa Department of Veterans Affairs, or any other congressionally-chartered or recognized organization of honorably discharged  members of the Armed Forces of the United States or any of their auxiliaries; products or services that may be discussed at this event are not necessarily endorsed by those organizations; you may qualify for benefits other than or in addition to the benefits discussed at this event.”

The disclosure is not required if a government agency for veterans or an officially-recognized organization of veterans has given permission to use the agency’s or organization’s name for the event, or if the event is part of an accredited continuing legal education course. The provisions do not apply to government employees or volunteers acting in their official capacity. The legislation authorizes the Attorney General to obtain injunctive relief for unfair practices and to recover a civil penalty of up to $40,000 per violation. Any civil penalty recovered will go to the Iowa Veterans Trust Fund.
[2/20: 48-0 (Absent: Behn, Zumbach)]


SF 2201 is a recommendation by the Department of Public Defense. It authorizes the Adjutant General to establish and manage self-funded Morale, Welfare and Recreation facilities and activities for the Iowa National Guard, similar to those operated by the U.S. Armed Forces on military reservations and air bases, and designate suitable buildings and land on National Guard properties. For example, this would allow food trucks to offer services at Camp Dodge in Johnston. The bill also requires law enforcement officers to assign a case number to a sexual assault allegation and initiate an investigation. This more closely mirrors federal military requirements while preserving the discretion of local law enforcement to close a case that does not meet evidentiary requirements for prosecution. The Iowa State Bar Association supports this change.
[2/19: 49-0 (Absent: Sinclair)]




SF 2365 (SSB 3148) relates to assistance animals, assistive animals and service dogs, and provides penalties for misrepresenting  oneself as entitled to such an animal in housing and for misrepresenting an animal as an assistive animal or a service dog. The bill creates new Code section 216.8B, “Assistance Animals, Assistive Animals, and Service Dogs in Housing,” that defines the animals and provides that a landlord must waive lease restrictions for the assistance animal, service dog, or assistive animal of a person with a disability. It also states that a tenant is liable for damage done by such an animal. The bill requires the Iowa Civil Rights Commission to adopt rules regarding a written finding by licensees. Committee members agreed that the bill needs further work but want to keep the proposal open for continued suggestions and recommendations by stakeholders. A similar bill, HF 2396 by Judiciary, is on the House calendar.
[2/15: short form]


SF 2366 (SSB 3021) is based on recommendations by the Iowa Department of Veterans Affairs and the Iowa Commission of Veterans Affairs. It increases the number of members on the Commission from nine to 11. The new members will represent the Paralyzed Veterans of America and the Iowa Association of County Commissioners and Veteran Service Officers. The appointees are selected from names submitted by the organizations. The bill increases the amount that may be spent each fiscal year from the Veterans Trust Fund from $300,000 to $500,000, transferred to the fund from the Iowa Lottery Authority from lottery revenues. It also authorizes that the Trust Fund may grant up to $1,000 to a qualified individual for rental housing assistance (e.g., application fees) or one-time monetary assistance to prevent homelessness. This does not include rent payments, which is under Housing and Urban Development and other federal programs. HF 2346 is the companion bill.
[2/15: short form]


SF 2367 (SSB 3149) allows a child who lives with a parent or guardian who is on active duty, and stationed and domiciled at certain federal military installations (Rock Island Arsenal, Offutt Air Force Base), to be considered an Iowa resident. They may enroll tuition-free in a school district located in a county contiguous to that in which the military installation is located. A school district must include the student in its actual enrollment count for calculating state foundation aid. The parent or guardian must transport the child without reimbursement to and from a point on a regular school bus route.
[2/15: short form]