State Government Committee – Week 21, 2020


SF 2261 – Tele-med option for school location services

SF 2261 outlines the process for a school to implement voluntary behavioral health screenings either in person or through the use of telehealth. No student can be screened without the written consent of a parent/guardian. Parents must be notified of the results of the screening, and they must be sent to a primary doctor. The bill requires establishing a provider–patient relationship prior to providing mental health services via telemedicine in a school setting. Schools must provide a secure, confidential and private room, and the technology necessary to deliver such services. Mental health providers must provide a way for the student’s parent/guardian to participate in the session. The school cannot have access to or handle any of the student’s medical records related to the provision of telehealth mental health services. A school, AEA or nonpublic school is allowed as a site of service for purposes of private insurance reimbursement. An amendment was adopted to allow the first meeting of certain approved telehealth services to be completely online, but still requires a parent to be there at the first meeting.

The Senate concurred with the House amendment that changes the requirement that the results of the screening “must” be sent to the child’s primary care doctor to “may” be sent. The amendment also eliminates the requirement that the mental health professional providing the services in the schools has to consult with the child’s primary care doctor prior to services being initiated.
[6/5: 50-0]

SF 2364 – Construction manager at risk and elimination of design build options

SF 2364 has two main divisions:

  • Division I: Chapter 26.4, relating to architectural and engineering services, is amended to prohibit fee-based selection of an architect, landscape architect or engineer for a public improvement. The bill notably prohibits the state Board of Regents from entering into a design-build contract to construct, repair, or improve buildings or grounds.
  • Division II of the bill allows a government entity to use a “construction manager-at risk” contract for public improvement contracts. The bill authorizes a government entity to enter into a guaranteed maximum-price contract for a public improvement, notwithstanding any provision of law to the contrary. The bill prohibits a government entity from entering into a design-build contract for construction of a public improvement OR entering into a guaranteed maximum-price contract for public improvements relating to highway and bridge construction.
    [6/4: 29-20 (No: Democrats, Carlin, Johnson, Kapucian; Excused: Hogg)]

SF 2373 – Public safety telecommunicators

SF 2243 changes the term “telecommunicator” to “public safety telecommunicator,” and specifies that the term refers to a first responder who receives requests for, or dispatches requests to, emergency response agencies.
[6/5: 49-0]

HF 2565 – Setoff enforcements move from DAS to DOR

HF 2565 moves the setoff procedures administered by the Department of Administrative Services and to the Department of Revenue. This change was requested by both departments. A committee amendment from Department of Revenue make changes to modernize, update and increase efficiency of the offset program.
[6/5: 49-0]

HF 2636 – Gambling setoff requirements

HF 2636 amends setoff requirements related to winnings on fantasy sports and sports betting. Under current law, someone who wins money at a racetrack or gambling structure is subject to a setoff from winnings above $1,200. This bill strikes the dollar threshold and makes everyone subject to the setoff if the winnings are required to be reported on Internal Revenue Service form W-2G for gambling winnings. The requirements to file the form depend on the amount of winnings and the type of wager: $1,200 on bingo or slots; $1,500 on keno (reduced by wager); $5,000 on poker tournament (reduced by wager); and $600 on other gambling winnings when the payout is at least 300 times the amount of the wager.

The bill also amends provisions relating to qualified sponsoring organizations (QSO) licensed to operate gambling games. The bill retains the current requirement that the board of directors of a QSO be residents of the state and that the board of directors include a member of the county board of supervisors and city council of each applicable county and city that has a licensed facility as ex officio nonvoting members of the board. The bill further provides that selection of these nonvoting members is at the option of the county or city and that the ex officio members are not be required to enter into a nondisclosure agreement. The bill requires that the QSO and an organization that receives contributions from the QSO to distribute grants, must conduct and submit to the Iowa Racing and Gaming Commission an audit on the organization’s activities.

The Senate conformed to the House amendment in what was generally considered legislative intent to not allow credit cards to be used for gambling in the newly established fantasy sports and sports betting games that the Legislature established last year. It was assumed that credit cards would not be allowed in these new endeavors since credit cards are not allowed for any other gambling opportunity in Iowa. This makes that clarification for sports betting and fantasy sports.
[6/5: 48-0 (Absent: Zaun, Zumbach)]


HF 419 – Musical therapists’ certification

HF 419 requires any person claiming to be a music therapist to hold a music therapist board-certified credential or a professional designation in good standing listed on the national music therapy registry. A person who recklessly, knowingly, or intentionally violates this bill is guilty of a simple misdemeanor. A simple misdemeanor is punishable by confinement for no more than 30 days or a fine of $65 to $625, or both.
[6/5: 15-0]

HF 2486 – Treasurer’s Seal/Voter Suppression Amendment

HF 2486 relates to the design and use of county seals. Under current law, a county treasurer must keep the official county seal. The bill strikes the requirement that the county seal include the word “treasurer.” The bill allows the impression or likeness of the applicable county seal to be included on a ballot.

The committee adopted a strike-all amendment that:

  • Takes a one-sentence, non-con bill about the design of county seals and replaces it with 30 pages of highly damaging and divisive voter suppression changes that include:
  • Restricting or eliminating the Secretary of State’s (SOS) ability to change election rules during the current pandemic.
  • Allowing the Legislature or Legislative Council to rescind an SOS emergency declaratory order.
  • Prohibiting SOS from modifying methods for conducting elections if federal offices are on the ballot.
  • Prohibiting the SOS from modifying requirements for Voter ID or absentee ballot request and delivery.
  • Prohibiting county auditors from reducing polling locations by more than 35%.
  • Prohibits county auditor from filling in ABR information “by best means available.” Instead county auditor must call/email and mail applicants to obtain missing information.
  • Allowing another auditor to oversee a recount and report inconsistencies to SOS.
  • Requiring voter ID to vote early.
  • Removing the option of a countywide mailing to check voter addresses and requires participation in the U.S. Postal Service national change of address program.
  • Automatically inactivating anyone who misses one general election. Mails citizens a four-year No Activity card (sent every two years) that says “Registered voters receiving such notice must be marked inactive.”
    • In one urban county, there is regularly a 10,000-voter gap between governor elections and presidential elections. The percentage may be higher in other places, targeting the weakest voters.
  • Increasing signatures to run for statewide/federal office.
  • Stripping presidential electors of their First Amendment rights. Electors would have to vote for their party’s nominee. A law that locks in electors to the party nominees may be unconstitutional.
  • Prohibiting SOS sending out ABRs without a written voter request.
  • Prohibiting SOS from doing a mass absentee request mailing.
  • Prohibiting county auditors mailing ballots to everyone.
  • Allowing more time for campaign signs to be in illegal locations (e.g., public right-of-way). It appears to say that if a sign is illegally placed on public property, only law enforcement or the streets department can remove it (e.g., there is concern that a candidate could put up signs at schools, but the school couldn’t take them down.
    [6/5: 10-5, party-line]

HF 2259 – Human trafficking prevention lodging certification for state employees

HF 2259 requires the Office to Combat Human Trafficking (OCHT), in collaboration with other relevant partners, to develop a human trafficking prevention training program. Lodging providers within the State may choose to voluntarily participate in the training. The Commissioner of Public Safety must develop and maintain a way to certify a lodging provider’s voluntary completion of human trafficking prevention training by December 31, 2021.

The bill specifies that a public employer or a public employee must confirm a lodging provider’s current certification status prior to using any public funds for or at that establishment. This applies to all public funds expended on or after January 1, 2022. Under the bill, a lodging provider’s employee who acts in good faith is immune from civil liability for reporting suspected human trafficking to law enforcement. There is a fiscal note of $156,00 for FY21 and $137,000 for FY22 for the Department of Public Safety.

A committee amendment was adopted to provide certain whistleblower employment and residency status protections to any employee who reports a suspected incident of human trafficking.
[6/5: 15-0]

HF 2540 – Creation of a charity wine, beer or spirits permit

HF 2540 creates a charity wine and beer event permit for a charity event held by a nonprofit.

An authorized nonprofit can hold a charity event and serve attendees beer, spirits and wine, regardless of whether the entity charges an admission fee to the event or collects the cost of the beer, spirits and wine served from the event’s attendees. An application for a charity beer, spirits and wine event permit must include the location, date and time when the event is to be conducted. A certification that proceeds from the charity beer, spirits and wine event are solely for educational, religious or charitable purposes must be displayed.

A charity beer, spirits and wine event must comply with these requirements:

  • The event is to be conducted on a premises covered by a valid liquor control license or wine or beer permit.
  • The nonprofit must have a written agreement with the liquor control licensee specifying that that licensee or permittee is the agent of the nonprofit for providing and serving alcoholic beverages.
  • The liquor control licensee must supply all alcoholic beverages served to the attendees.
  • An authorized nonprofit must be eligible to receive no more than two charity beer, spirits and wine event permits during a calendar year. The permit is valid for 36 consecutive hours. The fee is $100.

The committee adopted a strike-all amendment that includes:

  • Division I – is the original bill, HF 2540.
  • Division II – is HF 2514, which passed the House 98-0 on March 12, allowing for the sale of wine in containers no larger than 72 ounces (growler). This applies to a person holding a class “B” wine permit, class “B” native wine permit and a class “C” native wine permit.
  • Division III – allows class “C” liquor control licensees to sell liquor, wine, and mixed drinks or cocktails for off-premises consumption. Mixed drinks or cocktails will not be deemed an open container if the sealed container is unopened and the seal has not been tampered with, and the contents of the container have not been partially removed. It also allows purchase of beer growlers by telephone or electronic means. This seems to codify some of the Governor’s proclamations during the pandemic.
    [6/5: 9-6 (No: Democrats, Rozenboom)]

HF 2556 – Notification of government leases

HF 2556 is a government purchase or lease oversight bill.

First, the bill requires any property purchase or lease to give prior written notice to the Legislative Services Agency (LSA). LSA must submit the notification to the Legislature’s Government Oversight Committee.

Second, at least 30 days prior to entering into a contract for a lease renewal of at least $50,000, the state agency must notify LSA and the Government Oversight Committee. The report must contain a description of the buildings and office space; proposed terms of the contract; cost of the contract; source of payment of the contract; and an analysis of the consequences of delaying or abandoning the contract.

The committee adopted a strike-all amendment:

  • Division I is the original bill, HF 2556.
  • Division II is “new” language (essentially SF 2326) dealing with the sale of public property and is amended to provide that if real property belonging to the state or a local political subdivision is disposed of, the property must be sold to the highest responsive, responsible bidder unless the executive council, by at least a two-thirds vote, agrees to accept a different bidder for good cause.
  • Division III concerns official publications for bids. Selection of newspapers in which official proceedings must be published must be in the largest number yearly subscribers within the county, or located within 25 miles of the border of the county. If no newspaper meets either requirement, the applicable governing body may waive the requirements and designate the closest located newspaper.
    [6/5: 10-5, party-line]

HF 2585 – Deaf and hard-hearing terminology modernization

HF 2585 replaces the term “deaf” with “deaf or hard of hearing” or “deaf and hard of hearing” and the term “hearing impaired” with “hard of hearing.”
[6/5: 15-0]