State Government Committee – Week 7, 2021


SF 314 – DAS technical bill expanding designee authorizing ability

SF 314 will allow an executive branch department director to authorize a designee to approve electronic travel authorization request forms. Current law only allows the head of the department to approve these requests.
[2/23: 48-0 (Excused: Nunn, Shipley)]

SF 413 – Voter Suppression and penalties for county auditors 

SF 413 is the 2021 voter suppression bill. The bill contains many provisions that will make early voting harder for Iowans, make it harder for county auditors to conduct elections, increase the likelihood of mass voter roll purges, give the Secretary of State (SOS) broad and expanded authority to penalize county auditors, reduce satellite voting opportunities and ballot drop boxes.

As amended on the floor, key provisions include:

Absentee Ballots and Voting Restrictions

Auditor Restrictions/ SOS Powers/Penalties

Voter Registration

Ballot Drop Boxes

Miscellaneous Provisions

  • [2/23: 30-18 (Excused: Nunn, Shipley)]


SSB 1046 – State boards and regulation of certain professions

SSB 1046relates to the operation of state government, including the review and sunset of state boards and agencies and the regulation of certain professions.


“Regulation of unregulated health professionals” – Sets up a special legislative process for the review of legislation proposing subjective regulations.




  • [2/24: 10-5, party-line]

SSB 1151 – Uniform Commercial Code, co-ops and grain bins

SSB 1151, as amended in committee, establishes a central filing system for security interests in farm products, administered by the Secretary of State. The system will provide for electronic filing and examining of financing statements, and statements amending, continuing or terminating those statements on a statewide basis. It will be designed for individuals to file and examine financing statements over the Internet, but the Secretary may also provide the information in paper format.

Currently, there are two ways to notify buyers of agricultural products that a security interest exists: direct paper notices, and electronic notice through the Secretary of State’s office. Opponents say the current direct paper notice system works for all parties and requiring them to move to Central Filing System is burdensome. Proponents maintain Iowa should allow lenders to file electronically to provide buyers with a more efficient, cost-effective way to access the information to determine if a security interest exists on the farm products being sold. The lender files a notice and buyers do a simple search on the registry. Federal law allows unique identification numbers on the notices, whereas paper notices must include the buyer’s social security number, and the buyer is responsible for keeping the paper notices and taking appropriate action when farmers sell their products. At least 20 states, including Nebraska, Minnesota and South Dakota, now use the electronic notice. The bill takes effect July 1, 2022, to allow the Secretary of State’s office to get the electronic filing system up and running.
[2/24: 10-5 (No: Bisignano, Boulton, Celsi, Goodwin, Jochum)]

SF 218 – Cost for review/copy of public records

SF 218 adds the qualifier of “reasonable” to current code regarding the cost or expense to examine or copy public records. The bill also prohibits a fee being charged for supervising the examination or copying public records or for legal services for the redaction or review of the public records. The redacting of files before public review is usually the costliest part of responding to an open records request.
[2/24: 15-0]

SSB 1165 – Mobile home parks and local governments

SSB 1165 relates to local governments putting conditions on manufactured housing communities when a replacement manufactured home is being placed on a site in the park. This specifically addresses nonconforming use of manufactured home parks. A nonconforming use is a use of property that was allowed under the zoning regulations at the time the use was established but which, because of subsequent changes in those regulations, is no longer a permitted use. The City of Des Moines engaged in discussions with the Manufactured Housing Association regarding this legislation.

SSB 1165 prohibits any city or county from imposing any conditions on a replacement manufactured, modular or mobile home that were not required of the preexisting home that would prevent the continuance of the nonconforming use.

There are exceptions:

A Committee amendment was adopted that strikes “voluntarily” from “voluntarily discontinued and abandoned the nonconforming use unless the cause for discontinuance is outside the control of the property owner.”
[2/24: 11-4 (No: Boulton, Celsi, Giddens, Jochum)]

SSB 1171 – ABD technical clean up

SSB 1171 makes technical and clean up changes to Iowa’s alcohol laws. The Legislature passed HF 2540 in 2020, which codified some of the temporary suspension-of-regulatory provisions related to the sale of alcoholic beverages that were authorized by the Governor’s Proclamations of Disaster Emergency issued in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. The Alcoholic Beverages Division has identified two instances where the language in the new law should be clarified to create word usage that is consistent with other areas of the chapter. Clarifies the condition of the container of alcoholic liquor and wine that bars and restaurants are now allowed to sell for off-premises consumption by adding the phrase “original unopened” to the sentence. Provides consistent language for all containers of alcoholic liquor sold for off-premises consumption by clarifying that mixed drinks or cocktails must also be sealed to be deemed not opened containers. This is consistent language to that for wine/beer growlers.

There was a strike-all amendment adopted that does two things. Operation 1 is a request by Iowa Economic Development Authority (IEDA) based on the recommendations from Governor’s Economic Recovery Advisory Board. The first section transfers $5 million annually from the Beer and Liquor Control Fund to support a dedicated statewide tourism marketing campaign. This money will do the following: 1) Increase the maximum awards for the Iowa Tourism Marketing Grant Program from $5,000 per application to $25,000; 2) Provide convention and visitors bureaus, chambers, attractions and other tourism entities with more options for regional marketing; 3) Broaden the market reach for out-of-state campaigns; 4) Provide a funding for niche tourism campaigns; and 5) Create a pilot program for creative placemaking initiatives.

The second operation requires $2 million out of the $5 million transferred for FY22 to be used by a statewide nonprofit organization whose sole purpose is to market and support tourism efforts in rural and urban Iowa.
[2/24: 9-5 (No: Democrats; Present: Koelker)]

SSB 1178 – Peace Officers bill of rights

SSB 1178 relates to law enforcement qualified immunity, peace officers bill of rights and protected information of law enforcement officers.

Division I- Qualified Immunity: Adds new language regarding the tort liability of law enforcement officers under the state tort claims act. A law enforcement officer will not be found liable in any action for damages in their individual capacity if the state law was not sufficiently clear so that the officer would have understood the conduct was a violation of the Constitution or any other law, or the law was not clearly established at the time of the incident giving rise to the claim against the officer.

  • The burden is on the plaintiff to show that the law enforcement officer violated a clearly established Constitutional or statutory right.
  • The officer’s employing agency will not be liable if the officer is found not liable per new section 669A.3.
  • This chapter supplants any other law that would provide less protection to a law enforcement officer.

Division II – Peace Officers’ Bill of Rights: The bill makes changes to the current Code language relating to the Peace Officers’ Bill of Rights.

  • When there is a formal administrative investigation of an officer, the officer must be notified in writing of the preliminary results of the investigation. When the investigation is complete, the officer is to receive any recommendations for the disposition of the complaint and discipline.
  • When a formal administrative investigation of an officer is initiated, the agency must promptly serve the officer under investigation with written notice of the complaint, inform the officer of the right to counsel and give the officer a copy of the Peace Officer Bill of Rights. The notice to the officer must include the names of all the complainants, the date of the occurrence giving rise to the complaint, a summary of the factual allegations against the officer and who is in charge of the formal administrative investigation.
  • A complete copy of the officer’s incident reports, other statements, and any officer’s video or audio recordings from the incident must be given to the officer or officer’s counsel upon written request and without unnecessary delay prior to the interview of the officer.
  • Officer has the right to legal counsel at all proceedings related to the complaint.
  • All communications between legal counsel, the union representative or employee representative are privileged information and not subject to disclosure.
  • If the administrative investigation results in any disciplinary action against the officer, the complete investigative report is to be provided to the officer or the officer’s counsel at the completion of the investigation.
  • All personal information is confidential and must be redacted from any record prior to release to the public by the employing agency.
  • An officer who has had a false complaint against them may file a civil action for damages for the injuries suffered as a result of the false complaint.
  • All statements, recordings, transcripts of any interviews or disciplinary proceedings, and any complaints against the officer are confidential.
  • The employing agency must provide training to any officer who may perform or supervise an investigation. Iowa Law Enforcement Academy is responsible for developing training standards.

Division III – Protected Information: A law enforcement officer may request that the officer’s name be redacted from the County Land Records Information System. In addition to a peer support group counselor, any individual present for a group crisis intervention, or a civilian employee of a law enforcement agency or fire department will not be allowed to disclose any confidential communication by the officer or civilian employee while receiving counseling or group crisis intervention.

Democrats offered an amendment to protect constitutional rights that align with recent court decisions on qualified immunity while acting with due care. The amendment was defeated. However, Amendment 1178.815 was adopted and does the following:

Action 1:  

  • Makes changes to Division I relating to qualified immunity for law enforcement. It says a law enforcement officer is entitled to qualified immunity if the right secured by the Constitution or any other law was not clearly established at the time of the alleged deprivation, or if state law was not sufficiently clear that a reasonable officer would have believed that their actions were a violation, then the officer is entitled to qualified immunity.
  • The burden is on the plaintiff to show that the law enforcement officer violated a clearly established Constitutional or statutory right at the time of the officer’s conduct.

Action 2: Makes some changes to the Peace Officer Bill of Rights Division:

  • Rather than all video or audio of the incident under investigation being provided to the officer upon written request of the officer or legal counsel, the agency will provide the officer’s video or audio of the incident to the officer.
  • Removes the requirement that the reports, etc., be provided at least 72 hours prior to the interview of the officer. Says reports will be given to the officer without unnecessary delay prior to an interview.
  • Keeps current Code language, which says that if a formal administrative investigation results in disciplinary action, the report is to be given to the officer or the officer’s legal counsel. The bill says if there “may” be disciplinary action.
  • Adds a new office to the bill relating to Uniform Commercial Code filings. This new office is a response to filings against law enforcement officers made by a group called “Sovereign Citizens.” In addition to harassing court filings, they engage in fraudulent Uniform Commercial Code filings against law enforcement officers, which the Secretary of State has no authority to reject. The amendment authorizes the Secretary of State to refuse to accept a financing statement that is not created pursuant to the UCC, or is otherwise intended for an improper purpose, among other allowable reasons to reject a filing.
    [2/24: 12-3 (No: Boulton, Celsi, Jochum)]

SSB 1201 – Outdated coal language clean up

SSB 1201 strikes a requirement that any commission, board, county officer or other governing body of the state, or of any county, township, school district or city, purchase or use coal mined or produced in Iowa by producers who comply with Iowa workers’ compensation and mining laws. The bill cleans up outdated coal language. There is no coal production in Iowa to give preference to. Iowa hasn’t mined coal since 1994.
[2/24: 15-0]

SSB 1203 – State funding contingent on local budget for law enforcement

SSB 1203 denies state funds to a local entity if the local entity reduces the budget of their law enforcement agency, unless the total budget of the local entity is reduced by an equal or larger percentage, or the local entity provides sufficient justification for the reduction. Sufficient justification may include reductions related to one-time capital or one-time equipment or vehicle purchases in the prior fiscal year; reductions related to lower personnel cost of law enforcement due only to lower cost of entry-level law enforcement personnel; reductions due to the merging or consolidation of jail services, communications and dispatch services, or law enforcement agencies; and reductions due to reduced population in a jurisdiction served by a law enforcement agency.

State funds will be denied to a local entity by all state agencies for every year after the law enforcement agency’s budget is reduced. State funds will continue to be denied until eligibility to receive state funds is reinstated. State funds for law enforcement purposes will not be denied. The Department of Management is directed to adopt rules to implement the provisions of the bill.
[2/24: 11-4 (No: Bisignano, Boulton, Celsi, Jochum)]