State Government Committee – Week 9, 2021


SF 322 – DOM to decide effectiveness of Code chapter 8E

SF 322 requires the Department of Management (DOM) to conduct an evaluation of the effectiveness of Code chapter 8E, the Accountable Government Act, and to submit a report on its findings and recommendations to the Governor and the Legislature no later than December 21, 2021.
[3/8: 46-0 (Excused: Kraayenbrink, Nunn, Whiting)]


SF 424 – Apprenticeship and certain professional licensure requirements

SF 424 deals with licensure and completion of apprenticeship programs. It requires licensing boards in 272C.1 (everything from accounting to veterinary boards) to grant a license to a person who completes an apprenticeship program that meets federal requirements. Licensing boards may impose the same exams and fees for apprenticeship applicants as those who completed an educational program. It prohibits a board from requiring an applicant to complete more hours of apprenticeship training than the number of hours of education required in an educational program. The bill does not change the provisions for apprenticeship programs for licenses for electricians and electrical contractors or for plumbers, mechanical professionals and contractors. The bill takes effect January 1, 2022.
[3/8: 47-0 (Excused: Nunn, Whiting)]

SF 469 – Mobile home parks and local governments

SF 469 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 bill 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:

SF 476 – Police Immunity

SF 476 relates to law enforcement qualified immunity and protected information of law enforcement officers. As amended, the bill adds qualified immunity language to the state and local governments tort claims chapters. The bill makes a state or local government employee not be liable for monetary damages under any of these circumstances:

The qualified immunity language is effective upon enactment.

The bill makes changes to the peace officer investigation processes:

  • 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.
  • 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.

Other provisions:

Democrats offered amendments to protect constitutional rights that align with recent court decisions on qualified immunity while acting with due care, and an amendment to provide additional workers’ compensation and injury protections for police officers. The amendments were defeated.
[3/8: 36-12 (No: Bolkcom, Boulton, Celsi, Dotzler, Giddens, Hogg, Jochum, Petersen, Quirmbach, T. Taylor, Trone-Garriott, Wahls)]

SF 479 – State funding contingent on local budget for law enforcement

SF 479 denies state funds to a local entity if it reduces the budget of its 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:

State funds will be denied to a local entity for every year that 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.

Democrats offered three amendments that would have directly restored funding to police departments by requiring the state to backfill loss revenue from outlawing traffic cameras, enhancement to workers compensation and disability benefits, including adding PTSD as a recognized disability for police and fire fighters.  Republicans defeated or did not allow debate on any of these real solutions to support police and fire fighters.
[3/10:  41-7 (No: Bolkcom, Celsi, Jochum, Trone-Garriott, Petersen, Quirmbach, Wahls; Excused: Hogg, Nunn)]

SF 531 – Modifying conduct of elections during emergencies

SF 531 repeals the requirement that the exercise of emergency powers by the Secretary of State (SOS) be approved by the Legislative Council prior to taking effect. The bill allows the Legislature or the Legislative Council to rescind an emergency declaratory order.

The bill includes a host of prescriptive requirements that the Secretary of State must meet in exercising emergency powers, including those relating to polling places, dates of elections, counting of ballots and contesting of elections. The bill allows the SOS to call for a repeat election if an election-contest court determines that errors prevent the outcome of an election from being determined accurately. An amendment added under “other disaster” section, including pandemic, that “no modification made to the method for conducting elections will be made to allow an election to be conducted solely by mail.”
[3/9: 30-17 (Excused: Hogg, Nunn, Whiting)]

SF 540 – Barbering and cosmetology board consolidation, scope of practice

SF 540 merges the boards of Cosmetology Arts and Barbering into one board, reduces public membership by one and removes a separate position for an instructor. Current rules of both boards will remain in effect until the new board amends, rescinds or supplements the rules, or the rules expire by their own terms. The bill changes the definition of “cosmetology” by removing arranging, braiding and dressing of hair, and adds hairstyling. The bill also adds nail technology and barbering to the practices encompassed within the definition of “cosmetology.” The bill directs the Board of Barbering and Cosmetology Arts and Sciences to develop a program for certification of current cosmetologists to perform shaving with a straight edge razor. It clarifies the use of a straight edge razor and definition of a mobile salon.

The board’s authority to create a certificate for straight edge razor will not exceed 40 clock hours. The bill sets the training requirements for a license to practice esthetics at 600 hours and the training requirements for a license to practice nail technology at 325 hours. It adds a transition provision to allow currently enrolled students to finish their coursework in a 2,100-hour barbering program until August 1, 2022.

Scope of Practice – The bill preserves the ability of cosmetologists to provide such services and instructs the board to create a new license permitting barbering and hairstyling licensees to provide only barbering and hairstyling services. The bill also provides for the development of a process for the licensure of those who provide both hairstyling and barbering services, but who do not practice any of the other cosmetology arts and sciences.
[3/10:  48-0 (Excused: Hogg, Nunn)]

SF 541 – Smart Contracts in ledger technology

SF 541 modifies the Uniform Electronic Transactions Act by permitting the use of “distributed ledger technology” and “smart contracts” in electronic transactions. The bill allows this new technology to facilitate the use of electronic transactions in commerce by giving legal recognition to electronic records, signatures and contracts. Fifteen states have adopted this language this year. An amendment was adopted that removed cryptology and made the bill technology neutral, which will be useful as technology changes in the future.
[3/9: 30-17 (Excused: Hogg, Nunn, Whiting)]


SCR 5 – Encourages Congress to allow flexibility for nursing facility visitation

SCR 5 urges Congress to approve legislation allowing states flexibility in determining visitation parameters in nursing homes/facilities. Visiting restrictions were first established by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid of the United States Department of Health and Human Services (CMS) during the COVID-19 pandemic.

SCR 5 calls on CMS to not restrict visitation without a reasonable clinical or safety cause and any visitation restrictions must balance resident and staff safety with quality of life. Nursing facilities are regulated by the federal government, while state surveyors provide the day-to-day, ongoing inspection and oversight on behalf of the federal government necessary to deem a nursing facility compliant with federal and state laws and regulations. SCR 5 advocates that each state should be allowed the flexibility to develop reasonable ways for nursing facilities within the state to safely facilitate in-person visitation because states are in a better position to provide ongoing, hands-on guidance to nursing facilities located within the state.
[COMMITTEE 3/4: Short Form; FLOOR 3/9: 47-0 (Excused: Hogg, Nunn, Whiting)]


SSB 1237 – Public Measures/Elections Changes

SSB 1237 relates to the conduct of elections, including nominations and procedures for proposed amendments to the Iowa Constitution. Key provisions of the bill include:

Bond Elections: Not less than four days and not more than 20 days before an election, an auditor must publish notice containing a list of candidates and public measures to be voted upon. Costs for a notification sent or posted pursuant to this section may be charged to the entity requesting the public measure. For an election to approve the issuance of a bond, the bill requires auditors to send notification to all voters not later than 20 days before the election. The notification must include information about impacts of the proposed bond and the costs that can be charged to the entity requesting the public measure.

Public Measures/Elections Changes: The bill adds the first Tuesday after the first Monday in November of an even-numbered year as an available date for a county to hold a special election on a public measure. This does not apply to cities or school districts.

Constitutional Amendments/Petitions: The bill requires the constitutional convention question, which is required to be submitted every decade, to be treated the same as a public measure on a ballot.

Holding Two Offices/Vacancies: The bill allows an elected official to be elected to and simultaneously serve in a second office for not more than 30 days.Under the bill, if a person is elected to multiple incompatible offices and doesn’t resign from one, the vacancy will be in the first office to which the person was elected. Under current law, a vacancy occurs in all of the offices to which the person was elected.The bill includes an effective date of January 1, 2022, for sections of the division relating to ballot vacancies.

Filing/Withdrawal Deadlines: The bill changes the deadline for the filing and withdrawal of nomination papers for primary elections, as well as for filing objections to the nominations of candidates. The bill changes the timeline for the replacement of a candidate who withdraws from a primary or general election or dies.The bill requires a ballot for president and vice president of the United States to disclose that a vote for such candidates is a vote for the slate of electors selected by the organization nominating such candidates.

After Election Activities: The bill requires ballots to be returned to the auditor on the night of the election and allows election results to be returned by telephone only at the request of the county commissioner.If election results are communicated in-person, two precinct election officials, one of each party, or an individual designed by the commission (including but not limited to state or local law enforcement) must return the election results, and the memory device used by voting equipment to the auditor in a sealed envelope signed by each precinct election official on the night of the election. The two precinct election officials will be of different political parties in the case of a partisan election. The bill requires a third precinct election official to return the ballots and election register to the county commissioner.

Secretary of State: The bill requires the SOS to order election audits prior to all elections other than general elections. This provision of the bill takes effect January 1, 2022.The bill requires the SOS to develop an Internet application to allow voters to track their absentee ballot requests and ballots by February 26, 2024. The system must also inform a voter of an error in the voter’s application or ballot that requires correction.
[3/4: 10-5 (No: Democrats)]

SF 405 – Meeting requirements for time deposit funds committee

SF 405 changes the frequency of the meeting requirements from monthly to quarterly for a committee composed of the superintendent of banking, the superintendent of credit unions, the auditor of state and the treasurer of state to establish the minimum rate to be earned on state funds placed in time deposits. There hasn’t been a regular meeting in person but a meeting by email every month. Rates are posted on the State Treasure’s website.
[3/4: Short Form]

SF 438 – Expanded uses for emergency medical service providers grant program

SF 438 authorizes the state fire marshal to provide grants under the local fire protection and emergency medical service providers grant program to local volunteer fire protection service providers for the purchase of necessary equipment. This is in addition to the current authorization to provide grants for fireworks safety education programming and to purchase necessary equipment related to the sale and use of consumer fireworks.
[3/4: Short Form]

SF 517 – Schools will award credit, excuse PE for legislative pages

SF 517 directs school districts and accredited nonpublic schools to award credit of one-half unit of the three units of social studies credit required for graduation to students who participate in the legislative page program at the State Capitol. The bill also requires that a student be exempt from physical education requirements while participating in the legislative page program.
[3/4: Short Form]