State Government Committee – Week 4, 2022


SF 2015 – Cognitive screenings by speech pathologist and audiologists

SF 2015 would authorize certified audiologists or speech pathologists to administer specified cognitive screenings and then refer the patient to an appropriate health care provider for further evaluation. This would add the ability to perform cognitive screenings to the scope of practice for these professions.

This change had been proposed by the Board of Speech Pathology and Audiology through the administrative rulemaking process. The rulemaking was initiated by the board based on the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association recognizing cognitive screenings as within their scope of practice. Generally, scope of practice changes for licensed health care professionals is done through legislation, not by the recommendation of the licensing board.

The committee adopted an amendment to clarify that the types of cognitive screenings that can be administered by certified audiologists and speech pathologists are those outlined in the rulemaking process.
[2/2: Short Form]

SF 355 – Fees charged to employees by employers for copies of personnel files

SF 355 requires employers to provide employees with one copy of their personnel file at no charge upon request. Under current law, an employer may charge a reasonable fee for each page of a copy made of the employee’s personnel file. The bill permits employers to charge such fees for any subsequent copies requested. The bill takes effect upon enactment and applies retroactively to copies of personnel files obtained by employees on or after January 1, 2021. If an employer charged a fee for the employee’s personnel file on or after that date, they must reimburse the employee.

An amendment allows employers to provide the personnel file electronically. The committee adopted an amendment to remove the retroactive applicability date and sets the bill as effective upon enactment. This will prevent situations where an employer would have to track down and reimburse a former employee.
[2/2: Short Form]

SF 409 – Extend time for citizens to file complaint with Iowa Public Information Board

SF 409 allows a person 90 days to file a complaint with the Iowa Public Information Board after the alleged violation occurred or the complainant could have become aware of the alleged violation. Current law allows 60 days to file a complaint.
[2/2: Short Form]

SF 2022 – Allowing the practice of cosmetology and barbering in a home

SF 2022 would allow a licensed cosmetologist or a licensed barber to practice outside of a licensed establishment as long as the location is the home of the customer. The Board of Cosmetology Arts and Sciences and the Board of Barbering will adopt rules for practice at a home location.

The law currently prohibits the practice of cosmetology and barbering by a licensee outside of a licensed establishment, with the exception of barbering, which is allowed under extenuating circumstances arising from the physical or mental disability or death of a customer.
[2/2: Short Form]

SSB 3007 – Allowed use of interest on moneys in the Flood Recover Fund

SSB 3007 would allow the Department of Homeland Security and Emergency Management (HLSEM) to use interest earned on moneys deposited into the state’s Flood Recovery Fund to cover operations expenses for the flood mitigation program and expense reimbursements for the Flood Mitigation Board.

HLSEM is charged with administering the flood mitigation program and providing support to applicants and members of the Flood Mitigation Board as they review applicants. The existing funding for this work comes from the small appropriation to the department and available federal dollars.
[2/2: Short Form]

SSB 3029 – Disaster response immunity for state actors or agents

SSB 3029 would expand liability protections for state officers, employees or agents when responding to a declared disaster emergency. There are existing liability protections for disaster response when removing debris from private property or responding to disasters in other states as part of a mutual aid compact. This proposal aims to address a perceived gap in liability protections when removing debris from public property and infrastructure.

The committee adopted a strike-after amendment to address issues identified at subcommittee. The amendment places the new language addressing liability protections for debris removal on public property under existing state law on disaster response, and establishes a “good faith” standard for actions under this protection. The amendment also aligns the process for determining when an individual is acting within the scope of their employment with the existing State Tort Claims Act in Chapter 669.
[2/2: Short Form]

SJR 15 – Amendment to the Constitution on gubernatorial succession

SJR 15 is a joint resolution to amend the Constitution of the State of Iowa relating to the gubernatorial line of succession. The bill creates a system of succession in the case of a permanent or temporary disability of the governor or governor-elect. In the case of a temporary disability of the governor or governor-elect, the lieutenant governor or lieutenant governor-elect will act as governor or governor-elect until the disability is removed, or the governor dies, resigns or is removed from office. In the case of the death, resignation or removal from office of the governor or governor-elect, the lieutenant governor or lieutenant governor-elect will become governor or governor-elect for the rest of the term, and the office of lieutenant governor will become vacant.

This issue came to a head in 2017 when Kim Reynolds became governor after Terry Branstad left office to be U.S. Ambassador to China. Lawmakers passed SJR 2003 in 2019 to clarify the gubernatorial line of succession in the Iowa Constitution, because the Secretary of State didn’t publish the required notice after similar legislation passed in 2018. This set the process back to step one. The soonest the measure could now move to the ballot is 2022.
[2/2: Short Form]