SF 2119 – Exempting the practice of threading from licensure requirements
SF 2119 would exempt the practice of threading from the licensure requirements under the Board of Cosmetology. Threading is defined as the removal of hairs from the eyebrows, upper lip or other body parts by the use of thread. This practice may also involve the use of astringents, gels, powders, tweezers and scissors that are incidental to the use of thread.
Currently, certain processes for removing hair from the body fall under the scope of an aesthetician, which is a licensed profession under the Board of Cosmetology. That license requires a number of hours of education to meet the standards for licensure and practice in that profession. The practice of threading is not taught at any cosmetology schools in Iowa, and this practice does not involve many of the other practices that are conducted by a licensed aesthetician.
[2/22: 49-0 (Excused: Zaun)]
SF 2266 – Compensation and benefits limits for retirees under IPERS
SF 2266 would raise the annual compensation limit for retirees in covered professions under the Iowa Public Employees Retirement System (IPERS). The annual compensation limit would be raised from $30,000 to $50,000. This income level was last raised 25 years ago. This proposal was developed by the IPERS Benefits Advisory Council (BAC), which includes representatives from employees and employers.
Current law limits the annual compensation of a bonified retiree under the system before their compensation results in a reduction of their IPERS benefits. Compensation that exceeds the set amount reduces IPERS benefits by $1 for every $2 above the set limit. The bill does not make changes to the four-month waiting period an individual must remain out of employment before they can be considered a bonified retiree under the IPERS system.
The bill also increases the compensation and contract limits that a school board member can receive from the school district in which they serve. The current level is $6,000; the bill raises the level to $20,000.
[2/21: 49-0 (Excused: Hogg)]
SF 2324 – Real estate teams and brokerage notification requirements
SF 2324 would provide a standard definition for “real estate teams,” which are becoming a more common practice in real estate brokerage. Teams would be defined as two or more licensees assigned to the same broker who work together to provide real estate brokerage services and represent themselves as a team.
The bill also includes a requirement that an individual licensee or real estate team conspicuously identify the brokerage name in public information on brokerage listings. This provides transparency for the point of contact on a real estate brokerage listing.
The committee adopted an amendment to address a number of drafting issues with the original bill. The bill also provides a delayed effective date for the provision dealing with displays of information to allow more time for licensees or real estate teams to come into compliance.
[2/22: 48-0 (Excused: Mathis, Zaun)]
SF 2322 – Cost for review/copy of public records
SF 2322 provides a “reasonable” standard for determining the cost or expense to examine or copy public records. Additionally, the bill provides that a custodian’s determination of what constitutes “reasonable costs” can be contested according to the standards of Chapter 22, and would be appealed to the Iowa Public Information Board. The bill says that reasonable effort should be made by records custodians to provide records at no cost, other than copying costs, if the record takes less than 30 minutes total to produce. Finally, the bill says that fees for redaction can only be allowed when the redaction or review is for legally protected confidential information. The redacting of files before public review is usually the costliest part of responding to an open records request.
[2/23: 48-0 (Excused: Zaun, Zumbach)]
SF 2260 – Adoption of certain animals from research facilities
SF 2260 would require a research facility receiving state or federal moneys to participate in an adoption program for cats and dogs that had been confined at the facility. Once the animal is “retired” from research, the facility must offer the animal to a rescue organization or to an individual as part of a private adoption arrangement. Qualifying animals would not have a substantial medical condition or pose a safety risk to the public.
[2/16: Short form (Excused: Giddens, Koelker)]
SF 2271 – Prohibiting the investment of public funds in Chinese government or military companies
SF 2271 would prohibit public investment funds from investing in companies owned or controlled by Chinese military or government services. The funds will divest from any identified companies that are held as investments in the fund. This prohibition would be similar to the existing state laws prohibiting public funds from holding Sudan and Iran-related investments or companies that are involved in boycotting Israel.
[2/16: 12-1 (No: Celsi; Excused: Giddens, Koelker)]
SF 2343 – Election law changes
SF 2343 bill makes changes to election laws regarding nominating petitions, recounts, absentee voting and contested elections.
Prohibition on private funds to conduct election activities
This section would prohibit elections officials from accepting any funding other than lawful appropriations of public funds to conduct an election. This would prohibit accepting grants and other contributions from other sources. During the last election, a number of voting access groups helped finance expanded polling sites and staffing because of the pandemic. One group that did this was the Center for Tech and Civic Life, which is based in Silicon Valley and has members on its board from Facebook, Google and other large tech companies. This prohibition does not apply to donating a building for use as a polling place.
The bill proposes to standardize the procedures for conducting recounts, as well as making modifications to the composition of recount boards. These changes would:
- Require a recount to take place at all precincts in a county where a recount is taking place. Currently, candidates can request recounts in one or more specified precincts.
- Require a request for a recount to specify if the recount will be done by hand or by automatic tabulating equipment. If a request for a hand recount is made in one county, the candidate must request a hand recount in all other counties conducting a recount in that contest.
- Revise the current structure of county recount boards. Currently, all boards are made up of three people: one for each candidate and a third mutually agreed to by both appointed members. The bill establishes new structures that are based on the size of the county where the recount is taking place:
- Counties with a population of fewer than 15,000:
- One designee from the candidate requesting the recount, who must be named in the written request when the request is filed;
- One designee from the apparent winning candidate, who will be named at or before the time the board must convene;
- One member who is a precinct official selected by the chief judge of the district in which the recount occurs at or before the time board must convene.
- Counties with population 15,000 up to 49,999:
- Three members who is a precinct official selected by the chief judge of the district in which the recount occurs at or before the time must convene.
- Counties with population 50,000 and above:
- Two designees from the candidate requesting the recount, who must be named in the written request when the request is filed;
- Two designees from the apparent winning candidate, who will be named at or before the time the board must convene;
- Counties with a population of fewer than 15,000:
The bill standardizes some definitions for absentee ballot envelopes and the methods for delivering the ballot to the voter.
A significant change to absentee voting procedures is a new provision that would result in the rejection of an absentee ballot. The bill removes the signature comparison standard for declaring a ballot defective. Instead, a ballot can be determined defective if the voter verification number on the ballot does not match the number associated with the voter’s voter registration. This information is already required, but an error or absence of the voter identification number currently does not automatically render a ballot defective as would happen under the bill. A similar law in Texas has causes a large percentage of ballots to be rejected.
The bill requires that the majority and minority leaders of each chamber be members of a contest court for a contested election for governor and lieutenant governor. Additionally, the bill changes the order of who will be assigned as clerk of a court for a contest in elections involving presidential electors, congresspersons and state officers. Currently, the secretary of state is first designate as clerk of the court of contest, with clerk of the Supreme Court serving in case of absence or inability. The bill places the clerk of the Supreme Court first and the secretary of state as the reserve.
Other provision from the bill
- Requires counties to report unofficial results on election night to the Secretary of State for primary, school and city elections using the same reporting system already in use for General Elections.
- Authorizes the use of an electronic election register at a polling site in lieu of a paper register. The electronic register must be certified by the secretary of state.
- Allows political parties to post the dates and times of party caucuses on the political party’s Internet site in lieu of publishing the information in a newspaper. The information posted on their site must be free and accessible to the public, and contain the same information that would be included in a notice published in the newspaper.
- Eliminates Mondays following an election as a possible date for boards of supervisors to hold the official canvass of votes. Currently, the canvass can be held on either a Monday or a Tuesday.
- Changes the name of the existing administrative recount process to “administrative audit.” These are done by the election commissioner when the commissioner suspects a malfunction of voting equipment, programming errors or counting errors are reported to the commissioner by precinct officials.
- Provides an exemption from the requirement of a special election to fill a vacancy for representative to Congress or a member of the Legislature if the relevant chamber does not meet prior to the next General Election.
[2/16: 9-4, Party-line (Excused: Giddens, Koelker)]
SF 2350 – Alcoholic beverages control and licensing
SF 2350 contains a number of changes to alcoholic beverage licensing process. Some of these changes were originally proposed by the Alcoholic Beverages Division (ABD) as part of their department omnibus proposal, while others are part of a larger move to reduce the number of licenses that retailers and manufacturers need to hold to sell products and the fees they must pay.
The ABD proposals make a number of changes, including:
- Allowing the automatic renewal of certain license and certificate types provided the licensee/certificate holder has remained in compliance with all applicable laws, rules and regulations during the previous year.
- Creating Sunday sales equity across all retail license/permit classifications by removing the special permit for Sunday sales.
- Reducing the number of licenses/permits required to sell alcoholic liquor, wine and beer from three to one. This allows a class “E” liquor license holder to sell beer and wine without having to acquire separate beer-to-go and wine permits.
- Simplifying the criteria used to determine certain license fees. The bill removes the sale of gasoline as criteria for determining the fee a licensee must pay.
- Combining two separate permits (special auction and event) obtained by charities so that they only need to obtain one permit to conduct special events.
- Streamlining the keg registration process to make it easier for beer retailers and to reduce time and resources expended by ABD.
- Making other non-substantive technical changes to make the law easier to understand and enforce.
The larger portion of the bill makes changes to the existing license structure to reduce the number of permits and licenses needed. These changes include:
- Change the name of the Class “A” liquor license for non-profits to a Class “F” retail alcohol license. This does not change the regulations associated with the permit.
- Eliminates the current Class “B” liquor license for hotels/motels. These establishments will fall under the Class “C” retail alcohol license for bars/taverns and restaurants.
- Grocery stores, liquor stores and convenience stores will be licensed for retail sales of liquor, wine and beer-to-go as a Class “B” retail alcohol licenses.
- Establishes a special Class “B” retail alcohol license for the sale of Iowa native wine only. This is for sale in original packaging and for off-premises consumption only.
- The bill also reduces fees for most current license holders, but not all.
[2/16: Short form (Excused: Giddens, Koelker)]
SF2361 – Governor’s housing/workforce bill
SF 2361 is the Governor’s bill proposal on various housing and workforce issues.
Division I – Local zoning and inspections
This division of the bill would restrict cities and counties from enforcing ordinances under their local zoning powers if four-fifths of the lots do not comply with the ordinance. The division also prohibits cities and counties from requiring inspection of manufactured homes that have been inspected and constructed according to federal law.
Division II – Work-based Learning
This division would require local school districts to file reports with the state regarding student participation in the district’s work-based learning programs. The bill also requires the Board of Educational Examiners to establish a work-based learning program supervisor certification. This would allow non-educators or administrators to become certified as a supervisor for a work-based learning program.
Division III – Health Care Workforce Recruitment
This division makes changes to the rural Iowa primary care provider loan forgiveness program. The program provides loan forgiveness for medical students who agree to serve in a service commitment area. An eligible service commitment area is defined as a city in Iowa with a population of less than 26,000 that is located more than 20 miles from a city with a population of 50,000 or more.
The bill will:
- Allow eligibility for part-time (at least 70%) service in rural Iowa.
- Removes the requirement that the residency be completed in Iowa.
- Extends the program to individuals practicing neurology.
- Allows unexpended funds to help eligible individuals who did not enter into an agreement when they were in the last year of medical school.
The bill also adds advanced registered nurse practitioners and registered nurses to the eligible professions under the Health Professional Recruitment Program. This program aids individuals in eligible professions who complete four years of service in an eligible Iowa community. Preference is given to Iowa residents serving in communities with a population of 10,000 or less that are located in a federally designated Health Professional Shortage Area or a Governor’s Designated Rural Health Clinic County.
The bill renames the Health Care Loan Repayment program as the Health Care Award Program. The Health Care Loan Repayment Program provides repayment of qualified loans for registered nurses, advanced registered nurse practitioners, physician assistants and nurse educators who practice full time in a service commitment area or teach in Iowa. Under the changes, nurse educators who do education part time would be eligible for assistance as long as they also work part time in the nursing profession. The program would also help eligible individuals who do not have loan debt by providing an annual award in lieu of loan repayment.
Division IV – Professional licensing for military spouses
The bill requires professional licensing boards to adopt rules that would provide for the expedited licensure of an individual who is married to an active duty service member if that individual is licensed in a similar profession or occupation in another state. The bill also provides for provisional licensure of that individual if the state board finds that the out-of-state license does not provide for a substantially similar scope of practice as the Iowa license in order for the individual to complete the necessary licensing requirements in Iowa.
The bill would also waive licensing fees for an individual who is a veteran with at least a 25% service connected disability.
Division V – Emergency Medical Care provider certificate – Military or National Guard
The bill also requires waiving the fee for examination for emergency medical provider certification if the individual is federal military or National Guard active duty, or has been honorably or generally discharged from such duty.
Division VI – Hunting and Fishing licenses for retired military
The bill expands eligibility for the existing veteran lifetime hunting and fishing license. Currently, the license is restricted to those with a service-connected disability or those who were prisoners of war. The bill removes those qualifications so that all who served in federal active duty may apply for the license.
Division VII – Veterans’ driver’s license and parking fees
The bill provides certain driver’s license fee exemptions for certain veterans. Specifically, the bill exempts veterans with a 100% permanent service connected disability from fees for noncommercial driver’s licenses and motorcycle licenses. Federal and state active duty military and honorably discharged veterans are exempt from fees on commercial driver’s licenses and chauffer’s licenses.
The bill also includes an exemption from enforcement of parking fees by cities at metered and non-metered parking facilities for individuals driving a car with certain military service connected special registration plates. These plates include:
- Medal of Honor
- Ex-prisoners of war
- Purple Heart
- Plates for disabled veterans displaying “DV” characters
Division VII – Military service property tax exemption
The bill increases the existing military service property tax exemption by $650 from $1,850 to $2,500. This exemption is in addition to the homestead property tax exemption that is available to all homeowners on their primary residence.
Division IX – Temporary Insurance producer licenses
The bill establishes temporary resident and temporary nonresident insurance licenses. The temporary license will be issued to an individual who meets the requirements to apply for an insurance producer license and has submitted fingerprints and other information relating to the criminal background check process that is in place for full licensure. The temporary license would allow the individual to practice during the time the criminal background check is taking place. Upon completion of the criminal background check, the individual will be issued a license or denied based on the results of the background check.
Division X – State Building Code
The bill places numerous provisions of state building codes into the Iowa Code. Currently, these provisions and others are adopted in the Iowa Administrative Code through the rulemaking process. This portion of the bill would place the responsibility for updating the components of the state building codes with the Legislature. The bill also prohibits local jurisdictions from adopting their own building codes that are more restrictive than the state building codes.
The state building codes are based on various international building codes, with certain changes made based on considerations specific to Iowa. These codes are updated every three years, and the process to amend the state Codes involves review by the boards governing those areas and interested stakeholders. Building codes are in place to provide minimum standards in construction for public safety and health. The codes also provide some certainty for insurance risk assessment and common design standards for those who are involved in constructing structures across many jurisdictions.
The committee adopted an amendment that makes changes to the bill. These include:
- Clarifies that, as part of developing an individualized career and academic plan, when preparing a student to file a free application for federal student aid (FAFSA), the preparation happens prior to graduation of the student.
- Changes to the military spouse licensure sections of the bill – The amendment revises the Governor’s proposal on expediated licensure for military spouses by aligning it with existing provisions on licensure for people from other states that was passed in 2021. The amendment provides that the expediated licensure process is adopted along with the process for licensing individuals from other jurisdictions.
- Amends the fee waiver for disabled veterans so that it applies to all veterans for their initial application fee and one renewal application.
- The amendment also clarifies the bill’s provisions on parking fees for certain special veteran license plates so that it would not preclude a city’s authority to enforce other parking-related ordinances, including snow and emergency route, as well as when and where parking is prohibited.
[2/16: 9-4, Party-line (Excused: Giddens, Koelker)]