Judiciary – All-Bill Summary 2020

All bills assigned to the Senate Judiciary Committee, passed by the Legislature and sent to the Governor for her signature in 2020.

SF 457 – Criminal surcharge, court debt, restitution (technically an Appropriations bill)

SF 457 relates to surcharges added to criminal penalties, court funds, civil fees, misdemeanors and felony fines. The initial impetus was to establish a dedicated funding stream for the Division of Criminal Investigation crime lab. There has been a lot of concern about the length of time it takes to test sexual assault kits and the delay is caused by lack of staff and equipment at the lab. However, the bill grew to be much more.

Under the bill, a percentage of the crime services surcharge (renamed in the bill from “criminal penalty surcharge” to “crime services surcharge”) that is added to criminal fines is designated specifically for the crime lab. The remaining criminal surcharge monies will go to the Juvenile Detention Home Fund, Victim Compensation Fund, and the Drug Abuse Resistance Education Fund under the control of the Office of Drug Control Policy.

To divert money to the crime lab and other entities not previously funded by the surcharge while not reduce General Fund receipts, the bill makes multiple changes to the Iowa Code that are intended to be “revenue neutral” to the General Fund.

The bill does the following:

  • Increases numerous scheduled fines and non-scheduled fines for simple misdemeanors, serious misdemeanors, aggravated misdemeanors, “D” felonies and “C” felonies.
  • Reduces the criminal surcharge that is added to all criminal fines from 35% to 15%.
  • Removes a number of surcharges that are added to fines for certain crimes.
  • Increases certain civil filing fees.
  • Deposits increased fines and civil filing fees into the General Fund.
  • Distributes crime services surcharges to specified purposes.
  • Makes changes to Iowa’s Court Debt Collection system.
  • Changes the definition of restitution relating to costs owed by a defendant, and specifies which restitution is subject to a defendant’s ability to pay and which is required.
  • Increases the amount the Judicial Branch may deposit in the Court Technology and Modernization fund.
  • Creates an “Iowa Emergency Food Purchase Program Fund” to be administered by the Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship.

Additional details on the legislation:

Division I – Criminal Surcharge Changes, City Fines and Domestic Violence Court Costs:

  • Under previous law, a 35% surcharge was added to the criminal fine required to be paid by the defendant. The bill changes the name to “crime services surcharge” and reduces the surcharge from 35% to 15% of the criminal fine.
  • All crime services surcharge monies will be retained by the State (under previous law, 5% stayed with the city or county where the offense occurred) and will be distributed as follows:
  • 46% to the Juvenile Detention Home Fund.
  • 32% to the Victim Compensation Fund administered by the Victim Assistance Division of the Attorney General’s Office.
  • 20% to the existing Criminalistics Laboratory Fund (Code Section 691.9).
  • 2% to the Drug Abuse Resistance Education Fund created in the bill.
  • The bill creates an “Agricultural Property Offense Surcharge” of $500 to be added to the fine for a conviction of theft of agricultural property, or a conviction of criminal mischief by damaging, defacing, altering or destroying agricultural property. This money will go to the Iowa Emergency Food Purchase Program Fund to be administered by the Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship.
  • The bill eliminates the drug abuse resistance education (DARE) surcharge of $10, which has been assessed for offenses in chapter 321J (OWI) or chapter 124, subchapter IV (controlled substances).
  • The bill eliminates the Law Enforcement Initiative Surcharge, a $125 assessment added to criminal fines when a defendant is convicted certain crimes.
  • The bill removes the $5 County Enforcement Surcharge on scheduled violations.
  • Division I reduces court costs for scheduled violations from $60 to $55.
  • Fines for violations of county ordinances will be distributed 91% to the State and 9% to the county. Of the amount remitted to the State, 1.3% must be deposited in the Emergency Medical Services Fund.
  • Distribution of fines and forfeited bail to cities when the city is the plaintiff in an action will be 80% to the city and 20% to the state. Under previous law, it was 90% to the city and 10% to the state.

Division II – Court Funds:

  • Under previous law, two technology funds in Code benefitted the Judicial Branch, the Enhanced Court Collections Fund (602.1304) and the Court Technology and Modernization Fund (602.8108). They receive a combined $5 million “off the top,” meaning the Judicial Branch did not deposit that $5 million into the General Fund when court debt was collected, but kept $5 million of its collections and deposited it into the funds– $1 million to the Court Technology and Modernization Fund, $4 million to the Enhanced Court Collections Fund.
  • The bill does away with the Enhanced Court Collections Fund, but maintains the Court Technology and Modernization Fund and provides that $7 million be deposited directly into that fund. (Code Section 602.8108)

Division III – Civil Fees and Court Costs

  • Division III increases civil filing fees for various filings, including some family law filings. Many of the filing fees are increased by $10.
  • The bill does away with the filing fee for a petition for adoption.

Division IV – Fines for Scheduled Violations:

  • The bill changes various non-scheduled simple misdemeanors to simple misdemeanors punishable as scheduled violations, meaning there is generally no need to show up to court. The violator receives a ticket with the applicable fine and court costs. These include:
  • Speeding by an implement of husbandry
  • Registration violations
  • Unlawful possession of a traffic control device
  • Leaving the scene of an accident – property damage only
  • Striking an unattended vehicle
  • Striking fixtures upon a highway
  • Failure to yield to a funeral procession
  • Violations relating to clearing up a wreck
  • Improper performance ability of motor vehicle breaks
  • Division IV increases fines for multiple scheduled violations, primarily motor vehicle related offenses, such as speeding. It also includes scheduled violations relating to navigation, recreation, hunting and fishing, and more.

Division V – Fines for Non-Scheduled Misdemeanors and Felonies – The bill increases fines for:

  • Simple misdemeanors from between $65 and $625 to between $105 and $855.
  • Serious misdemeanors from between $315 and $1,875 to between $430 and $2,560.
  • Aggravated misdemeanors from between $625 and $6,250 to between $855 and $8,540.
  • For “C” felons, not a habitual offender from between $1,000 and $10,000 to between $1,370 and $13,660.
  • For “D” felons, not a habitual offender from between $750 and $7,500 to between $1,025 and $10,245.

Division VI – Crime Lab Fund – Specifies that crime services surcharges will be deposited in the fund and expands how it may be used.

Division VII – Drug Abuse Resistance Education Fund – Creates the Drug Abuse Resistance Education Fund under the control of the Governor’s Office of Drug Control Policy and specifies that crime services surcharges are to be deposited in the Fund.

Division VIII- Emergency Medical Services Fund – Specifies that the 1.3% of the state receipts for violations of county ordinances will go the EMS Fund.

Division IX – Juvenile Detention Home Funding Changes

  • Specifies that a portion of Crime Services Surcharges will go to the Juvenile Detention Home Fund.
  • Removes the $200 reinstatement fee when a driver’s license is suspended for traffic violations (not OWI). This money was previously funneled through the Department of Transportation to the Juvenile Detention Home Fund.

Division X – Nonresident State Park User Fee Pilot Program

  • A fee of $5 will be charged for entrance to Lake Manawa State Park and Waubonsie State Park if the driver of a vehicle is a nonresident of Iowa. This amends Code language relating to nonresidents entering these parks.
  • Creates a scheduled fine of $15 for failure to pay the entrance fee.

Division XI – Iowa Emergency Food Purchase Program

  • Creates the Iowa Emergency Food Purchase Program Fund administered by the Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship to “relieve situations of emergency” experienced by families or individuals in need.

Divisions XII and XIII – Civil Claims for Reimbursement (Jail Fees) and Criminal Restitution:

  • Prohibits sheriffs from filing the jail costs owed by a defendant with the clerk of court for restitution.
  • To recoup defendant’s jail charges, a sheriff must file a civil suit.
  • Creates three categories of restitution:
    • Pecuniary damages, which is victim restitution
    • Category A restitution, which is fines, penalties and surcharges
    • Category B restitution, which goes to local anticrime organizations that assist law enforcement in an offender’s case, crime victim compensation reimbursements, restitution to public agencies that responded to an accident, etc., as a result of driving drunk, court costs, court-appointed attorney fees and reimbursement to a medical assistance program.
  • Establishes that Victim Restitution (pecuniary damages) and Category A restitution are not subject to a defendant’s ability to pay.  
  • Category B restitution is subject to a determination of a defendant’s ability to pay and may be reduced based on that determination.
  • Requires that payments made pursuant to a court restitution order and payment plan first go toward victim restitution. 
  • Requires that defendants fill out a financial affidavit form regarding ability to pay Category B restitution. The Iowa Supreme Court will create the form.
  • An offender who cannot pay all or part of category B restitution may be ordered to perform public service.
  • An offender is presumed to have the reasonable ability to pay all restitution.
    • Defendant must request a hearing regarding their ability to pay and provide the completed financial affidavit
    • Defendant must prove by a preponderance of evidence their inability to pay the full category B restitution.
  • Any previous temporary, supplemental or order that does not contain a determination of the defendant’s reasonable ability to pay is converted to a permanent restitution order.

These Divisions are effective upon enactment.

Division XIV – Court Debt Collection – Removes the private debt collection designee from Iowa’s court debt collection scheme and replaces it with the Department of Revenue.

Miscellaneous Changes:

  • Removes Code references allowing clerks of court to add surcharges to criminal fines and requires a judge to assess them.
  • Amends 911.2B of the Code relating to surcharges assessed for funding the Address Confidentiality Program administered by the Secretary of State. The bill combines the surcharge for violations of domestic abuse protective orders (previously $50) with the surcharge assessed on convictions of domestic abuse assault, sexual abuse, stalking and human trafficking (previously $100), and makes all violations subject to a $90 surcharge. All money continues to go to the Address Confidentiality Program.
  • Illegal passing of a school bus, first offense: Increases the fine range for illegally passing a school bus and allows the Department of Transportation to require offenders to take a driver improvement class in lieu of a 30-day license suspension. The DOT has already done this through rulemaking.
    [6/13: 47-0 (Absent: Greene, Hogg, Lykam)]

SF 458 – Debts for which the homestead is liable

SF 458 relates to mechanic’s liens and the homestead. Under Iowa law, a homestead (generally protected from debtors) may be subject to a judicial sale to satisfy some debts, including those incurred for work done or material furnished for improvement of the homestead, usually when a mechanic’s lien is filed. The bill clarifies a homestead may be sold to satisfy debts secured by a mechanic’s lien and may include reasonable attorney fees. A homestead may also be sold to satisfy debts for work done or material furnished, including principal and interest on any note securing the purchase of material to improve the homestead. The bill was effective upon enactment.
[6/13: 47-0 (Absent: Hogg, Greene, Lykam)]

SF 526 – Blue alert program

SF 526 creates a “Blue Alert” program, a cooperative effort between the Department of Public Safety and local law enforcement agencies, to aid in searching for a suspect in a crime involving death or serious injury to a peace officer in the line of duty or a peace officer who is missing. Upon notification from a law enforcement agency of the death or serious injury of a peace officer, the Department of Public Safety communications center will activate a blue alert under these circumstances:

  • The suspect has not been apprehended.
  • Law enforcement believes the suspect may be a serious public threat.
  • Sufficient descriptive information is available for the public to assist in locating the suspect.

There are liability protections for an individual or entity that initiates or terminates a blue alert when acting reasonably and in good faith.
[3/27/2019: 48-0 (Absent: Breitbach, Nunn)]

SF 2097 – Indecent exposure amendments

SF 2097 amends Iowa’s indecent exposure Code section and increases the penalty for masturbating in public in the presence of a child.

  • The bill adds a definition of masturbate to mean, “physical stimulation of a person’s own genitals in public for sexual gratification or arousal, regardless of whether the genitals or public area is exposed or covered.” Previously, a person’s genitals must be exposed.
  • To be guilty of indecent exposure by masturbating, the following apply:
    • The person does so to arouse sexual desires of either party.
    • The person knows or reasonably should know that the act is offensive to the viewer.
  • Masturbating in public in the presence of another person who is not a child is a serious misdemeanor.
  • Masturbating in public in the presence of a child is an aggravated misdemeanor.
    [6/10: 49-0 (Absent: Feenstra)]

SF 2182 – Public Defender pilot project in child welfare cases

SF 2182 relates to the Parent Representation Project that the State Public Defender will participate in. It uses a team approach to help struggling families involved in the child welfare system.

Currently, a pilot project, funded by a mix of state, federal and private dollars, operates in Dubuque, Black Hawk, Linn and Jackson counties. Apparently, Legal Aid and the Middleton Children’s Center at the Drake Legal Clinic have provided legal representation to the families.

The goal is to provide legal representation to indigent parents prior to formal juvenile court proceedings.

This bill would allow the State Public Defender to provide legal representation prior to formal court proceedings and would expand the project to additional counties. Federal funds will be available to the Iowa Department of Human Services, which plans to enter into a memorandum of understanding with the State Public Defender.

The money will pay contract attorneys to represent families involved with the Department of Human Services prior to formal court proceedings being initiated. Previously, a public defender could only be appointed after formal court proceedings were initiated.
[6/4: 49-0 (Absent: Hogg)]

SF 2187 – Uniform Protected Series Act amendment

SF 2187 adds a provision to the Uniform Protected Series Act, which passed in 2019. A Protected Series is a type of limited liability company. The bill provides for uniform construction and application of the Act.

SF 569 from 2019 expanded and clarified the law relating to series limited liability companies. The bill requires that “consideration will be given to the need to promote uniformity of the law with respect to its subject matter among states that enact the uniform protected series Act as approved and recommended by the National Conference of Commissioners on Uniform State Law.” This fix comes from the Iowa State Bar Association.
[3/2: 49-0 (Absent: Wahls)]

SF 2191 – Payment of required medical aid for jail prisoners

SF 2191 was a Sheriffs and Deputies Association priority to address the costs of medical aid that must be provided to prisoners in county jails or municipal holding facilities. This bill is the result of stakeholders, including the Iowa Hospital Association, reaching agreement on who should pay for prisoner medical costs.

Previously, counties paid for all charges and expenses for the “safekeeping and maintenance of (their) prisoners” except:

  • Prisoners detained by authority of the federal courts. The federal government pays the cost.
  • Prisoners committed for violation of a city ordinance. The city pays the costs.
  • Prisoners detained from another state. The entity from the other state pays the costs.

The bill adds language relating to who is responsible for the medical costs of prisoners and sets out a process for payment. The bill:

  • Establishes that a prisoner has the primary responsibility to pay for required medical aid while they’re in jail.
  • Requires that the governmental entity request information from a prisoner about available sources, health insurance and other benefits at the time of intake into the county jail or municipal holding facility.
  • Requires a hospital or medical provider to request available sources of health insurance or other benefits from the governmental entity and the prisoner at the time of intake at the hospital or medical provider. The hospital or medical provider must use the health insurance or other benefits identified prior to requesting reimbursement from a governmental entity.
  • Any amount not met by health insurance or another benefit are the responsibility of the prisoner.
  • If health insurance is denied or other benefits are not available to pay for medical aid provided, the hospital or medical provider will submit a bill to the governmental entity within 60 days of treatment or will submit any written denial of coverage to the governmental entity within 60 days of receipt of the denial.
  • The hospital or medical provider will be reimbursed at a rate negotiated by the governmental entity and the provider. If no rate is agreed to, the reimbursement rate will be the provider’s Medicaid rate for treatment.
  • Cities and counties may seek reimbursement from a prisoner for the costs of medical aid they incur.
    [3/4: 47-1 (No: R. Taylor; Absent: Rozenboom, Wahls)]

SF 2225 – Theft in the third degree and robbery in the first degree “fixes”

SF 2225 has a fix for an error in SF 589, the 2019 criminal omnibus bill.  There is a change in the amount stolen to qualify as theft in the third degree when a person has previous thefts. To be charged with theft in the third degree, a person must steal property valued at $750 up to $1,500. However, if a person steals property that doesn’t exceed $750 but has two previous theft convictions, it will be considered theft in the third degree.
[3/2: 49-0 (Absent: Wahls)]

SF 2232 – Iowa Trust Code amendments

SF 2232 comes from the Iowa Academy of Trust and Estate Counsel (ITEC). It amends Iowa’s Trust Code to provide flexibility for Iowans creating trusts and aims to reduce the flow of trust business to South Dakota, which has more liberal trust laws. The bill:

  • Allows a trustee to create a new trust and place the first trust assets into a second trust to increase trust flexibility. This codifies a practice called “decanting,” which had been allowed per common law.
  • Changes the age at which beneficiaries must receive notices about a trust benefitting them, along with copies of the trust and an annual accounting. The law had required that a beneficiary 18 or older receive notices and accountings related to the trust. The bill changes the age to 25. Trust beneficiaries between 18 and 25 will have a designated surrogate to receive the notices if the trust instrument or trust protector so directs.
  • Allows for “unbundling of trustee functions,” meaning a trust could have multiple trustees with different functions, such as “an administrative trustee” responsible for accounting and tax compliance, a “distribution director” to make distribution decisions, and an “investment director” to make investment decisions. In addition, the bill allows for a non-fiduciary “trust protector” to make decisions that are not fiduciary in nature.
    [2/24: 50-0]

SF 2259 – Immunity protections for donations of public safety equipment

SF 2259 allows a fire department, emergency medical services provider or a law enforcement agency to donate used vehicles or equipment to an organization that provides fire response or emergency medical services, or to a law enforcement agency. Any entity making good-faith donations of vehicles or equipment is immune from civil liability for any claim arising from damages related to the donated vehicles or equipment. The bill provides immunity to the state and governmental subdivisions that donate vehicles and equipment.
[2/27: 49-0 (Absent: Miller-Meeks)

SF 2275 – Eluding a law enforcement vehicle

SF 2275 enhances penalties for a defendant convicted of or pleading guilty to eluding a second or subsequent time. A person who eludes or attempts to elude a marked law enforcement vehicle driven by a uniformed peace officer who has given the stop signal will be guilty of an aggravated misdemeanor if it is a second or subsequent eluding violation. A first violation is a serious misdemeanor.

If a defendant is found guilty a second or subsequent time for eluding or attempting to elude a marked law enforcement vehicle while driving 25 miles per hour above the speed limit, or has previously been found guilty under subsection 3, it is a D felony. It had been an aggravated misdemeanor.

Subsection 3: If a defendant eludes or attempts to elude a marked law enforcement vehicle after being given the stop signal and is exceeding the speed limit by at least 25 miles per hour under the following circumstances, it is a D felony if:

  • The driver is participating in a felony.
  • The driver is operating while intoxicated.
  • Another person experiences bodily injury.
  • The driver is in possession of drugs.

A second or subsequent violation of subsection (3) is a C felony.

The bill prohibits any deferred sentence or deferred judgment if a driver is eluding by 25 miles per hour or more over the speed limit and is operating while intoxicated.

A fiscal note indicates there likely will be a significant minority impact, furthering racial disparities in Iowa’s judicial system.
[3/2: 37-12 (No: Bisignano, Bolkcom, Celsi, Dotzler, Giddens, Hogg, Jochum, Petersen, Quirmbach, J. Smith, R. Taylor, T. Taylor; Absent: Wahls)]

SF 2323 – Transitional provisions for minor and adult guardianships and conservatorships

SF 2323 provides time for guardians and conservators to transition to Iowa’s new guardianship and conservatorship laws. In 2019, significant changes were made to Iowa’s guardianship and conservatorship laws. The legislation applied to current guardianships and conservatorships and those established after enactment.

The legislation instituted a new requirement: initial care plans for all protected persons in guardianships and conservatorships, including those already in existence. The Supreme Court issued an order that provided for transitioning to the new law for current guardianships and conservatorships. This bill codifies the Supreme Court’s order, allowing a guardian or conservator for an existing guardianship or conservatorship not to file an initial care plan until the date of the regularly scheduled annual report. The law went into effect on January 1, 2020, but initial care plans are required on the date of the required annual report during the year.
[3/2: 49-0 (Absent: Wahls)]

SF 2337 – Civil actions relating to mesothelioma, asbestos illnesses, silica illnesses

SF 2337 tightens requirements for injured plaintiffs in asbestos cases and makes a malignant (mesothelioma) condition subject to the law. The bill requires more specificity in a petition for damages from exposure to asbestos or in a silica action. A plaintiff must identify all possible exposures to asbestos or silica, as well as each asbestos-containing product or silica product to which they were exposed and the premises at which they were exposed. The court must dismiss any asbestos action or silica action without prejudice for a defendant whose product or premises is not identified in the petition or other initial pleading.
[2/25: 30-19 (No: Democrats, Carlin; Absent: Zaun)]

SF 2338 – COVID 19 liability protections and evidence in civil cases

SF 2338 is “The “COVID-19 Response and Back-to-Business Limited Liability Act.” It provides these protections against allegations of COVID exposure:

  • Prohibits individuals from bringing or maintaining civil actions for damages because of COVID 19 exposure unless the action: (1) relates to COVID hospitalization or death; (2) involves intentional harm; or (3) constitutes actual malice.
  • Provides liability protection from civil actions for injuries sustained from COVID-19 to individuals possessing or controlling a premises unless: (1) there is reckless disregard of a substantial or necessary risk; (2) exposure was caused through an act of malice; or (3) there was intentional COVID-19 exposure.
  • Creates a safe harbor clause for those in substantial compliance with COVID-related federal or state statutes, regulations, orders or public health guidance. 
  • Provides immunity to healthcare providers from civil damages for causing or contributing to an individual’s COVID-related death or injury while providing or arranging health care support to the state’s COVID-19 response.
  • Provides product liability immunity to those designing, manufacturing, labeling, selling and distributing supplies or personal protective equipment relating to COVID-19 response. However, immunity does not apply if the individual had actual knowledge of a defect, and recklessly disregarded a substantial and unnecessary risk, or acted with actual malice.
  • This new Chapter does not “affect the rights or limits under workers’ compensation or the rights or limits related to police officers or firefighters under 410 or 411.”
  • This act is retroactive to January 1, 2020, and only relates to COVID-19 liability.
    [6/10: 31-18 (No: Democrats, Carlin; Absent: Bisignano)]

SF 2348 – Voting rights definition of “discharged sentence”

SF 2348 relates to the restoration of voting rights for those who have discharged their sentence after a felony conviction. Under the bill, only after an individual has discharged their sentence could they have their voting rights restored. The bill adds a new Code section that defines what “discharge sentence” means.

The following is required for a person to have their voting rights restored:

  • Completion of any term of confinement, parole and probation.
  • Completion of any special sentence imposed pursuant to Chapter 903B related to sex offenses. Depending on the offense, a special sentence is either lifetime or 10 years. These special sentences begin after completion of the sentence the individual has served for the underlying criminal offense.
  • Essentially no restoration of voting rights for a person convicted of any offense under Chapter 707, Homicide and Related Crimes; a conviction for child endangerment resulting in the death of a child or minor; or election misconduct in the first degree.
  • All victim restitution owed to a natural person must be paid.

The bill has a contingent effective date. It will take effect upon ratification of HJR 14 (or similar resolution), the proposed Constitutional amendment to restore voting rights to those who have discharged their sentence. HJR 14 passed the House 95-2 in 2019.
[3/3: 37-11 (No: Bolkcom, Celsi, Dotzler, Giddens, Hogg, Jochum, Petersen, Quirmbach, Ragan, R. Taylor, T. Taylor; Absent: Rozenboom, Wahls)]

Note:  Senate Leadership never brought HJR 14 up for a vote during the 2020 session.

HF 594 – Withdrawal of a life-sustaining procedures from a child, 24-hour waiting period for abortions

HF 594, as sent to the Governor, requires a 24-hour waiting period before a woman can obtain an abortion from her healthcare provider.

The original bill prohibited a court from requiring the withdrawal of life-sustaining procedures from a minor over the objection of the minor’s parent or guardian. However, there is an exception when there is conclusive medical evidence that the minor child has died and any electronic brain, heart or respiratory monitoring activity exhibited to the contrary is a false artifact. Life sustaining procedure means any medical procedure, treatment or intervention, including resuscitation, that meets these requirements: 1) Uses mechanical or artificial means to sustain, restore or supplant a spontaneous vital function; and 2) When applied to a patient in a terminal condition, only prolongs the dying process.
[6/13: 31-16, party line (Absent: Greene, Hogg, Lykam)]

HF 684 – Immunity when seeking emergency assistance for alcohol overdoses

HF 684 provides immunity from criminal prosecution for alcohol-related offenses if, in good faith, a person under 21 contacts first responders or law enforcement to seek emergency assistance for an alcohol-related overdose. To be immune from prosecution, the reporting person must:

  • Be the first to seek emergency assistance.
  • Provide their name(s) and contact information to medical or law enforcement personnel.
  • Remain on the scene until assistance arrives or is provided.
  • Cooperate with medical and law enforcement personnel.

This legislation could save lives. Iowa college students and others have asked for this legislation for several years because some underage individuals will not call for emergency medical help for others because they fear prosecution. Immunity from prosecution will apply to public intoxication, underage possession or attempt to purchase, and use of a fake license by an underage person to obtain alcohol.

In addition, the person for whom emergency assistance was sought will not be charged or prosecuted for the listed offenses. The bill also prohibits the Regents institutions from imposing certain disciplinary measures on students who are immune from prosecution under this legislation.
[6/10: 47-2 (No: Guth, Whiting; Absent: Bisignano)]

HF 737 – Mistreatment of non-livestock animals

HF 737 makes significant changes to Iowa’s companion animal mistreatment laws. The bill does the following:

  • Animal abuse. Animal abuse is when a person intentionally, knowingly or recklessly acts to inflict injury, serious injury or death on an animal by force, violence or poisoning.
    • Animal abuse causing injury other than serious injury or death is a serious misdemeanor
    • Animal abuse causing serious injury or death is an aggravated misdemeanor
    • It’s a “D” felony if the person has previously been convicted of other animal mistreatment offenses.
    • Previous animal abuse law:
  • Owner couldn’t be charged with animal abuse
  • Any abuse charge was an aggravated misdemeanor
  • Animal neglect. It is animal neglect when a person who owns or has custody of an animal confines that animal and fails to provide the animal with access to food in an amount and quality reasonably sufficient to satisfy the basic nutrition level to the extent that the animal’s health or life is endangered; access to a supply of potable water in an amount reasonably sufficient to satisfy the animal’s basic hydration level; sanitary conditions free from excessive animal waste or the overcrowding of animals to the extent that the animal’s health or life is endangered; ventilated shelter to protect the animal from the elements and weather conditions to maintain the animal in a state of good health; necessary grooming; necessary veterinary care.
  • Animal neglect that does not cause injury, serious injury or death is a simple misdemeanor.
  • Animal neglect causing injury is a serious misdemeanor
    • Animal neglect causing serious injury or death is an aggravated misdemeanor.
    • Animal neglect causing serious injury or death is a D felony if the person has previously been convicted of various animal mistreatment offenses.
    • Previous animal neglect law:
      • Intentional animal neglect was a simple misdemeanor
      • Intentional neglect causing serious injury or death was a serious misdemeanor
  • Commercial breeders will not be subject to animal neglect if they comply with standard-of-care requirements in Iowa Code and applicable rules by the Department of Agriculture.
  • Animal torture: Intentionally or knowingly inflicting severe and prolonged or repeated physical pain that causes the animal’s serious injury or death.
  • Juvenile court will have exclusive jurisdiction over anyone under 17 who is charged with animal torture.
  • First offense animal torture is an aggravated misdemeanor. This remains unchanged.
  • It’s a class D felony if a person was previously convicted of various animal mistreatment offenses, including a previous conviction for animal torture.
  • Court orders for evaluation and treatment. A court may order psychological or psychiatric evaluation and treatment if appropriate. However, the court must order evaluation and treatment if the convicted person is a juvenile or an adult convicted of animal abuse punishable as an aggravated misdemeanor or class D felony, animal neglect punishable as an aggravated misdemeanor or class D felony, or animal torture.
  • Abandonment of cats and dogs. A person who owns or has custody of a cat or dog and relinquishes all rights to and duties to care for the cat or dog is guilty of abandonment. There are exclusions listed in the bill.
    • Animal abandonment that does not cause injury or death is a simple misdemeanor.
    • Causing injury other than serious injury or death is a serious misdemeanor.
    • Causing serious injury or death is an aggravated misdemeanor.
    • Previous penalty for abandonment was a simple misdemeanor.
      [6/13: 44-4 (No: Costello Edler, Guth, Sweeney; Absent: Hogg, Greene)]

HF 2402 – Resignations of registered agents

HF 2402, from the Iowa State Bar Association’s Business Law Section, creates a uniform effective date of resignation by a registered agent of a corporation or other business entity. Previously, there was no uniformity in business entity and organization law relating to resignations of registered agents. A registered agent is a person or entity appointed to accept service of process and official mail on behalf of a business. The bill makes resignations effective on the earlier of 12:01 a.m. on the 31st day after the day on which a resignation is filed with the Secretary of State; or upon the designation of a new registered agent for the corporation.
[6/3: 49-0 (Absent: Hogg)]

HF 2411 – Sobriety and drug monitoring program

HF 2411 amends requirements for the 24/7 sobriety program enacted in 2018. The initial legislation mandated those who participate a sobriety and drug monitoring program (24/7) obtain a temporary restricted license (TRL), which requires installation of an ignition interlock device. Since implementation of the program in Woodbury County, it has become apparent that offenders ordered into the program were not obtaining a TRL and thus couldn’t participate in the program. The bill:

  • Removes the requirement that 24/7 program participants obtain a temporary restricted license. They may apply for participation in the program, and a court may order participation without the TRL requirement.
  • Adds a requirement that prior to completing the program, a participant must prove that they have installed an ignition interlock device on all motor vehicles that they own or operate, unless the court finds:
    • The participant is ineligible for a temporary restricted license upon completing the program.
    • The participant does not have a motor vehicle registered in their name.
  • The court must specify it is not requiring an ignition interlock device.
    [6/3: 49-0 (Absent: Hogg)]

HF 2445 – Privacy of a victim of sex offense in criminal or civil proceeding

HF 2445 relates to the privacy of a child victim of sex abuse, incest or sexual exploitation of a minor. The bill changes the definition of a child for the purposes of protecting a child victim’s privacy. Previously, for purposes of the victims’ rights chapter, “child” was anyone under 14. The bill changes the definition of “child” to anyone under 18, thus requiring that the identity of any person who is under 18 and is a victim of sex abuse, incest or sexual exploitation of a minor won’t be released to the public by any public employee unless authorized by the court of jurisdiction. The name of the child and any identifying biographical information won’t appear on the information or indictment or any other public record. In addition, any civil filings that arise from the criminal charge must require a non-descriptive designation for the victim, and the name and any identifying biographical information must not appear in filings. A defendant or the defendant’s counsel must have access to the identity of the child, but can only use the information in preparation of a defense or be subject to contempt. This protection will continue to apply after the child victim turns 18.
[6/3: 49-0 (Absent: Hogg)]

HF 2474 – Confidentiality of information filed to secure an arrest warrant

HF 2474 is proposed by the State Public Defender and was drafted pursuant to an agreement with the Iowa County Attorneys Association. An arrest warrant is generally confidential until the warrant has been served. However, the arrest warrant information is available to certain individuals, such as county attorneys, during this period of confidentiality, but it is not available to defense attorneys.

This bill says a court-appointed attorney representing a specific individual in a case where an arrest warrant has been issued but not served if the defendant is in custody, can have access to the warrant information during the confidentiality period without court authorization. The court can expressly deny access to the search warrant information to those who would otherwise have access to the warrant information.
[6/4: 49-0 (Absent: Hogg)]

HF 2502 – Firearms and weapons storage, carrying, possession and shooting ranges

HF 2502 preempts local control of weapons laws.

  • Sections 1 and 2 prohibit counties, including county zoning commissions, and cities, including a city zoning commission, from enforcing zoning regulations relating to establishing, using or maintaining a shooting range that are more stringent than state law. However, there are really no state laws that impose regulations on shooting ranges.
  • Section 3 adds language to current law relating to political subdivisions enacting weapons ordinances. Previously, a political subdivision could not enact an ordinance that regulates the ownership, possession, legal transfer, lawful transportation, registration or licensing of firearms if otherwise lawful under state law. Section 3 adds that a political subdivision cannot enact an ordinance regulating the modification of weapons or firearms attachments if otherwise lawful under state law. In addition, a person adversely affected by an ordinance, measure, enactment, rule, etc., may file suit. A court must award the prevailing party reasonable attorney fees and court costs.
  • Section 4 says that if political subdivision wants to regulate carrying, possessing or transporting firearms or other dangerous weapons in facilities on political subdivision property, the political subdivision must screen them and provide armed security inside the facility.
  • Section 5 says a political subdivision must not enact an ordinance, motion, resolution or amendment regulating the storage of weapons or ammunition.
  • Section 6 mandates that the Judicial Branch allow lawfully carrying, possessing or transporting a weapon in a county courthouse or other joint-use public facility unless the court order applies only to a courtroom, court office or courthouse used only for judicial branch functions.
    [6/3: 32-17, party-line (Absent: Hogg)]

HF 2535 – Nonsubstantive Code Editor’s bill

HF 2535 is the Nonsubstantive Code Editor’s bill. It’s submitted each year by the Iowa Code Editor to the Judiciary Committee to make Code changes that exceed the Code Editor’s editorial authority but are nonsubstantive and noncontroversial in nature. In some cases, the changes are within the Code Editor’s authority but are significant enough that public notice of the changes by means of this bill is considered important. Examples of nonsubstantive changes include separating paragraphs into subparagraphs but not changing the language, or fixing grammatical mistakes.
[6/3: 49-0 (Absent: Hogg)]

HF 2536 – Substantive Code Editor’s bill

HF 2536 is the Substantive Code Editor’s Bill. It’s submitted annually by the Iowa Code Editor to the Judiciary Committee pursuant to Iowa Code Section 2B.6 and Joint Rule 11. This bill makes various changes throughout the Code, including, but not limited to, correcting language to conform to other Code language or current practices, eliminating conflicting or ambiguous language, and repealing or striking redundant language.
[6/3: 49-0 (Absent: Hogg)]

HF 2554 – Continuous sexual abuse of a child

HF 2554 comes from the Iowa County Attorneys Association. It’s based on information about the difficulty that children who are repeatedly abused have in articulating specific instances of abuse and the details about what happened on a particular date in a particular place.

The bill creates the crime of “Continuous Sexual Abuse of a Child,” which is committed when a person 18 or older does any combination of three or more acts of sex abuse in the second degree or sex abuse in the third degree with the same child (under 14), and at least 30 days have elapsed between the first and last acts of sexual abuse.

  • Continuous sexual abuse is a “B” felony punishable by up to 50 years in prison. Most “B” felonies have a maximum 25-year sentence.
  • A jury does not need to unanimously agree on which specific acts were committed or the exact date those acts were committed; the jury only must agree that three or more acts of abuse were committed with the same child and at least 30 days elapsed between the first and last acts of abuse.
  • A person will be charged with one count of continuous sexual abuse unless more than one child is involved in the offense.
  • Continuous sexual abuse of a child will be a Tier III sex offense for registry purposes. This is the toughest tier.
  • Continuous sexual abuse is classified as an aggravated offense against a minor, which subjects the offender to residency requirements.
  • If the child is 12 or under, the defendant may be ordered to undergo hormonal intervention therapy.
    [6/3: 49-0 (Absent: Hogg)]

HF 2581 – Hemp Act

HF 2581 amends the Iowa Hemp Act (IHA) as follows:

  • Modifies current testing requirements by mandating a designated lab determine whether a hemp sample has an acceptable THC concentration, resulting from post decarboxylation analysis.
  • Clarifies that individuals are exempt from applicable criminal offenses if they are carrying required documentation, such as a license, crop inspection certificate, or a temporary harvest and transportation permit. A person transporting hemp may also be required to carry a bill of lading.
  • Allows manufacturing, selling and consumption of “consumable hemp products” within the state as long as: (1) the product was manufactured in Iowa per Ch. 204 (IHA); (2) the hemp was exclusively produced in the state per Ch. 204 (IHA); and (3) the product complies with packing and labeling requirements per Department of Inspections and Appeals (DIA) rule.
  • Defines “consumable hemp products” as those that metabolize or are subject to a bio-transformative process when introduced to the human body, excluding products intended for inhalation.
  • Allows importing consumable hemp products for use as long as the originating state’s hemp plan has USDA approval and testing requirements are substantially similar to Iowa.
  • Requires a consumable hemp manufacturer to register with the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship (IDALS) or a consumable hemp seller to register with DIA, and both may impose a fee to recoup registration costs.
  • Prohibits political subdivisions from adopting any ordinance, rule or regulation for manufacturing, selling or consuming consumable hemp products.
  • Exempts products from controlled substance classification if they comply with the bill’s provisions.
  • Prohibits individuals from possessing, using, manufacturing, marketing, transporting, delivering or distributing harvested hemp products if intended for inhalation, excluding products authorized under federal law.
  • Penalty for violating the bill’s inhalation provisions is a serious misdemeanor, punishable by a maximum one-year of confinement and a fine ranging from $315 to $1,875. Anyone violating this bill would also be subject to a civil penalty ranging from $500 to $2,500 that IDALS may impose, assess and collect.
    [6/5: 48-1 (No: Whiting; Absent: Zumbach)]

HF 2589 – Medical Cannabidiol Act

HF 2589 updates Iowa’s medical cannabidiol program as follows:

  • Changes unemployment insurance law by creating a new disqualification for unemployment wages for marijuana use.
  • Amends “debilitating medical condition” in Code definitions by replacing “untreatable pain” with “chronic pain.”
  • Adds severe autism and PTSD to the conditions that may be treated.
  • Adds licensed physician assistants, advanced registered nurse practitioners, advanced practice registered nurses and podiatrists to those who can provide written certification of eligibility for medical cannabis.
  • Replaces the current 3% THC cap with 4.5 grams over 90 days as the maximum disbursement.
  • Allows the purchase limit to be increased by a certifying health care provider if the patient has a debilitating medical condition with a life expectancy of one year or less; or the provider determines 4.5 grams is insufficient to treat a patient’s debilitating medical condition.
  • Allows dispensaries to access Department of Public Health (DPH) files to determine if a patient has received more than the permitted THC amount.
  • Directs the DPH to issue mCBD registration cards rather than the Department of Transportation (DOT), and removes the registration card’s photo requirement.
  • Removes prohibition on certain felons applying for a medical cannabidiol registration card.
  • Removes the limit on the mCBD Advisory Board’s meetings, which is currently four times per year.
  • Removes the Code provision that allows the mCBD Advisory Board to recommend statutory revisions increasing the THC level above 3%.
  • Requires dispensaries to employ pharmacists or pharmacy technicians for making mCBD dosing recommendations.
  • Allows health care practitioners to access the DPH patient registry to determine if a patient has a written certification on file.
  • Requires the DPH to conduct an observational study on mCBD efficacy while cooperating with patients and providers.
  • Requires DPH to seek federal guarantees for educational or long-term care facilities to administer or have mCBD on the property without jeopardizing federal funding eligibility.
  • mCBD registration cards issued by the DOT prior to July 1, 2020, will remain valid until the card’s expiration date.
    [6/3: 32-17 (No: Bolkcom, Boulton, Celsi, Costello, Dawson, Dotzler, Garrett, Giddens, Jochum, Mathis, Petersen, Quirmbach, Ragan, J. Smith, R. Taylor, T. Taylor, Wahls; Absent: Hogg)]

HF 2647 – Justice Reform bill

DIVISION I – Attorney General authority to investigate when officer causes a death

  • The Attorney General (AG) has original jurisdiction when the actions of an officer result in death. The AG does not have to receive a request from the county attorney to investigate and bring charges.
  • If the AG decides that criminal charges are not appropriate, the matter may be referred to the Iowa Law Enforcement Academy Council to determine revocation or suspension of the officer’s certification if there was officer misconduct.

DIVISION II – Use of chokeholds by officers

  • Use of a chokehold in making an arrest is only justified when the person cannot be captured any other way and either of these apply: the person has used or threatened to use deadly force in committing a felony; or the officer reasonably believes the person would use deadly force unless immediately apprehended.
  • Chokehold means the intentional and prolonged application of force to the throat or windpipe that prevents or hinders breathing or reduces air intake.

DIVISION III – Officers from other states, including reserve officers, applying for jobs in Iowa and Iowa applicants, revocation or suspension

  • Prior to beginning employment in Iowa, a law enforcement officer who has been certified in another state must submit a preliminary application for certification through examination to the Iowa Law Enforcement Academy Council. The application must include an attestation by the applicant under oath:
  • whether the applicant’s certification has been revoked or suspended in another state.
  • whether the applicant has pled guilty to or been convicted of a felony.
  • whether the applicant has been discharged for serious misconduct from employment as a law enforcement officer.
  • whether the applicant left, voluntarily quit or was laid off when the applicant knew or believed that disciplinary action was imminent or pending, and could have resulted in a discharge for serious misconduct.
  • The ILEA Council must deny a preliminary application upon finding that the applicant:
  • had law enforcement certification revoked in another state.
  • pled guilty to or was convicted of a felony.
  • left, voluntarily quit or was laid off when disciplinary action was pending, which could have resulted in discharge for serious misconduct, if the Council determines that the applicant engaged in serious misconduct.
  • If the Council denies a preliminary application, the applicant is prohibited from continued employment as a law enforcement officer in this state.
  • The bill adds a new section relating to the ILEA Council’s ability to suspend or revoke certification and adds a definition of serious misconduct:
  • serious misconduct means the improper or illegal actions taken by a law enforcement officer or reserve peace officer in connection with the officer’s official duties including, but not limited to, a conviction for a felony, fabrication of evidence, repeated use of excessive force, acceptance of a bribe or commission of fraud.
  • The Council must revoke the certification of a law enforcement officer or reserve peace officer upon a finding that the officer has done any of the following:
  • pled guilty to or been convicted of a felony.
  • been discharged for serious misconduct from employment as a law enforcement officer or as a reserve officer.
  • left, voluntarily quit or was laid off when disciplinary action was imminent or pending, which could have resulted in discharge or the reserve officer being removed, if the Council determines there was serious misconduct.
  • The Council may revoke or suspend certification of a law enforcement officer or reserve officer for:
  • any grounds authorized by rule.
  • when an employing agency recommends that revocation or suspension is appropriate. The recommendation must be in writing and lay out reasons for the recommendation, the employing agency’s findings and any final action the employing agency took.
  • when the AG recommends to the Council that revocation or suspension would be appropriate.
  • An employing agency will notify the council within 10 days of any termination of employment of a law enforcement officer or appointment of a reserve peace officer. The notification must state whether the officer was discharged or removed for serious misconduct or whether the officer left, quit or was laid off when disciplinary action was pending. The employing agency must provide any additional information or documentation requested by the Council.
  • Information provided pursuant to this section is confidential except as otherwise required by law.
  • An employing agency or person that acts in good faith is immune from liability for the release of any information.
  • The rules for reserve officer training and certification must include grounds for revocation or suspension of certification.

DIVISION IV – De-escalation and prevention of bias training required

  • Every law enforcement agency will provide annual training to every law enforcement officer on de-escalation techniques and the prevention of bias. Every officer in the state must participate in the annual training.
  • The Iowa Law Enforcement Academy will develop and disseminate training guidelines that include:
  • An emphasis on understanding, respect for diverse communities and noncombative methods of carrying out duties.
  • Instruction on diverse communities to foster mutual respect and cooperation.
  • An examination of the patterns, practices and protocols that cause biased law enforcement actions and tools to prevent them.
  • Examination and identification of key indices and perspectives among residents in a community.
  • Instruction on implicit bias and the impact of bias, whether intentional or implicit, including historical perceptions of profiling having harmed community relations.
  • A presentation on the history and role of the civil rights movement and its impact on law enforcement.
  • Instructions on de-escalation techniques, including verbal and physical tactics to minimize use of force.
  • The ILEA will consult with the Iowa Civil Rights Commission, groups and individuals with an interest in cultural awareness and diversity, and advocacy organizations with an interest and expertise in biased law enforcement. In addition, the academy will consult with local law enforcement agencies about challenges and barriers to training.
  • Any mandate to local agencies is required, regardless of lack of appropriations from the State.

DIVISION V: Effective upon enactment.
[6/11: 49-0: (Absent: Hogg)]