Veterans Affairs Committee – All-Bill Summary 2021

All bills assigned to the Senate Veterans Affairs Committee, passed by the Legislature and sent to the Governor for her signature in 2021.

SF 574 – Confidential information, veteran property tax credits and exemptions

SF 574 by Ways and Means clarifies language in HF 2382, enacted in 2020, that addressed the collection of names of veterans through property tax information maintained by counties. Businesses or individuals would ask for a “roll-out” of all names and addresses. Most of these requests were for solicitation purposes. SF 574 states that the disabled veteran/POW and military serviceproperty tax credits and exemptions can be made public on property tax reports for individualparcels, but the information cannot be aggregated under public records.
[4/13: 45-0 (Absent: Hogg, Lofgren, Nunn, Petersen, Rozenboom)]

HF 200 Coast Guard members defined as ‘federal active duty’

HF 200 provides that “federal active duty” includes full-time duty performed by the United States Coast Guard. Employers must treat Coast Guard members the same as National Guard and other military members in regards to unemployment, payments and benefits. An employer must provide a leave of absence to regular, reserve or auxiliary members of the Coast Guard when called to military duty. This includes state active duty, National Guard duty, federal active duty or Civil Air Patrol duty, without loss of status or efficiency rating, and without loss of pay during the first 30 days of the leave of absence.

It also adds similar protections relating to discrimination against a person because of military service, prohibits employers from discharging a person due to that service and prohibits an employer from terminating group health insurance coverage for a leave of absence for military duty. The bill also adds “space forces” as a component of the military in Iowa Code. It passed the House on a vote of 99-0.
[2/3: 46-0 (Excused: Hogg, Lykam, Nunn; 1 vacancy)]

HF 311 – Social, charitable gambling expansion

HF 311 by State Government allows a qualified organization licensed by the Department of Inspections and Appeals (DIA) to conduct one game night per month rather than per year if all other application and authorization requirements are met. It also allows card game tournaments conducted by a DIA-qualified veterans organization (e.g., AmVets, American Legion, VFW) to be held weekly, rather than the current limit of two card game tournaments per month. It eliminates the per-month maximum but prohibits holding a card game tournament within six calendar days of another tournament. This will allow veterans organizations to hold weekly tournaments if on the same day of the week.
[4/7: 42-2 (No: Costello, Rozenboom; Excused: Hogg, Brown, Carlin, Dawson, Nunn, Schultz)]

HF 428 – Public Defense Omnibus 

HF 428 is a Public Defense departmental bill. It allows properties to be leased for armory purposes for up to 30 years, rather than the current 20 years. It amends the Iowa Code of Military Justice so that military commanders (Grade Colonel/06) can hold service members accountable if they commit offenses while off duty when there is a nexus between military service and the offense (e.g., sexual harassment, sexual assault involving two service members). It allows the Adjutant General to include in the annual report on certain offenses, the number of sexual abuse cases reported to the U.S. Department of Defense that are not otherwise required to be reported. It also enhances the popular education benefits available that help the Guard recruit and retain members.

The bill:

  • Requires the Adjutant General to submit an annual report to the Governor and the Legislature by December 31 listing the science, technology, engineering and math-related career fields the Iowa National Guard plans to focus on in providing educational incentives using funds available for that fiscal year.
  • Creates a new Code section 261.86A that establishes two recruitment and incentive programs to recruit or retain individuals who have completed or are pursuing training in science, technology, engineering and math-related military occupational specialties or Air Force specialty codes. The Adjutant General may expend appropriated funds that remain unencumbered or unobligated at the close of a fiscal year in the following fiscal year for recruitment and retention programs. 
  • Allows the Adjutant General to expend unencumbered or unobligated funds in the Iowa National Guard Service Scholarship programs [Code 261.86, subsection 6] to recruit or retain individuals by offering either a student loan repayment program or a master’s degree scholarship award program that complies with the federal Edith Nourse Rogers STEM scholarship program.
  • Establishes a National Guard student loan repayment program to be administered by the College Student Aid Commission, and sets requirements for applicants and for loan-repayment awards.
  • Sets requirements for the master’s degree scholarship program.
    [4/7: 44-0 (Excused: Brown, Carlin, Dawson, Hogg, Nunn, Schultz)]

HF 793 – PE exemption for JROTC

HF 793 allows a student who is enrolled in Junior Reserve Officers’ Training Corps (JROTC) to be exempt from the requirement to participate in Physical Education (PE). A student will receive one-eight unit of PE credit for each semester the student is enrolled in and completes JRTOC. HF 793 was assigned to the Education Committee in the Senate.
[4/21: 46-0 (Excused: Mathis, Nunn, Schultz, Whiting)]