The following is a legislative update from Democratic Rep. Sharon Steckman, representing the middle-third of Cerro Gordo county in the Iowa Legislature:
We have now passed through the first funnel week during which most bills had to be reported out of committee in order to stay alive for this year. (Excluded are bills with fiscal impact.) I would like to report to you the status of some bills that may be of interest to you.
Bills dealing with guns that are still alive are: the proposed constitutional amendment that would virtually eliminate efforts for gun control (HJR3 and SJR10); carry laws that would allow guns at work, courthouses, and school parking lots (SF459, HF259, SF116).
Also alive are HSB214/SF513, bills backed by the governor, that would allow pharmacists to dispense birth control pills, hormone patches and vaginal rings to adults through a “standing order” from the Department of Health which would essentially serve as a prescription.
Bills affecting the judicial system that have survived funnel week are SF487 which would eliminate the statute of limitations for sexual crimes committed against minors; HSB58 – felon voting rights, supported by the governor; and SF237/HF503 that would change the way judges and justices are nominated.
Regarding education, a bill (HF 546) to extend an existing statewide 1-cent sales tax beyond the 2029 sunset until 2051 is still alive as is SF438 that would divert public money to nonpublic schools or “competent private instruction”, more commonly known as home schooling.
Also currently alive are:
HF649/SF519 (known as AG-GAG) which would criminalize gaining access to an agricultural facility with the intention of causing economic harm.
SF479/HSB206 which would establish a children’s behavioral health system.
SSB1241 which would eliminate students’ ability to vote early on college campuses and would also reduce polling hours on election day.
SF538 which would require Medicaid recipients (the health care program for the poor and disabled) to volunteer or work at least 20 hours per week. Certain individuals who are deemed to be physically or mentally unfit for work can be exempted.
HSB244/SF501 are two related bills which have advanced out of each chamber, dealing with medical marijuana – one removing a percentage cap on the amount of THC; the other letting health care providers approve use for any condition for which they determine it could be “medically beneficial”.
HF669/SSB1201 which would allow rate-regulated utilities to charge new fees on homeowners, farmers and businesses that generate solar power.
Considered “dead” are:
SF156 – a bill that would have returned Medicaid patients with complex needs to state management.
SF165 – permitless carry.
Obviously, this is a partial list and the definitions are more complex in some instances. I look forward to further discussions with you at our upcoming forum.
Saturday, March 30
Mason City Public Library