The focus of this week turned to debating bills on the floor of the House in an effort to clear as many of the bills that passed out of committee over the past few weeks. I also had the pleasure of hosting several visitors this week, including a visit from the South Tama School's Alternative High School students, a visit from the managers of our Marshalltown Hy-Vee stores Ric Anderson and Jim Merulla, East Marshall Middle School counselor Pete Drury, and my predecessor Rep. Lance Horbach with his grandchild's class from BCLUW.
Iowa Juvenile Home
State Rep. Dean Fisher
Discussions on the IJH issue continue. The Senate bill that I mentioned in my last newsletter that removes the name Toledo as the site of the Girls State Training School (GSTS) from the Iowa Code was passed this past week by the Senate and sent over to the House. While I appreciate the fact that this Senate bill moves the discussion forward a step, it is important to remember that the current Iowa Code still designates Toledo by name as the site of the GSTS for Juvenile Delinquent girls. If no legislation is passed, Toledo remains the site of the GSTS, if legislation is passed that retains the name Toledo as the site but updates the language to reflect current treatment practice, then that is all the better. Passing legislation that removes Toledo as the site of the GSTS would leave Toledo in a vulnerable position. I will work to ensure that Toledo remains the designated site in any associated legislation that comes before the House.
HF 2273 - County Treasurers Bill - On Tuesday I floor managed this bill from the Local Government Committee that addresses several issues brought forward by our County Treasurers Association which is headed up by Marshall County Treasurer Jarrett Heil. This bill allows a spouse of a vehicle owner to obtain a registration fee credit, simplifying these transactions for working couples and surviving spouses. The bill also clarifies that buyers of rental trailers don't have to pay a user fee, that levee and drainage district financial records can be destroyed after ten years, and eliminates requirements that certain fees must be paid in cash. The bill passed 98 to 0.
HF 2253 - Criminal Offenses Against Minors - This bill is a direct response to the kidnapping of two young girls and murder of one of those young girls, Kathlynn Shepard, in 2013. Under this bill, a person convicted of a crime of murder or sexual abuse against a child under 15 will not be eligible for early parole. The bill also increases the charge for kidnapping a child under the age of 15. The bill passed 93 to 2.
HF 2254 - Prostitution and Pimping by a Minor - This bill allows for a child under 18 charged with prostitution but is believed to have been coerced into the crime by an adult can be directed to the Department of Human Services as a Child In Need of Assistance in lieu of prosecution. The bill also increases the punishment for pimping of a child under 18 from a class D felony to a class C felony. The bill passed 98 to 0.
HF 2289 - Drone Bill - This bill restricts the use of unmanned aerial vehicles, commonly referred to as drones. The bill requires state and local government agencies to get permission from the legislature to purchase drones, and places restrictions on their use by these agencies. The bill also restricts the use of drones over another person's private property; restricts persons from using them to for surveillance, following or intimidation of another person; and restricts them from carrying any offensive weapons. The bill passed 87 to 12.
HF 2381 - Firearm Suppressors - This bill would lift the statewide ban on noise suppressors for firearms, commonly referred to as "Silencers". These devices do not silence a firearm, but do reduce the noise to a safe level. The Federal requirements for the purchase of a suppressor remain, including the $200 registration fee for each device, background check and fingerprinting, etc. This is a commonsense measure that can reduce hearing loss in target shooters and hunters, and reduce noise complaints. Many other states currently allow them, and many other countries actually require them. The bill passed 82 to 16.
I would encourage you all to come down to the capitol for a visit. If you do, ask for a tour of the capitol dome, Diane will be ready to take you all the way up to the cupola. And of course you will want to take the tour of the rest of the capitol with the regular tour guides. As always, feel free to contact me with your thoughts and concerns about our state government. My contact information is firstname.lastname@example.org 641-750-3594