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New Laws On The Books

By Staff | Jul 6, 2012

DES MOINES The turn of the calendar page to July brings about new laws for Iowans. As July 1 is the start of the state’s fiscal year, several new laws went into effect over the past weekend. The Legislative Services Bureau highlighted several of the new laws taking effect on July 1.

Perhaps the most notable new law is the High Quality Jobs incentive, which designated $15 million for a new initiative to help local businesses expand and bring new jobs to Iowa. The measure began life as House File 2473.

Another notable new law is Senate File 2321, the Skilled Worker Shortage Tuition Grant program. This law provides for $5 million in tuition grants to be made available to students to get training in key worker shortage areas through community colleges across the state.

A related portion of Senate File 2321 is the GAP Tuition Assistance, a program designed to be need-based financial assistance for worker training in short term, high demand certificate programs such as information technology, health care and advanced manufacturing.

A new law created by House File 2390 mandates a crack down by law enforcement agencies against sexual predators who use digital images in the course of the offenses. Another new law designed to protect Domestic Abuse victims comes from Senate File 93, which calls for new penalties to prevent strangulation in domestic violence situations.

Another law in the fight against crime comes from house File 2399 and addressed the theft of copper, Under the new law, scrap metal dealers will be required to collect information from sellers who offer copper to sell in order to address the increase in copper thefts over the past year. A law dealing with safety for Emergency Vehicles will provide for increased penalties for drivers who fail to move over or slow down when they approach any type of emergency vehicle on the side of the road, such as law enforcement officers, firefighting apparatus or emergency medical vehicles. The legislation was created in House file 2228. And, under Senate file 2312, all law enforcement personnel must complete a course on mental health at least every four years as part of their continued certification.

The recently-passed Senate file 2403 will mean good news to military personnel and veterans, as it will allow them to receive Commercial Drivers Licenses without the requirement of passing a driving test, if they have previous experience with truck driving during their military service. Also directed at veterans is Senate file 2244, the Injured Veterans Grant Program, which will make more veterans eligible for assistance under the Injured Veterans Grant program.

Look for a continuation of “New Laws” in The Reporter next Tuesday, July 10.

A law stemming from House File 2427 should provide some good news for small business owners of restaurants and bars in the state. The law eases regulations on smaller bars and restaurants that might make the error of giving cash back to customers after they purchase food with the winnings from amusement game winnings, such as video poker games. Another new law affecting restaurants and bars comes from House File 2465, allowing any holder of a liquor license to infuse food and bitters in liquors and store it for a maximum of 72 hours.

Under House File 2467, a new law will require a $15 resident user permit for any snowmobiler to operate their snowmobiles on public lands and trails. This user permit was requested by snowmobile organizations, for snowmobile trail development and maintenance, with funding for such efforts coming from the sale of the user permits. The bill also prohibits water skipping by snowmobilers on any body of water other than a river or stream.

Iowans will now have more protections against fraud through Senate file 466. The law will protect consumers from “Storm Chasers” or other fly-by-night contractors who would attempt to take advantage of Iowans who have suffered property damage due to severe weather events.

Language in Senate file 2185 will allow for a doctor to supervise up to five licensed physicians’ assistants in order to improve access to health care in rural areas of the state. A related health care law, House file 2465, will forbid insurance carriers from charging their customers a higher co-pay or co-insurance rate for a visit to a Doctor of Chiropractic, instead of the rate for a visit to a physician.

Senate File 2237 will allow churches to hold an annual game night and award cash prizes, and will also apply to groups such as veteran and firefighter organizations.

In the area of education, Senate file 2221 will require a criminal background check for all school bus drivers in the state, and Senate file 2225 will provide protections for whistleblowers, as well as additional training programs for university employees and coaches who work with children at the college and university level.

And last but not least, House file 2465 will apply to the development of a new database of state rules that is be user-friendly, searchable, and informative to the public as part of the Legislatures’ push for Transparency in Government.

For more information on these or other bills, go to www.iowahouse.org.