What’s happening in Des Moines

We are now finishing up our second week in session. Bills are being filed and committee work is under way. Here is a sampling of the bills beginning to work their way through the process.

My Bills

• House Joint Resolution TBD – Right To Hunt, Fish, and Trap: This bill seeks to amend the Iowa Constitution to not only guarantee our right to engage in these sports, but also to use traditional methods into the future. As the population continues to shift to urban areas the necessity for this amendment increases. The amendment language is similar to what has passed recently in several other Midwestern states.

• House File 29 – Shared Operational Functions: This bill was suggested by school superintendents in my district. It deals with continuing a program of financial incentives to smaller school districts to share personnel in several functions such as school counselor, curriculum director, superintendent, business management, etc. For example, two school districts might share a school counselor to save on salary expense, this program provides additional funds to both districts for that sharing. This bill adds principal to the list of shared functions, and it removes the 2019 sunset provision so that our smaller school districts can continue to benefit from this program.

• House File 16 – Supervision of Apprentice Electricians: This is a bill requested by electrical contractors in my district. An apprentice must work for four years before they can become a Journeyman Electrician. Current law requires that apprentice to have a supervising electrician at the job site 100 percent of the time. This requirement places an undue burden on our rural and small town electricians. For example, the supervisor, typically the business owner, can’t legally leave the job site to answer a furnace repair call and let the apprentice continue performing routine tasks while the supervisor is away. This bill reduces the requirement from 100 percent to 25 percent of the day, giving the contractors flexibility and ultimately reducing cost to the customers. I have filed this bill in past years.

Other Bills

• House File 1 — Five Year Program Review and Repeal: This bill, sponsored by the House leadership, requires that all current and future programs implemented by the legislature are subject to automatic repeal over a period of five years based on a staggered schedule. All future programs, whether new or reauthorized, will also be subject to the five-year review and repeal. This is to ensure that each program is effectively and efficiently meeting the needs that produced the program and whether or not each program should be reauthorized or combined with other programs. The schedule of review will be set by legislation from the State Government Committee.

• House File 28 — High School Financial Literacy: This bill requires high schools to teach financial literacy courses to better prepare Iowa’s students following graduation. These types of classes will promote important skills and concepts for adult life like money management, college planning, savings and investments, credit and debt, and insurance coverage. A financial planning course taught to University of Northern Iowa students has been credited with lowering the student debt levels for their students.

• House Joint Resolution 1 — Electronic Communications Protection: This bill seeks to amend the Iowa Constitution so that the privacy of Iowans electronic communications is protected from search and seizure unless a search warrant is issued.

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Dean Fisher can be reached at 641-750-3594 or via email at dean.fisher@legis.iowa.gov