This week, I was given the opportunity to gavel in the House as acting Speaker on Wednesday morning. Each of the freshman representatives has been briefly serving as speaker to kick off a legislative day this session. It looks like a relatively simple job from my desk, but there sure seemed to be a lot going on when I was sitting on the rostrum. My service only lasted a few minutes, but it was an opportunity to get a whole new perspective on the daily proceedings.
Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday of Week 6 were busy days of debate with 41 bills considered in the Iowa House. A wide range of topics were addressed. Here’s a sampling of the legislation that was passed nearly unanimously, except in a couple situations.
- HF 415 requires the school boards to administer the Pledge of Allegiance in grades 1 through 12.
- HF 454 defines and prohibits pyramid schemes.
- HF 311 allows qualified organizations to hold charitable game nights once per month rather than once per year.
- HF 384 clarifies rules regarding “to go” sales of liquor, wine, beer, and mixed drinks. Initial legislation for sales of off-site alcohol consumption was created last June in response to the pandemic restrictions.
- SF 231 creates a special minor driver license for farm employees under age 16, also known as a farm driver permit. This has passed the House and Senate. The license limits drivers to two-axel-or-less vehicles and prohibits them from towing anything like a wagon or trailer during the course of farm-related work.
- HF 435 allows people to provide emergency contact information when applying for or renewing their driver’s license or non-operator identification.
- HF 313 prohibits a county or city government from requiring a temporary on-site transactional business operated exclusively by a minor (such as a lemonade stand) to obtain a permit or license, or pay a fee.
- HF 283 bans the possession of synthetic urine, urine additives, or the use of another’s urine to pass a drug or alcohol test. Curiously, while still passed with a bipartisan vote, this bill had the most opposition of any bill debated. The vote was 61-30.
- HF 490 applies provisions of the Iowa Code on placement of campaign signs to apply to candidates and political committees for federal office. Previously, there weren’t rules on placement of federal campaign signs.
- SF 130 allows school board members to receive compensation greater than $6,000 from their school if employed as a substitute teacher, food service worker, or school bus driver for the 2020-21 school year.
- HF 468 requires at least 75 percent of the students accepted to the University of Iowa colleges of medicine and dentistry to be residents of Iowa or currently attending undergraduate school in Iowa. The bill also requires the University of Iowa to track and report whether dental and medical school graduates stay in Iowa.
- HF 532 appropriates $27.2 million to provide schools with supplemental aid for the added costs for the 2020-21 school year. The amount distributed to schools will be based on the percentage of time they were in-person, whether hybrid or full-time, prior to the enactment of SF 160. This funding would be a one-time supplement and could be used for any general fund purpose. The House bill makes the funding available yet this school year and would come from the state’s ending fund balance.
To easily see which bills have passed the Iowa House, start at https://www.legis.iowa.gov/, then select House Floor Votes by Bill listed under Currently in the House. On the next page, choose a specific date or date range, or type in a bill number or topic. A bill summary and voting information is provided, and a detailed voting breakdown is accessible for each piece of legislation.
A bill that came directly from a House District 64 constituent was introduced in the House on Tuesday. HSB 215 is a bill that allows a licensed cosmetologist to practice cosmetology at an alternate location if a wedding is scheduled to occur at the location that day. In other words, a cosmetologist could travel to the bridal party rather than the members of a bridal party all travelling to the cosmetologist
Last week, with the passage of a 2.4 percent increase in supplemental state aid (SSA) for schools, there have been questions regarding how increases in state education funding compare to the rate of inflation. A chart showed that growth in SSA funding has actually outpaced inflation.