Dems: State Government – week of Feb. 22, 2016

February 26, 2016

SF 2162 – Electronic filing system for administrative proceedings by Dept. of Inspections & Appeals

SF 2198 – Right to Try Act

SF 2231 – Disaster aid payments

SF 2242 – City elections

SF 2255 – Ineligibility for state employment and sanctions for violations of competitive bidding procedures

SF 2273 – Home food establishments

SF 2274 – Vendor debarment

SF 2275 – Natural hair braiding

SF 2281 – Investment of certain public funds & public contracts with companies that boycott Israel

SF 2287 – Emergency response services

HF 2118 – Financial irregularities filed by the State Auditor with a county attorney

HF 2147 – Absentee Voting by Uniformed & Overseas Citizens



SF 2162 permits the Administrative Hearings Division of the Department of Inspections & Appeals to adopt administrative rules establishing an electronic filing system for contested case and other administrative proceedings conducted by the division, notwithstanding Code sections 10A.801, subsection 7, paragraph “b”, and 554D.120. The rules would also prescribe whether and to what extent the division will accept, process, distribute and retain electronic records and electronic signatures from appellants, government agencies and others with respect to the proceedings.


The bill provides for various matters that may be included in the rules, including electronic records, electronic signatures, criteria and procedures to follow when filing an electronic document; retention of paper documents; processes and procedures to ensure adequate preservation, integrity, security, disposition and audit worthiness of the electronic records; and public access to electronic records.


Rules adopted will prevail over any other law, including Code chapter 17A, or agency rule that specifies the method, manner or format for sending, receiving, serving, retaining or creating paper records or other documents related to a contested case proceeding. The bill permits the division to limit the applicability and scope of the rules to one or more agencies or by specific case type for the purpose of testing and implementing an electronic information processing system.


An electronic record that complies with rules will prevail over any law, including Code chapter 17A, that requires a written record, and an electronic signature that complies will prevail over any law that requires a written signature. An electronic record or signature that complies will not be denied legal effect or enforceability based solely on the record’s or signature’s electronic form. Sn electronic record’s or signature’s legal consequence is determined by this bill, applicable law, and applicable division and agency rules.


An electronic record maintained in an electronic filing system established by the division must be the official record of the contested case and keepingthe record in the system must satisfy the obligation of an agency to file and maintain the record.

[2/22: 49-0 (Feenstra excused]


SF 2198 is the Right to Try Act, which permits manufacturers of investigational drugs, biological products or devices to make them available, and permits eligible patients with terminal illnesses to attempt treatment with them, as long as they provided written informed consent.


The bill defines the terms “eligible patient,” “terminal illness,” “investigational drug, biological product, or device,” and “written informed consent.”


An eligible patient’s physician must acknowledge that the patient’s illness is terminal and recommend the patient try an investigational drug, biological product or device. The patient’s written informed consent must acknowledge that treatments currently approved by the U.S. Food & Drug Administration are unlikely to prolong their life. It must identify the specific treatment sought and the potential best, worst and expected results from the treatment. It must acknowledge that the patient’s insurance is not required to pay for the treatment and that any hospice service may refuse to accept the patient after receiving the treatment. It must also acknowledge that expenses will be credited to the patient, including the patient’s estate, unless an agreement with the manufacturer of an investigational drug, biological product or device states otherwise. If the patient dies during treatment, the patient’s heirs are not liable for any remaining debts unless otherwise required by law.


The manufacturer of an investigational drug, biological product or device may charge an eligible patient or provide treatment free of charge. Government entities are not required to pay costs associated with the use, care or treatment of a patient with an investigational drug, biological product or device. The bill does not require hospitals licensed under chapter 135B or other health care facilities to provide new or additional services.


To the extent consistent with state law, the Board of Medicine must not take an adverse action against a physician’s license solely for recommending an investigational drug, biological product or device for eligible patient.


The bill does not create a new private cause of action against any person or entity involved in the care of an eligible patient using the investigational drug, biological product or device for harm resulting from the treatment if the person or entity is complying in good faith with the terms of the bill and has exercised reasonable care.

[2/23: 50-0]


SF 2231 relates to requirements applicable to authorizing the payment of specified forms of disaster aid. Code section 7D.29 requires the secretary of the Executive Council to notify the Legislative Services Agency of a payment authorization request at least two weeks prior to the Executive Council’s approval of the request. The bill creates an exception to this notification requirement for requests for the expenditure of disaster aid individual assistance grant funds pursuant to Code section 29C.20A and 29C.20.


The bill also provides that disaster aid money contained in the contingent fund established in Code section 29C.20 may be spent for reimbursing a party state for rendering disaster-related assistance according to the provisions of the Emergency Management Assistance Compact established in Code section 29C.21.

[2/23: 50-0]


SF 2242 allows county auditors to designate a city clerk to receive candidate filings for city offices, and a designated city clerk is responsible for carrying out certain duties related to the review and acceptance or rejection of nomination papers. The designated office must remain open until 5 p.m. on the final day for filing nomination papers, and the city clerk must deliver nomination papers and any public measures to the county commissioner by noon on the day after the nomination petition filing deadline. Under current law, city clerks are required to deliver public measures by 5 p.m. on the day of the petition filing deadline.

[2/24: 50-0]


HF 2118, proposed by the State Auditor, amends the Code to reflect current practices. If an audit or examination discloses any significant irregularities, a copy of the report must be filed with the county attorney. The term “significant” is often used by accountants and auditors. It is not defined in Code but is used in a number of instances in the Code.

[2/22: 49-0 (Feenstra excused]



SF 2255 concerns procedures of the Department of Administrative Services (DAS) relating to sanctions for violations of competitive bidding procedures and state employee hiring.


Code section 8A.311, concerning competitive bidding procedures, is amended to require the DAS director to establish sanctions for violations of competitive bidding procedures. Sanctions must include fines and, for state agency employees, possible suspension, dismissal or demotion.


DAS must establish procedures for designating an individual as ineligible to apply for or to be considered or approved for or appointed to employment with a state agency. The bill describes reasons for designating an individual as ineligible, provides for notice to the individual within five days and requires that documentation of the designation be maintained by DAS.


An individual may appeal the designation of ineligibility and may request the department review the designation of ineligibility. Those designated as ineligible as of the effective date of the bill must be notified in writing and of their rights under the bill.

[2/18: 15-0]


SF 2273 raises the ceiling on gross annual sales from $20,000 to $35,000 for a food establishment to be considered a home food establishment subject to licensure under Code chapter 137D.

[2/18: 15-0]


SF 2274 provides that a state agency must not enter into a contract with a person who has been debarred pursuant to requirements of this act. This includes the Board of Regents, but does not include the state Department of Transportation (DOT). The DOT has procedures and processes in place for debarment and for prequalification for bidding. Competitive bidding requirements are amended to provide that the Department of Administrative Services (DAS) must not enter into a contract or authorize a contract with a person who is debarred. This includes the executive branch and an institution under control of the Regents.


The bill establishes the process to debar a person from eligibility to enter into a contract with DAS. Debarment must not exceed three years. Administrative processes, including rights for a hearing and judicial review for debarring, are established.


Reasons for debarment include a criminal conviction related to obtaining or attempting to obtain a public or private contract; conviction or civil action determination of an offense indicating a lack of business integrity or honesty; conviction under a state or federal antitrust statute related to submission of a bid or proposal; violations of the federal Labor Relations Act; certain violations of contract provisions; and any other cause the DAS director believes is serious and compelling, including debarment by another government entity. DAS must adopt rules to implement the requirements.

[2/18: 15-0]


SF 2275 states that a person performing natural hair braiding must pass a health and sanitation exam as prescribed by the Board of Cosmetology and is required to register with the Board. Registration information includes an address and description of the location where the person performs natural hair braiding. The Department of Public Health must inspect the location if there is a complaint to the Board to monitor compliance with health and sanitation requirements established by rule.  If the person fails the inspection, they must pay a fine as determined by the Board.

[2/18: 15-0]


SF 2281 creates a new Code chapter 12J, which restricts the State Treasurer, Board of Regents, the Iowa Public Employees’ Retirement System (IPERS), the Public Safety Peace Officers’ Retirement System (PORS), the Statewide Fire & Police Retirement System (411), and the Judicial Retirement System from directly investing in certain companies engaged in a boycott of Israel.


The bill also requires public entities, including the state and political subdivisions, entering into contract of $1,000 or more to include a written statement that the company will not engage in a boycott of Israel for the duration of the contract.


By March 1, 2017, each public fund must develop and maintain a list of scrutinized companies that they have holdings in or in which the fund may invest in the future. The list must be updated on an annual basis. “Scrutinized companies” are those that publicly states they are participating in a boycott of Israel. A public fund must send notice to companies on the list that the company may qualify for divestment and other investment restrictions by the public fund.


New Code section 12J.4 requires that a public fund not invest in, and must divest from, holdings in a scrutinized company. If the public fund has direct holdings in the company, it must proceed to divest assets in 180 days. A public fund must not be required to divest or refrain from investing in a company if it has indirect holdings in the company. However, public funds are encouraged to move their indirect holdings to funds that do not include scrutinized companies. Indirect holdings include shares in an account or fund managed by those not employed by the public fund, including mutual funds, private equity funds and similar funds.

[2/18: 15-0]


SF 2287 authorizes the establishment of benefited emergency response districts to provide emergency response services, including fire protection services and emergency medical services, but excluding law enforcement.


County boards supervisors must, on the petition of 10 percent of the resident property owners in a proposed district, hold a public hearing. The bill specifies the contents of the petition and authorizes the board of supervisors to require a bond from petitioners. The bill authorizes a district to include one or more adjoining townships or portions thereof and may include one or more cities or portions thereof adjacent to participating townships.


A public hearing must be held within 60 days of filing the petition with the board. The bill specifies notice requirements for the hearing. Within 10 days after the hearing, the board must establish the district by resolution or disallow the petition. When the board establishes a district, it must appoint a competent disinterested civil engineer to prepare a preliminary plat. The engineer must file a report with the Auditor within 30 days of appointment, and supervisors must hold a public hearing on the engineer’s plat. Within 10 days of the hearing, they must approve or disapprove the plat.


The bill specifies the powers and duties of the board of directors, including the ability to purchase, own, rent or maintain fire, emergency medical or other emergency response apparatus or equipment, and provide housing for such apparatus or equipment.


Upon petition of eligible voters equal to at least 35 percent of the property taxpayers in the district, the board of supervisors may dissolve a district and dispose of any remaining property, the proceeds of which must first be applied to any outstanding obligation of the district. Any remaining balance must be applied as a tax credit for the property owners. The bill also provides for the transition of existing emergency response services from cities, townships and other special districts to a newly formed benefited emergency response district and for the reorganization of a benefited fire district under Code chapter 357B if approved at election.


The bill includes corresponding changes to other provisions of law relating to the joint exercise of governmental power under Code chapter 28E, metropolitan and regional planning commissions under Code chapter 28I, workers’ compensation under Code chapter 85, fire and emergency response services training under Code chapter 100B, fire scenes under Code chapter 102, and the definition of “fire department” under Code chapter 321 similar to those in effect for benefited fire districts under Code chapter 357B.

[2/18: 15-0]


HF 2147 relates to absentee voting by uniformed and U.S. citizens living overseas. Under current law, eligible voters may request a special absentee ballot for general elections if they will be residing, stationed or working outside of the continental U.S. and will be unable to vote and return a regular absentee ballot through normal mail delivery. The bill extends the time for filing an application for a special absentee ballot from 90 to 120 days.


Under current law, military and overseas voters may vote in primary and general elections, as well as certain special elections, by voting and submitting a federal write-in absentee ballot. The bill strikes current requirements related to a voter’s submission of a regular absentee ballot application for a voter’s federal write-in absentee ballot to be counted.

[2/18: 15-0]

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