Dems: State Government – week of Feb. 29, 2016

March 5, 2016
By

SF 2142 – Primary elections

SF 2143 – Public disclosure of gifts

SF 2147 – Protection occupation – IPERS

SF 2151 – Alcoholic Beverage Control

SF 2170 – Notice to bidders

SF 2219 – Carbon monoxide detectors

SF 2255 – Ineligibility for state employment & sanctions for violating competitive bidding procedures

SF 2273 – Home food establishments

SF 2274 – Vendor debarment

SF 2275 – Natural hair braiding

HF 2147 – Absentee voting by uniformed & overseas citizens

 

FLOOR ACTION:

SF 2142 allows a registered voter who is not 18 to vote in a primary if they will be 18 by the general election. Current law allows someone 17 ½ to register to vote, but, except for requesting and voting an absentee ballot, the registration is not effective until the registrant is 18. In addition, the age that an Iowan may register to vote is changed from 17 ½ to 17. The bill takes effect January 1, 2017.

[3/1: 49-0 (Dix excused)]

 

SF 2143, proposed by the Ethics & Campaign Disclosure Board, relates to public disclosure of the receipt of certain gifts, bequests and honoraria. The bill requires that reports filed pursuant to Code section 8.7, relating to gifts and bequests received by a department or accepted by the Governor on behalf of the state, be filed in an electronic format. Reports are to be filed on a quarterly basis, if a gift or bequest is received or accepted.

 

In addition, an official or employee of the Executive Branch must submit an electronic report to the Ethics & Campaign Disclosure Board for any gifts or honoraria received by the official, employee or their immediate family from a restricted donor that exceeds $1,000 in a calendar year.

 

The bill establishes the timing of such reports, amending of reports and information to be included in the reports. Gifts not required to be disclosed include those that meet the gift law exceptions relating to contributions to a candidate and relating to food, beverage and entertainment received at a function qualifying under Code section 68B.22, subsection 4, paragraph “s.”

 

A person that knowingly and intentionally violates this provision is guilty of a serious misdemeanor under Code section 68B.34. A serious misdemeanor is punishable by confinement for no more than one year and a fine of at least $315 but not more than $1,875. In addition, a person violating the limit on the value of permissible gifts is subject to civil penalties or disciplinary action by the Ethics & Campaign Disclosure Board, or subject to disciplinary action by the Ethics Committees of the Senate and House of Representatives.

[2/29: 49-0 (Dix excused)]

 

SF 2147 provides that the protection occupation category of the Iowa Public Employees’ Retirement System (IPERS) be expanded to include:

    • A peace officer employed by an institution under the Board of Regents whose position requires law enforcement certification.
  • A person employed by the Department of Human Services as a Psychiatric Security Specialist at a civil commitment unit for sexually violent offenders.  

 

 [2/29: 45-4 (Chapman, Schneider, Schultz, Zaun voting “no”; Dix excused)]

 

SF 2151 makes a number of regulatory changes under the purview of the Alcoholic Beverages Division (ABD) of the Department of Commerce. Changes include:

  • Wine permits are added to the list of licenses and permits issued by ABD.
  • Strikes the requirement that ABD prepare forms on paper. ABD may distribute monthly pricing to licensees electronically.
  • Resealing bottles of wine is amended to grant this authority to all liquor control licensees that sell alcoholic beverages, not just to those licensees that sell alcoholic liquor.
  • Specifically lists the types of liquor control licenses and wine or beer permits that may be issued on a temporary basis for local events.
  • Temporary licenses are amended to provide that a special class “C” liquor control license and a class “C” native wine permit may be issued on a temporary basis, and provides that the fee for a 5-day or 14-day class “C” native wine permit is the same as the fee for an annual permit.
  • Nature of a permit of license is amended to eliminate the term “liquor” when referring to a special permit.
  • Micro-distilled spirits is amended to eliminate the amount limit for a testing as part of a tour of the manufacturing facility. Micro-distilled spirits may be tasted pursuant to ABD rules.
  • Native wines are amended to provide that tastings of native wine on the premises where it is made must be allowed according to ABD rules. In addition, the reference to a class “A” native beer permit is struck. Inserted are references to a class “A” beer permit relating to employment of those who are also employed by a native wine manufacturer. Language that pertains to wine that is made for personal use when it is made on the premises of a manufacturer is struck.
  • Dramshop liability is amended to require class “C” native wine permit holders to furnish proof of financial responsibility by obtaining dramshop insurance as a condition of obtaining a new or renewal permit.
  • Any person of legal age is allowed to manufacture wine for personal use without a class “A” wine permit if the wine is not sold or otherwise given in consideration of purchase for any property or services or in evasion of requirements of Code chapter 123 – Alcoholic Beverage Control.
  • Authorizes class “E” liquor control license holders to sell limited quantities of wine at wholesale to special class “C” liquor control license holders.

[2/25: 44-4 (Costello, Johnson, Segebart, Rozenboom “no”; Dix, Sinclair excused)]

 

SF 2170 makes changes to Iowa’s notice to bidders’ laws. Iowa Code 26.3 stipulates a public owner that is undertaking a public improvement above a specific dollar value (bid threshold) is required to advertise the project for a public bid letting. As part of this advertisement, the public owner is required to establish a bid letting date to open the specific bids. Current law requires that notice to be published in a newspaper of general circulation in the county in which the project is located. The notice to interested bidders is required to be published at least four days prior to the bid lettering, but not more than 45 days from the scheduled bid letting date.

The bill would change the four-day requirement to 13 days. In essence, once a notice to bidders is published in a local newspaper, a public owner could not hold a bid letting until 13 days had passed, but before that passage of 45 days.

Notices are to be posted in a relevant contractor room service with statewide circulation and a relevant construction lead generating service with statewide circulation.

A notice to bidders of the revised date must be posted not less than four and not more than 45 days before the revised date for filing bids in a relevant contractor plan room service with statewide circulation, a relevant construction lead generating service with statewide circulation, and on an Internet site sponsored by a governmental entity or a statewide association that represents it.

[2/29: 48-1 (Johnson “no”; Dix excused)]

 

SF 2219 amends current law that requires smoke detectors in multiple-unit residential buildings and single-family dwellings to also require the installation of carbon monoxide alarms. The bill takes effect July 1, 2018.

 

The bill requires carbon monoxide alarms in multiple-unit residential buildings and single-family dwellings constructed on or after July 1, 2018, and that have a fuel-fired heater or appliance, a fireplace or an attached garage. The alarm is to be placed as specified by rules established by the State Fire Marshal. The rules must take into account the number and location of all fuel sources in the building. In addition, the State Fire Marshal must adopt rules for installing carbon monoxide alarms in the same manner in existing multiple-unit residential buildings and single-family rental units that have a fuel-fired appliance, fireplace or attached garage. The owner of a single-family dwelling that has a fuel-fired appliance, fireplace or attached garage is responsible for installing carbon monoxide alarms and must certify installation upon filing for a homestead credit. Owners of multiple-unit residential buildings and single-family rental units with a fuel-fired appliance, fireplace or attached garage are also required to supply light-emitting carbon monoxide alarms for hearing-impaired tenants.

 

Current requirements for smoke alarms also apply to carbon monoxide alarms. The State Fire Marshal must enforce requirements of the bill concerning carbon monoxide alarms, and an occupant of a multiple-unit residential building or single-family rental unit in which the owner fails to install or fix a carbon monoxide alarm within 30 days of receiving written notice may deduct the cost of fixing or installing a carbon monoxide alarm from the next rental payment. In addition, a person is prohibited from making a carbon monoxide alarm inoperable. A violation is a simple misdemeanor, punishable by no more than 30 days in jail, by a fine of at least $65 but not more than $625, or by both.

[2/29: 37-11 (Behn, Chapman, Costello, Guth, Rozenboom, Schneider, Schultz, Sinclair, Taylor, Whitver, Zaun “no”; Dix, Feenstra excused)]

 

SF 2255 concerns sanctions for violating competitive bidding procedures and state employee hiring by the Department of Administrative Services (DAS). The bill includes these changes:

  • Code section 8A.311 (competitive bidding procedures) is amended to require the DAS director to establish sanctions for violating competitive bidding procedures. Sanctions must include fines and possible suspension, dismissal or demotion for state agency employees.
  • DAS must establish procedures for designating an individual as ineligible for 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 documentation be maintained by DAS.
  • An individual may appeal the designation of ineligibility and may request DAS review the designation. Those designated as ineligible as of the effective date of the bill must be notified in writing and of their rights under the bill.

[3/1: 49-0 (Dix excused)]

 

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.

[3/1: 49-0(Dix excused)]

 

SF 2274 prohibits a state agency from entering into a contract with a person who is debarred under requirements of the bill. This includes the Board of Regents, but not the Department of Transportation (DOT) because the DOT already has procedures and processes for debarment and for prequalification for bidding. Competitive bidding requirements are amended to prohibit the Department of Administrative Services (DAS) from entering into a contract or authorizing 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 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.

[2/29: 48-0 (Dix, Feenstra excused)]

 

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.

[2/29: 48-0 (Dix, Feenstra excused)]

 

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 the continental U.S. and 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.

[2/29: 49-0 (Dix excused)]

 

COMMITTEE ACTION:

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 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 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 state 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.

 

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]

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