Dems: Judiciary Committee Report – Week 5, 2018

February 12, 2018
By

SF 281 – Grandparent visitation
SF 421 – Mistreatment of animals
SF 426 – Blocking traffic
SF 432 – Possession of small amounts of marijuana
SF 2086 – Transporting to and from school grounds while armed
SF 2105 – Contraband in community based corrections facilities
SSB 3012 – Redemption of parcels sold at tax sales
SSB 3016 – Court fees in probate
SSB 3018 – Scanning devices and encoding machines
SSB 3026 – Kidnapping of children
SSB 3032 – Wiretaps
SSB 3037 – Judgments on claims for rent
SSB 3038 – Crime victim compensation
SSB 3039 – Mechanics liens and public improvement projects
SSB 3041 – Lascivious acts with 14 and 15 year olds
SSB 3043 – Mental health professionals’ business entities
SSB 3060 – Parole violations
SSB 3061– Insurance fraud and restitution
SSB 3062 – Sabotage of critical infrastructure property
SSB 3065 – Partitions of property
SSB 3100 – Mechanics liens and collateral

 

COMMITTEE ACTION:

Senate File 281 relates to grandparent visitation. As amended in committee, the bill adds a new section to the current grandparent visitation chapter. The amendment specifies that if a party objects to a petition filed under the current grandparent visitation law, the court will refer the parties to mediation. If an agreement is reached through mediation, the parties will sign an agreement, which will be presented to the court. If no agreement is reached through mediation, court proceedings will continue unless the petition is otherwise dismissed or withdrawn.
[2/8: 9-3 (No: Bisignano, Boulton, Petersen)]

 

Senate File 421 makes changes to Chapter 717B, the Injury to Animals Other Than Livestock Chapter. The bill:

  • Clarifies the distinction between neglect (the failure to provide care) and abuse (a direct action causing injury).
  • Clarifies the definition of animal abandonment.
  • Removes the exception that says it’s not abuse if committed by the owner or a person acting with the consent of the owner.
  • Improves the definition of the required minimum standard of care.
  • Provides enhanced penalties based on the severity of the injuries sustained by the animals.
  • Clarifies the definition of animal torture and makes it a felony upon a first offense.
  • Enhances penalties for those with previous convictions under this Chapter.
  • Allows the Court to order a person found guilty of a violation under this Chapter to undergo a psychological or psychiatric evaluation.
  • Allows the Court to prohibit a person convicted of a violation under this Chapter from owning or obtaining custody of an animal or residing in the same dwelling where an animal is kept.
  • Creates the offense of animal endangerment for leaving animals in a vehicle under extreme conditions and allows law enforcement officers to rescue animals from the vehicles.
    [2/1: 8-4 (No: Edler, Garrett, Schultz, Sinclair; Absent: Shipley)]

 

Senate File 426 prohibits a person from loitering or obstructing with the intention of blocking the normal movement of motor vehicle traffic on a highway. Under this proposal, a person who commits a first violation of loitering or placing an obstruction is guilty of a serious misdemeanor, punishable by imprisonment not to exceed one year and a fine of at least $315 but not to exceed $1,875.

A person who commits a second violation is guilty of an aggravated misdemeanor, punishable by imprisonment not to exceed two years and a fine of at least $625 but not to exceed $6,250. A person who commits a third or subsequent violation is guilty of a class “D” felony, punishable by imprisonment not to exceed five years and a fine of at least $750 but not to exceed $7,500.

The person is subject to prosecution by the county attorney in the county where the highway is located. However, if the county attorney fails to initiate prosecution within 30 days, the Attorney General may initiate and carry out the prosecution in cooperation, if possible, with the county attorney.
[2/7: 8-5 (party-line)]

 

Senate File 432 makes a first offense possession of five grams or less of marijuana a simple misdemeanor, punishable by no more than 30 days in jail and a fine of at least $65 but not more than $625, or both.

  • Under current law, first offense possession of marijuana is punished as a serious misdemeanor with confinement of up to six months, or a fine of up to $1,000 or both.
  • There are no changes to current law if a person is convicted of or pleads guilty to a second or subsequent possession of marijuana. Those penalties remain the same.
    [2/1: short form (Absent: Shipley)]

 

Senate File 2086 allows a person with a valid permit to carry to go armed with a firearm on school grounds (but not inside a school facility) when transporting a student to or from school. The committee adopted an amendment allowing a person with a permit to carry to go armed on school grounds if the person remains in a parking area or driveway while transporting another person (not just a student) or while delivering an item to or from the school.
[2/7: short form]

 

Senate File 2105 makes it a crime to introduce contraband into or onto a community-based correctional facility; convey contraband to any person confined in a community-based correctional facility; or knowingly make, obtain or possess contraband while confined in a community-based correctional facility. Contraband includes but is not limited to:

  • A controlled substance or a simulated or counterfeit controlled substance, hypodermic syringe, or intoxicating beverage.
  • A dangerous weapon, offensive weapon, pneumatic gun, stun gun, firearm ammunition, knife or other cutting device, explosive or incendiary material, instrument, device, or other material fashioned in such a manner as to be capable of inflicting death or injury.
  • Rope, ladder components, key or key pattern, metal file, instrument, device, or other material designed or intended to facilitate escape of an inmate.
  • Failure to report a known violation or attempted violation to a community based correctional officer or official is an aggravated misdemeanor.
  • Possession of controlled substance, etc., or materials intended to facilitate escape is a “D” felony.
  • Possession of weapons is a “C” felony.

This legislation is in response to an Iowa Supreme Court decision that there was no specific criminal charge for bringing contraband into community based correctional facilities.
[2/1: short form (Absent: Shipley)]

 

Senate Study Bill 3012 creates a process for minors and those with a legal disability to redeem real property held in their name after it has been sold at a tax sale and the county treasurer has delivered the treasurer’s deed. Under Code section 447.7, a minor or person with a legal disability may redeem property sold at a tax sale at any time up until age 19 or a year after the legal disability has expired. Yet, the Code section (447.8) that delineates how property sold at a tax sale is to be redeemed does not describe how minors or those with a legal disability who are the initial titleholders of the property are to redeem after the 90-day redemption period expires and the treasurer has issued the treasurer’s deed to the tax sale purchaser. There is a gap in the law that allows some properties to remain with uncertain title for extended periods of time.
[2/1: short form (Absent: Shipley)]

 

Senate Study Bill 3016 changes how court fees in probate are calculated. The bill mandates that when estates are being probated, certain property required to be listed on the probate inventory (but are considered non-probate assets) are not to be used in the calculation of court costs. In addition, the bill makes changes to other fees in probate by increasing the cost for certain filings. The Committee adopted an amendment that placed a cap on the court fees to probate an estate. In 2015, a similar bill passed out of Judiciary and was referred to Ways & Means. That bill had a significant negative fiscal impact on the General Fund. [2/7: 8-5 (party-line)]

 

Senate Study Bill 3018, as amended in committee, updates criminal law relating to unauthorized use of scanning devices or encoding machines to obtain information encoded on a payment card. The update is intended to keep abreast of the technology being used to steal information from payment cards.
[2/7: short form]

 

Senate Study Bill 3026 adds kidnapping someone under the age of 18 to the definition of second-degree kidnapping. Under current law, second-degree kidnapping is kidnapping where the purpose is to hold the victim for ransom or where the kidnapper is armed with a dangerous weapon.

  • Second-degree kidnapping is a “B” felony, punishable by up to 25 years in prison
  • If a judge or jury determines a second-degree kidnapping was sexually motivated, the convict must register as a sex offender.

Under an amendment adopted by the committee, if a parent or legal guardian whose sole purpose for taking a child is to assume custody, it is not second-degree kidnapping.
[2/7: 12-1 (No: Taylor)]

 

Senate Study Bill 3032 purports to fix Code language relating to the expansion of circumstances that allow state agents to get a court order authorizing interception of wiretaps. Over the years, circumstances that would authorize applications for wiretaps have been expanded. Yet there was never an amendment to the Code allowing a court to enter an order authorizing wiretaps for the expanded reasons. The Code currently says wiretaps are authorized for evidence of drug dealing only. Under this bill, the court may authorize wiretaps when there is potential evidence of any of the crimes that would authorize a warrant, including a forcible felony, felony offense involving ongoing criminal conduct, felony offense involving money laundering, a felony fugitive warrant and a felony offense involving human trafficking.
[2/1: short form (Absent: Shipley)]

 

Senate Study Bill 3037 eliminates the five-year statute of limitations to execute a judgment on a claim for rent. Current law says that after five years any judgment for rent that has not been executed is null and void. However, if a judgment or right to collect is sold or assigned to third parties other than state or federally chartered banks or credit unions, the statute of limitations period remains two years.
[2/7: short form]

 

Senate Study Bill 3038 relates to the Victim Compensation Fund. Payments are made from the fund to victims of certain crimes for expenses incurred because of the crime. The fund is made up of criminal surcharge monies and other sources and has no impact on the General Fund. The bill:

  • Adds a definition of “survivor of a deceased victim” so that there is a consistent definition throughout the Code for providing compensation to survivors of deceased victims.
  • Adds the ability to receive compensation for loss of income incurred by a survivor of a deceased victim due to attendance at a funeral, memorial or burial service.
  • Allows compensation for cleaning a crime scene. Current law limits compensation to cleaning a residence.
  • Provides for compensation for dependent care expenses when a survivor attends a funeral, burial or memorial service.
  • Provides for replacing or installing new locks and other residential security items.
  • Provides for additional compensation to a victim, a secondary victim or survivor for charges, expenses or loss of income if the expenses were not authorized at the time of the initial application for benefits.
  • Says a “new event” (such as a retrial, a change in offender custody status or a new appellate court decision) will allow for additional compensation.
    [2/1: short form (Absent: Shipley)]

 

Senate Study Bill 3039 has two parts. One relates to amending liens. The other relates to retention funds required in public construction projects:

  • The bill says a lien statement may be amended without court involvement to decrease the amount demanded in the lien. Amending the lien to decrease the amount can be done through the mechanics’ notice and lien registry. A lien statement may only be amended by leave of court in furtherance of justice and no lien statement can be amended to increase the amount demanded. The Committee adopted an amendment that specifies that a lien statement amended through the registry can only be done by the lienholder.
  • The bill also makes changes to Chapter 573 relating to labor and materials on public improvements regarding who is entitled to make claims against a retainage and the requirements that must be met to make a claim.
  • The bill requires a furnisher of labor, materials, service or transportation to a subcontractor to provide a one-time notice in writing within 30 days to the principal contractor along with detailed contact information for the furnisher, in addition to contact information for the subcontractor.
  • The person making the claim must also provide a certified statement that the principal contractor received the notice.
  • Deletes Code section 26.13 relating to early release of retained funds in public construction projects and places that language in Chapter 573 relating to labor and materials in public construction projects.
    [2/7: 8-5 (party-line)

 

Senate Study Bill 3041 creates the crime of lascivious acts with a person age 14 or 15 and requires any person convicted under this law to register as a sex offender. Iowa law currently penalizes lascivious acts with a child but the definition of “child” is anyone under age 14. There is a gap in the law when a person 18 or older has authority over anyone age 14 or 15 and engages in certain types of behavior (lascivious acts) with the 14 or 15 year old. These include behaviors such as touching certain body parts of the 14 or 15 year old or soliciting the 14 or 15 year old to touch the person. Under current law, according to the Iowa County Attorneys Association, the only charge that can be brought is an assault charge.
[2/1: short form (Absent: Shipley)]

 

Senate Study Bill 3043 adds licensed mental health counselors to the list of professionals who can form a professional limited liability company. In addition, the bill specifies that marital and family therapy counselors, mental health counselors, and psychologists will be considered professions that could lawfully practice in partnership and form a professional limited liability company. The bill also adds marital and family therapy and mental health counseling to the list of professions permitted to form a professional corporation, and permits marital and family therapy counselors, mental health counselors, and psychologists to practice in combination as licensed individuals or as a partnership of licensed individuals in a professional corporation.
[2/1: short form (Absent: Shipley)]

 

Senate Study Bill 3060 allows a parole officer to make a complaint to any magistrate in the judicial district where a parolee is being supervised if the parole officer believes a parolee has violated parole. If there is probable cause to believe the parolee has violated his parole, the magistrate will issue a warrant for their arrest. In addition, the bill removes Code language that allows an individual to waive their parole revocation hearing.
[2/7: short form]

 

Senate Study Bill 3061 specifies that an insurer can be a victim for purposes of restitution if insurance fraud has been committed against the insurer. The committee adopted an amendment clarifying that when an insurer pays a victim’s insurance claim, the insurer is not the victim and has no right of subrogation.
[2/7: short form]

 

Senate Study Bill 3062 creates a new criminal offense called “criminal infrastructure sabotage,” defined as any unauthorized act that is intended to or does in fact cause a substantial interruption or impairment of service rendered to the public relating to critical infrastructure property. Critical infrastructure includes electrical, gas, oil, telecommunications or broadband, wastewater or water supply infrastructure as specified in the bill. The penalty for critical infrastructure sabotage is a “B” felony, punishable by up to 25 years in prison and the fine is $100,000. The Committee adopted an amendment that does the following:

  • Adds “petroleum” infrastructure to the definition of critical infrastructure in the bill.
  • Adds transportation infrastructure to the list of critical infrastructures in the bill.
  • Ensures that an accidental interruption or impairment of service caused by a person in performance of their duties cannot be charged as “critical infrastructure sabotage”.
  • Changes the fine amount from $100,000 to between $85,000 and $100,000.
    [2/7: 8-5 (party-line)]

 

Senate Study Bill 3065 relates to partition of property and the procedures to be followed when property is to be partitioned, usually when the property owners are “tenants in common” (i.e., each person owns a part of the whole property.) The bill sets procedures for partition by sale (selling the property and dividing the proceeds) and for partition in kind (dividing the property between all owners). All partition procedures will be placed in Chapter 651. Currently, most procedures for partition are included in court rules. There are two distinct divisions: one provides procedures for all partitions; the other includes special provisions that apply only where real estate is “heirs property.” Per court rule, the courts have favored partition of property by sale; however, this bill provides a procedure when the property is heirs’ property and some of the heirs request a partition in kind.
[2/1: short form (Absent: Shipley)]

 

Senate Study Bill 3100 deletes Code Section 572.3, which prohibits obtaining a mechanic’s lien when a person who performs labor or supplies materials takes any collateral security. That Code section dates back to 1855 and is outdated.
[2/7: short form]

 

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