Dems: Ways & Means Committee Report — Week 10, 2018

March 14, 2018

SSB 1169Food safety and hotel sanitation fees and inspections;
SSB 3076 – DNR authority to set pricing for camping and rental fees;
SSB 3152 – Ending central assessment of telecommunication property, transfer to local assessment and valuation;
SSB 3204 – Mental health region adjustments;
HF 631 – DNR authority to set hunting and fishing license fees;
HF 2370 – Post-adoption information;
HF 2446 – Utilities Board omnibus/voice over the internet protocol service regulations. 



SSB 1169 changes food safety and hotel sanitation fees and inspections based on recommendations from the Department of Inspections and Appeals (DIA), Department of Public Health (DPH), and regulated establishments including restaurants, schools, hotels and banquet facilities.

The food inspection program was designed to be self-supporting with fees covering the costs of the program. This allowed local governments to run programs and provide services at a local level. Without an increase in fees, local governments could not afford the program, so more responsibilities shifted to the state. With the fee increase, more local governments will resume inspections.
[3/14: short form]


SSB 3076 would give the Department of Natural Resources (DNR) the authority to adjust fees for campsites, cabins and other facilities in state parks and management areas. Currently, the department must establish fees through the administrative rulemaking process. This process can take more than six months. Under SSB 3076, the DNR could set rates for campsites, including offering package deals and discounts to more effectively market the sites.
[3/14: short form]


SSB 3152 would eliminate the current system for assessing telecommunication facilities that applies to wire-line telephone and Internet service providers and replace it with a traditional assessment process on a local basis. Currently, wire-line service providers are centrally assessed by the Department of Revenue on a number of factors to determine the value. The property includes wires and other transmission equipment with the property tax paid being distributed proportionally to the jurisdictions where the transmission infrastructure is located.

Under the bill, telecommunications property would be locally assessed with the valuation of property limited to the value of the real property associated with the utility. This new valuation procedure is projected to lower the taxable valuation of telecommunications property in the state by an estimated $885 million and reduce property taxes owed by the companies to local governments by nearly $30 million. An amendment adopted in committee would make it so cable television property is valued in the same manner and on comparable property.
[3/14: short form (Bolkcom, Dotzler, Jochum, Quirmbach “no”)]


SSB 3204 deals with the mental health and disability services (MHDS) region involving Woodbury, Plymouth and Lyon counties. These counties had operated as a region until Woodbury withdrew and joined a different region. This left Plymouth and Lyon as a two-county region, which is not allowed. The bill gives Plymouth and Lyon counties a year to operate as two-county region on a provisional basis. They must comply with all other requirements of the MHDS regions.
[3/14: short form]


HF 631 would give the Department of Natural Resources (DNR) authority to establish fees for hunting and fishing licenses and permits. Currently, the fee amounts are established in Iowa Code and can only be changed through legislation. Under HF 631, the Natural Resources Commission (NRC) could set fees through administrative rulemaking.

Hunting and fishing fees are deposited into the Fish and Game Protection Fund. This fund is constitutionally protected and can only be used for the regulation or advancement of fishing, hunting and trapping in Iowa, as well as to administer programs that protect, restore, and manage fish or wildlife. In the past, fees did not keep up with the increased costs of services provided by the department, which resulted in cuts to conservation law enforcement staff and projects to improve wildlife habitat and recreational opportunities.
[3/14: short form]


HF 2370 requires the State Registrar of Vital Statistics to send a list of available post-adoption services along with the new birth certificate when it is mailed to adoptive parents. The list of services is to be provided by the Department of Human Services.
[3/14: short form]


HF 2446 is a recommendation by the Iowa Utilities Board (IUB) that includes clarifications and updates to Iowa Code. It also deletes references in Utilities Board regulatory sections that are obsolete and repeals requirements for studies that have been completed and the reports properly filed with the Legislature. Additionally, the bill puts into Iowa Code two separate IUB orders that establish regulations for voice over the internet protocol (VoIP) phone service.
[3/14: short form]

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