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Chuck Holz — March 29, 2018

2018 Legislative Session — Week 11
March 22, 2018

Dear Friends, Once again the Twelfth week of Session was “a week of debate” and the following bills were presented along with other bills to the House of Representatives to vote on.  Senate File (SF) 2203 is a bill that allows a nurse completing a nurse refresher course to be issued a limited authorization to practice in a clinical setting. Additionally, with this bill, the Board of Nursing will pursue requirements for a nurse who has not held an active license in any jurisdiction in the previous five years to complete a nurse refresher course. The Board will require the course to have a theory component and a clinical component. The nurse must complete the course before they will be issued a license. The bill passed 97 Ayes, 0 Nays, and 3 Absent.  Senate File (SF) 2235 was substituted for House File 2394. Both bills create a crime for critical infrastructure sabotage. Critical infrastructure is any of the following: o An electrical power generating, transmission or delivery system. o A gas, oil, petroleum, refined petroleum product, renewable fuel, or chemical critical generation, storage transportation or delivery system. o A telecommunications or broadband generation, transmission, or delivery system. o A wastewater treatment, collection, or delivery system. o A water supply treatment, collection, storage, or delivery system. o Any land, building, conveyance or other structure publically or privately owned that contains, or is appurtenant to, any critical infrastructure above. Critical infrastructure sabotage is an unauthorized and overt act intended to cause a substantial and widespread interruption or impairment of a fundamental service rendered by the critical infrastructure. It does not include accidental interruption caused by a person in performance of their work duties or caused by a person’s lawful activity. It also does not include any condition or activity related to the production of farm products as defined in 554.9102 (Uniform Commercial Code – Definitions and Index Of Definitions.) A person who commits critical infrastructure sabotage is guilty of a Class B Felony and shall be punished by a fine between $85,000 and $100,000 in addition to a prison sentence of no more than 25 years. The bill passed 69 Ayes, 31 Nays and 0 Absent.
 Senate File (SF) 2318 strengthens the requirements in state law for granting high school credit to students who take high school-level courses before high school. Current law gives authorization to schools to grant high school credit for students at any grade level who have completed a high school-level unit of instruction. SF 2318 modifies this language stating that a district shall grant that credit if the course was taken in district. The two exceptions are if the student can’t show proficiency in the subject or if the course taken does not meet the school district’s or nonpublic’s standards. If the credit is denied, the school provide in writing to the student’s parents the reason for the credit denial. For courses taken outside of the district and taught by an Iowa licensed teacher, the district may, but is not required to issue credit. The bill passed 98 Ayes, 0 Nays, and 2 Absent. On Wednesday, we continued to have Caucus, Committee meetings, debate and vote on bills and amendments.  Senate File (SF) 449 permits a landowner to install a cattle guard in specific instances and at the landowner’s expense. SF 449 defines “cattle guard” as a structure consisting of parallel bars placed over a shallow ditch that allows motor vehicles to pass over the ditch but prevents cattle and other livestock from passing over the ditch. The landowner may install a cattle guard on a street or a highway if all of the following apply: o The street or highway terminates in a dead end, is completely or partially located in a flood plain, serves no residence, and exits to a secondary road. o The landowner owns the property on both sides of the street that ends in a dead end. o The effective purpose of restraining livestock through fences along the street or highway is continually impaired by flooding or other natural forces. A cattle guard that is installed will be installed at the landowner’s expense at a distance or not less than 66 feet from the secondary road that is described in the bill. Additionally, the landowner is liable for injuries or damages resulting from the cattle guard or from the cattle on the secondary road. The landowner must provide proof of insurance to the county annually. A posted speed limit of 15 miles per hour is required. The bill passed 95 Ayes, 3 Nays and 2 Absent.  Senate File (SF) 2175 protects heirs from being forced to sell inherited property if one owner doesn’t want to keep their land. Under the current law, heirs may be forced to sell inherited land by the court if they cannot buy out another heir who wishes to sell their share. The bill codifies a rule of civil procedure and recognizes chapter 651, dealing with partition of property. SF 2175 does all of the following: o Defines terms not currently used for partition. o Provides that the court shall file an initial decree addressing shares and interests of the owners, an appraisal by disinterested persons, a referee’s report. o Establishes partition in kind procedures that are easier to follow. o Authorize division of unequal parcels in a parcels in a partition in kind by having the co-tenant with the higher value parcel make payments to co-tenant with the lower value parcel, a practice known (and authorized by this bill) as “owelty”. o Establish partition by sale procedures that don’t change current law substantively but organize more clearly. o Attorney fees are currently taxed as costs but the bill would prohibit that in the case of the plaintiff losing, in which case the fees shall not be taxed. o Special heirs property procedures are established where one or more co-tenants request a partition in kind in an action to partition heirs property (if all co-tenants agree to partition by sale, none of the provisions are applied to partition). SF 2175 passed 97 Ayes, 1 Nay, and 2 Absent. Today we are continuing to debate and vote on bills.
Chuck Holz

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