|Greetings from the Statehouse, |
As we conclude week sixteen of the legislative session, our per diem is officially exhausted. This means that the majority of clerks last official work has been completed. Some legislators will pay their clerks out of pocket to remain at the legislature and assist with official business on a part-time basis until we conclude the session. This week we covered a handful of bills that were amended by the Senate, passed a vaccine passport bill out of the House, and attended a bill signing for broadband expansion.
House Passes and Amended Agricultural Tourism Promotion Act
On Tuesday, April 27th the Iowa House considered, amended, and passed Senate File 356 by a nearly partisan 53-40 vote. This bill creates a new chapter within the code that will be titled as the Iowa Agricultural Tourism Promotion Act. This proposed bill would limit the liability of certain persons involved in agricultural tourism on a farm when a cause of action by a visitor to the farm alleges an injury, loss, or death due to inherent risks of farming; the failure of a tourist to comply with instruction; and other select matters within the bill. This liability protection is only extended in certain situations, and still leaves room for litigation in the event that the owner/operator of the farm is determined negligent. This bill is much alike the rules for county fairs and if passed will give important protections for those who own agricultural tourism facilities.
Vaccine Passport Bill Passes the Iowa House, Sent to Senate for Consideration
This week HF 889, a bill to ban vaccine passports in Iowa passed out of the Iowa House and was Sent to the Senate for Consideration. The bill prohibits state and local governments from issuing any sort of identification card that identifies a person’s COVID-19 vaccination status. The bill also states that businesses that require proof of vaccination from customers, clients, or others will become ineligible for state contracts or grants, while allowing exceptions for health and other long-term care facilities. This legislation will help protect Iowan’s freedoms to make health care decisions that are best for them.
Broadband Expansion Bill Signed into Law
On Wednesday, Governor Reynolds signed House File 848 into law, creating a massive broadband expansion plan. This bill sets the framework for aggressive buildout of Iowa’s broadband infrastructure and will help those in broadband deserts across the state and connect rural Iowa. I am happy to report that $100 million will be invested into this program in FY 2022 alone to begin the process for much needed broadband expansion.