When there are dozens of bills filed on a daily basis – there have been more than 1,000 offered already this session – it can be difficult to keep up with every one of them.
So, many reporters who cover the Iowa Statehouse focus their attention on the “red meat” – the bills that will attract attention by either getting you excited, or making your blood boil. That’s how bills like these get missed.
They slide under the radar.
Here are 10 bills you probably would’ve never heard about were it not for this article (and you’ll likely never hear about again). Click the links to read the full bills.
Senate File 243 – this bill will remove the exemption from county building codes and zoning regulations for farmhouses. It was offered by state Sen. Joe Bolkcom (D-Iowa City), and has the support of the Iowa State Association of Counties. Curiously, Iowa Farm Bureau has no position on it.
Senate File 241 – this bill would require a lighted rear lamp, not just a reflector, on bicycles that are ridden at night. It was offered by state Sen. David Johnson (R-Ocheyedan) and has no cosponsors.
Senate File 215 – this bill would require IPERS to come up with an alternative mandatory determined contribution pension plan to replace several of the other existing public pension plans in Iowa. It was offered by state. Sen. Brad Zaun (R-Urbandale), and is co-sponsored by six of his Republican colleagues. All of the state’s major public employee unions, as one might imagine, are opposed to it.
Senate File 214 – this bill would exert Iowa’s 10th Amendment rights by reserving the right to not comply with any “unfunded mandates” from the federal government. This is another bill authored by Zaun, and has many of the same Republican supporters.
Senate File 159 – this bill would prohibit “idling” a vehicle without the parking brake engaged and the wheels turned toward the curb, or away from the travel portion of a highway. This is another bill authored by Johnson, and has no cosponsors.
House File 302 – this bill would add “Africans” to the names of the Commission on the Status of African-Americans and the Office on the Status of African-Americans, making them the Commission and Office (respectively) on the Status of Africans and African-Americans. This bill was authored by state Rep. Ruth Ann Gaines (D-Des Moines) and is co-sponsored by nine of her Democrat colleagues. The Iowa Federation of Labor (AFL-CIO) supports the bill.
House File 254 – this bill would authorize the Iowa Department of Natural Resources to give lifetime hunting licenses to Iowa residents who are 65 years old or older. It was offered by state Rep. Marti Anderson (D-Des Moines).
House File 238 – this bill would give immunity from prosecution of certain drug-related crimes for those who drive to the hospital someone who is in need of medical attention as the result of a drug or alcohol overdose. It was authored by state Rep. Ako Abdul-Samad (D-Des Moines) and has the support of numerous lobbying groups, including the Iowa Medical Society, the Iowa Behavioral Health Association, the Iowa State Sheriffs’ and Deputies’ Association, the Iowa Independent Physician Group, and The Iowa Clinic.
House File 210 – this bill would allow the owners of a cow, sheep, or goat to use the milk produced by that animal for personal consumption, or other personal uses. This bill was sponsored by state Reps. Greg Heartsill (R-Melcher-Dallas) and Darrel Branhagen (R-Decorah) and does open the door for a non-farmer to “own” a cow that a farmer takes care of for the purpose of procuring raw milk.
For the lack of fanfare it has received, HF 210 has a lot of lobbyist declarations. The Iowa Farmers Union is in favor, while the Iowa Institute for Cooperatives, the Iowa Public Health Association (not to be confused with the Iowa Department of Public Health), the Iowa State Dairy Association, the Iowa Chapter of Sierra Club, the Iowa Association of Business and Industry, the Iowa Cattlemen’s Association, the Iowa Dairy Foods Association, the Iowa Environmental Health Association, the Iowa Farm Bureau Federation, the Iowa Medical Society, and the Iowa State Association of Counties are all opposed.
House File 209 – this bill would allow dairy farms to sell unpasteurized milk to other individuals for use as commercial animal feed. This bill is also the product of Heartsill and Branhagen and has an even longer line of lobbyist declarations.
Visiting Nurse Services of Iowa, the Iowa Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics, the Iowa Institute for Cooperatives, the Iowa Public Health Association, the Iowa State Dairy Association, the Iowa Association of Business and Industry, the Iowa Cattlemen’s Association, the Iowa Dairy Foods Association, the Iowa Veterinary Medical Association, the Iowa Environmental Health Association, the Iowa Medical Society, the Iowa State Association of Counties are all opposed, while the Iowa Farmers Union is in favor.