Senate approves bill to add snowplows to ‘move over’ law

Iowa DOT SnowplowBy Bob Eschliman


The Senate took up Senate File 75 during the morning session. The bill adds snowplows used for snow removal and ice treatments to Iowa’s “move over” law and adding blue and white lights.

Floor manager, state Sen. Chris Brase (D-Muscatine), noted the Iowa Department of Transportation has reported more than $750,000 in damage due to crashes involving its snowplows this year alone. He offered an amendment, which changed how the DOT would be required to study the affects of blue and white lights on snowplows.

State Sen. Mark Chelgren (R-Ottumwa) said he understood and appreciated the spirit of the bill, and felt the amendment made it a better bill, but he said the bill itself may create confusion for drivers, if adopted into law. He said drivers are often taught to expect white lights – headlights – to be on their left side, which could cause problems for drivers when visibility is diminished, and on curves.

State Sen. Kapucian (R-Keystone), ranking member of the Transportation Committee, said he supported the bill, and any effort to “enhance the safety of our snowplow operators out there, and our traveling public.” State Sen. Tod Bowman (D-Maquoketa), chairman of the Transportation Committee, then rose, saying he was confused by Chelgren’s comments, saying, “If I had that much knowledge in my head, I’d probably be confused while driving, too.”

Bowman noted the bill had broad, bipartisan support. He called it a good bill, and said it was “fiscally responsible.”

Brase’s amendment was approved on a voice vote. SF 75 was adopted on a 43-5 vote. Chelgren and state Sens. Jake Chapman (R-Adel), Steve Sodders (D-State Center), Jack Whitver (R-Ankeny), and Brad Zaun (R-Urbandale) voted against the bill. State Sens. Jerry Behn (R-Boone) and Matt McCoy (D-Des Moines) were absent.

Senators then took up Senate File 164, which amends Iowa Code to provide that cities with populations of more than 8,000 according to the most recent U.S. Census may have civil service commissions. Current law cites the 1980 Census, and since then, 11 cities have grown to populations of more than 8,000, while three have decreased below that level.

The process for forming a civil service commission, or abolishing it, is already spelled out in existing code. Brase, who served as floor manager for SF 164, said he had been asked if the bill would affect whether or not cities would be required to join the state police and fire pension system – he said it would not affect any aspect of that part of code.

State Sen. Julian Garrett (R-Indianola), who represents Norwalk – one of the cities that would be added – which he said sees the bill as “added regulation.” He noted the Senate’s previous vote on an amendment to abolish county compensation boards, saying he felt civil service commissions fall under the same category.

SF 164 was narrowly adopted on a 26-22 vote.


CLICK HERE to see video of the morning debate session.