Iowa Senate approves bill to legalize fantasy sports after lengthy debate

SportsBy Bob Eschliman


If you’re currently watching Spring Training, trying to get a clue as to who you should pick next month in your fantasy baseball draft, don’t worry. Your activities may soon, finally, be legal in Iowa.

Not that there was ever a threat of police breaking down your door and seizing your computer and copies of RotoWorld and Fantasy Index as evidence.

The Iowa Senate, in a late-morning debate, approved Senate File 166, which adds fantasy sports as a “bona fide contest” under Iowa Code, on a 32-16 vote. The bill was amended to prohibit fantasy high school sports leagues and to require the Iowa Department of Inspections and Appeals to conduct an impact study after the bill has been adopted into law.

Debate on the bill lasted 45 minutes. Click here to see video of the full debate. State Sens. Jerry Behn (R-Boone) and Matt McCoy (D-Des Moines) remained absent for the late-morning session, and were excused.

During the session, senators adopted the following bills on unanimous, or nearly unanimous, votes:

  • Senate File 222 – a bill to require all firearms and ammunition seized by law enforcement and deemed abandoned to be deposited with the Iowa Department of Public Safety, regardless of its market value.
  • Senate File 228 – a bill to allow any unobligated funds appropriated to the Iowa Anatomical Gift Public Awareness and Transplant Fund to be expended as grants to transplant recipients, transplant candidates, or living organ donors, or their legal representatives.
  • House File 445, a substitute bill for Senate File 294 – a bill to require that educational expenses for children residing in psychiatric units shall be reimbursed from that child’s district of residence to the district providing the services at a rate established by Iowa Code 282.24.
  • House File 266, a substitute bill for Senate File 224 – an act to allow the disposal of yard waste at landfills that employ methane collection systems for energy generation purposes.
  • Senate File 271 – an act to provide interpreters for low-English proficient, deaf, deaf-blind, and hard-of-hearing participants in legal proceedings and court-ordered programs.
  • Senate File 378 – an act to expand the definitions of “peace officers” in Iowa Code relating to the reimbursement of defense costs in cases stemming from peace officers’ execution of their duties in which charges are dropped.
  • Senate File 386 – an act to establish an interim study committee to explore the establishment of one or more facilities to provide care and treatment for people who are sexually aggressive, combative, or who have unmet geropsychiatric needs.
  • Senate File 426 – an act relating to privileged communications between a health care provider or health facility and a patient following an adverse health care incident.

As the clock moved into the afternoon hours, the Senate continued to take up bills, adopting all of them on unanimous votes. In addition to Behn and McCoy, state Sen. Jake Chapman (R-Adel) was absent for the afternoon debate, and was excused.

The bills adopted in the afternoon were:

  • Senate File 401 – an act to amend Iowa Code as it relates to sub-acute care facility beds licensed by the Iowa Department of Human Resources.
  • Senate File 440 – an act to allow interstate contracts for substance abuse and 1 mental health care and treatment.
  • Senate File 454 – an act to establish a study relating to the health and well-being of children in this state.

The Senate also confirmed the following gubernatorial appointments:

  • Allen DeHeer – Electrical Examining Board
  • Marg Stoldorf – Electrical Examining Board
  • Adam Gregg – State Public Defender