The energy level in the Capitol continues to increase as more bills make their way through subcommittees and committees. I expect this session to be marked by more spirited debate than in past years because of the opportunities that arise with both chambers and the governor's office being controlled by one party. Already some bills have seen crowds of hundreds at these meetings. I appreciate seeing Iowans engaged and making their voices heard. So far these crowds on both sides have been respectful of the process and of each other. I'm proud of Iowans on both sides of these issues.
House File TBD - Confidentiality of 911 and Other Emergency Calls - This bill seeks to make the recordings of phone calls to emergency management centers confidential. Currently these recordings are open to Freedom Of Information requests. At issue is the fact that many calls contain medical information that is otherwise confidential if it were held by a hospital or doctor, therefore it's inconsistent to make these recordings public. Also, the bill protects recordings from calls made by or about a juvenile. Again, it's inconsistent with privacy laws that protect other information about juveniles yet these recordings can be made public.
State Rep. Dean Fisher
House File 163 - Tier IV Sex Offender Registry - This is a bill that I filed last year but held off on in order to study the issue further. This bill seeks to create a Tier IV in the registry for all persons that have "timed out" of the registry here in Iowa or if they move here from another state. This Tier IV will be for life, requiring all convicted sex offenders to register only when they move to or within Iowa with the county sheriff's office.
House Study Bill 67 - Ban on Sanctuary Cities, et al. This bill prohibits any city, county, state of Iowa, state agency, Regents schools, or any other agency that receives state funds from adopting or enforcing any ordinance, motion, resolution, or amendment that limits or restricts the enforcement of any federal immigration law to less than the full extent permitted by federal law.
Modernizing Chapter 20 - There has been discussion already about possible changes to Chapter 20, the law that governs collective bargaining for public sector workers. This law has not been significantly updated since it was first passed in 1974. This law must work for the public employers, public workers, and the taxpayers equitably. Over the last 40 years things have changed, it is time to review this law and ensure that it allows flexibility and choice for all parties involved. One rumor that has been circulating is with regards to retirement systems. Since its inception Chapter 20 has prohibited negotiation of pensions for public employees. They have been protected from collective bargaining and will remain protected. Another area of confusion is a proposal floated by Governor Branstad regarding the creation of a statewide health insurance pool for public employees at all levels, state, county, city, and school districts. The idea behind this proposal stems from the fact that Iowa government entities now manage nearly 500 different insurance plans, many with very small numbers of employees in them. By offering a state plan, a large pool of participants could lead to considerable savings. This proposal has not been brought forward formally yet, but the intent is that it would be an option for each of those government entities, not a requirement to participate. The idea is to offer flexibility and options, not mandates.
As always, please feel free to contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org or 641-750-3594.