Rep. Tedd Gassman (R-Scarville) released information on a few notable bills that were passed during the legislative session which went into effect on July 1, 2019.
“We had a productive session and passed a number of new laws that will improve education, increase access to health care, and make our communities safer,” said Rep. Gassman. “I am looking forward to meeting with constituents over the coming months as we prepare for the 2020 session.”
According to Rep. Gassman, the following is a brief list of bills that took effect on July 1:
House File 772 – Empower Rural Iowa Act
This law creates a broadband grant program to expand reliable internet access to rural and underserved areas of the state. It also makes changes to and provides additional funding for the Workforce Housing Tax Incentive Program to spur development of affordable housing in rural Iowa and areas impacted by this spring’s severe flooding.
House File 637 – School Employee Misconduct Reporting Period
This law improves school safety by requiring a school district to report any instance of action taken against a licensed employee for misconduct to the Board of Educational Examiners within 30 days. Under current law, no deadline existed to report this information to the Board.
Senate File 159 – Recruiting High Quality Teachers
This law requires the Department of Education to align Iowa’s teacher preparation assessment criteria more closely with neighboring states. It also provides for a one-year license for those who have completed their prep programs, have been offered a teaching contract, but have not yet passed the assessment. These updates will help address the teacher shortage and ensure high quality educators in Iowa.
House File 532 – Medical Residencies
This law requires taxpayer-funded medical residencies in Iowa to give priority to applicants that have an Iowa connection. It also requires primary care residencies, including psychiatry, to provide the opportunity to participate in a rural rotation to expose medical residents to rural areas of Iowa.
Senate File 113 – OWI Habitual Offenders
This law makes our roads safer by allowing a person charged with a 3rd offense OWI to be charged as a habitual offender. This would triple the time they could be required to serve in prison and improve highway safety by keeping repeat drunk drivers off the roads.
House File 692 – Absentee Ballots
This law makes a number of election changes. Most notably, it implements the statewide use of postal service barcodes to determine the date that an absentee ballot was placed into the federal postal service. This will ensure that all legally-cast ballots are counted and not disqualified because of delays from the postal service.