The Rozenboom Report – March 31, 2017

This week the Senate passed SF 360 unanimously, expanding Iowa’s Safe Haven law. The Safe Haven Act is a law that allows parents, or another person who has the parent’s authorization, to leave an infant up to 14 days old at a “safe haven” without fear of prosecution for abandonment. All states have safe haven laws, although their provisions differ. In Iowa, a safe haven is currently defined as a facility providing medical or health services that is open twenty-four hours per day, seven days per week and is a hospital emergency room, a residential care facility, a nursing facility, or an intermediate care facility for persons with mental illness.

This bill states that in addition to the current options a person may call 911 to relinquish physical custody of the newborn. The 911 dispatch would send the most appropriate first responder to care for the child. The child would then be delivered to the nearest institutional health facility, which in most cases would be a hospital.

Currently, a person can leave an infant up to 14 days old at one of these safe havens. This law would extend that age to babies up to 30 days old. Additionally, in order to keep the mother’s identity secret for fear of judgement or reprisals, all information, including the 911 call, are to be kept confidential and not subject to Freedom of Information Act requests. This bill makes it easier to find somewhere to safely leave a child, therefore giving the parent more of an opportunity to ensure the health and well-being of the child.

The Iowa Senate approved legislation this week protecting the constitutional rights of Iowans by giving them due process as it pertains to their personal property. Senate File 446 enhances property rights protections by shifting the burden of proof onto law enforcement and prosecutors when it comes to civil asset forfeitures. Under current law, when someone is suspected of committing an aggravated misdemeanor or felony, civil asset forfeiture may occur even if the charged individual is not convicted of the alleged crime.

SF 446 also requires law enforcement to keep specific records on seized assets in regard to the amount of property acquired: the date property was acquired; the disposition of the property; date of disposition; and detailed financial records concerning any property sold the name of anyone who received the property. This bill passed unanimously and now heads to the House for consideration.

Also, the Senate passed House File 295. While there have been many headlines about a minimum wage bill moving through the Legislature, this is not a minimum wage bill. By passing this legislation, the state is simply setting the requirements and letting businesses decide how they should operate their business. Arbitrary local government decisions on business operations creates inconsistency and uncertainty.

Known as the pre-emption bill, HF 295 reestablishes legal uniformity across the State of Iowa. There is nothing in the bill that forces an employer to stay at the minimum wage. It only evens the playing field and reinstates consistency across the state. As stated at the beginning of this session, we continue to focus on economic growth for our state and rural communities. We cannot grow if arbitrary regulations are scattered over different jurisdictions to create a patchwork framework in which to conduct business. Iowa will grow with consistent regulations and creating a positive job climate and trained workforce for the future.

The Iowa Senate also passed workers’ compensation reform. Ten years ago Iowa had the 5th lowest workers’ compensation premiums in the country. Today, Iowa’s rating has fallen to the 26th lowest cost for those premiums. Many of Iowa’s biggest job creators came together to promote this legislation, which undoes a number of costly and anti-competitive decisions implemented by bureaucrats and judges. These decisions drove up the cost of hiring in this state and made our job creators less competitive.

This bill makes a number of common sense changes to the workers’ compensation laws in Iowa. For example, if employees are injured in another state, they are no longer allowed to receive benefits in Iowa. Double dipping is prohibited in different ways, including prohibiting individuals from collecting unemployment benefits while also receiving permanent total disability benefits. It also prohibits individuals from receiving both partial and total workers’ compensation benefits so the total of the benefits exceeds 100%.

A number of job creators in my district contacted me indicating that this was a top priority for them. Workers’ compensation insurance will continue to provide excellent benefits for those injured on the job while keeping insurance costs lower for our employers. Many hours of work went into this bill both before and during debate in an attempt to create the best policy possible. I believe this legislation is a key component to improving the climate for job creators in this state.

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Posted by on Apr 1 2017. Filed under Local News, Politics. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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