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CAPITOL DIGEST: Daylight saving bill advances

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This photo shows a view of the Iowa Capitol Building on Jan. 7, 2020, in Des Moines.

A roundup of legislative and Capitol news items of interest from Tuesday:

DAYLIGHT SAVING TIME: A proposal that Iowa adopt year-round daylight saving time if and when Congress allows states to discontinue the twice-a-year resetting of clocks and disruption that causes was approved 13-10 by the House State Government Committee.

Rep. Mike Sexton, R-Rockwell City, said the time changes have been linked to increases in workplace accidents and their severity, miscarriages and suicide rates. He hears from parents and teachers that “springing ahead” in March and “falling back” in November disrupts children’s lives.

However, Rep. Bruce Hunter, D-Des Moines, said enacting a law that depends on Congress passing legislation it has so far been unable or unwilling to approve is at best “code clutter.”

HF 2105 is now eligible for House debate.

AUDIT CHANGE SOUGHT: For the third time, Iowa Auditor Rob Sand has asked the GOP-controlled Legislature to approve changes in how his office bills agencies for audits.

The state auditor bills federally funded agencies for audits, but audits of state-funded offices are covered by a legislative appropriation. The federal government calls that discriminatory and has fined the state more than $300,000. That amount will continue to rise, Sand told the House Administration and Regulation Appropriations subcommittee Tuesday.

Sand, a Democrat elected in 2018, recommended that his office bill all agencies for their audits so the treatment of federally funded and non-federally funded agencies is the same.

The change would be revenue-neutral, he said, but in the long run could save money. Agencies might consult the Auditor’s Office before taking actions that might be flagged in a future audit, he said.

The actual amount of fines the state is accumulating is probably higher than $300,000, Sand said, because that number is based on audits through 2019. As federal auditors work their way forward, there likely will be more fines.

LICENSE PLATES: The Senate Transportation Committee advanced legislation that would allow for license plates that do not bear the county’s name.

The bill only provides the option for license plates without county names; it does not eliminate county names on license plates altogether.

Advocates for the legislation say it would save the state transportation department $242,000 over 10 years and streamline the process for counties and auto dealers.

Some law enforcement officials have expressed their opposition, saying the county names on license plates sometimes help them during an arrest or investigation.

SSB 3045 passed the Senate Transportation Committee on an 11-2 vote and is now eligible for consideration by the full Senate.

Disruptions to the job market caused by the COVID-19 pandemic have led to what's become known as “The Great Resignation.” In September 2021, the number of Americans that quit their jobs reached a new all-time high of 4.4 million. Source by: Stringr

CONVENTION OF STATES: A bill specifying the actions that may be taken by an Iowa delegate to a convention of states called to propose amendments to the U.S. Constitution was approved 14-9 by the House State Government Committee.

HS 2061 does not call for a convention of states, but would govern what actions the appointed commissioner could take if a convention was called by a majority of the states.

There was opposition from members who thought the penalty for violating the state law should be more severe than a serious misdemeanor. Floor manager Rep. Shannon Lundgren, R-Peosta, said she was open to that change.

LINE OF SUCCESSION: HSB 582, which would establish a line of succession in the event the governor’s office becomes vacant due to illness, death or removal of the governor, was approved Tuesday by the House State Government Committee.

Under the bill, the state constitution would be amended to say that if the governor is temporarily unable to fulfill the office’s duties, the lieutenant governor will act as governor until the governor can resume his or her duties. If the governor leaves the office permanently or dies, the lieutenant governor becomes governor for the remainder of the governor’s term and the lieutenant governor’s office is vacant, clearing the way for the lieutenant governor to appoint a successor.

Rep. Mary Wolfe, D-Clinton, offered an amendment to require the appointment of a lieutenant governor be confirmed by a majority of the House and Senate. That would prevent “something weird” from happening, such as the appointment of former 4th District U.S. Rep. Steve King as lieutenant governor. It failed 14-9.


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