A roundup of legislative and Capitol news items of interest for Wednesday, March 13, 2019:
SEARCH WARRANTS: Search warrants in cases that result in an acquittal or charges being dismissed will be sealed under a bill approved by the Iowa House.
House File 265 will protect people who have been the subject of a search warrant, but are not convicted of a criminal offense, according to Rep. Megan Jones, R-Sioux Rapids.
Under current law, all information filed with the court for the purpose of securing a search warrant is a confidential record until a peace officer has executed the warrant and has filed a return of service with the court.
HF 265 provides that all information filed with the court for the purpose of securing a warrant for a search or seizure of property in a criminal case that results in an acquittal or the dismissal of all criminal charges will be a confidential record not available to anyone other than law enforcement and court employees.
It was approved 99-0.
AG AWARDS: Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Mike Naig recently presented Agriculture Leader Awards to four Iowa-based organizations during the annual Agriculture Leaders Dinner held at the FFA Enrichment Center on Tuesday. The awards highlight the work of Iowa citizens, companies and organizations that have made significant contributions to the state’s agriculture industry.
Awards were presented to the Des Moines Farmers Market, Fareway Stores, Iowa Ag Literacy Foundation and Foundation Analytical Laboratory.
STUN GUNS: Colleges could not classify stun guns as dangerous weapons — a classification that currently enables the schools to ban them on campus — under legislation approved by the Senate.
Supporters said the proposal would ensure college students will be able to carry stun guns to protect themselves. They said stun guns, which deliver an electric shock on direct contact, are safer than Tasers, which fire probes that carry the electric current.
The bill, Senate File 188, passed the Senate, 39-9, and heads to the House.
FOOD ASSISTANCE IDS: Penalties would be added for people who possess multiple ID cards for the state’s food assistance programs under legislation approved by the Senate.
SF 484 started as a bill that would have required a photo on the program’s ID cards, a proposal that would have divided support by political party. Instead, the bill was changed to target people who attempt to defraud the system by possessing multiple cards. The bill was approved on a unanimous 48-0 vote and now heads to the House.
Sen. Jason Schultz, R-Schleswig, said he still preferred the photo ID requirement, but that is not permitted by federal law for the federally funded but state-administered program.