Higher speed limits, term limits, traffic camera bans falter

But future of state Medicaid, water quality and school funding continue for debate

The Iowa State Capitol building in Des Moines, photographed on Tuesday, June 10, 2014. (Liz Martin/The Gazette-KCRG)
The Iowa State Capitol building in Des Moines, photographed on Tuesday, June 10, 2014. (Liz Martin/The Gazette-KCRG)

DES MOINES — Higher speed limits and minimum wages, lower lengths of time spent as an elected official, and no automated traffic cameras or mobile phone distractions for drivers: all these proposals were shelved Thursday at the Iowa Capitol when they failed to clear a key legislative hurdle.

Scores of legislative ideas became a fleeting memory due to a self-imposed deadline for non-money bills to clear at least one committee of the split-control Legislature to remain active for debate in this session.

There were bills that would have raised the speed limit on some roads from 55 to 60 or 65 mph, and on interstates from 70 to 75 mph.

As has been the cast in most recent years, there was a bill that would have banned the use of surveillance cameras to catch and fine traffic violators.

There was a proposal to change the state constitution to create term limits for elected officials.

None of the proposals garnered the required support to be eligible for further consideration, and are essentially off the table.

“There was support among the committee,” Rep. Gary Worthan, R-Storm Lake, said of the failed speed limit bills. “When word got out, our representatives started hearing from the people out in the country. When we went into committee, we didn’t have the votes to pass it so there was no reason to bring it up. Democracy works. It’s alive and well.”

However, almost any piece of legislation can be resurrected in other forms later in the session even if it didn’t clear Thursday’s supposed do-or-die deadline.


Members of the Senate Judiciary Committee pushed through a number of measures that beat the deadline.

Sen. Tony Bisignano, D-Des Moines, shepherded a bill through committee that would expand state law dealing with the mistreatment of animals by upgrading some penalties. The panel also moved a bill addressing racial profiling by law officers, but backers said the measure would need more work before coming up for debate.

“The bill you see today will not be the bill, if any, that comes to the floor,” said committee Chairman Sen. Steve Sodders, D-State Center. Committee members also agreed to request a task force to examine Iowa’s asset forfeiture law and policies related to the use of body cameras by law officers.

Democrats also moved bills that would halt the governor’s plan to move management of its $5 billion Medicaid program to private health care companies; provide additional oversight if the transition occurs, and strengthens enforcement of state equal pay and wage theft laws.

“What’s really important is that we keep in mind that this session should be about growing the middle class,” said Senate Majority Leader Mike Gronstal, D-Council Bluffs.

Republicans advanced legislation that would ban the use of fetal tissue for research purposes, a proposal to couple state tax laws with recent federal changes, and the governor’s proposal to share future revenue from the state sales tax for school infrastructure with water quality programs.

Republicans also passed their own, less expansive version of an expanded medical cannabidiol program in Iowa.

“I think we’ve gotten a lot of good work done and we’re excited to see these bills move forward,” said House Speaker Linda Upmeyer, R-Clear Lake. “I’m absolutely confident the chairs are bringing forward a good group of bills.”


Thank you for signing up for our e-newsletter!

You should start receiving the e-newsletters within a couple days.

Both parties passed legislation setting public school funding levels for the 2016-2017 school year — but the sides still remain millions of dollars apart.

This year’s session is officially set to end April 19. But last year’s session went into overtime as negotiations over spending levels — including for education — lingered.


Here is a score card on how some issues fared in the Iowa Legislature’s first “funnel” deadline for non-money bill to clear at least one committee to remain eligible for consideration this year:


Tie together water quality/school infrastructure funding (HSB601)

End privatized Medicaid managed care changeover (SF2125)

Legalize possession/use of consumer fireworks (SF2113)

Ban sale/donation of fetal body parts (HSB621)

Increase state aid to schools for fiscal 2017 (SF174/175)

Increase state aid to schools by 4 percent in fiscal 2018 (SF2092/2093)

Ban tanning-bed access to minors under age 17 (HF420/SF232)

Expand medical cannabis access (HSB6070

Increase penalty for littering/illegal dumping (HF2154)

Create “right to try” experimental treatments for terminally ill (HF2231)

Create seven new crimes for mistreating animals (SF2138)

Establish confidentiality for weapon permit records (HF2314/HF2129)

Legalize fantasy sports games (HF281/SF166)

Report state audit financial irregularities to county attorney (SF2156/HF2118)

Modify probation, parole and work release provisions (SF2059)

“Couple” federal income tax changes to state tax code (HF2092)

Allow lottery ticket sales via self-service kiosks (HSB540)

Allow ATV/snowmobile operators to carry firearms (HF2283)

Expand renewable energy tax credits (SF2223)

Require medical assessment of sports-related concussions (SF2225)

Allow emergency responders to have opioid supply (SF2218)

Expand definition/elements of hate crimes (HF2123)

Expand regulation of commercial animal kennels (SF502)

Expand criminal offense for sex exploitation by school employee (HF2011)

Allow fishing without a license at private lake/pond (HF2262)

Regulate transportation network companies (HF2219)

Strengthen provisions of state wage discrimination law (SF2193)

Revamp/upgrade Iowa’s jury-selection process (SSB3166)

Extend time for homeowners to bring action for faulty/defective work (HSB575)

Require health insurance to cover assessment/treatment of eating disorders (SF2019)

Legalize possession/transfer of firearm suppressors (HF2043)

Protect gun rights during state of emergency (HF2280)

Enhance absentee ballot voting for military/overseas Iowans (HF2147/SF2199)

Bar cities/counties from limiting immigration law enforcement (HF2276)

Eliminate front vehicle license plate requirement (HF2148)

Provide employees up to 40 hours leave for prenatal appointments (SF2097)

Establish criminal penalty for violent repeat offenders (SF2239)

Expand statewide preschool program (HF2037/SF2009)

Modify sex offender registry provisions (HF2149/SSB3123)

Allow schools to direct teacher development money to other purposes (HF2312)

Make juvenile delinquency records secret unless judge makes public (SF2070)

Repeal criminal offense of public intoxication (HF2023)

Modify penalties for trespassing (HF2168/SSB3122)

Allow any qualified parent to teach their child to drive (HF2110)

Require DOT traffic-cameras certification and fines deposited to courts (HF2109)

Allow .410-gauge shotgun or muzzleloaders to hunt wild turkeys (HF2108)

Bar credit card for child without guardian/custodian permission (HF2007)

Expunge public intoxication conviction after two years (SF2164)

Establish pre-arrest diversion program for certain offenders (HF2155)

Remove criminal record “box” from employment applications (SF84)

Affix identification to blind or stand used for deer hunting (SF2003)

Allow bullied student to open enroll for varsity sports participation (HF2264)

Require reasonable employment accommodations for pregnant workers (SF2098)

Create Enhance Iowa Board and fund (SSB3094)

Limit classroom and driving time for driver’s education (HF2099)

Shield peace officer’s personal information from public disclosure (SSB3088)

Exempt ATV registration if vehicle used as farm implement (HF2098)

Exempt African hair braiding from state cosmetology licensure (SF2013/HF2094)

Report inventory of untested rape kits (HF376)

Waive hunter education requirement for military veterans (HSB582)

Establish sobriety/drug monitoring for offenders (HSB606)

Transfer Sac & Fox tribal law enforcement functions (SF2022)

Bar DNR officials from buying weapons seized as public nuisance (HF2144)

Add dating violence education to school curriculum (SF2077)

Require reasonable accommodations for pregnant employees (SF313)

Establish preschool expansion incentive program (SF2237)

Tighten employment rules to combat employer wage theft (SF398)

Upgrade Iowa’s identify theft statute (HF2271)

Change criminal penalties involving crack cocaine (SF2186/HF2309)

Promote drug overdose prevention efforts (SF410)

Revise criminal penalties for synthetic/imitation drugs (HF2309)

Extend statute of limitation for criminal acts against a minor (SF2226)

Standardize law enforcement data to prevent racial profiling (SF2173)

Remove age restriction for possession of gun/revolver (HF2042)

Grant prescription authority to certain licensed psychologists (SF2188/HSB503)

Issue driver’s license denoting veteran status (SF2187)

Extend to 10 years child endangerment statute of limitations (SF2183)

Amend law dealing with hazardous household waste (SF2181/HSB609)

Bar hunting or taking deer by feeding in a baited area (HF2160)

Bolster veteran’s preference hiring data (SF2169)

Establish veterans’ treatment courts in each judicial district (SF2168)

Dispense up to 12 months’ supply of oral contraceptives under Medicaid (SF2222)

Amend Iowa Constitution to provide right to hunt, fish and harvest wildlife (SJR2003)

Strengthen Iowa’s gift law for government employees/officials (SSB3011)

Allow some 17-year-olds to vote in primary elections (SF2142)

Amend Iowa Constitution to protect electronic communications from unreasonable search/seizure (HJR2003)

Move school board elections from September to November (HF2273)

Bar GPS device placement without consent (HF2077)

Allow requests for individuals to obtain own criminal history data (SSB3025)

Require meningococcal immunization to attend middle/high school (SSB3073)

Allow partially consumed bottles of wine to be resealed (SF2151)

Include jailers under criminal offense of interference with official acts (SF2115)

Require reasonable passing distance between vehicles and bicycles (SF2076)

Require health insurance coverage for autism spectrum disorders (SF2072)

Create cold case unit within Iowa Department of Public Safety (HF2018)

Expand to 10 years statute of limitations for kidnapping/human trafficking (HF2278)

Expand vehicle registration fee exemptions to disabled veterans (HF2259)

Report use of state tax proceeds for bridge repair (HF2241)

Create renewable chemical production tax credit (HSB518/SSB3001)

Require carbon monoxide alarms in multi-unit dwellings (HF2310)

Allow straight wall cartridge rifles to hunt deer for minors (HF2047)

Train teachers to recognize/report human trafficking (SF2095)

Extend bidding period for public improvement projects (SF2170HSB542)


Raise speed limit on Iowa highways (HF2248/2126/2125)

Bar use of hand-held electronic devices while driving (SF2004)

Enhance penalty for assaulting a sports official (HF2020)

Repeal Iowa’s container deposit law (SF2068)

Amend Iowa Constitution to limit terms of elected officials (HJR2001)

Increase minimum hourly wage incrementally to $12 by July 1, 2017 (HF2153)

Increase legal age to possess/use tobacco products to 21 (SF2016)

Ban automated traffic enforcement cameras (HF2209)

Direct UI/ISU athletics to transfer $4 million annually to UNI (SF2119)

Adopt “death with dignity act” for terminally ill (SF2051)

Prohibit all human cloning (SF2114)

Commission socio-economic impact study of state lottery gambling (SF2090)

Exempt retirement income from state income tax (SF2086)

Bar collaboration with Stanford University pending an apology (SF2081)

Repeal law prohibiting unattended vehicle with engine running (SF2002)

Require slower-moving traffic to stay out of left lane on divided highway (HF155)

Require use of vehicle headlights during inclement weather (HF2019)

Require certain peace officers to wear body cameras (HF2048)

Amend Iowa Constitution to reduce 99 counties to 40 in Iowa (HJR2005)

Raise judicial standard in reviewing religious freedom (SF2171)

Redefine fetal death in cases of homicide (SF2152)

Allow redemption centers to return 4 cents bottle deposit (SF2149)

Conduct periodic legislative review of Iowa Code (SF2080)

Allow any qualified parent to teach their child to drive (HF2110)

Establish firearms violence protective orders (HF2255)

Set government non-discrimination act for traditional marriage/religious beliefs (HF2207)

Prohibit sale of ivory and rhinoceros horn (HF2204)

Allow vouchers/charter schools in lowest-achieving education areas (HF2198)

Amend Iowa Constitution to restrict special sales tax to school infrastructure (HJR2004)

Resell unused condemned property to original owner (SF2139)

Declare no fundamental right to abortion exists under Iowa Constitution (HF2084)

Modify laws for carrying/possession of weapons (HF2057)

Amend Iowa Constitution to permit voter issue referendums (SJR2002)

End discriminatory practices for public restroom accommodations (HF2091)

Direct lottery game proceeds to multiple sclerosis support fund (SF2048)

Amend Iowa Constitution to specify no fundamental right to abortion (SJR2001)

Create statewide collective bargaining contract for teachers (HF2065)

Recognize in Iowa Code that life begins at conception (HF2142)

Establish crude oil disaster prevention/response fund and fees (HF2122)

Require legislative approval to find state to international trade pact (HF2124)

Create new criminal offense for “revenge porn” harassment (HF2130)

Bar pay for activities under public employee collective bargaining pact (HF2115)

Allow court to waive OWI fines for low-income offenders (HF2178)

Establish school voucher system (HF2284)

Study smoking impact on casino employees (HF2285)

Set one-year period before bond issue is resubmitted to voters (HF2286)

Delay annual academic assessment to July 2017 (HF2290)

Establish school transportation equity program (HF2293)

Allow installment payments for delinquent court collections (HF2299)

Require vote count audit after each general election (HF2304)

Require state inventory of carcinogens being use and alternatives (HF2306)

Require vehicles not capable of traveling 35 mph be driven on road shoulder (HF2307)

Exempt Iowans age 73 and older from jury duty (HF2056)

Ban smoking on casino gambling floors (HF2095)

Designate July 16 as Atomic Veterans Day (HF2079)

Require public hearings for public employee collective bargaining pacts (HF2075)

Conduct statewide collective bargaining for teachers (HF2065)

Applying 70 percent sentencing to child endangerment resulting in death (HF2064)

Require environmental impact assessment prior to pipeline permit (HF2059)

Bar DHS employees from providing advance drug-testing notice (HF2050)

Grant home rule authority to school districts (HF2008)

Require nonpartisan elections for county auditors (HF2006)

Require nonpartisan elections for county attorneys (HF2005)

Require nonpartisan elections for county recorders (HF2004)

Require nonpartisan elections for county treasurers (HF2002)

Require nonpartisan elections for county sheriffs (HF2003)

Allow tinted vehicle windshields (HF2195)

Bar state adopting new core science standards without legislative approval (HF2054)

Allow physicians to prescribe medical marijuana (SF2025)

Establish procedure to retain body camera data and access (SF2174)

Bar commercial turtle harvesting in any Iowa waters (HF2020)

Raise dollar damage amounts for criminal mischief (HF2045)

Require Iowa State University to set water-quality measures (HF2038)

Publish educational options available to parents (HF2009)

Establish restrictions/prohibitions for rafting on public waters (HF2014)

Allow for harvesting of grass growing in public road right of way (SF2014)

Lower criminal penalty for unlawful delivery/possession of marijuana (HF2022)

Expunge interference with official acts criminal record after two years (HF2024)

Strike driver’s license revocations for drug-related criminal convictions (HF2030)

Protect exercise of religious freedom (HF2032)

Raise penalty for accessory in related to the crime of murder (HF2034)

Amend Iowa Constitution to provide home rule for school districts (HJR2002)

Establish legislative oversight for Medicaid program improvements (SF2213)

Create criminal offense of sex exploitation by an attorney (SF2063)

Exempt state sales tax on metered water to residential dwellings (SF2067)

Amend Iowa Constitution to protect sales tax for school infrastructure (HJR2004)

Allow alternative teacher licensure for relevant professional experience (SF2103)

Modify school finance provisions to cover school district transportation costs (SF2104)

Require real property transfers to disclose if topsoil was removed (SF2106)

Create protective orders and criminal offense for dating relationships (HF2168)

Allow school boards to establish private partnerships for some services (HF2151)

Allow hunting on private property with valid license (SF2053)

Create city park improvement districts with bonding and taxing authority (SF2058)

Establish safe routes to school program (SF2130/HF2205)

Bar abortion if fetus weighs at least 350 grams except in medical emergency (SF2055)

Limit federal interest rates charged for student loans (SF2148)

Allow local jurisdiction to erect stop or yield sign without engineering study (HF2172)

Bar car accident damages for drivers with suspend license and no insurance (SF2074)

Expand electronic monitoring for abuse suspects released on bail (SF2089)

Rewrite criminal asset forfeiture law to require felony conviction (SF2166)

Test Iowa babies for cytomegalovirus (SF2057)

Establish RefugeRISE AmeriCorps program for diverse populations (SF2153/HF2237)

Create criminal offense of female genital mutilation (HF2152)

Establish topsoil requirements for residential construction sites (SF2094)

Establish Iowa electronic communications privacy act (HF2222)

Allow taking of up to two bobcats annually in designated areas (HF2201)

Establish safe routes to school program (SF2130)

Allow deer hunting with pistol/revolver (SF2026)

Give us feedback

We value your trust and work hard to provide fair, accurate coverage. If you have found an error or omission in our reporting, tell us here.

Or if you have a story idea we should look into? Tell us here.


Give us feedback

We value your trust and work hard to provide fair, accurate coverage. If you have found an error or omission in our reporting, tell us here.

Or if you have a story idea we should look into? Tell us here.