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Iowa auditors urge passage of bills
By Jason W. Brooks, Newton Daily News
Feb. 27, 2016 6:44 pm
Iowa's county auditors have their eyes on specific bills proposed in the Iowa Legislature.
Dennis Parrott, senior lobbyist for the Iowa Association of the County Auditors, is in his seventh year of going to Des Moines and helping look out for the best interests of auditors.
Here are some of the bills county auditors are watching closely this session, according to Parrott. Some cleared the first funnel date while others are dead for the rest of the 2016 session.
SF 2242 - Two years ago, a piece of legislation unintentionally put the responsibility for receiving city candidate filings on county auditors. SSB 3147 would allow county auditors to designate that task back to city clerks, who had always handled that duty in the past. The bill passed the Senate on a 50-0 vote.
'I support this bill,” Parrott said. 'City clerks have always had this responsibility.”
HF 2286 - This bill did not make it past the first funnel date.
Parrott said he likes the element of this bill that creates an additional 60-day public notice in advance of county, city, school district and township bond elections. However, the proposed two-year waiting period after a second failed election would be a big adjustment for some local governments.
'The purpose behind the bill is to keep governments from slowly pounding voters into submission with repeated bond issues,” Parrott said. 'I like the part that calls for more advanced notice.”
SF 2256 - Voter registration can be done by sharing relevant data between applications for state identification and county governments. Parrott said there is a 21-day window of refusal that makes the proposal tricky.
'This is a bill for automatic voter registration,” Parrott said. 'If this bill were to pass, there are some issues that have to get worked out.”
SF 2142 - Voters who haven't yet turned 18 are allowed to register to vote only if they are at least 17 1/2 years old, but SF 20001 would make voters eligible nearly a year in advance of an election, as long as they will be 18 by Election Day.
'We allow 17-year-olds to caucus and help nominate a president, so why shouldn't they be allowed to vote for state and local elected officials?” Parrott said.
HF 2406 - School board elections held in September in odd-numbered years would be moved to November to be on the same Tuesday as city elections.
'The intent is to increase voter turnout,” Parrott said. 'The average turnout in school elections is about 7 percent. For city elections in Iowa, it's 22 percent.”
HF 2273 - Minor election reforms proposed included added language for how a school board member would be replaced midterm by appointment and how a satellite voting location should have the same provisions as a regular voting location.
'This is a good bill,” Parrott said. 'This is applying the same rules used at regular polling places to the courthouse when it is used as an absentee voting station,” Parrott said.
HF 530 - County medical examiners would be able to bill the costs of autopsies and death investigations regarding out-of-state residents directly to the county where the resident lived.