116 3rd St SE
Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52401
DES MOINES — Dozens of new laws take effect in Iowa on Thursday, including one that allows Iowans to carry a firearm without first getting a permit.
Iowa lawmakers earlier this year passed 153 pieces of legislation that were signed into law by Gov. Kim Reynolds, according to the state’s nonpartisan legal services agency.
With the passage of House File 756, Iowans no longer need to acquire a permit to carry a firearm. The bill was contentious, with supporters saying it expands Second Amendment rights and opponents saying it will make Iowa less safe.
With Senate File 546 becoming law, Iowans learning to drive are no longer required to receive in-person instruction from a licensed instructor. In other words, Iowa parents can be their teenagers’ driver’s ed teachers.
Senate File 342, generally known as the “back the blue” bill by its supporters, adds legal protections for law enforcement officers.
The sweeping legislation included wide-ranging provisions, including some designed to crack down on protesters. As of Thursday, individuals cannot obstruct a public roadway without risking arrest; anyone present during a riot — as defined by state law — can be charged with a felony; and the penalties for riot crimes are increased from misdemeanors to felonies.
The state’s little-used charter school program received a boost in the form of House File 813, which allows for the creation of new taxpayer-funded schools without consent of the local school board.
According to House File 802, Iowa’s public K-12 schools, universities and government entities no longer can train staff or teach students using “divisive topics.”
Examples, now prohibited by law, include that an individual by virtue of his or her race or sex is inherently racist or that Iowa or the United States is fundamentally or systematically racist or sexist.
The new law does not go quite as far as efforts in other states to ban “critical race theory,” a high-level academic theory built around the premise that racism is embedded in many of the country’s systems and policies.
Low-income Iowans in the upper threshold for child care assistance no longer have to worry about losing that assistance once they start making a little more money. Instead, House File 302 allows for a gradual reduction in the assistance as a worker’s income grows, rather than cutting it all off at once.
Leaving the scene
If a driver involved in a crash in which another motorist is injured leaves the scene, the fleeing driver can be charged with a felony instead of a misdemeanor, by virtue of House File 524.
Failure to report
Senate File 243 creates a new crime for any individual who fails to disclose the known location of a corpse.
The law was spurred by the drowning of Noah Herring, 15, of Tiffin, in Coralville Lake in April 2020. Three teens and an adult were present when Herring drowned, but none called 911 or disclosed information about Herring’s death for four days.
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