Newsletter | February 26, 2021

To the People of House District 54

Although the Election Integrity Bill captured most of the headlines during the seventh week of the 2021 legislative session, many important bills passed through the Iowa House.

Below is a summary of some bills that might be of particular interest:

  • House File 562 allows a county to declare EMS an essential service. It provides several funding options for emergency medical services (EMS). This bill includes a division for Optional Taxes for EMS, which actually passed the Iowa House last session as a separate bill but failed to reach the governor’s desk before the pandemic shut down the Legislature.
  • House File 486 provides the option to Iowans when renewing their title registration to donate $1 or more to the Scenic Byways Enhancement Fun. Iowa has 14 Scenic Byways that currently receive $500,000 annually through the Transportation Commission for corridor management, signs, and marketing.
  • House File 528 allows dentists to administer the flu and COVID vaccines if they meet certain training requirements on vaccines and immunizations. This bill could greatly increase access to vaccines in rural Iowa.
  • House File 522 (formerly HF 287) is a green bill because an anaerobic digester (1) converts nutrients to a more accessible form for plants; (2) produces heat and electricity; and (3) may accept waste from restaurants. Check out the U.S. EPA website for more benefits: www.epa.gov/agstar/benefits-anaerobic-digestion
  • House File 309 (formerly HSB 28) protects people who donate their time or money to a tax-exempt 501(c) organization from having their personal information revealed without consent. Some groups that supported this bill include the American Civil Liberties Union, Americans for Prosperity, the Family Leader, Iowans for Tax Relief, NAACP, and NRA.

 
This week I served as floor manager for the first time. I spoke on the House floor about HF 552, an act relating to requirements for using a dog to track a wounded deer. One reason “clean up language” was needed in this bill is to allow others to accompany a youth when tracking a wounded deer. This bill also removes the training requirement for a dog and its handler to be trained in blood tracking. A companion bill, SF 457, was passed Wednesday, Feb. 24, by the Senate Committee on Natural Resources & Environment and has been placed on the Senate’s debate calendar. Once the bill passes both chambers in the same form, it makes its way to the Governor’s office. A bill becomes law if Gov. Reynolds signs it.

Virtual Town Hall Meeting on March 5 at 11 AM

Speaker of the Iowa House Pat Grassley (R-New Hartford), Iowa State Senator Amanda Ragan (D-Mason City), and I will hold a Virtual Town Hall Meeting on Friday, March 5, at 11:00 AM to connect with constituents. The forum is hosted by the Butler County REC and will take place over Zoom.
 
Attendees must RSVP to receive a link to the meeting. If you would like to participate, please email pat.grassley@legis.iowa.gov to request the Zoom information. In the subject line of your email, please state Virtual Town Hall and your hometown. The deadline to RSVP is Thursday, March 4, at 5:00 PM.

Voter Integrity Bill
Iowa has a strong election system, but it can be improved. The 2020 election exposed a few areas in our election system, and I am highlighting three of these areas here.

For one, we must ensure that our election law is consistent statewide. Uniform election procedures help make it more secure to vote. That’s why we can’t allow country auditors to flagrantly disobey the law and administer elections however they please, which happened in three counties during the 2020 election.  This legislation will ensure safeguards against county auditors who blatantly ignore the laws.

Secondly, county auditors would not be allowed to mail ballots or absentee ballot request forms that are partially pre-filled. This is already the law, but this bill will make it clearer. It also will help protect people’s data and make it harder for bad actors to cheat by submitting ballots that aren’t theirs.

Finally, this bill will increase maintenance on county voter lists. If someone moves away, for example, they won’t be mailed absentee ballot requests or similar items to the same address. This will save money and also limit the opportunity for fraud.

 

Stay in Touch

I need your input to represent your interests and viewpoints. I’m always just a click away! You’re welcome to send an email to Shannon.Latham@legis.iowa.gov or message me on my political Facebook page (@ShannonLathamIA). 

“Front Row News” is distributed to local newspapers and interested constituents at the end of each week throughout the legislative session. “Looking Ahead with Latham” is a video update posted each Monday on my political Facebook page.

 

 

Sincerely,  

Rep. Shannon Latham 
Iowa House District 54

 

You’re always welcome to contact me about issues that are of interest to you. Feel free to send me a message via my political Facebook page or my legislative email, which is shannon.latham@legis.iowa.gov.