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Lawmakers gaveled in for a short week, with the Capitol and state government closed to mark the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday on Monday. Subcommittee meetings on bills, which allow stakeholders and the public to comment on legislation, began in earnest.
Among the issues considered and advancing at the committee or subcommittee level this week:
Two bills being closely followed by the banking industry regarding the grain coop lien issue have been introduced. HSB 500 is the Coop's preferred bill to put their claims ahead of banks' for stored grain. CBI is opposing this legislation. A second bill, HF 2047, is a compromise attempt to provide give grain coops a limited time for their claims to be superior to banks' claims in exchange for the development and required use of a central filing system, which has worked well in other states. CBI is still reviewing this legislation and has not yet taken a position.
Governor Reynolds Unveils School Safety Bureau
Governor Kim Reynolds on Tuesday announced a new initiative to provide law enforcement expertise to Iowa’s K-12 schools. The newly created Governor’s School Safety Bureau will have a group of full-time instructors dedicated to providing school safety training, as well as a new reporting tool to anonymously share safety concerns with authorities.
"Today's announcement is about what the State of Iowa is doing to act, not react, on the critical national issue of school safety," Reynolds said. "We are working to ensure our schools and local law enforcement are prepared to both respond to and deter threats to the safety of students, teachers and staff. Sensible actions today can prevent tragedy tomorrow."
Iowa Department of Public Safety Commissioner Stephan Bayens said schools and first responders have expressed a need for consistent training for rapidly responding to school intruders, incidents involving weapons, and bullying.
College Athlete Compensation
College athletes would be allowed to enter into endorsement deals that use their name or likeness under a bipartisan bill introduced in the Iowa Senate. The bill comes amid a national debate on whether college athletes should be able to benefit financially from their athletic contributions as their colleges pull in millions of dollars in sports revenue. The bill would apply to student athletes at Iowa’s public and private universities, as well as community colleges. The bill’s prospects at this time remain uncertain.
Guns at Places of Employment, on School Grounds
A pair of bills that would expressly allow for guns at places of employment and on school grounds advanced in Senate subcommittees this week. Supporters said they want to ensure that Iowans with gun permits are able to have unloaded guns in their vehicles when they are going about their daily business such as dropping off children at school or heading out to hunt after work. Critics pointed out the bills could be in conflict for school and universities that already have firearm bans on campus. Others have pointed out the bills could be at odds with policies at businesses, interfering with private property rights.