Under the Golden Dome: Raising Penalties

Apr 6, 2018

At this point, it's common to hear bills are enrolled. This means both chambers have approved a bill and it awaits the governor to sign it in to law or veto.  Because the chambers are controlled by the same party as the governor, a vetos are highly unlikely.

One of the bills awaiting the governor deals with electronic eavesdropping. It passed the House then the Senate where it was amended.  As it returns to the House, suddenly Democrats have privacy concerns.  Surveillance devices recording video and audio are more common among homes and landlords.  The bill approves of these devices if they are to detect or prevent criminal activity.  There are questions about how files stored from these devices can be shared when conversations are captured among people with no idea they are being recorded, and who aren't involved with a crime.

Most fines for criminal penalties, court filings, civil fees, simple misdemeanor, and felony will increase under a bill passing in the Senate.  It reallocates how some of the money generated is distributed among local and state government.  One senator says these fines disproportionately affect people making less money. 

Some state programs will receive more money from payment of these penalties like the victim compensation fund.  Supporters say reallocation of funds from penalties will help the state.  A broad fine increase hasn't happened since 2009.

One of the biggest issues of the 87th General Assembly passed both chambers regarding the enforcement of immigration laws.  It would deny state funding to entities declaring themselves to be a "sanctuary city."  Debate lasted eight hours between the House and Senate this week.  Opponents say there are no sanctuary cities in Iowa, but supporters say this bill is a preventative measure.