Under the Golden Dome, Too

New laws went into effect July 1


     I hope you had a Happy Fourth of July! This is the time of year when we gather with friends and family to celebrate our nation's birthday and our blessings of independence and liberty. A time when parade floats, city streets, and many of our front yards will be dotted with the greatest symbol of these blessings – the beautiful red, white and blue.

     I would again like to thank our military men and women who selflessly and faithfully protect the precious freedoms and liberties we enjoy every day. We are eternally grateful for your service and sacrifice. Let us remember our duty as Americans to also be dedicated to preserving the freedoms we treasure.

     I hope all of you had a safe, relaxing and fun holiday weekend. July 1 marks the date when many of the laws we pass during the legislative session actually go into effect. I thought I'd take this opportunity to tell you about some of the notable bills that were passed during the 2014 legislative session that went into effect on July 1 of this year.

     As I travel throughout the district and state this summer and fall, I look forward to hearing your feedback on the 2014 legislative session, as well as any new ideas for the next legislative session.
In an effort to help make Iowa's school districts more efficient and save money, HF 2271 was signed into law. This law creates new operational sharing incentives for school districts that share specific positions. It extends current sharing incentives but places new parameters on the program and adds new positions to be eligible.

     Legislation was passed this session to protect underage Iowans who have been forced into human trafficking. SF 2311 allows people under 19, who have been forced into prostitution to be assisted by the Department of Human Services as a child in need of assistance, instead of facing prosecution. The new law also extends the statute of limitations for sexual exploitation of a minor from 3 to 10 years after the victim turns 18.

     HF 2459, a bill to increase the current tax credit for volunteer firefighters and volunteer emergency medical personnel from $50 to $100 also went into effect on July 1. The new law adds reserve peace officers to the list of eligible recipients.

     In an effort to reduce some of the costs associated with adopting a child, HF 2468 was also signed into law. This law creates an individual income tax credit for qualified adoption expenses paid or incurred in connection with the adoption of a child.

     Recognizing that our veterans are some of the most highly trained and skilled workers in the country, we passed the Home Base Iowa Act. SF 303 is designed to attract veterans back to Iowa and ensure they have opportunities to be successful when they return. This new law includes: exempting retirement pay received for military service from the state individual income tax, exempting military survivor benefits from the income tax, allowing private sector employers to grant preference in hiring for veterans, requiring licensing boards to provide credit towards licensure for veterans with appropriate military training, requiring community colleges, regents universities, and private colleges to file certain reports on education credits awarded to veterans, and expanding the disabled veteran property tax credit (Senate File 2352).

     If you are interested in learning more about the new laws that went into effect on July 1, a more detailed list can be found at www.iowahouserepublicans.com.

     As we continue to experience unpredictable and sometimes turbulent weather across the state, I hope everyone stays safe and takes extra precaution while spending time outdoors or traveling. I know many of you have suffered storm damage, and my thoughts and prayers go out to you.

            If there is ever anything I can do to be of assistance, please do not hesitate to contact me at linda.upmeyer@legis.iowa.govor 515-281-