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New laws affect Iowa residents in 2020

January 9, 2020
Amy H. Peterson - Staff Writer (apeterson@esthervillenews.net) , Estherville News

Governor Kim Reynolds signed dozens of new laws into effect in 2019, many of which took affect in July. However, some significant laws took affect Jan. 1, 2020.

Logan's law was named after Charles City teen Logan Luft, who was killed in an ATV accident in 2017. Logan's law allows Iowans to join the organ donor registry through hunting and fishing licenses, not just driver's licenses.

Iowa's community colleges, including Iowa Lakes Community College, and its public universities are now banned from using stun guns on campus. Lawmakers said it will increase student safety in this era in which there is a heightened awareness of sexual violence on college campuses.

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Family caregivers get a break with the Iowa Care Act. The Act requires hospitals to give family caregivers medical instructions to help their loved ones after they are discharged from a hospital stay.

Admitted patients have the option of choosing a designated caregiver. Once that happens, hospitals are then required to notify the caregiver when the patient is discharged, asses the caregiver's ability to provide assistance, and discuss the patient's medical needs at home. Iowa is the 42nd state to implement this law.

A criminal justice law makes changes to Iowa's criminal justice system. Some offenses receive stricter mandatory minimum sentencing. Other offenses are repealed or merged with similar offenses under one title. Those with certain misdemeanor convictions could have one record expunged if it meets certain requirements and it's been eight years since the date of their conviction.

Cities and counties planning to raise property taxes will have to take extra procedural steps before approving plans to increase property tax revenues, whether by levy or assessment. If the tax increase exceeds two percent, the city council or county supervisors will have to old public hearings and need a two-thirds majority vote in order for the increase to take place.

Female genital mutilation, a cultural rite of passage in some African cultures with immigrant communities in Iowa, and also practiced by some fundamentalist Christian sects based in the U.S., is now a felony offense in Iowa, punishable by up to five years in prison. The new law also requires education programs, including instructing the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics to develop protocols for physicians to provide safe health care and treatment to women who are victims of female genital mutilation. FGM is now a felony offense in Iowa, punishable by up to five years in prison. The new law also requires education programs, including instructing the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics to develop protocols for physicians to provide safe health care and treatment to women who are victims of female genital mutilation.

Last week, the federal government superseded what was previously in control of the states: smoking laws. The smoking age has now been raised from age eighteen to age 21.

 
 
 

 

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