Legislative Update July 2013

Veteran Designation on Drivers Licenses

Beginning July 1, an update to Iowa law now allows veterans to have a “veteran” designation put on their driver’s license (DL) or non-operator identification card (ID) anytime they seek a new card, not just at the time of renewal. The cost for a duplicate DL or non-operator ID is $10. Previously, Iowa law only allowed the designation to be added when a DL or non-operator ID was first issued or renewed.

The designation on Iowa DLs and non-operator IDs is a voluntary initiative designed to assist Iowa veterans who can benefit from discounts offered to them by many businesses. Often, to get the veteran’s benefits, businesses require proof of a veteran’s status. Showing this status on a DL or non-operator ID card is just one more way to make obtaining these benefits easier for Iowans who have served our country.

To get the designation, an honorably discharged veteran must present a copy of their DD 214 or applicable discharge document to their county Veterans Affairs office. That office will confirm the applicant’s veteran status and complete an Iowa DOT form, which authorizes the Iowa DOT to place the designation on the individual’s DL or non-operator ID. The veteran must then take the completed form to any Iowa DL issuance location and request that the veteran designation be added to his or her DL or non-operator ID card.

Veterans may expedite the process by bringing a completed application form with them to the county Veterans Affairs office, along with a copy of their DD 214. The form is available online at:

Clerk of Court Offices to be Opened Full Time

With the start of the new Fiscal Year, the Iowa Supreme Court has announced they will be expanding hours to the state’s 100 clerk of court offices and hiring additional staff to ensure all Iowans have access to justice. Starting July 1st, 2013, the Judicial Branch has a budget of $167.7 million, this is approximately a 3.5% increase from last year’s budget. The additional money will be used to hire extra staff throughout the state to help ease the work in the clerk of court offices and to ensure all Iowans have better access to the Courts.

Currently, clerk of court offices in all counties are closed to the public on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 2:30 until 4:30. An additional 21 offices are closed other times throughout the week. These closures were previously implemented for the courts to save money as well as to avoid hiring additional staff. Closing of the offices created a strain on Iowans who constantly had to check the clerk of court office hours to avoid a wasted trip. Shorter office hours meant that some Iowans had to wait for important filings and court action.

The Supreme Court has authorized more than 40 additional persons be hired for clerk of court offices so all offices will be open to the public from 8:00 am to 4:30 pm, Monday through Friday. Starting July 15th, 2013, 20 offices in Northwest Iowa will be open full time and the remaining offices will begin full time hours on September 3, 2013. Some offices may still be closed for lunch and Iowans are advised to call their local clerk of court or check http://www.iowacourts.gov/ for more information.

The following clerk of court offices will open full time on July 15th, 2013: Boone, Buena Vista , Calhoun, Carroll, Cherokee, Clay, Crawford, Dickinson, Emmet, Greene, Hamilton, Hardin, Humboldt, Ida, Kossuth , Lyon, Marshall, Monona, O’Brien, Osceola, Palo Alto, Plymouth, Pocahontas, Sac, Sioux, Story, Webster, Woodbury, and Wright.

Online Renewal will be Available to Drivers with Corrective Lenses

House File 355 went into effect this week and allows Iowa driver’s license holders to renew online under certain conditions. The legislation did include a provision that prohibited persons with vision impairments from renewing online and required them to continue the practice of renewing their license in person.

Recently the Department of Transportation clarified that persons with corrective lenses are not considered persons with vision impairments for the purposes of online driver’s license renewal. However, all persons renewing their license online will have to certify under penalty of perjury that they do not have any mental or physical conditions that negatively affect their ability to be a safe driver. This is already the case for in person renewals.

The Department of Transportation has developed rules for online driver’s license renewal and those rules will be presented at the July 9th meeting of the Transportation Commission. The rules will include details on who will be eligible for a waiver of the vision screening for license renewal and thus able to renew online.

House File 355 generally allows drivers between 18 and 72 years old to renew their license electronically every other renewal. The Department expects to have the new system up and running by mid-July.

NEWS FROM DISTRICT 96

The last couple of weeks I have been busy surveying the flooding in both Delaware and Jones County. It is amazing what happens when we get a large amount of rain in such a short period of time. I was very impressed how everyone pulled together to help others in a time of need.

The parade season is in full swing. I enjoyed being in the Edgewood parade last Saturday. We made it to the last block before the rain started. Then it was on to the Ryan parade in the evening. On July 4th, I was in the Monticello parade and then hurried up to Colesburg for their festivities.

Monday night we will be in Manchester for the kickoff of the Delaware County Fair parade. The following week is the Great Jones County Fair. I will be out and about at both fairs. I hope to see everyone there.

If you have any questions, comments or concerns about these topics or any others please feel free to contact me by e-mail at lee.hein@legis.iowa.gov or by phone at (319) 480-1997.

Sincerely,
Rep. Lee Hein

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