Capitol Update

Absentee Ballots

Debate dominated our time at the Statehouse and several bills passed the House. The first bill we passed deals with absentee ballots. HF 506 was brought to us the County Auditors. They wanted clarification because of the large number of unmarked ballots by the post offices.  Current law states an absentee ballot clearly needs postmarked the day before the election and must be received by the Auditor’s office by noon on the Monday following the election. The postal service currently does not mark all ballots with a postmark. If a ballot does not meet those requirements it is not counted. HF 506 changes the law by requiring an absentee ballot to be turned into the Auditor by the time polls close on Election Day.

Many people’s ballots have not been counted because they were not postmarked- even if they were sent in on time. There was a directive to the post offices to follow the protocol of current law and put postmarks on ballots. However, this still wasn’t followed during the last general election in November.

HF 506 clears up the issue. As long as your ballot is turned in by Election Day, your vote will count. Just like people who go to the polls. The bill also places a page on the Secretary of State’s website where you can check to see if your ballot was received.

If you received an absentee ballot, you can always turn it over to election officials if you wish to physically vote at the polls. Your absentee ballot will then be shredded and not counted. If you have an absentee ballot and don’t bring it with you to the polls, you can cast a provisional ballot.

2nd Amendment Protections

HF 527 was debated and passed on Tuesday. It addresses various areas of firearms laws. The bill allows persons to renew their carry permit every 5 years, but only requires retraining class every 10 years. The bill clarifies what retraining classes are accepted. HF 527 strikes the minimum age to handle a firearm. The current age is 14. Additionally, the bill makes all carry and purchase permits private and only available to law enforcement officials in certain situations. The bill allows a peace officer to carry their weapon on school grounds if they are off duty. Current law only allows peace officers to carry their weapon on school grounds if they are on duty. HF 527 also creates a database to make it easier for both law enforcement and permit holders to verify permits.  This bi-ll helps advance Iowans 2nd Amendment rights. The bill passed with overwhelming bi-partisan support.

Taking Catfish by Bow and Arrow

Also on Tuesday, the House passed House File 288 which allows Iowans to take catfish by bow and arrow in state parks and preserves.  Currently, this practice is prohibited.  Iowans are allowed to take rough fish, like carp, by bow and arrow.  A violation of this bill is punishable by a $50 fine.  The Natural Resources Commission will permit the taking of catfish in the rules process.

These bills have passed the House chamber and are now going over to the Senate for their consideration. Next week will be more floor debate. As we receive bills from the Senate, committees will start working on those before the next funnel deadline.

On Wednesday Jody Martens from Bellevue, Chad and Renee Adams, and Dominic and Karren Hogan from Monticello were at the Capitol this week. The group visited on behalf of Farm Bureau to discuss issues with legislators. Jones County supervisor Jon Zirkelbach and Delaware County supervisor Jeff Madlom were also at the Statehouse Wednesday. They were here to talk to legislators about issues relating to county interests. On Thursday, I got to visit with Tirzah Wedewer from F&M Bank in Manchester. Tirzah joined fellow bankers in Des Moines to discuss banking issues with elected officials.

Rep. Brian Moore, Jody Martens from Bellevue, Chad and Renee Adams,  Dominic and Karren Hogan from Monticello and myself

Rep. Brian Moore, Jody Martens from Bellevue, Chad and Renee Adams,
Dominic and Karren Hogan from Monticello and myself

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.state.ia.us or by phone at (515) 281-3221.

 Sincerely,

Rep. Lee Hein

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