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Judiciary Committee – Week 13, 2021

HF 233 – Unauthorized Disclosure of Intimate Images – Civil Damages

HF 233 creates the “Uniform Civil Remedies for Unauthorized Disclosure of Intimate Images Act,” which will provide a civil cause of action for an individual who has been harmed by the unauthorized and intentional sharing of an intimate image of the individual. Unauthorized dissemination of explicit images is a ubiquitous problem. Many states, including Iowa, have passed criminal laws penalizing unauthorized sharing of such images. This bill provides a remedy that the criminal law does not.

A civil cause of action for damages can be pursued under these circumstances:

-The person disclosing the image knew or acted with reckless disregard because:

• The depicted individual did not consent to the disclosure

• The intimate image was private

• The depicted individual was identifiable

-It is not consent to disclosure if:

  • The depicted individual consented to creation of the image
  • The depicted individual previously consented to disclosure of the image
  • The depicted individual had a reasonable expectation of privacy even if the image was created in a public place

-Exceptions to liability include:

  • In law enforcement
  • A legal proceeding
  • Medical education or treatment
  • Made in good faith in the reporting or investigation of:

o Unlawful conduct

o Unsolicited and unwelcome conduct

o Related to a matter of public concern or public interest

o Reasonably intended to assist the depicted individual

  • A parent or guardian is not liable for disclosure of the images unless the disclosure of the image is prohibited by law or unless the image was made for inappropriate purposes as listed in the Act.

An action brought under this Act entitles the Plaintiff to exclude or redact from the pleadings any documents with identifying characteristics. [4/7: 44-0 (Absent: Brown, Carlin, Dawson, Hogg, Nunn, Schultz)]

HF 361 – Guardians Ad Litem for Certain Child Prosecution Witnesses

HF 361 – Under current law, a child prosecution witness who is under 14 is entitled to have a guardian ad litem (GAL) appointed to represent their interests in cases involving sex abuse, human trafficking, incest, neglect or abandonment of a dependent person, and child endangerment or sexual exploitation of a minor. The bill changes the definition of “child” to include all those under 18. Thus, all child prosecution witnesses in these particular cases will be entitled to have a guardian ad litem. The GAL must be a practicing attorney and file reports with the court if the court so requires.

This bill comes from the County Attorney Association. Members of the Association provided examples of cases in which minor victims aged 14, 15, 16 and 17 had a parent or guardian who did not provide support and were not looking out for the child’s best interests in criminal proceedings. HF 361 will allow the court to appoint a GAL in these cases. [4/7: 44-0 (Absent: Brown, Carlin, Dawson, Hogg, Nunn, Schultz)]

HF 424 – Forfeiture of Bail

HF 424 allows a court to set aside a judgment forfeiting a defendant’s bail if, within 150 days from the date of the judgment, the defendant voluntarily surrenders to the sheriff, or the bondsperson (surety), at their own expense, delivers the defendant or facilitates delivery of the defendant to the sheriff. The court can also set aside the judgment if, after considering all of the circumstances, it would be warranted.

Under current law, the judgment can be set aside within 90 days, so this bill provides additional time and provides the court with authority to set aside the judgment, regardless of whether the defendant surrenders or is “delivered.” This bill was requested by Lederman Bail Bonds. [4/7: 44-0 (Absent: Brown, Carlin, Dawson, Hogg, Nunn, Schultz)]

HF 426 – Sexual Assault Kit Tracking System

HF 426 establishes an automated sexual assault evidence collection kit tracking system within the Crime Victim Assistance Division of the Attorney General’s Office. The system will allow victims, county attorneys and other entities that have custody of the kits to track their location and status. The Crime Victim Assistance Division has already implemented the tracking system with a federal grant.

Legislation will ensure specific requirements for the tracking system:

  • The manufacturer or distributor of the kits enters information relating to new, unused kits into the system and documents when a kit is provided to a health care provider.
  • Each health care provider enters kit information into the tracking system within 48 hours of receipt.
  • When victims of sexual assault consent to a forensic medical exam and preservation of the evidence, the health care provider contacts law enforcement to collect and store the kit.
  • The location of the kit is updated each step of the way.
  • When a kit is transferred to the lab, that information is entered into the system.
  • Results of testing are entered into the system, and the kit is returned to the law enforcement agency.
  • Victims have decision-making ability throughout the process, and are apprised of their rights and ability to request notification about the status of the kits.
  • Kits will be kept for 15 years.
  • The Victim Compensation Fund under control of the Victim Assistance Division pays for any health-care-related costs for the exams and lab fee. [4/7: 44-0 (Absent: Brown, Carlin, Dawson, Hogg, Nunn, Schultz)]

HF 433 – Court Reporters

HF 433 comes from the Judicial Branch and is part of an effort to ensure that court sessions can be recorded by a court reporter. There currently is a shortage of court reporters in Iowa with multiple vacancies across the state.

The bill has two distinct parts:

  • Court Reporter Certification – The bill would authorize a judge to appoint a competent, uncertified court reporter for up to one year if a vacancy occurs and the chief judge verifies that a diligent, but unsuccessful, search has been conducted to appoint a certified court reporter to the position. Currently, the length of time an uncertified court reporter may serve under these circumstances is six months.
  • Adoption Proceedings – This bill would authorize electronic recording for adoption proceedings. [4/7: 44-0 (Absent: Brown, Carlin, Dawson, Hogg, Nunn, Schultz)]

HF 435 – Emergency contact information for DOT

HF 435 sets up a system whereby the Iowa Department of Transportation (DOT) will include emergency contact information in its database relating to registration, titles and driver’s license information. 

  • When a person applies for a driver’s license or nonoperator’s ID card, the DOT will request that the applicant supply up to two emergency contacts.
  • Iowans will not be required to provide the emergency contact information; it is voluntary.
  • The emergency contact information will be accessed when a person who is involved in a motor vehicle accident or emergency situation dies, is seriously injured, or rendered unconscious and cannot communicate.
  • If the applicant for the driver’s license is under 18, one of the emergency contacts must be the parent, guardian or custodian.
  • Effective date is January 1, 2022. [4/7: 44-0 (Absent: Brown, Carlin, Dawson, Hogg, Nunn, Schultz)]

HF 452  – Massage therapy, cosmetology and human trafficking

HF 452 relates to a statewide effort to stop human trafficking that is happening under the guise of the offer of massage therapy and cosmetology services.

The bill:

  • Requires that any person who claims to be licensed in massage therapy or cosmetology present a copy of their professional license and a government-issued ID upon the request of any peace officer investigating a complaint of illegal services. Failure to provide these documents is a serious misdemeanor.
  • Any advertisement or announcement to the public advertising massage therapy services or cosmetology services that falsely represents that a person is licensed or offers services that violate state law is a serious misdemeanor.
  • Adds a definition of “forced labor services” to include knowingly providing or facilitating the provision of a forged, altered or fraudulent license, or government-issued ID to facilitate or force, etc., another person to perform labor services, or for the purpose of presenting such documents to law enforcement.
  • Adds a definition of “forced labor services” to include knowingly forcing another person to do an act in violation of state or federal law through debt bondage or servitude, or as a condition of staying in the U.S.
  • A person who knowingly engages in human trafficking by providing fraudulent documents to another to facilitate forced labor services or to provide the documents to a peace officer is guilty of an aggravated misdemeanor. If the other person is a minor, it’s a “D” felony.
  • It’s a “D” felony for any person who controls any building or structure to knowingly allow the building or structure to be used for human trafficking.
  • It will be an affirmative defense to any of the crimes established in the bill that the defendant is a victim of human trafficking.
  • Establishes a definition of “restorative expenses” for the purpose of restitution that a person convicted of human trafficking must to pay to victims of human trafficking. [4/6: 46-0 (Absent: Dawson, Hogg, Nunn, Schultz)]

HF 603 – Sexual Assault Forensic Examiners

HF 603 establishes a sexual assault forensic examiner program to be administered by the Victim Assistance Division of Iowa’s Department of Justice. The Division will establish training and provide technical assistance to sexual assault examiners and sexual assault nurse examiners. An advisory committee will work with the Division to develop the program. Monies from the Victim Compensation Fund may be used to support the program.

The program will:

  • Maintain a list of sexual assault examiners and sexual assault nurse examiners who have completed the training requirements.
  • Develop and provide online training to treatment facilities for sexual assault examiners.
  • In collaboration with qualified medical providers, the Department of Public Health and the Iowa Coalition Against Sexual Assault, create uniform materials that all treatment facilities and federally qualified health centers must provide to patients and non-offending parents or guardians regarding medical forensic examination procedures and laws regarding consent related to medical forensic services, benefits and risks of evidence collection, and recommended time frames for evidence collection.
  • Update statewide sexual assault protocols and provide technical assistance upon request to health care professionals. [4/7: 44-0 (Absent: Brown, Carlin, Dawson, Hogg, Nunn, Schultz)]

HF 699 – Nonsubstantive Code Editor’s Bill

HF 699 is the bill commonly referred to as the Nonsubstantive Code Editor’s bill. This bill is submitted each year by the Iowa Code Editor to the Judiciary Committees to make Code changes that generally exceed the Code Editor’s authority to make editorially, but that are considered to be nonsubstantive and noncontroversial in nature. In some cases, the changes are within the Code Editor’s authority but are significant enough that public notice of the changes by means of this bill is considered important. [4/7: 44-0 (Absent: Brown, Carlin, Dawson, Hogg, Nunn, Schultz)]

HF 739 – Substantive Code Editor’s Bill

HF 739, commonly referred to as the Substantive Code Editor’s Bill, is submitted annually by the Iowa Code Editor to the Judiciary Committee pursuant to Iowa Code Section 2B.6 and Joint Rule 11. The bill includes:

  • Completion of the effort to update and correct string citations by changing the word “to” to “through” and determining whether all of the Code sections are actually intended to be referenced in the citation. This is done to clarify citations and ensure the correct Code sections are tagged and hypertext linked properly.
  • Changing “herein,” “hereinbefore,” “aforesaid,” “above,” “hereinafter” and similarly vague internal references, or by striking the references, to clarify the meanings of the Code sections amended.
  • Conforming language either in the same section or elsewhere in the Code to improve readability and consistency.
  • Corrections to language due to oversights in or conflicts between legislation or codification issues.
  • A correction to an outdated rule-making provision that does not reflect current practice.
  • Updates to other archaic language and style to conform to current Code style.
  • Repeals of obsolete provisions. [4/7: 44-0 (Absent: Brown, Carlin, Dawson, Hogg, Nunn, Schultz)]

HF 746 – Statute of Limitations for Veterinary Malpractice

HF 746 adds a new section to Code Chapter 169 relating to veterinary practice. The bill provides a statute of limitations for an action brought for professional negligence or malpractice against a veterinarian. A person will have two years after the date the claimant knew, or should have known, or received notice of the injury for which damages are being sought, to bring an action against a veterinarian.

As amended on the floor, the bill specifies that the action for professional negligence relates to damage to property and says that property includes an animal. [4/7: 44-0 (Absent: Brown, Carlin, Dawson, Hogg, Nunn, Schultz)]