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Capitol highlights

March 13, 2015
Estherville News

Now that funnel week is behind us, we have been able to dedicate more time to debating bills on the floor.

This week the House passed HF 527 which addresses many firearm issues. This bill legalizes suppressors in accordance with federal law, improves the renewal process and training requirements for permits to carry, and makes it a class "D" felony to purchase weapons for a person who is legally barred from doing so. HF 527 also allows parents to teach their children how to safely handle a gun as soon as they believe the child is ready. Also, this bill protects the identity of those who have a nonprofessional permit to carry or permit to acquire. HF 527 passed by a vote of 75-24 and has been sent to the Senate for their review.

Another piece of legislation that passed the House this week is HF 288. HF 288 allows people to take catfish by bow and arrow. The bill directs the DNR to set up the regulations on this subject.

HF 352 is a bill that requires the state agencies and judicial branch to operate on a zero-based budget. It also requires departments to justify and prioritize all requested expenditures. The intention of this bill is to make state agencies more fiscally responsible and improve government transparency. Individual citizens have to start with zero dollars when they budget, and it is important for the government to hold to these standards as well. HF 352 passed the House, and is now eligible to be discussed in the Senate.

The House also discussed and passed SF 130 which amends the National Guard Education Assistance Program. Current law limits participation in this program to a certain number of semesters depending on full-time or part-time status. SF 130 would change the requirement to 120 credit hours of undergraduate coursework.

This week we also discussed HF 447 which requires a wireless communication service provider to provide call location information to law enforcement or a public safety answering point (PSAP) upon request if it is determined that the information is needed in an emergency that involves the risk of death or serious physical harm. A wireless communication provider may establish protocols for the voluntary disclosure of call location information to law enforcement upon request. Under this bill, a claim or cause of action may not be brought against the wireless service provider or employee for providing the call location if they acted in good faith. The bill safeguards against the misuse of this allowance by providing that a person filing a false report may be subject to criminal penalties outlined in the code. The purpose of this bill is to give law enforcement the ability to find the location of a cellphone in an emergency situation such as abduction. HF 447 passed the House and is now eligible for discussion in the Senate.



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