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Capitol highlights

April 3, 2015
Estherville News

This week is the final week for Senate bills to make it out of committee in the House. After this week, we will concentrate on debating bills on the Floor. Here are some of the more influential bills we worked on this week:

HF 558

HF 558 expands the protection against disorderly conduct at funerals. Under current law, disorderly conduct is prohibited within 500 feet of a funeral, memorial service, funeral procession or burial. This bill changes the distance to 1,000 feet. This bill arises as a result of the recent military funeral protests by the Westboro Baptists. The purpose of this bill is to keep disruptive protests from causing disorder and disrespect at funerals.

HF 548

HF 548 requires electric company customers who install alternative energy devices, such as solar panels, to install a disconnection device adjacent to the electric meter within 10 days after receiving authorization to interconnect the new electric device. It also requires customers to submit the location and various other pieces of information about the device to the nearest fire department. For devices installed before July 1st, 2015, customers are required to place a permanent placard at the electric meter that clearly identifies the location of disconnection devices on the property. The purpose of this bill is to help fire departments appropriately respond to emergency situations in areas where energy generation devices are used. A customer that fails to comply with this law would face a civil penalty between $1,000 and $5,000 per violation. If passed in the Senate and approved by the Governor, this bill will go into effect January 1st of 2016. For further information about the regulations regarding this topic, I would recommend contacting your local electric provider.

HF 585

HF 585 creates a new program called "Safe at Home". The purpose of the bill is to protect victims of domestic abuse, sexual abuse, stalking and human trafficking by creating confidentiality for the victim's address. Individuals in the program will be assigned an address to which mail will be sent, and then forwarded to the actual address in order to protect the location of the victim. A person who is accepted into the program will be enrolled for a period of four years.



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