Ashley’s Angle: Week Nine 3/09/17

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Trusted. Proven. Leader

Thank you so much for entrusting me to represent Iowa House District 67. I am proud to represent people from Marion, Robins, Hiawatha, and Cedar Rapids.

It was great to speak with Sheriff Sandholdt of Marion County and Sheriff Pulkrabek of Johnson County during County Day on the Hill. We discussed some current legislation and ways to improve case evidence processing within the state, including increased personnel and funding.

Post Funnel Debate Week

House Business
The main topic of debate on the floor this week was House File 516, the Secretary of State’s Election Integrity Bill. The main component of this bill helps ensure voter integrity by including improved methods of voter verification. Voter verification legislation and measures are already the law in 34 other states. A recent poll by the Des Moines Register finds that 69% of Iowans believe government issued ID should be presented in order to vote.

In Iowa, the acceptable forms to show on Election Day of ID would include:

  • An Iowa Driver’s License
  • An Iowa Non-operator ID
  • A United State Passport
  • A Veteran or Military ID
  • A Voter Identification issued by the Secretary of State

I believe it is vital to focus on the last form of ID, a voter identification card issued by the Secretary of State. This voter identification card would be issued by the Secretary of State to anyone who does not have a State ID, free of charge. More so, it is not a photo ID, but a non-photo ID. The legislation also includes provisions to help create a revolving fund to help counties afford electronic pollbooks. These pollbooks can scan all the IDs, instantly pull up the voters information, and easily, quickly, and simply guide pollworkers in processing voters at the polling sites.

The legislation also maintains the Election Day Registration process and also maintains that individuals without proper proof of identity of residence can have a registered voter of that precinct attest to their identify and ability to vote. I plan on sharing a flowchart, on Facebook and my website, that shows the entire process and I believe it will be a great visual aid.

I didn’t get a chance to speak during the debate, but I had prepared a statement that I would like to share with you now. I apologize for the length.

“I want to address from my perspective a few of the long-needed problems this bill searches to fix. This is common sense. This is keeping up with the times. This is respecting that your vote is your vote, and your voice IS heard.
This legislation will address our absentee voting protocol and integrity. As a first time legislator—last year was the first time I had to keep track of voter data and followup on absentee ballot requests.  Just this week—I re-reviewed the absentee list of “problem ballots” for voters in my district—those were ballots that were flagged and couldn’t be counted as they were.  I double checked the email from the auditor—I  didn’t receive that data from our auditor’s office until November 5th—just 3 days before the election.   This bill requires those requests and submissions to be in earlier. This new timeline to review and take action on questionable ballots—most of which are legitimate- will give our auditors a chance to review the ballots in a timely fashion, and reach out to voters to give them a chance to correct any inconsistencies—and make CERTAIN their vote is counted—and their voice is heard.
During debate and even at some of the most recent forums, I heard the words “this is a photo ID bill” mentioned over and over again. It is not. It is a Voter ID bill. You do not have to have the photo ID.  In fact, 10 years ago, Democrats in control of our chamber voted for and passed a photo ID law for same-day voter registration (see HF 653 from the 82nd Assembly).
In fact—if you don’t have a photo ID there are many chances for you to prove you are who you say you are. That proof does not require a photo ID.  The voter cards will be automatically distributed by the Secretary of State’s office upon enactment of this legislation to any person in the voter registration database who does not have a DOT issued driver’s or non-operator’s license .  Again, these are the same cards that are sent to every voter in the state when they first register to vote, or change their registration. This will happen automatically for new voters.  I updated my voter registration in November of 2015.  Within a few weeks, I received a voter registration card –updated– in my mailbox.  This process for sending the new or updated Voter ID cards will be no different than that.
You can use an out-of-state driver’s license or non-operator’s identification card, a student identification card issued by an Iowa high school or an Iowa post-secondary educational institution ( as long as it has an expiration date) or even an ID card issued by an employer. It’s easy to prove you live here.  A residential lease, property tax statement, utility bill, bank statement, paycheck stub, government check or other government document. These documents are already listed in Iowa Code sections 48A.7, and are what is used when a voter does Election Day Registration.
I had coffee with a constituent last Friday. That constituent was concerned about what to do if you are a college student. I checked with the Secretary of State’s office… and you can also get an official lease agreement from a college or university and use that as a proof of residence.  In combination with an out-of-state ID, this would allow students to vote.
And again—no one…. NO ONE.. is turned away.  Everyone can vote—as is their right. This bill does not change that. Another key word I keep hearing…. Disenfranchise. The definition of disenfranchise—according to Merriam Webster… is to deprive of a franchise, of a legal right, or of some privilege or immunity;
This does NOT do that. This allows you to exercise your legal right to vote, maintains the great integrity of our elections process, keeps Iowa in line with advancing technology, and another great aspect of this bill– it protects the visibility of your personal information at the polls.
So in closing… this bill helps us with our process—protects our personal information… and will ensure your vote—and your voice—is heard.”

Other Business
This week, we had a joint committee meeting between the House Appropriations and House Ways and Means. Our meeting focused on State Tax Credits and kick started the conversation about income tax credit and property tax credits. These two areas will be one part of a larger discussion on the state budget for Fiscal Year 2018. Likewise, the Revenue Estimating Conference (REC) will be meeting next week and unfortunately the picture is not all rosy. Compared to last February, sales tax collections were down and corporate taxes were also down. When reviewing more data, the Legislative Services agency (LSA) came to the conclusion that state revenue for Fiscal Year 2017 has so far grown by $8 million. Unfortunately, this is significantly less than the expected $213 million growth if the state had met the projection.We can expect the REC will reduce the expected revenue growth for Fiscal Year 2017 and also lower the available revenue for Fiscal Year 2018.

Also, as an FYI, the House Recently passed HF 464. HF 464 changes the current law regarding turning right on red. Currently, if there are two designated right turn lanes, only the innermost lane can turn right on a red onto a one-way street. This bill now allows for both designated right-turn lanes to turn right on a red light onto a one-way as long as it can be done so safely. It also allows for a left turn on a red light onto a one-way as well as striking out the provision that the turn must be made into the innermost lane.

I am continuing to develop my Constituent Advisory Committee.  The group is comprised of people I could email or call to ask questions about specific policy questions. If you would like to join, please email my legislature email (ashley.hinson@legis.iowa.gov) and let me know what your area of expertise is and how I could get in touch with you. From Education, Judicial issues, Medical, Energy, and Tax policy, I want your input in the process.
Bill of the Week
The bill of the week is…House File 251

HF 251, along with its senate companion bill, was introduced by the Judiciary Committee and I have been tasked with managing the bill on the House floor. It has been placed on the calendar for debate, but I do not know what day it will be debated. HF 251 would codify traditional common law rules regarding the duty of care a property owned owes to a trespasser. Under this bill, a possessor of real property would owe no duty of care to trespassers, except to refrain from willfully or wantonly injuring the trespasser, and to use reasonable care to avoid injuring the trespasser after their presence becomes known. More so, a possessor may be liable for harm caused to a child trespasser by artificial conditions on their property.

This bill would freeze current law and would prevent courts from adopting a provision in the American Law Institute’s Restatement Third Torts: Liability for Physical and Emotional Harm. This restatement would expand the rights of trespassers to sue landowners except in the case of “flagrant trespassers”, an undefined concept, and would particularly impact farmers and residential property owners. Since 2011, similar legislation has been enacted with bipartisan support in 22 states.

Capitol Visitors
A group from the Alzheimer’s Association came to the Capitol and spoke to me about Alzheimer’s and House File 379, a piece of current legislation. I am happy to say that I co-sponsored this bill and believe, if passed, this legislation would be a great program for caregivers and service providers to get some respite in a very difficult job.
Kirkwood Community College selfie! I was able to briefly meet with representatives from all parts of the Kirkwood Community College family. We spoke about non-traditional students, business partnerships, expanding senior/care giving programs, and funding.