Legislative update


April 2021

     As of today, we are starting Week 14 at the Capitol. The end is in sight as April 30th is the 110th day which means legislators will no longer get their stipends. They are voting on budgets now and focusing on Appropriations and Ways and Means bills which means they are getting closer to finishing. It is likely the session will be over by the time you get this newsletter.

Update on bills as of April 10th:

SF=Senate bills

HF=House bills

• SF 71/ SF 331- HSB 189/HF 654

     Use of Lights-Transporta-tion Committee - This bill authorizes the use of various lights on emergency vehicles.

Senate (Shipley, Bisignano, and Rozenboom)

House (Maxwell, Bradley, Forbes)

Status: The bill needs to pass the Senate, then it will go to the Governor to sign.

• SF 72/SF 333- HSB 190/HF 721 

Emergency Responder

Senate (Koelker, Driscoll and Taylor)

House (Worthan, Gerhold, Konfrst)

Status: The House will add an amendment, then the Senate needs to concur. If that happens it will go to the Governor to sign.

     The amendment does 3 things:

     1. Changes misdemeanor to aggravated or serious misdemeanor 2. Adds training through Homeland Security for EMA members 3. Strikes Page 5 Lines 11-19 dealing with a tort claim. They feel this is already covered in Iowa Code 670.” Motion to dismiss” will do the same thing.

     This bill clarifies the operations, immunity and liability in emergency situations, use of emergency vehicles in parades, funeral processions, and events. It also defines authorized emergency vehicles.

• HF 144/HF 563 Raises tax credit from $100 to $200

(Kaufmann, Brown-Powers and Graber)

Passed sub and full committee-ready for floor debate

     The Senate version of this bill raises the tax credit to $1000.

• SF 447 Expansion of Firefighter tax credit to $1000

(Dickey, Dawson, Jochum)

Passed the sub and full committee.

Needs to be debated on floor

This bill relates to the individual income tax credits for volunteer firefighters, Volunteer emergency medical services personnel members, and reserve peace officers by increasing the amounts of the credits, and including retroactive applicability provisions. The bill modifies the tax credit by allowing a firefighter, emergency medical services personnel member, or reserve peace officer to qualify for the credit if such an individual has annual compensation equal to or less than $5,000 in the performance of services attributable to the position. The bill increases from $100 to $1,000 the maximum amount of the tax credit per individual for services performed during the year. The tax credit increase applies retroactively to tax years beginning on or after January1,2021. The bill also modifies the tax credit by requiring a firefighter, emergency medical services personnel member, or reserve peace officer to obtain written approval from their supervisor prior to claiming the tax credit. The bill does eliminate specific training requirements for a firefighter to be eligible for the tax credit, but the bill allows a supervisor to utilize the approval of the tax credit to ensure the individual meets training or other requirements specified by the department or program. Currently, such an individual is required to obtain a written statement from their supervisor verifying the individual was in such a position for the months the credit is claimed. The bill also rearranges the definitional portion of Code section 422.12, which is in alphabetical order, due to the strike of the term “volunteer”

HSB 197/HF 750  Length of Service bill LOSAP

PASSED subcommittee

PASSED Full Local Government

Waiting for floor debate

Rep Bloomingdale is sponsoring this bill.

     This legislation creates a length of service award to volunteer firefighters who meet criteria to receive an award given by the city/county and will be matched by the state.

• DONE: Now goes to the Governor for signing

HSB 247/HF 761-SF 438 Expansion of Fireworks grant fund

     The bill authorizes the state fire marshal to provide grants under the local fire protection and emergency medical service providers grant program to local fire protection service providers for the purchase of necessary equipment, in addition to the current authorization to provide grants to local fire protection service providers and local emergency medical service providers to provide fireworks safety education  programming and to purchase necessary equipment related to the sale and use of consumer fireworks.

There was an amendment that requires the fire marshal to consider grants for fireworks education first and then can consider grants for other fire equipment needs.


House (Klein (C), Breckenridge, Thorup) Public Safety

     This bill allows communities, townships, regions to create Emergency Response Districts. This is completely voluntary.

     House members added Sect 6 to our bill that requires a city in which an institution of higher education governed by the state board of regents is located to establish, house, equip, staff, uniform, and maintain a full-time, professional fire department that is separate from the city’s police department. This was not part of our language but added by a few legislators. They are referring to the city of Cedar Falls who are cross training police and firefighters.

     The bill passed the House by a wide margin but the Senate was not willing to take the bill up for discussion due to Sect 6. At this moment we are trying to tie our language into another bill so it can survive.


Senate: Cournoyer (C), Johnson, T Taylor

House: Worthan, Breckenridge, Thorup


Passed sub and full committee

Senate: Cournoyer, Johnson, T. Taylor

Passed sub and full committee

Placed on unfinished business calendar

Referred to Appropriations: (Worthan, Latham, Williams)

     This bill creates a public safety equipment fund and appropriates the moneys in the fund to the department of public safety (DPS) for the purchase, maintenance, and replacement of equipment used by DPS.

• HSB 186/HF 562-EMS funding

     An Act relating to funding emergency medical services by modifying provisions relating to city emergency medical services districts, benefited emergency medical services districts, and optional taxes for emergency medical services.

House: Passed sub and full committee-Passed House 93-0
Now in Ways and Means in the Senate

(R. Smith, Boulton, Goodwin)

HF 444/HF 718- Township Fire Departments

House (Westridge, Wheeler, Oldson)

     An Act relating to township fire stations by authorizing the use of certain property taxes approved at election for the payment of anticipatory bonds.

     The House needs to debate and approve and then move to Senate

SF 503/SF 551

     An Act relating to firefighters and emergency medical services members responding to emergency situations in certain vehicles.

This passed the Senate and is in the House Transportation Committee.

(Worthan, Bradley, Cohoon)

Passed sub and full committee

Placed on unfinished business on debate floor

SF 635 Check-off bill

     This bill is to renew the “check-off” as a donation to fire fighters fund when you complete your taxes. This bill needs to be renewed every two years. Senator Dickey is sponsoring this bill. It is in Ways and Means.

     Remember you can contact your legislator to ask for support by emailing them at:                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                               

First name. last name@legis.iowa.gov

     As always, feel free to contact us if you have any questions.


John & Cyndi Pederson








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