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Several new laws signed this season go into effect today

BY DI STAFF | JULY 01, 2011 7:20 AM

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The Iowa Legislature voted to approve several new laws in this last legislative season. Today, many of them will go into effect.

Paid leave

The paid-leave law goes into effect today; it will require public employees to pay back any salary they receive while on paid leave if they are convicted of a felony.

The proposal passed 95-1 April 18, and then was signed by Gov. Terry Branstad. It was proposed after two University of Iowa employees receiving full salaries were under investigation and later tried for crimes. The law initially applied to faculty and teachers, then was amended by the Senate to include all Iowa government officials.

“This is about providing solid public policy, not revenge,” Rep. Jeff Kaufmann, R -Wilton, said in April.

Liquor

In March, Branstad signed a bill that will, effective today, allow convenience stores to distribute hard alcohol without meeting any special requirements.

Store owners will have the option of selling liquor in their main aisles, but the law places a limitation on the amount of stimulants that can be added to alcohol and sold in the state.

Iowa City Mayor Matt Hayek said in March the law might be troublesome for the area.

“I don’t think this is a good thing for Iowa City, given all the problems we’ve had with alcohol historically,” he said. “Making access to alcohol even easier is counterproductive.”

Boat blood-alcohol

Branstad signed Senate File 7 in early April, and today, it will lower the blood-alcohol limit for those piloting boats from 0.10 to 0.08.

The new limit for motor- or sailboats was a legislative attempt to better align the boat drinking law with the legal limit for operating a motor vehicle.

Rep. Curtis Hanson, D-Fairfield, said in April the legislation is “a standardization that’s long overdue.”

Abortion

The Iowa Legislature voted Thursday to continue to fund reimbursement for abortion services under Medicaid at the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics, but only if those abortions are deemed medically necessary. Mentioned in the Health and Human Services bill HF 649, the measures for abortion and other Iowa health laws passed the Senate, 27-18.

— by Ariana Witt


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