The Iowa Senate budget deappropriation bill, which includes $4.8 million in cuts to Iowa’s judicial branch, has still not been scheduled for full debate in the Senate. That means there is still time for ISBA members to contact their state senators and urge them to remove the cuts for the judicial branch in SF2117 or, at a minimum, adopt the governor’s recommended cuts to the judicial branch of $1.6 million. The House has not yet proposed a bill addressing the budget cuts. You can read the latest reporting on this issue here, or read the February Iowa Lawyer magazine President’s Letter on this issue here.
A new issue of major significance is the Senate Commerce Committee approving SF2169, which provides for a monetary cap on recoveries against dram shop licensees (bars and restaurants). This would be the second lowest cap in the United States, according to a study performed by the National Council of State Legislatures. Currently, there is no cap and this would be a major change in Iowa law restricting the rights of citizens who have been injured by persons intoxicated as a result of the conduct of a dram shop serving a person to the point of intoxication. The ISBA lobbying team is urging members to contact their state senators and to vote no on SF2169. This memo sent to senators contains additional information.
There is a companion bill that will be considered by the House Commerce Committee sometime this week or next week, HSB594. ISBA members are urged to contact their Iowa House member to oppose HSB594, which also provides for a $75,000 cap of recoveries in dram shop cases.