ISBA meets with key Iowa leaders
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ISBA leadership met with Gov. Terry Branstad, Lt. Gov. Kim Reynolds, and leaders from both the Iowa House and the Senate last week. The primary purpose of the meetings was to review and encourage support of the ISBA legislative program. ISBA President Joe Feller highlighted four ISBA priorities during their visit.

"We met with key Iowa leaders from both parties in order to get our message to the people who control the legislative business in the state of Iowa,” said Feller. "The issues we discussed are important because they affect our members. I think we were successful in delivering our message concerning our total legislative package.”

Feller focused attention on the need for increased compensation for court-appointed attorneys. To help drive the point, Feller invited Sara Linder, an attorney from Washington, Iowa, to share her knowledge and experience while working as a court-appointed attorney. Linder recently wrote an article published in the December Iowa Lawyer about the topic, encouraging attorneys to consider the effects of underpaid court-appointed attorneys.

The second priority concentrated on judicial residency. The ISBA opposes Senate Study Bill 1029 which would give district judge applicants the ability to apply for open vacancies state-wide rather than staying within the district in which they currently reside.

Thirdly, Feller pressed the governor and legislators to consider supporting the ISBA recommended changes to probate court costs specifically on how the clerk of probate court determines and collects charges. These court costs often cause people to avoid going to probate court. Further information on this priority can be found on the Affirmative Legislative Program.

Lastly, Feller challenged the Iowa leadership to start taking action on improving courthouse security throughout the state. This was strongly backed by Chief Justice Mark Cady during his State of the Judiciary Address when he stated that anyone working in or visiting Iowa courthouses should feel and be safe. This issue has been revisited several times since the ISBA established the Courthouse Security Task Force and published a Courthouse Security Report back in 2005.

"The governor, lieutenant governor and all the leaders of both the Senate and the house were very welcoming and interested in hearing about these issues,” said Feller.

In addition to the four priorities covered by Feller, ISBA Legislative Counsel Jim Carney covered a number of legislative items from the Affirmative Legislative Program including funding for the courts and indigent civil cases as well as other proposals concerning probate, garnishment, and more. Full details about each legislative item can be found on the Affirmative Legislative Program.