Our Legislative Program
Our Legislative Program

One of the most important things The Iowa State Bar Association does each year is represent its members at the Iowa Statehouse during the legislative session. The association speaks with a unified voice to best represent the interests of the legal community and the profession of law.

Each year, the ISBA’s affirmative legislative program includes proposals for enactment by Iowa’s Legislature for the benefit of Iowa’s citizens.

The following are bills on which the ISBA has taken a formal position. Check back regularly for updates.



2019 Affirmative Legislative Program




Bill Description

Bill Status

SF 569

Business Law


Uniform Protected Series Act

The Uniform Protected Series Act provides a comprehensive framework for the formation and operation of a protected series limited liability company. A protected series LLC has both “horizontal” liability shields, as well as the standard “vertical” liability shield. All modern business entities provide the traditional, “vertical” shield – protecting the entity’s owners (and their respective assets) from automatic, vicarious liability for the entity’s debts. A series limited liability company provides “horizontal” shields – protecting each protected series (and its assets) from automatic, vicarious liability for the debts of the company and for the debts of any other protected series of the company. A horizontal shield likewise protects the series limited liability company (and its assets) from creditors of any protected series of the company. The legislation integrates the Act into Iowa’s existing chapter 489 on LLCs. Repeals Iowa Code § 489.407(2)(f),viz.,“Approve a merger, conversion, or domestication under Article 10.”, and leave § 489.407(2) otherwise intact. Article 10 already requires unanimous consent as a default rule.

Passed Senate 49-0

Passed House 99-0

Signed by Governor 4/15/19

SF 112

Probate & Trust Law


Certification of Trust Code Changes

Amend Section 633A.4604(2) to allow any current trustee or an attorney for a current trustee to sign off on and execute certification of trust documents instead of requiring every trustees signature.


Passed Senate 46-0

Passed House 99-0

Signed by Governor 4/23/19


HSB 20/ SF 604

Probate & Trust Law


Calculation of Probate Court Costs

Iowa Code §633.31 is currently being applied inconsistently throughout the state. There are now several district court cases declaring the clerks in at least six counties to be calculating court fees inappropriately. The bill addresses how the clerk of probate court determines and collects charges in connection with services provided in probate matters. Excludes from the determination of court fees property over which the court lacks probate jurisdiction and for which the clerk renders no services.

HSB 20 – subcommittee recommends passage


SF 604 Unanimously Passed Senate 50-0 now in House Ways & Means.

SF 158

Criminal Law


PCR Record

Revisions to Chapter 822.Over approximately the last four years, county attorneys, defense lawyers, and the Attorney General have had significant problems obtaining access to underlying files for postconviction cases. In particular, effective postconviction litigation generally requires the underlying criminal file, as well as any prior postconviction files. Currently, the way that court clerks handle these postconviction file requests can vary widely from county to county. These inconsistent practices have resulted in attorneys and indigent defendants representing themselves pro se encountering extreme difficulty or confusion in acquiring the necessary documents for their cases.Working in collaboration with the Iowa Judicial Branch, the proposed legislation works to implement a uniform process for clerks and attorneys to follow that would resolve this confusion, for both the prosecution, the defense, and judicial branch employees.

Passed House 95-0.

Passed Senate 49-0.

Signed 5/1/19.

SSB 1242

Probate & Trust Law

Family Law


Guardianship & Conservatorship Update

Update and Revisions to Iowa’s guardianship and conservatorship laws based upon the Probate Section’s review of chapter 633 and the Iowa Supreme Court’s Guardianship & Conservatorship Reform Task Force.

Introduced on March 7 and Funneled March 8.


Legislation on the issue was passed – See HF 610 & HF 591




Government Practice


ABD “Good Moral Character”

Amends Iowa Code section 123.3(34)(a) definition of “Person of Good Moral Character” to clarify what to consider when determining good moral/financial standing. This is partially addressed in the Administrative Rules but the Government Practice Section believes this should either be more clearly defined in rule or be codified to provide better implementation and uniformity.


ABD doing rewrite of licensure rules in 2019. Awaiting legislation for 2020 session.

HF 328

Elder Law Section


Clarifying definition for Vulnerable Edler in Iowa’s Elder Abuse Law

This proposal amends Iowa Code section 235F.1(17), the definition of vulnerable elder. Currently, “Vulnerable elder” is defined as “a person sixty years of age or older who is unable to protect himself or herself from elder abuse as a result of age or a mental or physical condition. This proposal changes the definition of "vulnerable elder” to mean “a person sixty years of age or older who is unable to protect himself or herself from elder abuse as a result of a mental or physical condition or because of a personal circumstance which results in an increased risk of harm to the person. ”This change aims to clarify a Supreme Court decision that held that age alone was enough to prove that an individual is vulnerable, making every person over the age of 60 in Iowa a vulnerable adult unable to protect themselves. This change makes it clear that age alone is not enough, but must be accompanied by something more. This amendment ensures that older Iowan’s autonomy in decision making is protected.


Passed House 95-0.

Passed Senate 49-0.

Awaiting Governor’s Signature




In addition to the above legislative proposals, the Iowa State Bar Association supports the following positions as a part of its 2019 Affirmative Legislative Program:


·         Full funding of indigent defense and adoption of legislation providing for $5.00 per hour increase with an automatic cost of living increase in indigent defense fees.

o   2017 Session – SF 509

§  State Public Defender - $26,182,243

§  Indigent Defense Contracts - $33,444,448

o   2018 Session - HF 2492

§  State Public Defender - $26,505,299              ($323,056 increase 1.2%)

§  Indigent Defense Contracts - $35,144,448     ($1,700,000 increase 5.1%)

o   2019 Session – SF 615

§  State Public Defender - $26,995,139              ($489,840 increase 1.85%)

§  Indigent Defense Contracts - $40,760,448     ($5,616,000 increase 15.98%)

§  $3.00 per hour increase - For appointments made on or after July 1, 2019, the reasonable compensation shall be calculated on the basis of seventy-three dollars per hour for class “A” felonies, sixty-eight dollars per hour for class “B” felonies, and sixty-three dollars per hour for all other cases.

§  Extends choose your attorney pilot program through June 30, 2022.

·         Full Funding of the Judicial Branch.

o   2017 Session – SF 508

§  Judicial Branch - $175,686,612

§  Jury revolving fund - $3,100,000

o   2018 Session – HF 2495

§  Judicial Branch - $177,574,791                      ($1,888,179 increase 1.1%)

§  Jury revolving fund - $3,100,000                   (level funding)

o   2018 Session – SF 2414

§  Polk County Courthouse Furniture and IT - $1,464,705

§  Judicial Branch Technology Projects - $3,000,00

o   2019 Session – SF 616

§  Judicial Branch - $181,126,293                      ($3,551,502 increase 2.0%)

§  Jury revolving fund - $3,100,000                   (level funding)

§  Judicial Branch shall use current state budget system

§  Judicial Branch shall submit monthly financial statements to DOM

§  Judicial Branch shall focus efforts on collection of delinquent debts

§  Intent of Legislature that clerks operate in all 99 counties and open regular courthouse hours.

§  Judicial Branch shall not change appropriations without notice and rational.

§  Judicial Branch shall submit semiannual update to LSA on various data.

§  Judicial Branch shall report to Legislature on January 1, 2020 on the amounts received and expended on the enhanced court collection fund.

§  If all parties agree, a civil trial may take place in a contiguous county to the county with proper jurisdiction, even if in another judicial district.

§  Judicial offices may waive travel reimbursement for travel outside the judicial officer’s county of residence to conduct official business.

o   2019 Session – HF 765

§  Judicial Branch furniture and equipment in counties less than 400,000 - $193,620

·         Full funding for Legal Services.

o   2017 Session – SF 509

§  Poverty Grants - $2,304,601

o   2018 Session - HF 2492

§  Poverty Grants - $2,304,601                           (level funding)

o   2019 Session – SF 615

§  Poverty Grants - $2,634,601                           ($330,000 increase 14.32%)

·         Full funding of the IA Secretary of State’s Office as requested by IA Secretary of State Paul Pate.

o   2017 Session – HF 640

§  Administration and Elections - $2,125,518

§  Business Services - $1,317,292

§  Address Confidentiality - $120,400

o   2018 Session – SF 2416

§  Administration and Elections - $2,109,755    ($15,763 decrease 0.7%)

§  Business Services - $1,405,530                      ($88,238 increase 6.7%)

§  Address Confidentiality - $120,400               (level funding)

o   2019 Session – HF 759

§  Administration and Elections - $2,109,755    (level funding)

§  Business Services - $1,405,530                      (level funding)

§  Address Confidentiality - $195,400               ($75,000 increase 62.29%)


1.    Full funding for the Office of Substitute Decision Maker to protect the interests of Iowans who have no one else to manage their financial and health care needs.

a.    2017 Session – HF 643 - $350,000

b.    2018 Session – SF 2418 – See page 2 lines 5-13

                                                1.b.i.    Allocates $812,537 to administer programs for the prevention of elder abuse, neglect, and exploitation through the Aging and Disability Resource Center (ADRC).  DETAIL: This is no change compared to the estimated net FY 2018 allocation. The ADRC is the system that provides a single-entry point/no-wrong-door access to Iowa’s long-term community supports and services.  The Office of Substitute Decision Maker (OSDM) suballocation has been eliminated, but the Program and the funding will continue as part of this allocation. The OSDM works with individuals who are not capable of making their own decisions about legal, financial, or health care matters. Depending on the situation, the OSDM may act as an individual's guardian, conservator, attorney-in-fact under a health care power of attorney document, agent under a financial power of attorney document, personal representative, or representative payee.

c.     2019 Session – HF 766 - $812,000                              (level funding)

2.    Support child abuse prevention and treatment efforts and funding for child abuse prevention and treatment.

3.    Oppose the legalization of title insurance.

a.    Will monitor issues regarding lawyer abstracting under Iowa Title Guaranty.

b.    2019 Session – SF 527/HSB 202

                                                3.b.i.    This bill provides that state banks and state credit unions, when loaning for the purposes of acquisition or refinance of acquisition when a new mortgage, deed, or other similar instrument is filed, may evidence title with a written legal opinion from an attorney admitted to practice law in the state where the property is located, a title guaranty certificate issued by the title guaranty division of the Iowa finance authority, or a commercial title insurance policy insuring title to the property and the validity of the new instrument as a lien on the property.

4.    Oppose absolute immunity legislation.


ISBA Standing Positions

Legislative Resources


ISBA Legislative Counsel

Jim Carney
Legislative Counsel
(515) 689-3189

Doug Struyk
Assistant Legislative Counsel
(402) 510-1576

Jenny Dorman
Assistant Legislative Counsel
(515) 282-6803