By Amy Kent Herald Staff Writer
The Clinton Herald
---- — DES MOINES — Several new laws have been passed by the Iowa state legislature and will take effect July 1.
Some of these laws include new tuition grants for students attending Iowa’s private colleges or universities; the prevention and control of aquatic invasive species; the ability to purchase a lifetime fur harvester license for anyone over the age of 65; and required preschool attendance for all registered children.
Another law effective July 1 is the requirement for school employee background checks.
All school employees will undergo checks of the sex offender registry, child abuse registry and the dependent adult abuse registry prior to being hired. The school district is also required to establish a policy for current employees to undergo the checklist at least every five years after their hire date.
If an employee is on one of the registries, it would be grounds for suspension pending a termination hearing.
Most of the new state laws will take effect July 1, but in some cases they may be enacted earlier and in others, the Iowa legislature may delay the effective date.
Here is a list of some other state laws that will be enforced July 1:
Child Vision Screening Bill: The parent or guardian of a child enrolled in school must ensure a vision screening has been provided before entering kindergarten and again before entering third grade. The screening can include a doctor’s eye exam, an online vision screening conducted by a parent, a comprehensive eye exam, or a photo screening vision screening. Results of the screening must be reported to the state health department by the individual who conducted it.
Watercraft Registration Fees: This law extends specific increases in registrations fees, put in place in 2005, for an additional 10 years. The fees are for watercraft use by the National Resource Commission.
Child Sex Offense Protection: The updated Iowa law expands the definition of lascivious acts with a child to include touching of a person’s genatalia to any part of a child’s body.
Homeland Security: The Iowa Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Management will become a stand-alone operation and no longer be under the Department of Public Defense.
Beginning Farmer’s Lease: This bill will allow for beginning farmers to have the first pick to leasing agricultural land owned by the Department of Natural Resources.
Education: Details of education reform include career pathways for teachers, with leadership opportunities available; the Teach Iowa Initiative to recruit candidates to the teaching profession in Iowa; and expansions of the STEM Initiative to recruit more students into science, technology, engineering and math fields.
For a full list of new laws, visit the Iowa House of Representatives' website at Iowahouse.org.