From the Desk of Sen. Giddens: April 28 Edition

State Sen. Eric Giddens (D-Cedar Falls)

As we enter the final stage of the 2023 legislative session, we have been making progress on budget bills, and it is likely that we will adjourn the session next week.

As the ranking member of the Commerce Committee, which deals with financial services industry regulations, I am proud to announce the passage of a lesser known but still significant bill, House File 675, out of the Senate this week. This bill modernizes the Iowa Money Services Act, which regulates various financial services institutions.

The Money Services Act was originally established to regulate wire services like Western Union. More modern online payment platforms like PayPal and Venmo have been thriving due to technological advancements but have been operating in a relatively unregulated space. To ensure consumer safety and market access, it’s important to update our regulations. HF 675 achieves this by establishing uniform definitions and exemptions for licensing money service businesses among states, streamlining the licensing process, and enabling joint multistate supervision. These changes make it easier to regulate and license money service businesses responsibly. They also allow more people to use a variety of services with better access and options.

Many people may not be aware of the work that government agencies like the Iowa Banking Division do on issues like this, so I want to publicly acknowledge them and express my gratitude for their efforts. Iowa is proud to be one of the 13 states taking such proactive measures this year.

I greatly appreciate the opportunity to keep you informed about developments here in the Senate. Your engagement and input are vital in shaping policies that benefit all Iowans.

More safe havens

The Senate expanded Iowa’s Safe Haven Act last week to include adoption service providers. This ensures that parents who themselves were traumatized in the adoption or foster care system are able safely to surrender at a nonprofit they feel most comfortable with.

Improving access to care

Earlier this month, President Biden announced a historic set of executive orders to improve the accessibility and affordability of childcare and long-term care across the country. As working families continue to face rising costs and fewer options for quality care, this will provide relief and help address the growing childcare crisis in our state.

Easier probate operations

The Senate passed a bill this week helping Iowans sign and witness wills using videoconferencing, and retroactively validating wills signed under pandemic disaster proclamations. These common-sense fixes could help families avoid years of probate litigation, saving money and providing peace of mind. Speaking of estate-planning, we also passed HF111, granting a tax exemption for trust estate plans that already exists for will estate plans.

Learn to Bow Hunt

The DNR is offering a six-month workshop teaching key archery hunting skills for beginners. Skills taught include hunting with a bow, and field dressing and cooking white-tailed deer. The workshop includes archery practices in the summer and lessons in fall, with hunting opportunities throughout the archery season. All sessions are led by experienced instructors. The course will be hosted in Adel, Ames, Council Bluffs, Davenport and Iowa City. Applications open April 15 for all locations – apply online: https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLSeXp9KB0Rstrl_c-UIfyTXGBVTpPm6htpFWsDVuSbL1mOW2Mg/viewform

Workers’ Memorial Day Around Iowa

More than 50 years ago today, the Occupational Safety and Health Act went into effect, promising every worker the right to a safe job – a fundamental right that I will always fight to protect. Still, each year thousands of workers are killed and millions suffer injuries because of dangerous working conditions. Together on this Workers’ Memorial Day, we raise our collective voices to win stronger safety and health protections in our workplaces. Join us today at 5:30 p.m. at the Labor Temple, 1695 Burton Ave, Waterloo.

State Senator Eric Giddens represents Iowa Senate District 38 including Cedar Falls, Hudson, Traer, Dysart, Evansdale, Elk Run Heights, Gilbertville, Washburn, LaPorte City and Mount Auburn. Contact Sen. Giddens at 319-230-0578 or eric.giddens@legis.iowa.gov.