Curious Bills This Session

Putting Iowans back to work and kick starting the state’s economy should be the focus of the 2009 Legislature. Instead of working on proposals like Rep. Nick Wagner’s income tax cut (HF 604), the Legislature is spending time and energy on the following:

HF 422 – Idling Bill
Democrats want to approve vehicle emission standards similar to California. In California, it is illegal to idle your car for more than 5 minutes. Exceeding the 5 minute idling limit in California is a $300 fine.

Jobs created: 0
Ankles turned by Iowans sprinting in and out of their driveways and garages to move their cars before the 5 minutes limit is exceeded: Numerous.

HF 627 Leaf Burning Ban
Iowans evidently need to be protected from burning leaves. Despite the fact that cities already have the ability to ban leaf burning within city limits, Democrats feel strongly that burning leaves are such an imminent threat to Iowans, they must be banned.

Jobs created: 0
Leaves saved: Many

HF 588 Paint Tax
Iowans who purchase paint aren’t paying their fair share. Democrats have a bill that increases the state tax on paint, primer and specialty finish. Iowans who purchase stains, sealers and spray paints need not worry as the tax on these products will not go up.

Jobs created: 0
Confused home improvement shoppers: Loads

HF 296 Propane Tax
Iowans who use propane evidently are not paying their fair share so Democrats have targeted backyard grillers.

Jobs created: 0
Angry Dads: Thousands

HJR 2 Catfish
Having a state fish is so important to the economic health of Iowa, Democrats want to name the Channel Catfish the official state fish.

Jobs created: 0
Happy Catfish: Incalculable

SF 331 Fine Art
The key to taxpayers saving money on state building projects is apparently fine art. This bill requires the state to spend 1 percent of the total cost of state building construction costs on fine art.

Jobs created: 0
Starving artists fed: Innumerable

SF 204 DOA
The Department of Elder Affairs was renamed the Department on Aging. Iowans were seemingly so confused by what “elder affairs” meant that a name change was vital.

Jobs created: 0
Saturday Night Live skits making fun of Iowa for the name change: 1

SF 117 Don’t Mess with Bicyclists
When passing or approaching a bicyclist, motorists must treat the bike just like every other vehicle. If the road isn’t wide enough to pass, the motorist must stay behind the bicyclist at a safe distrance until the road is wide enough to pass. Also, motorists are not allowed to open their car doors if the door is on the traffic side unless it is reasonably safe to do so.

Jobs created: 0
Number of Iowans driving on skinny roads: 0
Outbreak of Iowans wildly swinging open doors into unsuspecting bicyclists: Contained

HF 556 Seniors and Creative People
This bill states that cities or counties may encourage development projects and activities in cultural and entertainment districts. Among the things that may be encouraged are activities that attract seniors and creative people to live and work in a cultural and entertainment district.

Therefore the bill essentially does absolutely nothing except add 20 lines to the Iowa Code.

Jobs created: 0
Cities and counties who may do this: All of them

HSB 136 Turtle Helpers
Among the many things this DNR bill does is it defines and clarifies Iowan turtle helpers. “Commercial turtle helper” means a person who is licensed by the state to assist a commercial turtle fisher in operating commercial gear, or in taking, attempting to take possessing, processing, or transporting commercial turtles, turtle eggs, or turtle parts.

Jobs created: 0
Commercial turtle fishers helped: Countless

HF 389 Water Fountains
The lack of water fountains in Iowa has evidently reached epidemic proportions. According to the bill, “the purpose of the initiative is that all Iowans, particularly students, have safe, easy, and convenient access to free, good quality drinking water from modern facilities throughout the day.” No mention in the bill concerning the lack of jobs.

Jobs created: 0
Thirsty kids: None

HF 278 Number of People in Polk County Bars
All Polk County Bars must update their occupancy rates.

Jobs created: 0
Lines at Polk County Bars: Longer

HF 386 Parking on One Side of the Road
According to this bill, cities will now be able to allow drivers to park on the wrong side of the road if parking there is safer than parking on the right side of the road.

Jobs created: 0
Heads scratched: Multitudes

HF 384 Lead Wheel Weights
Lead wheel weights have become such a nuisance to Iowans that they must be banned.

Jobs created: 0
Iowans who can sleep soundly with the knowledge lead wheel weights have been wiped out: Lots

  • Terri Buck

    I can tell these are all vital and necessary to the well-being of ALL Iowans. Sarcasm aside, some are more troublesome than others, specifically the bicycle one. Roads are created for automobiles. Gas taxes pay for roads. Other than sales tax what taxes to bicyclists pay to to create and maintain roads? If car owners disappered tomorrow how would bicyclists gets roads? Bicycles should yield to cars!

  • Now, before I comment I must state my bias. That is, I’m a bicyclist.

    Avid or not, anyone who has spent time on a bike [riding in the road not the sidewalk, since it is illegal to ride on the sidewalk in certain areas] know the dangers of even a casual trip when in traffic. Since there is not a helmet law on the books for bicyclist and law attempting to protect citizens is necessary. The gas tax pay typically only pay for around 38% of road funding, the rest comes from Federal Aid, Property Tax, and Vehicle Registration fees.

    Given the fact that most people do own a car and still drive it, means that they are contributing their fair share to have roads to be worked on. Now before this might spark some heated debate, cyclists MUST do their part to also obey traffic laws and to yield when appropriate. It’s unfortunate that the Legislature must spend time on such common sense ideas by making them law but that has slowly become the reality we live in.