Higher driver's license replacement fee among lopsided Iowa House votes

Measures on boat registrations, hunter safety, eminent domain also passed by wide margins

March 28, 2014 | 1:50 pm

The Iowa House voted 99-0 to more than triple the cost of replacing lost driver’s licenses.

On a series of lopsided votes, the House also extended a boat registration fee to combat invasive species for another 10 years, relaxed hunter safety class requirements and re-affirmed its opposition to using eminent domain to take private property for recreation purposes.

Senate File 272, which removed the requirement that the paperwork for obtaining title for a snowmobile or all-terrain vehicle must be notarized, was slightly more controversial, passing 95-2.

It was amended to include language approved earlier 93-6 to limit the use of eminent domain. The Senate has not taken up House File 219, so Rep. Bobby Kaufmann, R-Wilton, offered the same language as an amendment.

“There is a price for inaction,” he said. Inaction would “set the precedent that deep-pocketed developers can steamroll landowners.”

The bill goes back to the Senate.

His amendment was approved on a voice vote with a few representatives dissenting.

Even more controversial was SF 389, which allows Iowans 18 and older to get a certificate of completion of the hunter safety and ethics course without demonstrating the safe handling of a firearm, was approved 89-9.

SF 224 will increase the cost of replacing a driver’s license to $10. In cases of “involuntary loss” – the loss or destruction of a driver’s license – the Department of Transportation has been charging $3 and $1 in cases of “voluntary loss” – a name change, for example.

The $3 fee had been in place since 1976 – prior to licenses including photos and other security measures, said Rep. John Landon, R-Ankeny.

The department was replacing about 250,000 driver’s licenses a year and losing money on it, he explained.

“At $3, it’s cheaper to replace it than look for a lost license,” he said.

Approved 37-11 by the Senate, it now goes to the governor.

Landon also floor managed SF 114, which applies to a handful of people who operate horse-drawn equipment on Iowa roads. Under current law, a person may file a $55,000 certificate of deposit with the State Treasurer as proof of financial responsibility. Under the bill, the certificates would be filed with the DOT. It was approved 99-0.

On another 99-0 vote, the House voted to extend a watercraft registration fee until 2013 to fund enforcement of programs to control aquatic invasive species as well as navigation laws and water safety. It passed the Senate 46-0.

The House voted 99-0 to concur with the Senate on HF 210, which calls for indigent defendants to pay their legal costs to the extent they are “reasonably able to pay.” The House agreed to remove a provision that applied that to defendants who had their charges dismissed.

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