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House Journal: Wednesday, January 14, 1998

Third Calendar Day - Third Session Day

Hall of the House of Representatives
Des Moines, Iowa, Wednesday, January 14, 1998
The House met pursuant to adjournment at 8:45 a.m., Speaker
Corbett in the chair.
Prayer was offered by Father Jim Kirby, St. Theresa's Catholic
Church, Des Moines.
The Journal of Tuesday, January 13, 1998 was approved.
House File 2030, by Arnold and Lamberti, a bill for an act
relating to the assumption of risk by and liability of forcible
felons and persons aiding and abetting in the commission of
forcible felonies for damages resulting from the offenders'
criminal conduct.
Read first time and referred to committee on judiciary.
House File 2031, by Huseman, a bill for an act relating to
the disbursement and documentation of expenditure of child
support payments, and providing penalties and effective dates.
Read first time and referred to committee on human resources.
House File 2032, by Murphy, a bill for an act exempting the
sale of bottled drinking water from the state sales, services,
and use taxes.
Read first time and referred to committee on ways and means.
House File 2033, by Brauns and Klemme, a bill for an act
relating to the operation of motorboats on artificial lakes and
providing an effective date.
Read first time and referred to committee on natural resources.
House File 2034, by Gipp, a bill for an act relating to
distinguishing numbers assigned to driver's licenses and persons
with disabilities parking permits, and providing for the Act's
Read first time and referred to committee on transportation.
House File 2035, by Huser, Carroll and Vande Hoef, a bill
for an act relating to suspension of payment of property taxes
for certain 
persons receiving government assistance and providing an
applicability date.
Read first time and referred to committee on ways and means.
House File 2036, by Cormack, a bill for an act relating to
the general assembly by providing for public access to meetings.
Read first time and referred to committee on state government.
House File 2037, by Vande Hoef, a bill for an act regulating
implements of husbandry.
Read first time and referred to committee on agriculture.
House File 2038, by Dinkla, a bill for an act relating to
the Iowa state fair convention by providing for its membership
and the election of members to the Iowa state fair board.
Read first time and referred to committee on state government.
House File 2039, by Chapman, a bill for an act relating to
cooperation between municipalities and nonprofit housing
corporations under the state municipal housing law.
Read first time and referred to committee on local government.
House File 2040, by Garman, a bill for an act relating to
the annual registration fees for motor homes not in use the
entire year and making a penalty applicable.
Read first time and referred to committee on transportation.
House File 2041, by Cormack, a bill for an act relating to
certain political telephone communications and providing a civil
Read first time and referred to committee on state government.
House File 2042, by Kinzer, a bill for an act relating to
the consideration of a history of the performance of criminal
offenses against a minor in the awarding of child visitation
rights to a parent.
Read first time and referred to committee on human resources.
House File 2043, by Richardson, a bill for an act relating
to early retirement incentives for school employees and
providing an appropriation.
Read first time and referred to committee on education.
House File 2044, by Thomas, a bill for an act providing an
individual income tax credit for volunteer fire fighters and
emergency medical service personnel and providing effective and
retroactive applicability dates.
Read first time and referred to committee on ways and means.
The House stood at ease at 8:55 a.m., until the fall of the
The House resumed session at 9:40 a.m., Speaker Corbett in the
Eddie of Buena Vista moved that a committee of three be
appointed to notify the Senate that the House was ready to
receive it in joint convention.
The motion prevailed and the Speaker appointed as such committee
Representatives Eddie of Buena Vista, Hahn of Muscatine, and
Huser of Polk.
Eddie of Buena Vista, chair of the committee to notify the
Senate that the House was ready to receive it in joint
convention, reported that the committee had performed its duty.
The report was accepted and the committee discharged.
The Sergeant-at-Arms announced the arrival of the President of
the Senate, the Secretary of the Senate and the honorable body
of the Senate.
The President was escorted to the Speaker's station, the
Secretary to the Chief Clerk's desk and the members of the
Senate were seated in the House chamber.
In accordance with House Concurrent Resolution 102, duly
adopted, the joint convention was called to order at 9:48 a.m.,
President Kramer presiding.
Senator Iverson of Wright moved that the roll call be dispensed
with and that the President of the joint convention be
authorized to declare a quorum present, which motion prevailed.
President Kramer announced a quorum present and the joint
convention duly organized.
Senator Iverson of Wright moved that a committee of six,
consisting of three members from the Senate and three members
from the House, be appointed to notify Chief Justice Arthur A.
McGiverin that the joint convention was ready to receive him.
The motion prevailed and the President appointed as such
committee Senators King of Crawford, Maddox of Polk and
Neuhauser of Johnson, on the part of the Senate; and
Representatives Lamberti of Polk, Hahn of Muscatine and Huser of
Polk, on the part of the House.
The House stood at ease at 9:50 a.m., until the fall of the
The House resumed session at 9:52 a.m., President Kramer in the
State Treasurer, Michael Fitzgerald; Secretary of State, Paul
Pate; Secretary of Agriculture and Land Stewardship, Dale
Cochran; and Attorney General, Tom Miller were escorted into the
House chamber.
The Justices of the Supreme Court, the Judges of the Court of
Appeals and the Chief Judges of the state's eight judicial
districts were escorted into the House chamber.
Mrs. JoAnn McGiverin, wife of the Chief Justice and his cousin
Ed McGivern and Mrs. Jo McGivern, were escorted into the House
The committee waited upon Chief Justice Arthur A. McGiverin and
escorted him to the Speaker's station.
President Kramer presented Chief Justice Arthur A. McGiverin who
delivered the following condition of the Judicial Department
Madam President, Mr. Speaker, Members of the General Assembly,
State Officials, Judicial Colleagues and My Fellow Iowans:
On behalf of the court, thank you for the invitation to report
to you on the state of the Iowa judiciary.  It is a great honor
for the Judicial Branch, as well as a personal privilege for me,
to meet with you each year at this time.  This address marks my
tenth state of the judiciary message.  However, I know that one
should never assume that a repeat performance is automatic. 
Winston Churchill once used this fact to his advantage.
Churchill received an invitation from George Bernard Shaw to
attend the opening of one of his plays.  Shaw's note read: 
"Enclosed are two tickets to the first-night performance of one
of my plays.  Bring a friend_if you have one."
Not to be outdone, Churchill shot back this reply:  "Dear
G.B.S., I thank you for the invitation and tickets. 
Unfortunately, I am engaged on that night, but could I have
tickets for the second performance_if there is one?"  
After I finish my remarks, we hope you can join the other judges
and me for coffee and conversation downstairs in our courtroom. 
We can get better acquainted there.
We regard this address as one of the most important things I do.
 It is our opportunity to share with you an assessment of the
administration of justice in Iowa; in other words, it is an
account of our stewardship.  I trust you will conclude, as I
have, that the past year has been exciting, marked by
significant milestones for Iowa's court system.  
You should be aware of a number of important trends.  So far as
we have been able to learn, none of them are related to El Nino. 
During the past few years, you have been told of our struggles
to keep up with the rising tide of criminal cases pouring into
the courts.  I am pleased to announce that after ten years of
dramatic growth, the number of indictable criminal case filings
decreased slightly last year.  We do not know the reasons for
the sudden change in this long-term trend, so we are only
cautiously optimistic.  But if the rate of criminal filings
continues to slow, it will ease some of the pressure on our
courts, jails and prisons. 
However, I must report that the news about our overall caseload
is mixed.  I won't burden you with all the numbers.  Information
about the caseload is detailed in the appendix to these remarks. 
We're concerned about the growing backlog of cases in the
appellate courts.  In the past ten years, filings in our
appellate courts increased over twenty percent; twice as fast as
dispositions.  Parties appealing civil cases involving
contracts, personal injury, and administrative law must wait
seventeen months from the time of filing the notice of appeal to
a decision.  Typically, these cases are ready to be submitted to
the court within ten months.  But because cases involving
children, crimes and certain other matters take precedence, the
civil cases must wait in line to be heard.
While it appears that appeals will continue to increase in the
foreseeable future, the number of dispositions per judge cannot
continue to increase without negatively affecting the quality of
justice.  The Supreme Court and the Court of Appeals are working
together to come up with solutions to cope with the volume, and
we'll keep you posted.
We are especially concerned this year about the trend in
juvenile cases.  No work of the courts is more important.  Since
1991, juvenile case filings have increased nearly forty percent.
 What do these numbers mean?  For one thing it clearly means
increasing demands on our juvenile court system_a system already
in real need of repair.
This is not to say our hard-working juvenile court system is
devoid of innovative tools to help rescue troubled children. 
One of our brightest examples is the CASA program.
A CASA is a trained volunteer who advocates in court for abused
and neglected children.  Each CASA volunteer works closely with
a child and the child's family to gather information about their
personal life.  This information, which is furnished to the
court in written reports and courtroom testimony, provides the
court with extra insight about the child's circumstances.
CASA makes a difference for youngsters who might otherwise
become lost in the juvenile court system_often a very dramatic
difference.  Thanks to your support, CASA is reaching more
children than ever before.
Last year we added nine counties to our CASA program.  With
these additions, CASA is now operating in a total of twenty-two
counties, covering all eight judicial districts.  Next fiscal
year, we hope to take CASA into more counties so that we can
reach more children in need.  
Anthropologist Margaret Meade, once said, "Never doubt that a
small group of thoughtfully committed citizens can change the
world.  Indeed, it's the only thing that ever has."
Iowa is blessed with many generous people_volunteers and
professionals_ who dedicate their lives to helping abused and
neglected children.  Recently, the Supreme Court, together with
the Friends of Iowa CASA foundation, established the Child
Advocate of the Year Award to recognize the special people who
work tirelessly on behalf of Iowa's children.  It's my privilege
to announce the first award winner_Patty McKee, a shelter
caseworker at Jasper County Youth Services.  I will present the
award at the courtroom reception immediately following this
address.  I look forward to seeing all of you there.   
"It's time to light a fire under Iowa's child welfare system." 
These are the words of Dr. Jim McCullaugh, one of the members of
a special Supreme Court committee that is examining Iowa's child
welfare system.  After extensive study, the committee found
serious inadequacies in the state's procedures for termination
of parental rights and adoption.
What are some of the problems?
"/U"	Unacceptable delays,
"/U"	Children left in temporary placement too long,
"/U"	Judges do not have fast access to key information,
"/U"	Parents do not know the serious consequences of removal and
placement, and
"/U"	Parties and their attorneys rarely confer before court
With the help of juvenile justice professionals from around the
state, the committee developed solutions to these problems. 
Several proposals involve statutory changes that will speed up
the adoption process and provide better information to parents. 
I ask your approval of these proposals, which we will be
furnishing to you.
There are other proposals that require further study.  The
committee recommended more review hearings and less time between
hearings.  These changes could vastly improve judicial oversight
of these cases if there are more judges to handle the extra
hearings.  We have asked the committee to determine the number
of judges that would be needed to accomplish its worthy goal. 
We advise you to withhold acting on this specific recommendation
pending the outcome of the committee's study. 
At this point, I want to briefly discuss our need for judges in
general.  We appreciate your response to our requests for more
judges in recent years.  The added judge power has made a
tremendous difference in our ability to administer 
justice.  Last fall, two of our districts asked that we include
more judges in our budget request.  We did not.  After a careful
evaluation of our overall needs, we decided that support staff
for our judges is a more critical need in our district or trial
courts this year.  That support is needed in the offices of our
clerks of district court and juvenile court services.  We also
need more law clerks to help our judges with research and
rulings.  This year we will evaluate, with the help of our
planning office, our need for judges.  We will report our
findings to you next year.   
We obviously must do what we can to attract and retain good
judges.  We appreciate your strong support of judicial
compensation and retirement requests over the years and hope
that we can continue to count on your support this year.
Now, I'd like to again switch gears and report on the progress
that we've made with the help of technology.  We're proud of our
statewide computer network which was completed last September.  
More than thirty clerk of district court offices were
computerized last year alone.   This achievement represents the
culmination of more than ten years of planning and hard work by
many people.  I want to thank and commend you for your support
over the years.
It wasn't easy changing from a paper-based record keeping system
to a computer-based system.  There were many times in the early
years of the program when I thought  we might have a revolt on
our hands.  In fact, there were times when I thought I might
lead the revolt!  But we made it through the tough times, and
today we are one of few court systems in the country with a
statewide computer network. 
The completion of our statewide computer network does not mean
that our work is finished.  The system must be updated,
maintained, supported, and enhanced if we are to retain it and
realize its full potential. 
Two of the promising technological innovations now within our
grasp deserve special mention.
IowAccess.  Think of  accessing court records from the
convenience of one's home or office.  Or what about specialized
reports in a format generated to fit a customer's specific
needs?  Automation adds value to court information.  Justice
Marsha Ternus of our court has been working with the IowAccess
Project to explore the idea of marketing these value added
services.  It could turn into a revenue producing venture for
the state.  
We're excited about an interface with the DOT which will
completely automate the processing of criminal citations from
start to finish.  When issuing a citation, law enforcement
officers armed with computers and scanners, will enter
information about the citation into their computer systems.  At
the end of the officer's shift, the information will be sent
electronically to the appropriate clerk of district court
office. The time consuming job of shuffling mountains of paper
citations will be a thing of the past. 
It's easy to be overly enthralled by technology.  We're
captivated by all the bells and whistles that promise to improve
our productivity and public service.  While it's true that
technology is dramatically changing the way the Judicial Branch
does business, we must remember that it is just a tool to help
us perform our basic function of resolving disputes in a
dispassionate, well-reasoned manner.  It frees judges to perform
their function in our independent branch of government.  
I was originally going to end my remarks here but I cannot cover
the state of the judiciary today without talking about judicial
independence.  The word 
"independence" refers to independence in decision-making. 
Judicial independence means upholding the law without fear of
the consequence of political retribution.  Judges are under
constant pressure to surrender their  judicial independence and
decide cases based upon the popularity of a particular result or
party.   Examples of this pressure are everywhere.
Last fall, America watched as Louise Woodward, a young British
au pair accused of shaking to death an infant left in her
charge, was tried for murder in Massachusetts.  Public opinion
about the case seemed to change with the wind.  One day public
opinion blamed the parents of the infant_especially the working
mother_for the child's death.  Another day, public opinion was
sympathetic toward Woodward.  When the jury found Woodward
guilty of second-degree murder, Woodward's supporters expressed
outrage and condemned the justice system.
One week after the jury verdict, the presiding judge, Hiller
Zoebel, saying that he had erred, by not allowing the jury to
consider the possibility of a manslaughter conviction, changed
the conviction to manslaughter and entered a jail sentence for
only the time Woodward had already served.  Immediately, Judge
Zoebel's decision was criticized by the public as too lenient. 
Arm chair legal scholars speculated that Judge Zoebel was swayed
by public opinion. 
It would be inappropriate for me to join in the public debate
about Judge Zoebel's decision, and I won't.  But it is proper
for me to observe that this is a dramatic illustration of the
impossibility of pleasing the court of public opinion.
Judges must not test the winds of public opinion before entering
a decision.  They are bound by their oath of office to render
decisions based on the constitution and statutory law.  When
there is disagreement about the meaning or application of a law,
judges turn to well-established legal principles to guide their
decisions.  This is the rule of law.  Without the rule of law,
our legal system would be unstable and unpredictable_like a leaf
blowing in the wind, supported by only the most recent gusts.
Judicial independence ensures that judges uphold the law. 
Judicial independence ensures that judges defy current popular
opinion in favor of the long-standing principles established in
our constitution.  Judicial independence ensures social order
and stability.  It is of supreme importance to all citizens
because it is the ligament which holds our justice system
 Unfortunately, there are forces working to undermine this
important principle that has served our nation well for over two
hundred years.  I'm talking about well-orchestrated campaigns to
intimidate judges into entering decisions that favor specific
outcomes over legal merits.  For example:
"/U"	Following the last general election, all Iowa Supreme Court
justices received copies of newspaper articles about the ouster
of a Nebraska Supreme Court justice who was targeted for rulings
that invalidated term limits for Nebraska elected officials. 
The copies of the newspaper articles were from a group called
"Citizens for Common Sense Justice" out of Washington, D.C. 
Although the group didn't include a cover letter, its message
was unmistakable_intimidation.
"/U"	Some of our district court judges have come under attack for
their decisions in hog lot cases.  These attacks are not based
on the soundness of the judges' legal analyses but on the
critics' unhappiness with the outcome.  I've been told that
anti-hog lot organizers, who came to the 
	statehouse in November to attend the Supreme Court hearing of a
hog lot case, reminded their followers to vote against the
justices in the next retention election if the court didn't rule
in favor of the group's cause.
"/U"	Business associations in several Midwestern states have hired
consultants to evaluate judges for "anti-business" bias. 
"/U"	During the 1996 presidential race, both candidates attacked a
federal district court judge in New York for his evidentiary
ruling in a drug case.  The judge changed his order, forever
calling into question his impartiality and credibility.
These attacks and intimidation tactics do a grave disservice to
the public.  Criticism of the courts is not new and is to be
expected.  For judges, criticism comes with the territory and we
are entirely accustomed to it.  However, the kind of efforts I
have just described threaten the integrity of our nation's
justice system. 
Just what, then, is the condition of Iowa's judicial branch of
government?  The short answer is that it closely matches the
condition of Iowa itself_good enough to be the source of pride
but in constant need of attention.  Certain areas, such as
juvenile court, need special attention just now.  Technology is
an enormous help to Iowa's courts as we embark upon a new
millennium.  Our greatest present threat is a frontal assault on
judicial independence by some who would politicize and thereby
destroy_or at least severely damage_the courts' usefulness to
our citizens.  
Finally, like our other two branches of government, courts do
not belong to the temporary incumbents but rather to the people
who sent us all here.  Let us keep that foremost in our minds as
we work together to make Iowa government a source of lasting
pride for us all.
Chief Justice Arthur A. McGiverin was escorted from the House
chamber by the committee previously appointed.
On motion by Gipp of Winneshiek, the joint convention was
dissolved at 10:25 a.m.
The House stood at ease at 10:26 a.m., until the fall of the
The House resumed session at 10:33 a.m., Speaker Corbett in the

The following named persons are accredited members of the press,
TV and radio stations and are entitled to access to the press

Ankeny Press Citizen	Dave DeValois
Des Moines Register	David Yepsen, Tom Fogarty,
	Jon Roos
Dubuque Telegraph Herald	Mary Rae Bragg
Iowa Legislative News Service	Will Chen, Jack Hunt,
	Leslie Campbell, Tom Hunt
Lee Enterprises Des Moines Bureau	Kathie Obradovich, Lynn Okamoto
The Associated Press	Mike Glover, Susan Stocum,
	Mary Neubauer, 	 			Charlie Neibergall, John Gaps III
The Cedar Rapids Gazette	Ken Sullivan, Rod Boshart
The Sioux City Journal	Todd Dorman	The Tribune	Michael Gartner,
James Flansburg
Waterloo Courier	Eric Stern
Des Moines Radio Group	Polly Carver-Kimm
KASI Radio	Trent Rice, B.J. Schaben
KDSN Radio	Bernie Merril, Brian Schmid
KFXB - Fox 40	Rena Sarigianopoulos
KIMT - TV	Brad Meier, Jeff Nelson,
	Pete Hjelmstad, Alix Hayes
KOEL Radio	Pamela Ohrt
KUNI Radio	Bill Menner
KWWL News	Tami Wiencek, Joe Surma,
	Yavonkia Jenkins, Chris Gitsch,
	Eric Hanson
Radio Iowa	O. Kay Henderson,
	Dar Danielson, Angie Hunt
WHO-TV	Scott Pope, Jim Strickland,
	Terese Thompson, Lisa Brones,
	Cal Woods, Phil Scott
WHO - Radio News	Jeneane Beck, Mike McGinnis,
	Richard Lee, Jodi Chapman,
	Chuck Shockley, Sue Danielson
WOI Radio	Mark Moran
WOI - TV	Lisa Molina, Jay Vilwock,
	Don Schmith, Matt Pime,
	Adrienne Millholland, Pilar Pedraza
MR. SPEAKER: The Chief Clerk of the House respectfully reports
that certificates of recognition have been issued as follows.
Chief Clerk of the House
1998\25	Dean Ekstrom, Duncombe - For being named the Webster
County 1997 Master Pork Producer.
1998\26	Don Roby, Northeast Iowa Community College - For his
work and dedication to higher education at Kirkwood Community
College and Northeast Iowa Community College.

House File 382

Judiciary: Larson, Chair; Kreiman and Lamberti.
House File 639

Labor and Industrial Relations: Lamberti, Chair; Sukup and

House File 663

Judiciary: Lamberti, Chair; Dinkla and Holveck.

House File 664

Judiciary: Sukup, Chair; Kreiman and Lamberti.

House File 677

Judiciary: Lamberti, Chair; Kreiman and Larson.

House File 2001

Agriculture: Greiner, Chair; May and Welter.

House File 2002

Judiciary: Millage, Chair; Kreiman and Larson.

House File 2009

Education: Brunkhorst, Chair; Dolecheck and Mascher.

House File 2019

Transportation: Cormack, Chair; Chiodo and Vande Hoef.

House File 2020

Education: Thomson, Chair; Garman and Thomas.

House File 2022

Transportation: Welter, Chair; Heaton and Scherrman.

House File 2024

Education: Brunkhorst, Chair; Mascher and Thomson.

House File 2026

Education: Thomson, Chair; Garman and Thomas.

House File 2027

Agriculture: Greiner, Chair; Koenigs and Meyer.
House File 2029

Natural Resources: Dolecheck, Chair; Arnold and Jochum.

Senate File 187

Natural Resources: Klemme, Chair; Huseman and O'Brien.

Senate File 429

Natural Resources: Dolecheck, Chair; Bell and Hahn.

Senate File 490

Judiciary: Sukup, Chair; Chapman and Churchill.


House Study Bill 500

Agriculture: Eddie, Chair; Greig and Mertz.

House Study Bill 501

Agriculture: Greig, Chair; Mundie and Teig.


H.S.B. 503 State Government

Changing election and appointment provisions relating to the
secretary of agriculture.

H.S.B. 504 Judiciary

Relating to the HIV-related testing of alleged sexual offenders
and allowing disclosure of the results of such testing to sexual
assault victims.
On motion by Gipp of Winneshiek, the House adjourned at 10:33
a.m., until 8:45 a.m., Thursday, January 15, 1998.

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