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THIRD CALENDAR DAY THIRD SESSION DAY Senate Chamber Des Moines, Iowa, Wednesday, January 10, 2001 The Senate met in regular session at 9:17 a.m., President Kramer presiding. Prayer was offered by the Honorable Nancy J. Boettger, member of the Senate from Harlan, Iowa. The Journal of Tuesday, January 9, 2001, was approved. OATH OF OFFICE The Report of the Committee on Credentials having been previously adopted, Senator Fraise appeared before the bar of the Senate, was duly sworn, and subscribed his name to the oath of office. LEAVE OF ABSENCE Leave of absence was granted as follows: Senator Behn, for the remainder of the day, on request of Senator Iverson. RECESS On motion of Senator Iverson, the Senate recessed at 9:29 a.m. until the fall of the gavel. RECONVENED The Senate reconvened at 9:50 a.m., President Kramer presiding. COMMITTEE FROM THE HOUSE A committee from the House appeared and announced that the House was ready to receive the Senate in joint convention. In accordance with House Concurrent Resolution 2, duly adopted, the Senate proceeded to the House Chamber under the direction of the Secretary of the Senate and the Sergeant-at-Arms. JOINT CONVENTION In accordance with law and House Concurrent Resolution 2, duly adopted, the joint convention was called to order at 9:55 a.m., President Kramer presiding. Senator Iverson 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 by a voice vote. President Kramer declared a quorum present and the joint convention duly organized. Senator Iverson moved that a committee of six, three members from the Senate and three members from the House, be appointed to escort Governor Thomas J. Vilsack to the Condition of the Judiciary Message. The motion prevailed by a voice vote and the Chair announced the appointment of Senators Fiegen, Maddox, and McKean on the part of the Senate, and Representatives Butka, Heaton, and Sievers on the part of the House. Senator Iverson moved that a committee of six, three members from the Senate and three members from the House, be appointed to notify the Honorable Louis A. Lavorato, Chief Justice of the Iowa Supreme Court, that the joint convention was ready to receive him. The motion prevailed by a voice vote and the Chair announced the appointment of Senators Bartz, Fraise, and Miller on the part of the Senate, and Representatives Eichhorn, Shey, and Tremmel on the part of the House. The following guests were escorted into the House Chamber: Secretary of State Chester J. Culver, Treasurer of State Michael Fitzgerald, Secretary of Agriculture and Land Stewardship Patty Judge, State Auditor Richard Johnson, and Attorney General Tom Miller. The Justices of the Supreme Court, Chief Judge Sackett and the Judges of the Court of Appeals, and the Chief Judges of the state's judicial districts. Mrs. Janis Lavorato, wife of Chief Justice Lavorato; his son, Anthony Lavorato, and his guest, Lisa Davey; his stepdaughter, Jenna Green; his brother, Charles; his sister-in-law, Delayne Johnson, and her son, Jacob Johnson; his brother-in-law, Ed Busing; and his mother-in-law, Rachel Busing. Lieutenant Governor Sally J. Pederson. The committee waited upon Governor Vilsack and escorted him to the Speaker's station. The committee waited upon Chief Justice Lavorato and escorted him to the Speaker's station. President Kramer then presented Chief Justice Lavorato who delivered the following Condition of the Judiciary Message: Mr. Speaker, Madam President, Members of the General Assembly, Governor Vilsack, Lieutenant Governor Pederson, distinguished guests, and friends: Thank you for the warm welcome. As I was preparing for today's speech, I thought of the many esteemed public servants-legislators, governors, even presidents-who have addressed the General Assembly, indeed the people of Iowa, in these magnificent chambers. For more than twenty years, it has been the great honor of the Chief Justice of the Iowa Supreme Court to stand here and report on the state of the judiciary. Today, as I address you for the first time, I do so with genuine humility and a sense of awe. Before I begin my remarks, I need to mention a few matters. First of all, on behalf of the Court, I welcome the new legislators who join us today. We look forward to working with you on any issue involving the administration of justice. Like the new legislators, I'm also a new kid on the block. Because I'm new, I feel I should tell you a little bit about myself. Those who know me recognize that I am candid and plainspoken. I am sure that some will say this is an understatement. What you see is what you get. My colleagues on the Court will tell you that, when I feel strongly about a cause, I am a passionate advocate. But they will also tell you that I know the value of consensus building. I pledge to do all that I can to promote communication with you, within the Judicial Branch, and most importantly, with the public. With that in mind, I am pleased to announce that we are taking a step in that direction today. This address is being broadcast over the Internet. I want to also mention that the members of the Court and I invite everyone to join us, after my remarks, for refreshments and conversation in the courtroom downstairs. I assure you that the refreshments are under the three-dollar limit for gifts, and the conversation is free. And finally, I am proud to tell you about our Child Advocate of the Year, Jill Viau of Adel. She is not only a remarkable advocate for children, she is a remarkable person. While in college Jill was a "Big Sister" for two children. For six years she worked as a volunteer mentor for teenage mothers. Jill also volunteered in a program that helps children with cancer. For the past ten years, she has devoted many hours as a Court- Appointed Special Advocate, working on behalf of abused children who are before the court for protection. Jill demonstrates the very best of what it means to be an Iowan. And now it is my great pleasure to introduce our Child Advocate of the Year, Jill Viau. Please join me in applauding her. I want to thank you for the invitation to talk to you about the state of the judiciary. Although the news is not uniformly good, we have some exciting opportunities within our grasp that will lift the delivery of court services out of the past and into the present. I am going to describe those opportunities and outline the steps we need to take to realize them. We have already taken many steps in that direction. HARNESSING TECHNOLOGY TO IMPROVE GOVERNMENT Let me begin with a brief look back. During the last decade, nothing transformed our world more than information technology. With your support and with the vision and hard work of many, the Judicial Branch harnessed technology to improve the administration of justice. We computerized nearly every facet of Iowa's court system and connected all clerk of court offices and administrative offices to a statewide network. In doing so, we gained substantial management and case processing efficiencies, increased productivity, and facilitated communication. Our court information system is the model and envy of many states. But we did not stop there. We worked hand in hand with other government entities, including the Department of Transportation, the Department of Human Services, the Department of Public Safety, and the Department of Revenue and Finance to electronically link our computer system with theirs. Through these links, we easily move mountains of information without paper, postage, or delay. These partnerships have improved a wide range of government services and made new services possible. These innovations are only the beginning. We can and must do more. BRINGING THE COURTS TO THE PUBLIC With the aid of information technology, we can provide a host of court services where they are needed, when they are needed, any time and any place. We have the momentum to do this now. WEB SITE (www.judicial.state.ia.us) We took a step in this direction in 1998 with the creation of the Iowa Judicial Branch Web Site. Our site is first and foremost a public information tool. It houses an array of useful information about the courts and the legal system. For example, it includes (1) basic explanations of court procedures, structure, and history; (2) biographical information on all Iowa justices, judges, and magistrates; (3) appellate court opinions; and (4) the child support guidelines. It also contains manuals to assist domestic abuse victims. The manuals are in four languages: English, Bosnian, Vietnamese and Spanish. This year we'll revamp the site, making it easier to use, and we'll add more information. But with the web site we are just scratching the surface. We can do much, much more. Think of viewing court records or paying traffic fines or child support from the convenience of one's home or office. This would be a huge advantage for busy Iowans. We are currently working on two projects that will eventually make this possible. They are dramatic steps, and we should take them now. ON-LINE COURTS We are putting the finishing touches on the first step, a program that will put court dockets on-line, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. With this service, Iowans will have at their fingertips summaries of case information such as court schedules, fine-payment records, judgments, liens, child support obligations, and other case events, from all 99 counties and the appellate courts. We are ready to launch this program once you decide how to fund electronic access to public records. ELECTRONIC DOCUMENT MANAGEMENT SYSTEM The second step, the centerpiece of our on-line court system, will be a program we call electronic document management system, or EDMS. It will enable people to electronically file their court documents and view entire court files on-line. EDMS could eventually result in a paperless court system. However, I want to assure you that the Judicial Branch will continue to accommodate citizens who want to conduct their court business with paper. We will be equipped to scan paper filings into the system and to make paper copies when requested. After several years of carefully studying the feasibility and cost of EDMS, we are ready to test it. In a few months, we will be operating pilot projects in Clinton County and Dubuque County. Later this year, we will test the program here at the appellate level. After the tests are done, we hope to take this technology statewide. But we're not going to stop there. We can do more. VIDEO COURT During the recent presidential election saga, Americans had an opportunity to watch televised arguments before a state appellate court. At the time, a journalist asked me if the Iowa Supreme Court would ever allow television coverage of its proceedings. He was amazed when I told him that the Iowa Judicial Branch has allowed cameras in our courts for the past twenty years. Although we allow televised coverage, the media has not taken advantage of this by covering proceedings gavel-to- gavel. Unfortunately, the public's perception of the court system is influenced by television shows such as People's Court, Divorce Court, and Moral Court, the goals of which are to entertain and sell household cleaners. Some people fear that video broadcasts of the courts would undermine the dignity of our court system. I disagree. Television broadcasts of real court proceedings, the goals of which are to administer justice, will promote public understanding and, in turn, heighten respect for our courts and the rule of law. I am pleased to announce that the state's new Judicial Branch Building will be equipped with everything needed to broadcast proceedings of the Iowa Supreme Court and the Iowa Court of Appeals. TECH FUNDS Opportunities of the magnitude I have mentioned require more than careful planning and hard work; they require reliable and continuous funding sources. Dependable funding fosters planning, sparks innovation, and speeds deployment of new technology. You wisely recognized this when you created a dedicated funding stream for court technology and earmarked those funds solely for that purpose. We commend you for your foresight. By doing this, you gave us the power to revolutionize the court system. If we take the steps I have outlined, we can bring the courts closer to the people. OTHER STEPS While it is true that technology has been the driving force for much of our recent progress and it offers exciting opportunities for progress in the future, we must remember that it is not an end in itself. It is a useful tool to help the court system perform its basic function of providing justice. We have additional steps to take. These steps do not involve the trappings of technology. They are simple but crucial steps that involve fundamental issues such as due process, performance, and resources. INTERPRETER STUDY Our legal system seems complex and intimidating, even to those who were born here. Imagine how it must seem to persons who do not speak or understand English. As a first generation Italian-American, I have some knowledge about the struggles immigrants face with our language. I witnessed my grandparents and my father having some of the same struggles. We must be vigilant to safeguard the rights of, and provide access to, all who come to the courts regardless of which language they speak. Justice requires that we do so. That is why the Iowa Supreme Court has established a task force to assess the need for improvements in interpreter services. If improvements are needed, the task force will recommend a plan for addressing them. We must remove any barriers to justice. PERFORMANCE ASSESSMENTS We work for the public, just as you do. As public servants, we understand that our performance is directly related to the public's trust and confidence in us. Believing that we're on the right path is not enough. We need to objectively evaluate whether we are. And we have a plan to do just that. Recently, we adopted a five-part plan for ongoing reviews to measure Judicial Branch performance. The plan includes doing the following: ? Monthly, each judicial district will conduct a review of court statistics to determine whether they are meeting our time standards for case processing; ? Recently, we surveyed all court employees to find out how they think the courts perform in key areas such as fairness, integrity, efficiency, accessibility and communication. We'll repeat the survey periodically; ? We are encouraging each judicial district to hold employee discussion groups to hear employees' concerns and ideas for improvements; ? We are providing a standard exit questionnaire to each juror, asking them to evaluate their court experience; and ? We will conduct focus group sessions to seek the views of key court users such as attorneys, litigants, witnesses, and others. Our performance reviews will serve as reality checks, help us identify any weaknesses in the court system, and generate ideas for future improvements. JUDGESHIP STUDY Our performance suffers when we do not have enough judges. The constitution gives you the responsibility to provide additional judges. However, we are keenly interested because the number of judges you provide directly affects our ability to carry out our constitutional mandate to serve the people. In response to our shared concerns about the integrity of the statutory judgeship formulas, we started an intensive study of our trial court workload. This fall, more than half of our trial court judges and magistrates participated in an eight-week time study designed by the National Center for State Courts. As you know from your own work, some issues require more time than others. The results of the time study will show us the average amount of time a judge needs to handle each type of case. The end result will tell us the number of judges and magistrates we need to dispose of cases in a timely manner. Soon, we'll present the Center's report to you with our recommendations. JUDICIAL BRANCH OPERATIONS We know we must carefully manage the resources you provide. And we know we must exercise fiscal discipline. But when resources fall critically short of the public's demand for justice, even the best management will not slow the erosion of court services. Due to the high cost of employee health insurance and other circumstances beyond our control, we began the fiscal year with a $2.4 million deficit in our operating budget. Despite our best efforts to manage around the budget shortfall, we found no way to avoid the unpleasant task of cutting public services. During my first month as chief justice, I traveled to every judicial district to meet with our judges, clerks of court, and juvenile court staff. They are doing their best to keep cases moving under the present difficult conditions. Based upon their comments, I believe that if these conditions continue, case processing will fall behind, and delays will start to mount. I am proud of all of our people in the Judicial Branch. And I am impressed by their boundless capacity for work and their unshakeable commitment to helping others. But even the most productive person can only do so much each day. Our system of government calls upon all branches of government, in different roles, to contribute to the administration of justice. Our role is to decide cases according to the law, promptly and equally for all people. We rely on you for the resources required to carry out this important responsibility. Though our roles are different, our goals are the same: to provide Iowans with an accessible, fair, and efficient court system. You have a good track record of responding to the Judicial Branch's needs. I am confident you will work with us in a bipartisan effort to respond to our present concerns. It is in the public's best interest to do so. According to an ancient proverb: "A journey of a thousand miles begins with one step." Today, I have outlined steps that will move us toward a court system that is more accessible, more open, and more accountable. Some of the steps are highly innovative; others are fundamental; all are important. It's clear where we need to go and what we need to do. But to reach our destination, we need your help. Join with us on our journey to ensure Iowans their most precious heritage: the right to justice. Chief Justice Lavorato was escorted from the House Chamber by the committee previously appointed. Governor Vilsack was escorted from the House Chamber by the committee previously appointed. Representative Rants moved that the joint convention be dissolved, which motion prevailed by a voice vote. The Senate returned to the Senate Chamber. ADJOURNMENT On motion of Senator Iverson, the Senate adjourned at 10:33 a.m., until 9:00 a.m., Thursday, January 11, 2001. APPENDIX COMMUNICATIONS RECEIVED The following communications were received in the office of the Secretary of the Senate and placed on file in the Legislative Service Bureau: January 10, 2001 BOARD OF REGENTS Annual report for the Center for Health Effects of Environmental Contamination, pursuant to Iowa Code section 263.17(4)(b). DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION Statewide survey results for the Beginning Teacher Induction Program, pursuant to Iowa Code section 256E.5. IOWA CITIZEN FOSTER CARE REVIEW BOARD FY 2000 Annual Report and "Foster the Future" newsletter for Winter 2001. AGENCY ICN REPORTS DEPARTMENT OF HUMAN SERVICES Iowa Communications Network (ICN) Usage for FY 2000, pursuant to Iowa Code section 8D.10. REPORTS OF COMMITTEE MEETINGS APPROPRIATIONS SUBCOMMITTEE ON ADMINISTRATION AND REGULATION Convened: January 10, 2001, 1:58 p.m. Members Present: Schuerer, Chair; Bartz, Vice Chair; Flynn, Ranking Member; Hansen and Zieman. Members Absent: None. Committee Business: Assigned Senator Schuerer and Representative Raecker as co-chairs and adopted subcommittee rules. Adjourned: 2:03 p.m. APPROPRIATIONS SUBCOMMITTEE ON AGRICULTURE AND NATURAL RESOURCES Convened: January 10, 2001, 1:56 p.m. Members Present: Gaskill, Chair; Sexton, Vice Chair; Black, Ranking Member; Fink and Greiner. Members Absent: None. Committee Business: Subcommittee rules were adopted and priorities for the session were reviewed. Adjourned: 2:18 p.m. APPROPRIATIONS SUBCOMMITTEE ON ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT Convened: January 10, 2001, 1:56 p.m. Members Present: Miller, Vice Chair; Fiegen, Ranking Member; Holveck and McKinley. Members Absent: Behn, Chair (excused). Committee Business: Introductions and organizational meeting. Adjourned: 2:12 p.m. APPROPRIATIONS SUBCOMMITTEE ON EDUCATION Convened: January 10, 2001, 2:00 p.m. Members Present: Redfern, Chair; Rehberg, Vice Chair; Horn, Ranking Member; Kibbie and McLaren. Members Absent: None. Committee Business: Adoption of committee rules and presentation by the Legislative Fiscal Bureau. Adjourned: 2:40 p.m. APPROPRIATIONS SUBCOMMITTEE ON HEALTH AND HUMAN RIGHTS Convened: January 10, 2001, 2:00 p.m. Members Present: Tinsman, Chair; Johnson, Vice Chair; Bolkcom, Ranking Member; and Rittmer. Members Absent: Dearden (excused). Committee Business: Introductions and adoption of committee rules. Adjourned: 2:44 p.m. APPROPRIATIONS SUBCOMMITTEE ON HUMAN SERVICES Convened: January 10, 2001, 2:10 p.m. Members Present: Veenstra, Chair; Harper and Redwine. Members Absent: Boettger, Vice Chair, and Hammond, Ranking Member (both excused). Committee Business: Introductions, adoption of committee rules, and presentation by Legislative Fiscal Bureau. Adjourned: 2:50 p.m. APPROPRIATIONS SUBCOMMITTEE ON JUSTICE SYSTEM Convened: January 10, 2001, 2:00 p.m. Members Present: Angelo, Chair; McKean, Vice Chair; Dvorsky, Ranking Member; Fraise and Maddox. Members Absent: None. Committee Business: Introductions, subcommittee rules adopted, and presentation by Legislative Fiscal Bureau. Adjourned: 2:30 p.m. APPROPRIATIONS SUBCOMMITTEE ON OVERSIGHT AND COMMUNICATIONS Convened: January 10, 2001, 1:58 p.m. Members Present: Lundby, Chair; King, Vice Chair; Deluhery, Ranking Member; Freeman and Shearer. Members Absent: None. Committee Business: Organizational meeting. Adjourned: 2:15 p.m. INTRODUCTION OF BILLS Senate File 16, by Boettger, a bill for an act relating to a Midwest interstate passenger rail compact. Read first time under Rule 28 and referred to committee on Transportation. Senate File 17, by McKean, a bill for an act relating to the primary election and providing an effective date and applicability date. Read first time under Rule 28 and referred to committee on State Government. Senate File 18, by Miller, a bill for an act requiring contracts for the construction or maintenance of highways to include certain provisions for the restoration of areas in which fill dirt or other materials are to be removed. Read first time under Rule 28 and referred to committee on Transportation. Senate File 19, by Deluhery, a bill for an act exempting pension and retirement income for purposes of the state individual income tax and providing a retroactive applicability date. Read first time under Rule 28 and referred to committee on Ways and Means. Senate File 20, by McKibben, Schuerer, Bartz, Gaskill, Greiner, Freeman, Boettger, Rehberg, Redwine, Veenstra, Angelo, Iverson, Kramer, McKean, Behn, Jensen, Zieman, McKinley, Johnson, Drake, Redfern, Sexton, McLaren, Rittmer, Lamberti, Tinsman, Maddox, Miller, and Lundby, a bill for an act phasing out the tax on social security benefits under the state individual income tax and including a retroactive applicability date provision. Read first time under Rule 28 and referred to committee on Ways and Means. SUBCOMMITTEE ASSIGNMENTS Senate File 5 NATURAL RESOURCES AND ENVIRONMENT: Miller, Chair; Fink and Johnson Senate File 10 AGRICULTURE: McLaren, Chair; Fraise and Greiner Senate File 12 WAYS AND MEANS: Rehberg, Chair; Connolly and McKibben Senate File 14 WAYS AND MEANS: Drake, Chair; Holveck and Maddox 68 JOURNAL OF THE SENATE 3rd Day 3rd Day WEDNESDAY, JANUARY 10, 2001 69
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