Senate Study Bill 1039 - Introduced SENATE/HOUSE FILE _____ BY (PROPOSED OFFICE OF OMBUDSMAN BILL) A BILL FOR An Act relating to investigations conducted by the office of 1 ombudsman. 2 BE IT ENACTED BY THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY OF THE STATE OF IOWA: 3 TLSB 1162DP (2) 90 ec/rn
S.F. _____ H.F. _____ Section 1. Section 2C.11A, Code 2023, is amended to read as 1 follows: 2 2C.11A Subjects for investigations —— disclosures of 3 information. 4 The office of ombudsman shall either investigate or decline 5 to investigate a complaint filed by an employee who is not a 6 merit system employee or an employee covered by a collective 7 bargaining agreement and who alleges that adverse employment 8 action has been taken against the employee in violation of 9 section 70A.28, subsection 2 . A complaint filed pursuant 10 to this section shall be made within thirty calendar days 11 following the effective date of the adverse employment action. 12 The ombudsman shall investigate review the matter and shall , 13 in writing to the employee, either decline to investigate the 14 matter or issue findings following an investigation relative 15 to the complaint in an expeditious manner. The ombudsman’s 16 findings following an investigation shall also be provided to 17 the agency or officer who is the subject of the allegations. 18 Sec. 2. Section 70A.28, subsection 6, Code 2023, is amended 19 to read as follows: 20 6. Subsection 2 may also be enforced by an employee through 21 an administrative action pursuant to the requirements of this 22 subsection if the employee is not a merit system employee or 23 an employee covered by a collective bargaining agreement. An 24 employee eligible to pursue an administrative action pursuant 25 to this subsection who is discharged, suspended, demoted, 26 or otherwise receives a reduction in pay and who believes 27 the adverse employment action was taken as a result of the 28 employee’s disclosure of information that was authorized 29 pursuant to subsection 2 , may file an appeal of the adverse 30 employment action with the public employment relations 31 board within thirty calendar days following the later of the 32 effective date of the action or the date a finding or written 33 decision declining to investigate is issued to the employee 34 by the office of ombudsman pursuant to section 2C.11A . The 35 -1- LSB 1162DP (2) 90 ec/rn 1/ 2
S.F. _____ H.F. _____ findings issued by the ombudsman may be introduced as evidence 1 before the public employment relations board. The employee has 2 the right to a hearing closed to the public, but may request a 3 public hearing. The hearing shall otherwise be conducted in 4 accordance with the rules of the public employment relations 5 board and the Iowa administrative procedure Act, chapter 17A . 6 If the public employment relations board finds that the action 7 taken in regard to the employee was in violation of subsection 8 2 , the employee may be reinstated without loss of pay or 9 benefits for the elapsed period, or the public employment 10 relations board may provide other appropriate remedies. 11 Decisions by the public employment relations board constitute 12 final agency action. 13 EXPLANATION 14 The inclusion of this explanation does not constitute agreement with 15 the explanation’s substance by the members of the general assembly. 16 This bill concerns investigations conducted by the office 17 of ombudsman. 18 Code section 2C.11A, concerning certain whistleblower 19 complaints filed by an employee that are subject to 20 investigation by the office of ombudsman, is amended to provide 21 that the office of ombudsman may, in writing to the employee, 22 decline to investigate the complaint. The bill also provides 23 that if findings are issued following an investigation, the 24 findings shall also be provided to the agency or officer who 25 is the subject of the allegations. Code section 70A.28, 26 concerning whistleblower complaints, is amended to conform to 27 the changes made to Code section 2C.11A. 28 -2- LSB 1162DP (2) 90 ec/rn 2/ 2