Iowa law was changed in many ways during this session of the legislature. Here are some of them:
Additional requirements for public benefit eligibility:
One change relates to the number of vehicles a household can have and still be eligible for SNAP. Right now, for SNAP, a family is allowed to have one motor vehicle regardless of value and any other vehicle regardless of value as long as it meets certain requirements.
Under the new Iowa law, to qualify for SNAP, a household could only have one vehicle regardless of value and one other vehicle with an equity value of up to $10,000 (any equity value over $10,000 will count as a resource).
Another change would require DHS to access information relating to income and resources for people in the public assistance household from many different state and federal sources before making a decision about whether the household qualifies for the public benefit programs (SNAP, Medicaid, CHIP, and FIP).
Iowa DHS will need to change its regulations before these changes can take effect and may need permission from federal agencies to make some of the changes. It is not clear when these changes will be made, but the bill requires DHS to make changes that don’t require federal permission no later than July 1, 2025.
Changes to state child care assistance:
In order to qualify for state child care assistance, a parent, guardian or custodian must be employed for a minimum of 32 hours a week, or averaging 32 hours a week in a month. Different standards apply to persons who have children with special needs. Family income initially must not exceed the lesser of 160% of federal poverty levels or 85% of Iowa’s median gross monthly income with a higher level for families of children with special needs.
Witnessing a will or codicil signed remotely:
Wills and codicils usually require two witnesses to a testator’s signature. The witnesses must be in the presence of the testator and each other at the time they sign the will or codicil. The law allows remote signing and signing in parts so long as the testator and witnesses can see and hear each other in real time.
Extends time to file claims for rent reimbursement, property tax credit and mobile home credit:
In case of sickness, absence or other disability of the claimant or other good cause exists, the time for filing claims for rent reimbursement, property tax credit and mobile home credit are extended to March 31 of the fiscal year in which the taxes are due.
No temporary restricted license if license revoked for eluding the police:
If your driver’s license was revoked because you were eluding the police, you will not be eligible to get a temporary restricted license.
Telephonic appearance, telephonic hearings and other remote hearings in commitment cases under mental health and substance abuse law:
The court may hold hearings in commitment cases under mental health and substance abuse statutes by video or telephone conference. The court may also allow appearances by mental health professionals or licensed physicians by telephone or televised means. Parties may also allow the waiver of such appearances.
County treasurer to allow registration and transfer of vehicle to someone who can’t have registration and then immediately suspend:
If you have sold your vehicle to someone and they can’t register a vehicle, in the past, you could be stuck because you couldn’t transfer the vehicle out of your name. The law has changed to allow the county treasure to let the transfer go through, but then immediately suspend the registration. The vehicle is allowed to get out of your name.
Property tax exemption for persons 65 and older:
There is an increased homestead exemption for persons who turn 65 by January 1 of the assessment year. You will be allowed to decrease the taxable valuation of your homestead property by no more than $3,250 for the 2023 assessment year and $6,500 for subsequent assessment years. The exemption is a reduction in the taxable valuation of your homestead not a direct reduction to the property tax you paid. The Iowa Department of Revenue has modified a form that can be used to claim the exemption. Homestead Tax Credit and Exemption (54-028)
Termination of parental rights:
In limited circumstances, a biological parent who had consented to termination of parental rights can seek to vacate the order of termination if another biological parent’s rights cannot be terminated.
Overcoming paternity in a CINA or termination of parental rights proceeding:
The juvenile court in a pending child in need of assistance action or termination of parental rights action may overcome the paternity of an established father if certain criteria is met. Genetic testing must show the established father is not the biological father and the established father consents to the overcoming of paternity or the court finds it is in the best interest of the child to overcome paternity.
Modification of a bridge order:
A juvenile court may close a child in need of assistance case by returning jurisdiction of the child’s custody to the district court through an order modifying issues of legal custody, physical care, and parenting time. This statute would allow the district court to take judicial notice of the bridge modification order and the underlying child in need of assistance case.