Legislative Roundup | Iowa Senate passed a bill that would limit the access of the State Auditor

Also, the Iowa House passed a bill allowing inventory checklists for leases.


Grace Smith

The Iowa State Capitol is seen before the opening of the 2022 Legislative Session in Des Moines, Iowa, on Monday, Jan. 10, 2022. At the State Capitol, legislative leaders spoke in their chambers while rally members congregated in the rotunda in support of freedom. The 2022 Legislative Session started today and will end in April.

Liam Halawith, Politics Editor

A bill passed by the Iowa Senate on Tuesday would limit the types of information available to the State Auditor’s office during the course of an audit of any state agency or other state entity.

Sen. Mike Bousselot, a Republican from Ankenny, introduced an amendment to the bill, Senate File 478, that expanded the amount of information protected from the auditor and defined the beginning of an audit.

Bousselot added that the Iowa Supreme Court could not define when an audit, under state statute, began and when the law required parties to comply with requests for disclosures.

“That is critical, both for the agency being auditing as well as for the auditor, because as part of that process, you have to lay out what information you need,” Bousselot said on the Senate floor on Tuesday. “It’s called an engagement letter.”

State Auditor Rob Sand, a Democrat in his second term in the office, held a press conference on Thursday morning where he said the bill is “the biggest pro-corruption bill in Iowa history.”

The bill would prevent the auditor from viewing documents that agencies do not agree to be part of the audit process. This would jeporodize the state’s ability to qualify for federal funds under federal auditing standards.

“No state in America harnesses their auditor like this,” Sand said in a news release on Thursday morning. “This guts independent oversight of government which could cost the state at least hundreds of millions of dollars in federal aid annually for Medicaid, Veterans’ Affairs, road construction, student loans, community colleges and the like, as well as encouraging corruption, waste, fraud, and abuse.”

Iowa House passed a bill allowing landlords to create inventory checklists for leases

Under a bill passed by the Iowa House on Thursday landlords would be allowed to create inventory checklists for the beginning and ending of leasing agreements for residential properties.

The checklist, under House File 305, would detail items inspected at the beginning and ending of a lease and how much the repair or replacement would cost the tenant. This would empower tenants to report damage and disrepair present at the beginning of their lease so that tenants aren’t charged for damage they didn’t cause.

This would require tenants to return the checklists within three days of the receipt of the document.

Nick Nachtman, the director of governmental relations for the University of Iowa Undergraduate Student Government, said the renter’s checklist is an initiative that the undergraduate student government has been pushing for for the last few years.

“It’s really important to us, because as representatives of students in the student body, we know, we personally experience what it can be like to be a young and inexperienced renter who doesn’t know how to navigate the process and doesn’t know how to deal with it when you’re taking advantage of,” Nachtman said.

Nachtman said the data reflected in the recent undergraduate student government renter’s guide that 30% to 40% of university students indicated they did not get their full deposits back when they believed they should have.

“We’re really happy that members of our state legislature and members of our community have been so willing to work together with us to find a policy solution and implement it,” he said.

Nachtman said this renter’s checklist is so important because it helps ensure everyone’s getting a fair deal.

Archie Wagner contributed to this report.