Harsher domestic abuser penalties and tougher move over laws signed

The State Capitol Building in Des Moines on Wednesday, January 15, 2014. (Stephen Mally/The Gazette-KCRG TV9)
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DES MOINES, Iowa (KCRG-TV9) -- Governor Branstad signed 10 bills into law Thursday.

One of those bills would toughen penalties for habitual offenders convicted of domestic abuse and require they wear a GPS device.

Another bill will make it easier for high school drop outs to get an equivalency diploma. Right now, Iowans who drop out must take an exam to get that diploma. The new law allows drop-outs to demonstrate they know high school material through several programs. Governor Branstad says more options will help lower Iowa's unemployment rate.

"In Iowa, the unemployment rate for adults without a high school diploma is 10.2 percent compared with the states overall unemployment rate of only 3.2 percent," Branstad said.

The governor also signed into law a bill making drivers move over and give the right-of-way to utility maintenance vehicles. This bill would affect utility companies like Alliant. It would give them more room to work when they have to park along the side of the road.

"I think it's a win for the whole construction industry, with linemen especially, because they are in all types of weather. And the ability to have that legal behind them is awesome," Don Finn, Alliant Energy Senior Operations Manager, said.

Here's a look at the other seven new laws:

Senate File 237: an Act relating to the practice of public accountants. This bill passed the Iowa Senate on March 8, 49-0 and the Iowa House on April 4, 98-0.

Senate File 333: an Act relating to a fiduciary’s access to digital assets and including applicability provisions. This bill passed the Iowa Senate on March 13, 49-0 and the Iowa House on April 6, 95-0.

Senate File 362: an Act barring claims against fairs for damages arising out of the transmission of pathogens from certain animals housed on the fairgrounds. This bill passed the Iowa Senate on March 8, 48-1 and the Iowa House on April 6, 94-0.

Senate File 406: an Act exempting motor vehicles carrying an implement of husbandry from certain permit requirements. This bill passed the Iowa Senate on March 21, 49-0 and the Iowa House on April 6, 94-0.

Senate File 493: an Act relating to the authority of combined benefited recreational lake and water quality districts when issuing bonds. This bill passed the Iowa Senate on March 28, 49-0 and the Iowa House on April 11, 95-0.

House File 543: an Act relating to child in need of assistance and child abuse cases involving certain drugs and other substances. This bill passed the Iowa House on March 14, 93-0 and the Iowa Senate on April 10, 48-0.

Senate File 51: an Act relating to a cytomegalovirus public health initiative and the testing of newborns for congenital cytomegalovirus. The bill passed the Iowa Senate on March 22, 49-0 and the Iowa House on April 6, 94-0.