Still no meth legislation after bill dies in Iowa legislature
Written by Ally Crutcher, Multimedia Journalist - bio | email
WATERLOO (KWWL) -
More than half of the states in the country require real estate sellers to disclose to buyers if a property has been a former meth lab. While Iowa continues to be home to hundreds of meth sites every year, there's still no such requirement in place.
Iowa lawmakers tried to change the law with a Senate bill; however, that bill died last week.
Legislators say too many gray areas took the bill off the table.
"It really needed a lot more work to narrowly define it," said Sen. Bill Dix, R-Shell Rock.
Critics of the bill said it was too complex, lacking clarity and distinctions. Questions centralizing around who held the responsibility of disclosure, involvement of banks, cases with buyers versus renters were left unanswered, according to opponents of the bill.
So, lawmakers said they are giving it more thought, and don't deny it's a legitimate concern.
"If I was an owner in a place that had been used for a meth lab and there were residual chemicals that could hurt my family, I would want to be notified," said Sen. Bill Dotzler, D-Waterloo.
While long-term exposure to meth residue is less common than short term exposure, it doesn't come without health risks. According to the Iowa Dept. of Public Safety's Division of Narcotics Enforcement, effects from residue can be any of the following:
Skin and eye irritation
According to the Iowa Dept. of Public Safety, 290 meth labs were seized in Iowa in 2013. That's down from 382 in 2012, and 412 in 2011. Surrounding states, including Missouri, Minnesota and Illinois, have laws requiring the disclosure of meth lab properties.
Lawmakers said they expect to see such legislation drafted again in next year's session, and will continue to work on this type of bill if it's something they're hearing from their constituents.
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