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Drake Law student helps pass legislation

When Sydney Kronkow, a third-year law student and Public Service Scholar from Byron, Ill., started her legislative internship at the Iowa Finance Authority (IFA) in May of 2012, she had no idea she would have the opportunity to see Governor Branstad sign her bill into law.

Due to the trusted reputation and connectedness of Julie Smith, director of Drake University Law School’s Legislative Practice Center, students who participate in the Center have the opportunity to intern in a multitude of areas. Practical experience is not just lip service, but a reality for Drake Law students. Kronkow’s internship with the Title Guaranty Division of the IFA is no exception.

“I am continually impressed with the practical education provided by Drake’s Legislative Practice Program. The program and my legislative internship at Title Guaranty provided me with a terrific opportunity to engage in the lawmaking process first-hand,” says Kronkow. “Watching Governor Branstad sign SF 445 into Iowa was a highlight of my tenure at Drake Law.”

“Title Guaranty is very pleased with our partnership with the Drake University Law School and the quality of the law clerks we have had the opportunity to hire,” says Geri Huser, Title Guaranty Director. “Sydney’s experience was valuable to her as a student, and to Title Guaranty in improving one of the services we offer the citizens of Iowa.”

Last summer Direct Huser assigned Kronkow the task of reviewing and redrafting Chapter 16.92 of the Iowa Code, which governs Title Guaranty’s Mortgage Release Certificate Program. As is her approach to most things, Kronkow hit the ground running. Only then did she realize to the extent of the assignment. The program was enacted in 1999 and had not been updated to effectively meet growing demands.

Not only was Kronkow instrumental in the redrafting process, she also played a key role in lobbying work groups, including the Iowa State Bar Association and the Iowa Bankers Association, in order to build support for the bill. Kronkow jokes that Schoolhouse Rock (referring to their song, “Just a Bill,”) made it look far too easy. After extensive research into other state statutes and Uniform Codes, Kronkow drafted and redrafted the bill, finalizing the language with the help of the Legislative Service Agency. After the Governor approved the concept in the Fall, the bill was assigned in both chambers at the beginning of the 2013 legislative session. The bill was reviewed and approved by four subcommittees and four full committees before it passed unanimously in the Senate (50-0), the House (90-0).

“Sydney’s experience working on the mortgage release bill has been invaluable to her,” said Smith. “She drafted the legislation, argued for the legislation in the class subcommittee and then actually lobbied to pass the legislation during the 2013 session. It was the perfect merger of real life experience and academics and epitomizes the value of Drake’s Legislative Practice Center.”

Governor Branstad signed the bill on Wednesday, May 1, with Kronkow and Smith both in attendance. At the signing, the Governor commended Kronkow’s work researching, drafting, and lobbying the bill.

See Senate File 445 online.