If you want to know who has the best lobbyists in the state, just read the list of exemptions in House File 712, a bill passed by the Legislature last week.

After a 19-year struggle by Attorney General Tom Miller, after all of the other 49 states took care of this issue, Iowa's citizens are being granted the right to sue anyone who defrauds them. With some exceptions:

Insurance companies. Attorneys. Financial institutions. Doctors. Veterinarians. Architects. Banks. Retailers that advertise a product with advertising prepared by a supplier. Print publications and broadcast outlets, in connection with the ads they run. Telephone companies. Cable TV providers. Public utilities. Funeral directors. Real estate agents. Charity volunteers. Physical therapists. Optometrists. Anyone whose conduct is permitted by government. And more.

With exemptions like these, who needs the phone number of a lawyer?

Also, a provision states, "A class action lawsuit alleging a violation of this chapter shall not be filed with a court unless it has been approved by the attorney general."

That should quell the wild burst of lawsuit-filing that might be inspired by this monument to caution.

You hear about governing with an iron fist. Here we have the "is this OK with you?" approach.

The bill's manager in the House of Representatives, Bloomfield Democrat Kurt Swaim, was relieved to get the thing passed. Until now, Iowans have had to file their complaints with the attorney general's office and hope it would file a lawsuit. However, the attorney general gets between 4,000 and 5,000 complaints a year. That's one long line.

Swaim said he wished the bill didn't have so many exemptions. But he said it still would allow consumers to act in the areas that draw the most complaints, such as car repair, home remodeling, debt collection and mortgage brokering.

Looks like the car repair industry needs to drop its wrenches and find a good lobbyist.