State officials have received complaints about at least eight unlicensed boarding facilities since the high-profile case of a substandard boarding house in Atalissa came to light in February.

Mentally retarded men were removed from the former Atalissa schoolhouse and state officials say the men were malnourished and their only source of heat had been space heaters.

A bill pending in the legislature would let the Iowa Department of Inspections and Appeals use federal money to pay for inspections of such boarding houses, but Representative Vicki Lensing, a Democrat from Iowa City, suggests the bill is still being crafted.

"I think going forward there will be other pieces that have been identified that we will hear about," Lensing says.

The bill, as currently written, calls for employers who pay disabled workers a lower wage to report that wage to the state. The men in Atalissa worked at the West Liberty meatpacking plant and the firm that ran the "bunkhouse" in Atalissa collected their wages in return for room and board — wages that were substantially below the minimum wage.