Below is our agenda for the 2022 Iowa legislative session. These are items we believe will be debated during the session and for which we have been preparing. As happens every year, there will be bills introduced and issues that arise that we do not know about at this time. We reserve the right to engage as necessary.
Relevant developments concerning priority legislation will be shared via the Center for Rural Affairs legislative updates throughout the sessions.
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Summary – The Natural Resources and Outdoor Recreation Trust Fund, commonly referred to as Iowa’s Water and Land Legacy, or IWILL, was created via a ballot initiative passed by 63% of Iowa voters in 2010. Consequently, in the instance the state sales tax is raised, the first three-eighths-of-one-cent is constitutionally required to be diverted to this fund. Unfortunately, this fund, which would, among other things, support initiatives and programs aimed at improving water quality, reducing soil erosion, and expanding access to outdoor recreation, has sat unfunded for more than a decade.
Our position – As of this writing, the governor’s office has not decided whether to reintroduce a version of the Invest in Iowa Act. When this package was introduced in 2020, it included our recommendations to support Watershed Management Authorities. We will continue our work with the governor’s office to ensure those recommendations are included should the legislation be reintroduced, and we commit to pursuing an alternative legislative approach if necessary.
Summary – Renewable energy siting has grown more contentious throughout rural Iowa. Advocates are considering whether to introduce statewide siting standards. While such a move would prohibit counties from enacting prohibitively strict ordinances, it would also violate the widely held belief that land-use decisions are best made at the local level.
Our position – We do not believe local land-use decisions should be made by a statewide regulatory board of appointed officials. This would undermine local control and remove the ability of rural residents to govern themselves. We will advocate for solutions that provide data and guidance to local officials while making it easier for them to put this information to work.