Iowa Legislative Update—April 19, 2022

Environment
Farm and Food
Small Towns

Today, April 19, is the 100th calendar day of the legislative session. This date typically signals the session’s end is in sight, with legislators’ per diem expenses ending. There are still a number of ongoing debates at the capitol which will need to wrap up first.

In recent weeks, there has been very little movement on bills related to the Iowa solar tax credit. House File (HF) 2556 was assigned to a subcommittee but has yet to be heard, and Senate File 2326 has yet to be taken up by the Senate Ways and Means Committee in full. We appreciate the action taken from supporters of these bills and await further motion.

We were encouraged to see HF 2581 advance, which includes changes to the Local Food and Farm Program. On April 5, the bill passed the House by a vote of 97-0, and on April 13 passed its Senate subcommittee. It now heads to the full Senate Ways and Means Committee. 

If you have any questions, or would like to share the rural issues that are important to you, please do not hesitate to reach out to me at kateh@cfra.org or 515-215-1294.

Thank you for making your rural voice heard. 

Water quality

Senate Study Bill 3157 - For, with note: Introduced by Senate Ways and Means Chair, Sen. Dan Dawson, this legislation would modify sales and use taxes, including raising the state sales tax by a penny through 2050. This would fund the Natural Resources and Outdoor Recreation Trust Fund, or IWILL. The Center is registered in support of this legislation specifically as it relates to Watershed Management Authorities and the Local Conservation Partnership Program in section 91.

Renewable energy

HF 2556—For: Introduced by Rep. Michael R. Bergan as HF 2395, this bill would pay out the Iowa Solar Energy Tax Credit residential waitlist. The tax credit would be available to any homeowner who installed solar during the 2021 calendar year. The deadline for anyone who has not yet submitted a tax credit application has been extended to June 30. HF 2556 was approved on the House floor with a 94-0 vote on March 30 and has been assigned to a subcommittee of the Senate Ways and Means Committee.

SF 2326—For: Introduced by Sens. Mike Klimesh, Dawn Driscoll, Craig Johnson, and Jeff Reichman on Feb. 17, this bill is a companion bill to HF 2556 and would pay out the Iowa Solar Energy Tax Credit residential waitlist. The tax credit would be available to any homeowner who installed solar during the 2021 calendar year. The deadline for anyone who has not yet submitted a tax credit application would be extended to June 30.  The bill passed out of subcommittee on March 30 and currently waits to be heard by the Ways and Means Committee in the Senate.

Rural development

HF 2470For: Introduced by Rep. Chad Ingels, this legislation would implement the recommendations of the Artisanal Butchery Task Force instituted by the Legislature in 2021. Recommendations include establishing a framework for a one-year community college certificate butchery education program, developing a library of resources for Iowa-based meat processing businesses, and building out a direct-to-consumer toolkit. The bill passed the House on March 2 by a vote of 99-0, and passed the Senate Commerce Committee on March 16. It now heads to the Senate floor. 

HF 2564—For, with note: This legislation is an appropriations package for multiple departments. The Center is registered in support of a section that outlines funding for the Butchery Innovation and Revitalization Program, grants that support Iowa’s small meat processors established by the Legislature in 2021. The legislation lists $1 million in funding for the program, a $250,000 increase from last year. It passed the House on March 24, and has been assigned a subcommittee in the Senate.  

HF 2581—For, with note: This bill makes changes to programs and regulations administered by the Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship. The Center is registered in support of Division V of the legislation, which details changes to the Local Food and Farm Program. Such changes include required membership of the Local Food and Farm Program Council and details related to program administration. On April 5, the bill passed the House by a vote of 97-0, and on April 13 passed its Senate subcommittee. It now heads to the full Senate Ways and Means Committee.