Iowa Legislative Update—Feb. 8, 2022

Environment
Small Towns

We’re in the fifth week of Iowa’s legislative session, which so far has been busy with the introduction of bills and subcommittee work before a Feb. 18 funnel deadline. 

A significant conversation at the capitol has been on tax reform—for which Senate Republicans, House Republicans, and Gov. Kim Reynolds all have individual plans. At the Center for Rural Affairs, we are particularly interested in Senate Study Bill 3074, which includes provisions to fund the Natural Resources and Outdoor Recreation Trust Fund, also known as IWILL, and support Watershed Management Authorities across the state. We will continue to track this legislation and advocate for these important elements. 

In addition, we would like to invite you to an upcoming virtual event with State Rep. Norlin Mommsen on Monday, Feb. 14 from 11 a.m. to noon. The “Rural Resiliency Forum” will be an opportunity to ask the representative questions about issues that impact rural Iowa. For more information and to register, click here

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 (SSB) 3074 — For, with note: Introduced by Senate Ways and Means Chair, Sen. Dan Dawson, this legislation is a multi-faceted tax package. The Center is registered in support specifically for section 205 as it relates to the Local Conservation Partnership Program and Watershed Management Authorities.

House File (HF) 2166 — For: Introduced by State Government Committee Chair, Rep. Bobby Kaufmann, this bill designates certain county flood mitigation activities as essential county purposes. Additions include the reconnection of floodplains, and wetland and oxbow lake restoration. This bill was formerly HSB 580.

House Study Bill (HSB) 536 — Against: Introduced by Commerce Chair, Rep. Shannon Lundgren, this bill would restrict counties and cities from adopting, enforcing, or otherwise administering regulations on stormwater that exceed or conflict with federal or state regulations.

Renewable energy

Senate File (SF) 2127 — Against: Introduced by Sen. Dan Zumbach and passed out of subcommittee on Feb. 2, this bill prohibits the owner or manager of agricultural land from installing a commercially-owned solar panel field unless it has a CSR (Corn Suitability Rating) of 65 or lower, is at least one-half mile from the next solar panel field, and is located at least 1,250 feet from the nearest neighboring landowner.

Other bills of interest

HSB 663 — For: This bill would allow a governmental body to conduct a meeting by electronic means if it otherwise complies with standard open meetings procedural requirements. Effectively used during the pandemic, an option for electronic meetings could have positive effects, particularly among rural and distantly-located participants.

HSB 626 — Undecided: House Republican tax package. 

HSB 551/SSB 3044 — Undecided: Gov. Kim Reynolds’ tax packages introduced in the House and Senate, respectively.