Progress is shaping up as lawmakers work their way through the third week of Iowa’s legislative session. Individual senators and representatives were busy introducing legislation of their own through the end of last week. Moving forward, any new bills must be introduced by a committee chair or other legislative leadership.
Among the bills brought forward was Senate Study Bill (SSB) 3074. This Center for Rural Affairs priority legislation would create the Grocer Reinvestment Fund and establish a grant and loan program to help small, locally owned grocery stores selling perishable foods invest in their businesses. Movement on this legislation is occurring rapidly, with a subcommittee meeting scheduled for tomorrow, Wednesday, Jan. 24, at 8:30 a.m.
We’re also monitoring bills related to statewide siting standards for renewable energy as well as those addressing rural food systems and water quality. Below are the bills we are monitoring so far.
If you have any questions, or would like to share the rural issues important to you, please do not hesitate to reach out at firstname.lastname@example.org or 402.687.2100 ext. 1034.
Thank you for making your rural voice heard.
Senate Study Bill (SSB) 3074 — Support: Introduced by the Senate Commerce Committee, this Center priority bill would create the Grocer Reinvestment Fund and Program, appropriate money from the general fund, and give the Iowa Economic Development Authority direction to create a grant and loan program for new or current grocery stores located in areas that are both underserved and low or moderate income. The legislation would prioritize cost-saving efforts and business efficiency measures to ensure the long-term sustainability of locally owned grocery stores. The bill was assigned to a subcommittee, which is scheduled to meet Jan. 24, at 8:30 a.m.
Senate File (SF) 550 — Support: This bill was introduced last session by Sen. Dan Dawson, chairman of the Senate Ways and Means Committee. It is still viable to be discussed and passed this session. Notably, the legislation would fund the Natural Resources and Outdoor Recreation Trust Fund, or IWILL. The Center supports this legislation specifically as it relates to Watershed Management Authorities and the Local Conservation Partnership Program detailed in sections 135 and 136 of the bill. The legislation was assigned to a subcommittee, but a meeting has not been scheduled.
House Study Bill (HSB) 555 — Monitor: Introduced by Reps. Hans Wilz, Brian Lohse, and Sean Bagniewski, this bill offers several amendments related to public utility laws including the elimination of a reporting requirement for the Small Wind Innovation Zone program. Most notably, however, the bill would add nuclear and electric storage units to the definition of alternate energy production facilities. This would allow public utilities to include energy storage in advanced ratemaking cases, which is an important step in adequately planning for future public energy projects. The bill was introduced in the House Commerce Committee and has been assigned to a subcommittee; however, no meetings have yet been scheduled.
HSB 560/SSB 3052 — Support: Proposed by the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship, this legislation relates to programs and regulations administered by the department. The Center supports two key components of the bill. The Choose Iowa Promotional Program provides consumers an opportunity to purchase food originating in the state, which is designated with the Choose Iowa logo. This legislation also creates the Value-Added Grant Fund and Program, which supports projects and services that add value to agricultural commodities produced in Iowa. Subcommittees have been assigned in both chambers. The House held a meeting yesterday and recommended passage. No subcommittee meeting has been scheduled in the Senate.
HSB 559 — Support: Proposed by the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship, this legislation proposes an amendment to the Meat and Poultry Inspection Act. The amendment would allow poultry processors to engage in custom operations if they maintain inspection. All packages processed on a custom basis must be marked not for sale and kept identified until the owner picks up the order. A subcommittee has been assigned, and the meeting is scheduled for today, Jan. 23, at noon.