Iowa Legislative Update—May 3, 2022

Environment
Farm and Food
Small Business
Small Towns

We’re two weeks past the 100-day mark, and there is no clear end to the legislative session in sight. Last week, the House and Senate conducted limited business, wrapping up their work on Tuesday afternoon. Lawmakers’ most significant remaining responsibility is passing a budget, which they must do before the end of the fiscal year, June 30. 

One encouraging development was that the Senate passed House File (HF) 2581 by a vote of 45-0. The bill makes changes to programs 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. It now heads to Gov. Kim Reynolds’ desk to sign. 

Unfortunately, our other bills of interest have not moved much. This includes legislation that would support Iowa’s small meat processors and pay out the Iowa Solar Energy Tax Credit residential waitlist. If you have not reached out to your legislators to show your support for these bills, but would like to, please contact our staff. 

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.

Senate File (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 2470 - For: 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 26 it passed the Senate by a vote of 45-0. It now heads to the governor’s desk to sign.