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Recent posts by Cody Smith

Iowa Legislative Update - March 10, 2020

Things have been moving quickly in Des Moines. We have continued to track dozens of bills through subcommittee meetings, committee votes, and floor action in both the House and the Senate. 

As we weigh in on legislation ahead of the second funnel deadline on March 21, we want to hear your thoughts. We have registered for, against, or undecided on more than two dozen bills which relate to water quality, renewable energy, economic development, and more. One notable update for you is that the “solar bill,” Senate File (SF) 583 (see below), passed the House and the Senate unanimously last week—it currently awaits Gov. Reynolds’ approval.

Iowa Solar Siting Resource Guide

The Center for Rural Affairs and Iowa Environmental Council have released a best practices guide for counties developing utility-scale solar siting ordinances, Iowa Solar Siting Resource Guide: Best Practices for Counties. 

In addition to outlining the best practices of a good solar ordinance including process, treatment in zoning districts, setbacks, infrastructure, and decommissioning, the guide also includes guidance on how to best pair solar with native vegetation and pollinator habitat. 

Iowa Legislative update - Feb. 25, 2020

Last week was the first funnel deadline in the Legislature, which means bills must have moved from House and Senate committees to the full floor for debate or they cannot move forward this session. Appropriations bills and Ways and Means Committee bills are not subject to these deadlines, as well as bills that moved through the funnel last year. A few of the bills we are monitoring failed to move forward. In all, we have registered for, against, or undecided on more than two-dozen bills which relate to water quality, renewable energy, economic development, and more.

Iowa Legislative update - Feb. 11, 2020

We are now entering the fifth full week of the 2020 legislative session. As legislators, agencies, the governor’s office, and committees have worked to introduce and review legislation, we’ve been engaging with them to make sure rural Iowans have a seat at the table. In all, we have registered for, against, or undecided on 19 bills which relate to water quality, renewable energy, economic development, and more.

As bills are introduced in the next few weeks, I will keep you informed on our lead initiatives and other key legislation we are following. For more updates and questions, or to get involved, please reply to this email or contact me at codys@cfra.org.

Analysis: Our breakdown of Iowa’s IWILL proposal

On Jan. 14, Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds announced her plans for the Invest in Iowa Act. Under this proposal, Reynolds is requesting the Legislature raise the sales tax in the state by one penny. Coupled with several tax cuts, including a minimum 10 percent income tax cut and property tax breaks for counties, this new funding includes the necessary three-eighths of one cent needed to fund the constitutionally-created Natural Resources and Outdoor Recreation Trust, also known as Iowa’s Water and Land Legacy or IWILL.

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