News from Des Moines
Last week was the second funnel week where individually filed policy bills have to be passed over to the other chamber to stay eligible. We continued to debate bills received from the Senate as well as pass House bills over to the Senate.
We passed House File 603, a bill to protect private property rights. For several years House Republicans, led by Rep. Bobby Kaufmann, have been attempting to pass legislation that protects the rights of farmers and other landowners. In past years these efforts were blocked in the Democrat controlled Senate. This bill was in part a response to the attempt to build a Direct Current electrical transmission line known as the Rock Island Clean Line which would have passed through the northern portion of my district in Black Hawk County. This project was solely a private enterprise, would not have been accessible to Iowans, and was not part of the regional transmission line plan. The company sought to take farmers land for its towers using eminent domain as a private company, not as a true public utility. The project has been struck down after years of intense work by the landowners. This bill takes steps to prevent such a project from threatening landowners in the future with similar projects. The bill also makes restrictions on the use of eminent domain in taking land for a lake, ensuring that the land taken is truly needed for legitimate drinking water sources instead of recreational uses. One final aspect of the bill will ensure that farmers and business owners are fairly compensated in the event that their land is condemned using eminent domain.
Wednesday I had the opportunity to manage House File 410 on the floor of the House. This bill adds the weed Palmer Amaranth to the list of noxious weeds and noxious seeds, making the seed illegal to import into Iowa and adding it to the list of weeds that must be controlled by a landowner. Palmer Amaranth is an edible flowering plant that crowds out crops such as corn, soybeans, and cotton. It is difficult to kill and can reduce soybean and corn yields by 80 percent, making it a significant threat to Iowa’s agriculture economy. It has been brought to Iowa through conservation seeding packages contaminated with the seed from Southern states. It is known to exist in 49 counties in Iowa, and may be up to 80 counties by now. This noxious weed will require farmers and all other landowners to implement new strategies for controlling it. The bill passed the House 95-0, it now goes to the Senate.
On Wednesday evening the Human Resources committee amended and passed Senate File 471, a bill to ban abortions after 20 weeks of pregnancy. Many of us in the House had high hopes of amending this bill to ban abortions after the heartbeat of the baby is detectable, but that provision was not accepted by the committee. While that is disappointing, it is important to remember that when this 20-week ban passes the House it will be the most substantial piece of pro-life legislation in Iowa history. Opponents of this bill have been disseminating falsehoods about it, claiming that it would ban birth control. It does not. We will continue to look for opportunities to pass ever stronger life protection legislation.
State Rep. Dean Fisher can be reached at 641-750-3594 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org