Last week was a relatively quiet week at the Capitol with a short lull before committee work ramps up prior to the second funnel deadline of March 20. Bills that passed either the House or Senate need to be through a committee in the other chamber by this deadline to stay alive for the Session.
This applies only to policy bills – tax bills like the Invest in Iowa Act (Ways and Means) and spending bills like the DNR and other agency budgets (Appropriations) have a different, longer timeline to move through the process.
In spite of the relative lull, IEC’s priorities did see action last week. Our solar compromise legislation passed unanimously through both the House and Senate! This is a major victory for solar and one we are so proud to have been a part of negotiating. We were also present to be a leading voice at the first subcommittee meeting on the Governor's bill "Invest in Iowa" action. Read on for all the details and view this week's bill tracker for an update on bills IEC is following this session.
And don't forget - there is still time to join IEC and fellow environmental partners for a day of advocacy at the Capitol. Get details and join us for free for Environmental Lobby Day on Wednesday, March 11!
Energy Program Activity
It was an exciting week for solar in Iowa as SF 583 in its new form passed both the Iowa House and the Senate with unanimous, bipartisan support! We are excited for solar’s future in Iowa and proud to have been a part of developing policy that will provide certainty for solar customers and the industry going forward. The Governor has three days to sign the bill once it arrives on her desk so we believe we will see her decision on the bill early this week. We are hopeful she will see the bill as favorably as the House and Senate and sign it into law.
Last week at the Capitol, the chair of the Ways and Means Committee called for the first subcommittee meeting on the Governor's policy bill "Invest in Iowa". The expanded subcommittee, increased from three to five people - which sometimes happens with large bills - did not take action with a vote, but the meeting did allow multiple statewide groups to speak about their interest in the bill.
It was clear from the outpouring of support for the Governor’s proposal that both IWILL-focused groups, as well as mental health-focused groups, need additional resources to support programs that will improve the lives of Iowans. Legislative support is needed to find an avenue for funding these necessary statewide priorities.
Not all groups spoke in full support of the legislation; those that voiced concerns offered palatable suggestions to improve specific components of the bill, including IEC. There was clear consensus that the stakeholder groups impacted by the policy would like the legislature to work on the bill this session. No subcommittee in the House has yet been scheduled and concerns about having enough time to work on it are bubbling to the surface. The reality of having six weeks left in the session is creating a sense of urgency that policymakers must commit to working through the challenges of the bill if there is hope it will have time to work through the process.
IWILL is certainly the largest policy bill in terms of water quality, however, there are many bills on various topics of interest to IEC and our constituents that are still alive, including extending REAP (should IWILL fail to pass), pesticide enforcement, and appropriations bills for this year’s IDNR and IDALS budgets. Of the bills that failed to make through funnel, there are multiple important issues that we will continue working with partners, supporters, and legislators to set the stage next session. These topics include soil health, contaminant testing and monitoring (including microcystin and PFAS), and CAFOs.
View the bill tracker to see water and land-related bills that are no longer viable and which are still active this session.
- There is still time to join us for IEC's FREE Environmental Lobby Day on March 11. Join fellow environmental advocates at the Capitol on Wednesday, March 11, to participate in free advocacy training, chat with organizations and businesses doing important environmental work in Iowa, hear from environmental leaders, and have an opportunity to meet with your legislators. Participation is free - RSVP now and then take a moment to invite a friend!