Rural Matters

Rural Matters: Lawmakers Approaching Policy Deadlines

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I’ve heard it said, “if it wasn’t for deadlines, nothing would get done.” That sentiment is true in many aspects of life, and especially in politics. Lawmakers in Des Moines and Washington D.C. are facing some impending deadlines that will determine the future of critical policy issues. 

In Iowa, we have a “funnel” system to help winnow down the amount of pending legislation throughout the session. The first funnel deadline is next week, February 16, in which bills must have received a vote in a committee in at least one chamber (House or Senate). By the second “funnel,” March 15, a bill must have moved to the other chamber and been voted on favorably by a committee. This week and next will be active at the state Capitol as lawmakers are holding dozens of subcommittee and full committee meetings to determine whether hundreds of pending policy proposals will move forward for continued consideration. 

This means, if there are issues pending that are critically important to you, then NOW is the time to make your voice heard. Visit the Iowa legislature website to look up the contact information for your legislators and subscribe to their weekly newsletter. Many legislators host townhalls and listening sessions over the weekend to hear directly from constituents, which you should consider attending. Bills are constantly changing and new meetings are occurring regularly, so it’s prudent to check the status of legislation on the legislative website, but below are some updates on key topics Landus is monitoring: 

  • Grain Indemnity Fund- increases the fund from $8 to $16 million and reinstates the fees if the fund goes below $8 million instead of $3, approved by House Subcommittee (HSB572)

  • AEA/Special Education- initial proposal was amended by Governor’s office, House subcommittee voted not to move forward (HSB542), Senate subcommittee voted to move forward and consider additional amendments (SSB3073)

  • Foreign Land Ownership- creates additional reporting requirements, approved by Senate Ag committee (SF2204)

  • Eminent Domain- multiple bills introduced, HSB608 would allow legislature to step in on eminent domain proceedings based on petition from specified number of legislator, approved by House subcommittee 

  • Ag Equipment Hwy 5/65- would allow ag machinery on the roadway if/when it receives interstate designation that would otherwise impose minimum speed restrictions, subcommittee occurring later this week (HF2145)

Federal lawmakers are also facing deadlines, but of a different nature. Congress has until March 1 to determine funding for the federal government to remain function, or “regular order.” To accomplish that would mean approving a spending bill for each segment of the government (12 separate bills). However, in recent years, they’ve instead resorted to Omnibus legislation in which all the spending bills are combined into a single measure, or the last resort alternative of a short-term “Continuing Resolution,” which continues funding at current levels for a set period of time (sometimes referred to as kicking the can down the road). With the days on the congressional calendar narrowing, it’s becoming likely that we will again reach the expiration of the current Farm Bill (September 30), and Congress will be forced to pass another one-year extension. 

At Landus we are committed to working on the topics and issues most important to YOU, our farmers, our customers, our employees, and our communities where we call home. Help us carry your voice and your priorities forward by taking a few minutes to let us know your thoughts in our survey, or send me an email anytime at