DES MOINES, Iowa (February 15, 2023) — Five weeks into the 2023 legislative session, and our Iowa legislators have been busy. While the Education Savings Account bill passed early in session, there continues to be more educational legislation activity. Last week the Iowa House and Senate passed a 3% increase in Supplemental State Aid, which is the amount of new funding committed by the state to local school districts.
House File 161 was another bill passed last week. It is described as, “protecting Iowan’s access to Health Care.” This bill limits noneconomic damages that can be awarded for a medical malpractice claim to $2 million if the incident happened at a hospital and $1 million if it happened somewhere else. There was much discussion regarding how anyone can put a value on human life, but in the end, the bill passed with sentiments that this protects rural hospitals and physicians.
Of rural interest — is proposed bill HF211 that would deny the right of any land purchased in Iowa to be owned by any China connection. This topic has been surfacing in both state and local political circles.
HSB 114, while not yet brought to a vote, is bringing much debate and is of interest to Landus, trucking firms, and rural farmers who haul for hire. This is the Trucking Tort Reform bill, much like the medical malpractice bill — it limits the noneconomic award limits on accidents. It is not clear when this will come to a vote since there may need to be additional changes in the bill to garner enough votes for it to pass.
As the eminent domain topic at the statehouse continues to unfold at the Capitol, more bills are expected to be submitted again this week. There are bills presented that will strengthen landowner rights, and there are bills that will be aimed at making the eminent domain process of accessing private land easier for private developers. While these bills continue to be slated for the upcoming legislative session, we’ll continue to keep you updated on their status.
Landus will monitor and weigh in with legislators on the bills presented from the point of concern of 1) private property rights of the landowner 2) protection from damages to farmland by the pipeline construction 3) safety concerns of a highly pressurized hazardous material being transported through rural Iowa and communities 4) this is a private company project done for profit – not a public utility – thus should not be granted eminent domain power to take private land away from landowners that do not want to participate in the pipeline project.
Other organizations objecting to the use of eminent domain for the CO2 pipeline projects as Bills SF 100, 101, 102, 103, 104 submitted by Senator Jeff Taylor are the Iowa Cattleman's Association, Iowa State Association of Counties, and Iowa State Association of County Supervisors. The Iowa Farm Bureau has stated it supports a 90% voluntary easement threshold before supporting the use of eminent domain.
Landus continues to watch the activity at the Iowa Capitol and monitor legislation that affects our rural communities and members. We encourage you to reach out to your legislators and communicate with them on bills that affect you, your community, and business. Click here to find your legislator and their contact information. If you need more information on a particular bill, contact Sue Tronchetti at email@example.com
Working together on rural matters.