2023 Iowa Legislative Session - Week 7 Summary
The week continued to ramp up as lawmakers prepare for next week’s funnel. This means that, with a few exceptions, by the end of next week, all bills must be voted out a subcommittee and their corresponding Senate or House committees. With an eye towards the quickly approaching funnel deadline, lawmakers packed this week with subcommittee and committee meetings.
The House introduced new legislation on Monday that seeks to limit eminent domain for carbon dioxide pipelines in the state. House File 368 was introduced by Judiciary Chairperson Steve Holt and twenty-one other House Representatives, including Speaker Pat Grassley. The bill passed a subcommittee on Tuesday - the next step is the Judiciary Committee. The legislation seeks to implement new hurdles that a carbon dioxide capture pipeline company would have to clear, including requiring the pipeline company to obtain at least 90 percent of the miles along the proposed pipeline route through voluntary consent or easements, prior to being granted eminent domain authority from resistant landowners. In addition, the bill would prohibit the Iowa Utilities Board from granting a permit to a pipeline company until federal regulations and safety guidelines have been provided for carbon pipelines.
Other restrictions provided by the bill include:
- Prohibiting the Iowa Utilities Board from granting a permit to a carbon dioxide pipeline if the pipeline is not in compliance with local zoning ordinances.
- Requiring all necessary state permits to have been obtained by and granted to the carbon dioxide pipeline company prior to being granted a pipeline permit.
- Requiring pipeline companies to comply with additional reporting requirements for easement acquisition.
- Granting additional rights to landowners to receive compensation from eminent domain and challenging violations by the carbon dioxide pipeline companies.
The legislation comes as three companies, Summit Carbon Solutions, Navigator Heartland Greenway, and Wolf Carbon Solutions, have each proposed building pipelines in Iowa that would transport liquefied carbon dioxide from Iowa ethanol plants to underground sequestration locations in North Dakota and Illinois. The Pipelines are all in opposition to the bill.
In other news, both the House and the Senate held subcommittee meetings on the Governor’s proposed bill that seeks to reorganize state government. House Study Bill 126, is a nearly 1,600-page bill that seeks to consolidate Iowa’s state government from 37 cabinet-level agencies, down to 16. Both the House and the Senate scheduled four two-hour subcommittee meetings to allow adequate time for the public and each agency to comment on the bill. Having numerous, lengthy subcommittee meetings on one bill is unusual, but in this case necessary, due to the size and substance of the bill. The Senate’s version of the Governor's reorganization bill, Senate Study Bill 1123, passed out of subcommittee on Monday and out of Senate State Government Committee on Wednesday and is now eligible to be debated in the Senate.
On Wednesday, the Senate debated and passed Senate File 228, which seeks to limit the noneconomic damages a victim in an accident involving a trucking company can receive. The legislation puts a $2 million cap on noneconomic damages, such as damages for pain and suffering, or emotional distress, in lawsuits brought against trucking companies whose employees caused injury, death, or other damage while on the job. While debating, the Senate approved amendments from the bill’s floor manager, Senator Mike Bousselot (R-Ankeny) that would expand the types of vehicles that could receive the protection. The bill passed 30-19. The House companion, House File 201, has already cleared the Judiciary Committee and is eligible for floor debate.
In the Know
Last Friday, the Department of Education director, Ann Lebo, announced she will step down from her position, effective March 14. Dr. Lebo began her position at the Department just days before Iowa schools closed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The Department of Education oversees the state education system, including K-12 public elementary and secondary schools, state accredited non-public schools, area education agencies, community colleges, and teacher preparation programs.
The announcement from the Governor's office, thanked Director Lebo for her many contributions to the Governor’s administration. The Department of Education has not indicated who will lead the department following Lebo’s departure.
BrownWinick Government Relations
To view additional summaries from the 2023 Iowa Legislative Session or to learn more about BrownWinick’s Government Relations Team, visit our Lobbying and Public Policy team page.