Iowa farmers know what it's like to lose money, time and opportunity to runaway regulation. In recent years, boards and commissions appointed by the governor have gone overboard, imposing rules and restrictions against the wishes of many legislators and citizens, says Don Petersen, director of government relations for the Iowa Farm Bureau. Some of these rules restrict proven cropping techniques and farm management practices. The rules require fees and reams of paperwork to raise livestock. And they demand duplicative and unnecessary electrical inspections of barns and other outbuildings.
To counter this trend, Iowa House and Senate Republicans have announced a statewide listening tour to hear from Iowa families, businesses and farmers who are being squeezed by excessive state rules and regulations. The 10-city tour of public hearings will be held during February and March. It begins this Saturday morning Feb. 12 with a public hearing in Ames. It will be followed by an afternoon hearing in Newton.
Some agencies and boards viewed as going beyond their authority
"A growing number of state lawmakers in the Iowa Legislature are realizing that some of the agencies, boards and commissions have been acting beyond their authority by creating their own policies rather than following the instructions of the legislature," says Petersen.
Several bills to reign in agencies, boards and commissions are already moving forward or being discussed in the Iowa Legislature. For example, House File 148 is a budget, regulatory and government reform bill that would create a review process for executive branch agencies and implement a staggered sunset program for current rules and regulations. House study bill 48 would transfer rule-making authority from the Environmental Protection Commission and the Natural Resources Commission to the Department of Natural Resources. House File 10 would repeal the statewide electrical inspections program.
While these bills, if passed and signed into law, would contribute to regulatory reform, lawmakers need to hear the personal stories from farmers, families and businesses as to how over-regulation is affecting them, says Petersen. The listening sessions are scheduled for:
Ames on Saturday Feb. 12, from 9:30 to 11:30 a.m. at the Ames Public Library, 515 Douglas Avenue
Newton on Saturday Feb. 12, from 1 to 3 p.m. at Newton Manufacturing, 1123 1st Avenue East
Oskaloosa on Saturday Feb. 12 from 4 to 6 p.m. at Interpower, 100 Interpower Avenue
Sioux City on Friday Feb. 25 from 10:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., Morningside College, 1501 Morningside Avenue
Council Bluffs on Friday Feb. 25 from 3 to 5 p.m. at Council Bluffs Public Library, 400 Willow Avenue
Cresco on Saturday Feb. 26 at 9 a.m. at CS Bank, 111 Elm Street
Cedar Falls on Saturday Feb. 26 at 1 p.m. at Hurst Center for Arts
Dubuque on Saturday Feb. 26 from 5 to 7 p.m. at Best Western Conference Center, 3100 Dodge Street, Highway 20 West
Cedar Rapids on Saturday March 12 from 9 to 11 a.m. at CRST International, 1332 Edgewood Road SW
Burlington on Saturday March 12 from 3 to 5 p.m. at Comfort Suites, 1780 Stonegate Center Drive.
NOTE: Dates and times for these public hearings are subject to change. Please check www.legis.iowa.gov for updates.