The Iowa House voted to amend a budget bill in an effort to allow for true negotiations to take place when it comes to land use for carbon pipeline projects in the state. Republican Rep. Bobby Kaufmann tacked a similar amendment on to a bill a week ago, but that amendment stopped eminent domain from being used until March 1, 2023. This one is a month shorter.
Kaufmann said the purpose of the amendment is to ensure a fair playing field for landowners when it comes to negotiations while the legislature is out of session.
“This amendment does not change the rules,” Kaufmann said. “It codifies promises made to landowners, it does not stop the pipelines. It simply allows negotiations to go on on a fair premise. A negotiation being had with the threat of eminent domain hanging over a landowner’s head is not a negotiation.”
Democrat Rep. Steve Hansen said he was hoping a more permanent solution might have been figured out when it comes to the issue and said this amendment simply kicks the can down the road.
“I predict that this next election cycle, there will probably be five key issues out there,” he said. “And I think eminent domain will be one of those.”
Democrat Leader Rep. Jennifer Konfrst said she hopes the amendment is a “start” to a much more in-depth conversation on the issue.
“We as a body need to have a big conversation about this issue,” she said.
She also noted the strange bedfellows the issue has created.
Democrat Rep. Chris Hall said he has a feeling the amendment is more of an attempt by Republicans to take the issue off the minds of voters.
“When I take a step back and think about what comes between today, in March, and next January, one of the clearest things that stands out in my mind is an election,” Hall said. “This is pushing the issue to next year specifically from my vantage point to avoid the politics and the passions that will come out on this issue prior to an election.”
In his closing remarks, Kaufmann took exception to Hall’s speculation.
“One other pretty significant thing between now and Feb. 1 of 2023 besides that election,” Kaufmann said. “It’s negotiations with landowners. It still has nothing to do with an election.”
Kaufmann said eminent domain is a winning issue in both political parties.
The amendment passed on a voice vote.