Keep the Iowa Standard Going!
From Rep. Sandy Salmon’s newsletter:
“2nd Amendment” for Iowa’s State Constitution – This bill is a proposed constitutional amendment that guarantees firearms rights for law abiding Iowans. The Iowa Constitution is similar to the federal Constitution in many ways, but does not guarantee any firearms rights. Only six state constitutions do not protect the right to keep and bear arms. While the Second Amendment of the United States Constitution grants Americans this right, most states have added their own constitutional language to make it clear they support this right. While progress on this issue was set back due to Secretary of State Pate’s failure to print public notice, we are more determined than ever to get this issue to the voters in 2022.
The proposed amendment is simple and easy to understand. It reads:
The right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed. The sovereign state of Iowa affirms and recognizes this right to be a fundamental individual right. Any and all restrictions of this right shall be subject to strict scrutiny.
Family Defense Act – This bill does several things: 1) A person, with a valid permit to carry, who has passed all necessary background checks, may bring their legal firearm on limited areas of school property, thus allowing parents to drop off and pick up their children from school. 2) Allows a person who legally possesses firearms to leave the firearm in their vehicle at work as long it is securely locked in their vehicle. This bill does not allow an employee to carry while at work if their employer prohibits firearms on the premises. 3) Applies firearms laws equally across the state and prevents cities and other municipalities from enacting ordinances that differ from the state. 4) Firearms would be allowed in courthouses except in courtrooms and other areas controlled by the Judicial Branch.
Judicial Selection Reform – Removes the bar from the process of selecting half of the state nominating commission and puts that with the legislature (half from the majority party and half from the minority party). Still preserves Iowa’s merit-based selection system and keeps attorneys an important part of the process while bringing more transparency, fairness, and accountability to Iowa’s judicial selection process. Gives Iowans, through our elected representatives, a larger voice in who selects our judges.
Sports Betting – Would legalize and regulate betting on professional, college, and certain Olympic sports through the casinos of the Racing and Gaming Commission, to include online access. It also allows Iowans to participate in Daily Fantasy Sports.
Road Use Equity – This bill would require all vehicles, including electric ones, using the road to pay for the wear and tear they cause, thus contributing to construction and repair of our roads and bridges. The increased use of electric vehicles has had an impact on the infrastructure (roads and bridges) in the state of Iowa. Electric vehicles pay either reduced or no fuel tax because they either use much less gas than normal vehicles (in the case of plug-in hybrid electric vehicles) or no gas (in the case of battery electric vehicles). The fuel tax funds are directed to the road use tax fund (RUTF) and the money is then distributed to infrastructure projects across the state. In 2018 the reduction to the RUTF was estimates at just under $320,000 and is expected to quickly grow as electric vehicles become more popular – up to $45M by 2030.
SAVE Penny Extension – This would extend the school infrastructure penny, known as SAVE, through 2050. This ensures that schools have the resources needed for safe and modern facilities while delivering significant tax relief to local property taxpayers.
Children’s Mental Health – This bill establishes the framework for a children’s mental health system to ensure Iowa kids can access the services and support that they need.
Companion Animal Protections – Countless Iowans have heard the heartbreaking news stories about mistreatment of pets and animals across the state. This legislation will protect our pets and ensure that abusers are held accountable for their actions.
Felon Voting Rights – One of Governor Reynolds’ top priorities is a constitutional amendment to automatically restore voting rights for convicted felons once they have served their sentences. Currently, felons must make application to the governor to have their voting rights restored.
Agricultural Facility Trespass Bill – The bill provides for a criminal offense of agricultural production facility trespass that involves the use of deception to obtain access to a facility not open to the public with intent to cause physical or economic harm or other injury to the facility’s operation, property or persons. This could include- sabotage, adulterations, and destruction of property such as agricultural crops or animals. The offense may include obtaining employment with an agricultural production facility by deception with intent to harm the operation, property or person.
Private Electric Generation Equity – Currently, rate regulated electric companies (Mid-American and Alliant) are not able to charge all customers for their use of the infrastructure used to provide electricity to their home or business. Private generation customers (e.g. customers who generate solar energy) do not pay for these infrastructure costs, even though they use it more than traditional customers. These customers take energy off the grid and send energy back to the grid using the distribution infrastructure more than a regular customer.
The bill allows electric companies to do what REC’s and municipal utilities currently have the ability to do: charge customers based on their energy usage and the demands placed on the system. This is an equitable and fair solution because it stops the transference of costs from one customer onto another while making sure everyone pays their share.
Many have expressed concern that the bill will completely change the current structure and system. However, this legislation does not eliminate net metering. With net metering, a customer that owns private solar can “bank” excess energy and use it to offset their bill when their energy needs are greater than the energy they produce. Under the proposed legislation, net metering is still one of a menu of billing options solar customers could choose.
In addition, the bill “grandfathers in” current solar energy customers with their existing status, maintaining the pricing and payment structure they currently have.
The solar industry will remain highly subsidized – over 50% of the installation cost for solar is covered by federal and state tax credits. The bill does not affect federal, state or local tax subsidies that solar customers currently receive and which cover at least half of the cost of a typical residential solar installation.