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From Rep. Sharon Steckman’s newsletter:

Iowa has one of the lowest numbers of acres of land available for public use and currently is ranked 47th in the nation.  Two bills under consideration in the Legislature this year would put the future of Iowa’s state parks, recreational trails, conservation and wildlife areas in jeopardy.

House File 542 would prohibit the Iowa Department of Natural Resources and county conservation boards from using state money to acquire land which will severely limit conservation and new recreational opportunities in Iowa.  Land for bike trails and expanding land for public use would be difficult because state funds couldn’t be used.  The bill also eliminates tax credits for people and corporations that either donate land or use their land for public good, including water quality projects.

After hundreds of Iowans showed up to oppose the bill this week, HF 542 missed the deadline to advance in the House Natural Resources Committee.  However, a similar bill is also being considered in the Iowa Senate, Senate Study Bill 1221.  The bill prohibits the state from acquiring land for water pollution control projects and it limits what kinds of land the state can purchase. The bill passed out of the Senate Natural Resources and Environment Committee this week and can be debated in the Senate.

Iowans concerned about protecting conservation and recreation in Iowa can visit to learn more or leave a comment.