My SF 2160 bill, which would have removed from the Iowa Utilities Board the power to use eminent domain for private companies, had a public hearing Tuesday at the Capitol. We had 30+ attendees in person and about 100 more who joined us via Zoom.
I was able to make opening comments on the bill. Every person who spoke supported the bill with the exception of three lobbyists who represented the carbon capture hazardous liquid pipeline companies. The three subcommittee senators voted to move the bill forward, with expectation of amendment.
On Wednesday, SF 2160 was pulled from the Commerce Committee agenda because there was not enough support for the bill when Republican senators privately caucused before the full committee met. This means the bill is dead, which is a disappointment to me. More importantly, it’s a defeat for landowner protection and constitutional rights.
In the Kelo v. City of New London U.S. Supreme Court case on eminent domain, in 2005, it was the four conservative justices who correctly disagreed with the erroneous ruling. In their dissent, they warned, “The beneficiaries are likely to be those citizens with disproportionate influence and power in the political process, including large corporations and development firms. As for the victims, the government now has license to transfer property from those with fewer resources to those with more.”
Unfortunately, the pipeline controversy in Iowa is an example of how big money translates into political power. It’s especially frustrating when Republican actions go against the principles and platform of the Republican Party of Iowa. I hope that landowners will support one another and defend their rights as much as possible, and I will continue to do what I can as a member of the General Assembly.