The Iowa Legislature saw some controversial bills travel through the statehouse this past session. Hot button bills included gun rights, defunding Planned Parenthood, limiting collective bargaining rights, and defunding the Leopold Center for Sustainable Agriculture to name a few.
Bills where Ag won included: limiting livestock nuisance lawsuits, funds for the state’s blender pump program, and classifying Palmer Amaranth on the noxious weed list.
A big loss was long-term funding for water quality. Both chambers passed bills but couldn’t reach an agreement.
In a released statement Saturday morning, Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Bill Northey said: “While I am disappointed the Legislature was not able to reach an agreement on a long-term water quality funding source this year, we will continue the important work of reaching out and working with all Iowans to achieve the water quality goals we share.”
The Iowa Legislature did increase annual appropriations for both the water quality initiative and soil conservation efforts in fiscal year 2018. They approved over $10.5 million for water quality efforts this session which will allow the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship to continue to expand the efforts already underway.
The total budget for fiscal year 2018 is $7.2 billion. There will be cuts in many state programs due to a revenue shortfall. This is the first time Republicans have had total control of the Iowa House, Senate, and Governor’s office since 1998.