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02 Apr 2014 — 01:19 PM

Please contact your House Representative to let them know what you think!
To determine who represents you and get their contact information, click here
1.    A dangerous precedence is being proposed by the House.  They are recommending to divert $1.25M out of the REAP Open Spaces Account to back fill money they cut from Park Maintenance and Operations.

    a.  The proposal even cuts funds from the current fiscal year-money that the Department               thought it had available and undoubtedly had included in current work plans.

            i.  What is not going to get done now that the Department does not have those funds?

            ii.  How much more will be taken from various REAP accounts in future years if this                          fundraising precedent is enacted?

            iii.  Is this really another attempt to take public land acquisition funds away from the                       DNR?

2.    State Parks are a net loser in this bill, even with the attempt to backfill DNR funds from REAP.
      a.  Parks have a net loss of $500,000 over fiscal years 2014 and 2015. 
            i.  Bill increases $250K for Parks this year, but cuts Parks by $750K next year
            ii.  DNR has to deal with inflation, just like everyone else.  How can they be expected to                    keep up when they are starved for funds
3.    House proposal is nearly $2M less than what the Governor recommended
      a.  The Bill allocates new or additional funds to many very worthy projects, but robbing                   from Peter to pay Paul is not good policy making.

            i.  If those projects are a priority, then they should be funded through the general fund,                   not with diversions from a REAP account.

            ii.  Some conservation dollars are being diverted to fund projects that are not totally                        conservation oriented.
4.   There is plenty more to be concerned about in the bill as it is legislating policy matters that should fall under the purview of other legislative committees, rather than appropriations.  Find more information on the bill here .

5.   Issue highlights that may also interest you include:

      1.  IDALS is charged with conducting water quality evaluations in targeted watersheds and              creating a database of water quality practices, however,

            i.  All information received is to be considered a confidential record and is                           exempt from public access

                  1.  This expands the current code, which states that individual landowners or farm                            practices are not to be identified, so who is this protecting?

                  2.  Availability of transparent data about water quality is the only way Iowans will                            know if water quality improvements are being achieved.

                        a.  This Administration has been very vocal about openness and transparency.                                    This appears to be moving in the opposite direction

      2.  Eminent Domain language prohibiting DNR from using eminent domain to purchase                    public land

            i.  Not aware this has been used since this 1980’s.

            ii.  Is this really about the proposed reservoir in Southern Iowa?  If so, this is not the                        appropriate place to legislate state policy.  

      3.  Loess Hills Development Authority and Alliance language appears to solve a problem                  that does not exist.

            i.  The current statute does not give either the authority to oversee or to manage public                 or private land.

            ii.  Seems to be an overreaction to the recent vote considering a Park Reserve status.

                  1.  LHA was merely doing what state law charged it to do. 

                  2.  LHA put it to a vote and it was not passed.  

                  3.  Issue settled-the LHA is working as authorized.

            iii.  The proposed referendum process is unwieldy and unnecessary.

6.  Articles written about the bill you may want to review

      1.  Des Moines Register article 3/27/14

      2.  Des Moines Register article 3/28/14

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