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  • Posted Mar 1

Both bills are a direct attack on public lands and conservation in Iowa. Both should be opposed.

The future of Iowa's trails and land conservation are threatened by two bills in the Iowa Legislature.
WE must act fast as the sub-committee meetings are MONDAY March 4th !!!!!
If YOU can come to the meetings, PLEASE do, if you cannot attend we suggest:
#1 - Educating yourself on the bills (info and links below)
#2 - Contact YOUR legislators via the Iowa Bicycle Coalition's -Legislator Emailer program. It is super-simple to use.
#3 - Contact sub-committee members listed below as a concerned Iowa citizen.

You'll see several sections that we've compiled to educate you on these two bills. You'll see talking points, a bill analysis, FAQ and several excerpts of communication from community leaders.
Click to jump to:

begin verbiage from Iowa Bicycle Coalition...

Two bills were introduced this week in the Iowa legislature that threaten the future of conservation in Iowa. We need your voice to make sure these bills are stopped. We need to pack the Capitol on Monday for subcommittee hearings on these bills at 10:30 a.m. and 12:30 p.m. to show legislators that Iowans care about public land! If you can't make it, call or email your legislators and the subcommittee members and ask them to oppose the bills.


House File 542

Subcommittee hearing:10:30 a.m., Monday, March 4, House Lobby, Iowa State Capitol

Subcommittee members:Rep. Robert Bacon(R-Story County),Rep. Tom Jeneary(R-Plymouth County),Rep. Scott Ourth(D-Warren County)

HF542 is a direct attack on public lands and conservation in Iowa. It should be opposed in its entirety.

In this bill, counties would be prohibited from expanding parks, wildlife habitat areas and trails by any amount. Funding the cities and counties have relied on would be restricted, and could not be used for expansion of open spaces and new recreational amenities, including public museums. The state would not be able to purchase land for state parks, wildlife areas or strategic water quality projects.

This bill would also strip private landowners of tax incentives for protecting their land by eliminating the Charitable Contribution for Conservation Tax Credit.


Senate Study Bill 1221

Subcommittee hearing:12:30 p.m., Monday, March 4, Room 217, Iowa State Capitol

Subcommittee members:Sen. Dan Zumbach(R-Delaware County),Sen. Jerry Behn(R-Boone County),Sen. Nate Boulton(D-Polk County)

SSB1221 is more narrow in scope, but would also have a wide-ranging impact on conservation. The bill eliminates the Charitable Contribution for Conservation Tax Credit that helps make it possible for many private landowners to protect their land or to donate it for public use. The bill also eliminates the use of the State Revolving Fund for public land acquisition for water quality purposes.


end verbiage from Iowa Bicycle Coalition...



begin verbiage from anonymous County Conservation Board Director.


SAY NO TO HF542
House File 542 was introduced by Rep. David Sieck into the House on Tuesday and referred to the Natural Resources Committee. We are awaiting notice of a subcommittee hearing, but it will likely be early next week. Be prepared to show up at the Capitol to support public land!
HF542 is a direct attack on public lands and conservation in Iowa. It should be opposed in its entirety.
  • In this bill, counties would be prohibited from expanding parks, wildlife habitat areas and trails by any amount. Funding the cities and counties have relied on would be restricted, and could not be used for expansion of open spaces and new recreational amenities, including public museums. The state would not be able to purchase land for state parks, wildlife areas or strategic water quality projects. • This bill makes it harder for private landowners to donate land for public use or do conservation protection on their own land.
  • As Iowa strives to attract and maintain people to live, work and raise families in our state, we need to provide quality of life features that they demand. At the top of list —along with good jobs — is a clean, healthy environment and outdoor recreation opportunities.
  • Public land plays a special role in the lives of Iowans. For generations, Iowans have made memories in parks, on trails, in woodlands and prairies. We need to continue that legacy for future Iowans. We need to support our existing parks, trails and wildlife areas and continue to look for ways to expand our outdoor opportunities.
  • Rural communities rely on the jobs, consumer spending and public health benefits that outdoor recreation provides. Iowa is already 47th in the nation in the percentage of public land available to its residents. This bill puts us in a race for the bottom.
  • Instead of strangling our ability to grow healthy, happy communities, we should be embracing the opportunities the outdoors present. We should be investing more in conservation, not less.
Call and write to your legislators. Ask them to oppose House File 542. Tell them it’s time to fund the Natural Resources and Outdoor Recreation Trust Fund. If this bill passes it will mean no new parks, no new trails, no new public hunting lands, no new fishing grounds, FOREVER. This bill even inhibits the ability for Counties and Cities to buy land for Flood Control.

end verbiage from anonymous County Conservation Board Director.


begin verbiage from Iowa's County Conservation System - Thomas F. Hazelton, CEO

We now have two bad bills affecting recreation and conservation in Iowa; one in the House (HSB 542) and one in the Senate (SSB 1221).

None of you should be that person that has regrets in the weeks, months and years ahead because you chose not to act this day! This is about the future of your professional careers, the ability to do what we do, and the quality of life for all Iowans.

The Senate bill (SSB1221) is less expansive in its reach but still negatively impacts public lands. Long-term lobbyists in the Capitol are calling these the two worst bills they have ever had to defend against, and it isn’t even close. This effort is extremely serious and deserves immediate attention.

FIRST - We have already asked you to be in contact with your own legislators and let them know that you are 100% against these two pieces of legislation.

We now encourage you to contact the following legislators and ask them to oppose every aspect of these two bills:

HOUSE SUB-COMMITTEE (HSB542):

Rep. Scott Ourth (Warren) scott.ourth@legis.iowa.gov
Rep. Robert Bacon (Story) rob.bacon@legis.iowa.gov
Rep. Tom Jeneary (Plymouth) tom.jeneary@legis.iowa.gov
The House Bill (HSB 542): https://www.legis.iowa.gov/legislation/BillBook?ba=HF542&ga=88

Subcommittee on Monday, March 4, 2019 at 10:30 AM in House Lobby Lounge. We need to pack that place.


SENATE SUB-COMMITTEE (SSB1221):
Sen. Dan Zumbach (Delaware) dan.zumbach@legis.iowa.gov
Sen. Jerry Behn (Boone) jerry.behn@legis.iowa.gov
Sen. Nate Boulton (Polk) nate.boulton@legis.iowa.gov
The Senate Bill (SSB 1221): https://www.legis.iowa.gov/docs/publications/LGI/88/SSB1221.pdf

Subcommittee on Monday, March 4, 2019 at 1:30 PM in Room 217. We also need to pack this place.

Additional Legislators to Contact:

Rep. Terry Baxter (Hancock) terry.baxter@legis.iowa.gov
Rep. David Maxwell (Poweshiek) dave.maxwell@legis.iowa.gov
Rep. Dean Fisher (Tama) dean.fisher@legis.iowa.gov
Rep. Jon Thorup (Marion) jon.thorup@legis.iowa.gov
Rep. Louie Zumbach (Linn) louie.zumbach@legis.iowa.gov
Rep. Jeff Shipley (Jefferson) jeff.shipley@legis.iowa.gov

I have included below and also attaching talking points to use. Our Coalition is encouraging anyone concerned with conservation and outdoor recreation in this state to show up Monday to both subcommittees to oppose. We would also encourage people to show up at public forums sponsored by their legislative leaders this weekend and speak out about these awful bills. There are many scheduled across the state - visit the following link.

LINK TO FORUMS: http://www.infonetiowa.org/calendar/events/

It is clear who is behind both of these pieces of legislation. If either of them become law, it would significantly set back conservation and recreation in Iowa to the dark ages. These bills would be devastating to conservation in a state that presently ranks near the bottom in public land.

ADDITIONAL MESSAGING:
  • As Iowa strives to attract and maintain people to live, work and raise families in our state, we need to provide quality of life features that they demand. At the top of list —along with good jobs — is a clean, healthy environment and outdoor recreation opportunities.
  • Public land plays a special role in the lives of Iowans. For generations, Iowans have made memories in parks, on trails, in woodlands and prairies. We need to continue that legacy for future Iowans. We need to support our existing parks, trails and wildlife areas and continue to look for ways to expand our outdoor opportunities.
  • Rural communities rely on the jobs, consumer spending and public health benefits that outdoor recreation provides. Iowa is already 47th in the nation in the percentage of public land available to its residents. These bills puts us in a race for the bottom.
  • Instead of strangling our ability to grow healthy, strong communities, we should be embracing the opportunities the outdoors present. We should be investing more in conservation, not less.
These next few days are critically important for ALL OF YOU to ACT - this is REAL, and this is NOW.

Thank-you for your diligence!
Tom


end verbiage from Iowa's County Conservation System - Thomas F. Hazelton, CEO


begin talking points from Iowa's County Conservation System - Thomas F. Hazelton, CEO


SAY NO TO HF542

House File 542 was introduced by Rep. David Sieck into the House on Tuesday and referred to the Natural Resources Committee. We are awaiting notice of a subcommittee hearing, but it will likely be early next week. Be prepared to show up at the Capitol to support public land!

HF542 is a direct attack on public lands and conservation in Iowa. It should be opposed in its entirety.
  • In this bill, counties would be prohibited from expanding parks, wildlife habitat areas and trails by any amount. Funding the cities and counties have relied on would be restricted, and could not be used for expansion of open spaces and new recreational amenities, including public museums. The state would not be able to purchase land for state parks, wildlife areas or strategic water quality projects.

  • This bill makes it harder for private landowners to donate land for public use or do conservation protection on their own land.

  • As Iowa strives to attract and maintain people to live, work and raise families in our state, we need to provide quality of life features that they demand. At the top of list —along with good jobs — is a clean, healthy environment and outdoor recreation opportunities.

  • Public land plays a special role in the lives of Iowans. For generations, Iowans have made memories in parks, on trails, in woodlands and prairies. We need to continue that legacy for future Iowans. We need to support our existing parks, trails and wildlife areas and continue to look for ways to expand our outdoor opportunities.

  • Rural communities rely on the jobs, consumer spending and public health benefits that outdoor recreation provides. Iowa is already 47th in the nation in the percentage of public land available to its residents. This bill puts us in a race for the bottom.

  • Instead of strangling our ability to grow healthy, happy communities, we should be embracing the opportunities the outdoors present. We should be investing more in conservation, not less.

Call and write to your legislators. Ask them to oppose House File 542. Tell them it’s time to fund the Natural Resources and Outdoor Recreation Trust Fund.


Source: Iowa's County Conservation System
Thomas F. Hazelton, CEO

System Administrator, MyCountyParks.com
P.O. Box 400
Hiawatha, IA 52233-0400
IACCB@mycountyparks.org

Office - (515) 963-9582
Cell - (319) 521-5952
Administrative:
www.MyCountyParks.org

end talking points from Iowa's County Conservation System - Thomas F. Hazelton, CEO


BILL ANALYSIS from Thomas F. Hazelton CEO

HF 542 – Introduced 2/27/19

Section 1. – Conservation Tax Credit

Strikes committee review of the charitable contribution tax credit expenditures and incentives. Completed in 2015.

Section 2. –Inventory Report

Requires inventory of real and personal property owned by the state or under its control/management to be published online, updated at least every 2 years.

Inventory shall include: specific location, size, current use, and amount of property taxes or payments in lieu of property taxes paid to local governments.

Section 3. –Blufflands Loan Program

No SRF Blufflands loans can be made after July 1, 2019. Repeals program July 1, 2024.

Section 4. –Blufflands- Loan Program

Outstanding SRF Bluffland loans must be repaid by July 1, 2019. Monies repaid will be credited to RIIF.

Section 5. —CCBs

Changes purpose of the code and takes away authority of CCBs to acquire property. Replaces “acquire” with “preserve.” CCBs are only authorized to preserve, maintain, and make available… “currently owned” public museums, parks, preserves, etc.

Section 6. –CCBs

Adjusts code language to be consistent with other changes to the law. CCB “shall have custody, control, and management of all real and personal property heretofore or hereafter acquired by the county” for public museums, parks, etc.

Section 7. –CCBs

Takes away county’s ability to acquire real property by purchase, lease, or agreement. CCBs can still acquire property by gift or exchange. Property acquired by CCB must be within territorial limits of the county—previous language allowed CCBs to acquire land out of territorial limits.

CCB can only accept donated land if donor also contributes money to cover estimated cost of maintaining the land for 10 years.

Section 8. – CCBs

Adjusts code language for consistency- “board of supervisors shall establish a reserve for county conservation land acquisition and capital improvement projects.”

Section 9.—Conservation Tax Credit

Eliminates Conservation Tax Credit for corporations.

Section 10. – Marine Fuel Tax

Eliminates DNR’s use of marine fuel tax for acquisition of access point to public boating waters and recreation facilities associated with recreational boating. Makes use of tax more prescriptive and only allowed for what is outlined in code: dredging, renovation, administration, etc. Previous language provided funds could be used for these purposes, “but is not limited to” them.

Section 11. – REAP Open Spaces

Eliminates REAP open spaces account use for acquisition and development.

Section 12. –REAP Open Spaces

Changes the department’s priority from “acquisition and control” to “maintenance and enhancement” of open spaces. Funds are to be used for developments on “currently owned” state property.

Section 13. –REAP County Conservation

Counties cannot use REAP allocations for land easements or acquisitions.

Section 14. – REAP City Parks & State Land Management

REAP grants to cities cannot be used acquire or establish parks and open spaces—they can only maintain “and enhance.” Grants cannot be used for city projects located outside city boundaries.

State land management account funds can only be used for “enhancement” of state lands. The bill eliminates expansion of state lands, even if limited to expansion of lands and facilities already owned by the state.

Section 15. – SRF

Eliminates use of SRF on nonpoint source water pollution control projects that include acquisition of property for future donation or sale to a political subdivision, DNR, or federal government after July 1, 2019.

Section 16. – SRF

Adds language to code to be consistent with Section 15— Land purchased by a private entity with the assistance of SRF shall not be acquired by a political subdivision or DNR after July 1, 2019.

Section 17. – Fish & Game Protection Fund

Eliminates use of revenues and matched federal funds for “acquisition of land, leasing of land, or obtaining easements from willing sellers for use of land and wildlife habitat.” Replaced with “enhancement, restoration, operation, or maintenance of currently owned” habitat.

Section 18. —Fish & Game Protection Fund

New subsection added to clarify that fund cannot be used for land acquisition.

Section 19. –Fish & Game Protection Fund

Additional language prescribing use of fund revenues: limited to regulation, law enforcement, programs, salaries, support, maintenance, and equipment in support of fish and wildlife activities.

Section 20. –Fish & Game Protection Fund

Changes power and authority of DNR:

Currently, DNR can use fund to “acquire by purchase, condemnation, lease, agreement, gift, and devise land or waters” suitable for fish and game protection purposes.

Bill changes authority to “own for the public benefit or acquire by gift or devise, including rights-of-way and improvements” for fish and game protection purposes.

Section 21. – Wildlife Habitat Fee

Revenue to be used for the development and enhancement of currently owned wildlife lands and habitat areas.

Section 22. – Game Bird Wetland Conservation Program

Eliminates acquisition from Game Brid Wetland Conservation Program.

Section 23. – Migratory Game Bird Fee

Eliminates use of migratory game bird fee for acquisition and development of wetlands.

Section 24. – Conservation Tax Credit

Repeals the conservation tax credit for individuals.

Analysis:

How this affects:

Communities:

Counties would be prohibited from expanding parks, wildlife habitat areas, and trails by any amount. Funding the cities and counties have relied on would be restricted, and could not be used for expansion of open spaces and new recreational amenities.

Property Rights:

Individuals who want their land to be enjoyed by the public will have additional restrictions on how they can accomplish this. Many landowners sell their land in a bargain sale when it is not economical for them to donate land—this bill would limit the landowner’s ability to sell their land to public entities, even at discounted prices. For landowners who want to donate their land, a charitable donation tax credit has been available to compensate the landowner for the donation. This bill would eliminate the tax credit and require the donor to pay for the estimated cost of maintaining the land for 10 years. The bill does not elaborate on how the cost of maintenance would be estimated.


Source: Iowa's County Conservation System
Thomas F. Hazelton, CEO

System Administrator, MyCountyParks.com
P.O. Box 400
Hiawatha, IA 52233-0400
IACCB@mycountyparks.org

Office - (515) 963-9582
Cell - (319) 521-5952
Administrative:
www.MyCountyParks.org



Iowa’s Public Lands FAQ from Thomas F. Hazelton, CEO

(January 2019 - does not include federal or county lands)

What are Iowa’s Public lands? Iowa’s public lands include lakes, streams, forests, prairies, preserves, hatcheries, wildlife areas, and parks. Eminent domain is NOT used by the DNR.

Did you know?

• The DNR is one of the only state agencies that pays property taxes on Iowa’s public lands. In FY19, the DNR paid a total of $1,072,689 in property taxes.

• Iowa has 36 million acres

88,437 – total number acres for which the DNR pays property taxes

382,824 – total number of acres publicly available for use including state parks, wildlife management areas, public hunting areas, trails and lakes.

1% - total percentage of public lands available for use by Iowans in the entire state.

142,293 -- total number of acres of public land acquired since 1990 when the DNR tax code—which requires DNR to pay property taxes on land acquired with REAP and Wildlife Habitat Stamp—was enacted.

32 – average Corn Suitability Rating (CSR) of public lands

$2,370 – FY18 average purchase price per acre for public lands by State of Iowa/DNR

$7,254 – 2018 statewide average farmland value per acre, as of November 2018

37% of public lands are classified as Highly Erodible Soils (HEL)

17% of public lands are Hydric Soils

40% of public lands are forested

14% of public lands are water

919,405 – number of acres of public lands in Iowa’s Road Right-of-way

• Iowa ranks 47th in the nation for fewest acres for public use, according to the U.S. Census, Statistical Abstract of the United States

How it works: The vast majority of sellers make initial contact the DNR about land they are wishing to sell to the Department. Often, landowners want their land permanently protected and available for Iowans to enjoy. The DNR does not automatically accept; however, the land must meet the following criteria:

• There must be a large benefit for conservation, recreation or the environment. Functional habitats, water quality, etc.

• It must provide a public benefit and access.

• DNR staff must be able to efficiently manage the land. The Department does turn down land purchase offers and donations often due to not meeting the above objectives.

Funding Sources: REAP Open Spaces funding is used, in part, to purchase public land for outdoor recreation. Land purchased is ONLY acquired from willing sellers and at appraised market value. These lands remain on county property tax rolls. Primary funding sources for these activities include:

• REAP Open Spaces

• Wildlife Habitat Stamp

Federal:

• Duck Stamp

• Federal Receipts

• North America Wetland Conservation Act

• State Wildlife Grant

• Pittman/Robertson Act

• Federal Endangered Species

• Federal Mitigation Funds

• Federal Highway Administration (Scenic By-Way)

Other:

• Private/Partner Organizations

Map of Public Areas: Pursuant to House File 2502, Division IV, the Department of Natural Resources provided a land acquisition inventory. An interactive map with the information has been created and is available at: Land Acquisition and Inventory Report.

Source: Iowa's County Conservation System
Thomas F. Hazelton, CEO

System Administrator, MyCountyParks.com
P.O. Box 400
Hiawatha, IA 52233-0400
IACCB@mycountyparks.org

Office - (515) 963-9582
Cell - (319) 521-5952
Administrative:
www.MyCountyParks.org




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