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Rep. Shannon Latham lists bills still under consideration at Iowa Legislature

Week 13 of the 2024 Iowa legislative session was defined by “bounce backs” and support for rural Iowa, Rep. Shannon Latham said.

The following is a legislative update from Republican State Rep. Shannon Latham, representing portions of Franklin, Hamilton, Story and Wright counties in Iowa House District 55:

Shannon Latham (R)

Week 13 of the 2024 Iowa legislative session was defined by “bounce backs” and support for rural Iowa. Bills that originated in the House but were amended by the Senate return, or bounce back to, the House as all bills must pass through both chambers with the exact language before they can be sent to the governor’s desk and be signed into law.

Rural Development Tax Credit Program: House File (HF) 2674
This week the Iowa House passed HF 2674, creating the Iowa Rural Development Tax Credit. The Iowa Economic Development Authority (IEDA) will create tax credits for specific capital contributions made to certified rural businesses growth funds for investment in qualified businesses. These tax credits will incentivize investment by new or expanding businesses in Iowa’s 88 smallest counties.

Meat Integrity Act: Senate File 2391
On April 3, the Iowa House passed a bill to establish fair labeling standards on the sale of protein products. This bill has been sent to the governor for her signature.

It’s simple: If it’s not real meat, the label should not read “meat.” If it’s not an egg or egg product, it should not be labeled as “egg.” As “lab-grown meat products” come to market, accurate labeling has become extremely important to ensure Iowa consumers know what they are buying and eating. These new labeling requirements are applied in the processing stage, not in the grocery store.

This bill also prevents schools from buying lab-grown meat or mislabeled egg or meat products. However, this bill does not prohibit schools from purchasing meat or egg substitutes as long as they are correctly labeled.

NOTE: This bill does not change Iowans’ access to meat alternatives like “veggie burgers.” This bill also does not change current USDA SNAP guidelines because egg alternatives are not outlined as being covered by SNAP or WIC.

This bill contains a provision that if USDA ever allows egg substitute products to be covered by SNAP, the State of Iowa will request a waiver. Why? Iowa leads the nation in the production of eggs and pork. We’re a leading producer of dairy, beef and turkey. The intent of this bill is to protect Iowa egg and livestock producers from bad actors who are taking advantage of the longtime popularity of real meat and egg products, as well as the hard work of generations of livestock farmers and egg producers.

Rural Veterinary Practice Innovation & Revitalization Program: House File 2428
The House Appropriations Committee on April 4 passed HF 2428 to create a rural veterinary innovation and revitalization program under the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship. This program would provide grants to veterinary practices in rural counties to: improve or expand existing facilities; acquire existing equipment and tools; incorporate new methods and technologies. This bill came out of a roundtable with rural veterinarians. Because it has passed through committee, it will be eligible for floor debate.

E-40 Fuel Infrastructure Financial Assistance Transition Periods: HSB 744
This bill ramps up the minimum renewable ethanol volumes standards associated with the renewable fuels infrastructure program financial incentives (if the retail site cannot already store and dispense E-85) to progressively advance in three phases:
Requires retailer to dispense and store at least E-15 fuel from the bill’s enactment to July 1, 2025;
Requires retailer to dispense E-40 or higher from July 1, 2025 through July 1, 2030; and
Retailer must have at least one motor fuel blender pump that can dispense different classification of ethanol-blended fuel including E-85 at all times after July 1, 2030.

These three phases would apply to both existing and new retail motor fuel sites when installing, replacing or converting certain sections of infrastructure that has been used to dispense E-15

Other bills of interest that passed off the House floor this week include:
Rural Attorney Recruitment Assistance Program: HF 2407. This bill creates a Rural Attorney Recruitment Assistance Program to provide five-year grants to attorneys who agree to practice in rural Iowa, as well as providing representation as a contract attorney under the State Public Defender’s Office. Funds for the grant would come from the state and the communities served.

411 Retirement System Changes. This bill relates to the municipal fire and police retirement system of Iowa (MFPRSI), the public safety officers’ retirement, accident, and disability system (POR), and protection occupations and sheriffs and deputy sheriffs under the Iowa public employees’ retirement system (IPERS).

Early Literacy Bill: HF 2618. Students in Iowa are holding steady in reading scores, but we can do better. Currently, 35% of Iowa’s third graders aren’t reading proficiently. Children who can’t read by third grade are four times more likely to drop out of high school, which dramatically increases their chances of being arrested, using illegal drugs, and having poor health. We’re the only state in the country that doesn’t require competency in early literacy instruction for teacher licensure. This bill would require students in teacher prep programs to have to take the Foundation of Reading assessment.

Map via legis.iowa.gov

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