ADVOCACY

 

Get Involved


There has never been a better or more critical time for environmental health professionals to get involved in advocacy efforts.  Encourage your legislators and other decision makers to protect Iowa's environmental health.


It's your right as a citizen to make your concerns known to elected officials.  You can do this by writing a letter, making a phone call, or meeting one-on-one with a public official.  The most important element in influencing public policy is sincerity and belief in what you want to happen.  If your members of state legislature and Congress don't hear from you, they won't know you care about an issue.


Most of your representatives do not have the academic or professional experience and background in environmental health to make decisions on complex issues.  They want to be educated, and they want to know your opinion.


Don't assume someone else will speak up.  Get involved today!  Check out our Iowa and Federal Resources to help you get started.


Want to get involved in IEHA Legislative issues?  Want to have your         voice heard?  Contact committee chairs:         Eric Bradley or Brian Hanft to learn more.

ISAC Legislative Tracking Tool

During the legislative session it is important for county officials to stay up-to-date on legislation that has the potential to affect them. One place to go for this information is the ISAC Legislative Tracking Tool. Click here to access the tool. You can search for all bills by title, affiliate, or ISAC position. The tracking tool is linked to the General Assembly’s website so if you click on the bill number it will pull up the current bill for you to review. If there are any amendments filed for the bill those will be shown as well. 






 

ACTION ALERT 2/4/21

Two legislative updates to report:

  • 1)      HF 319 “Food Freedom” bill (https://www.legis.iowa.gov/legislation/BillBook?ga=89&ba=hf319) – An Act relating to homemade food derived from a commodity produced, processed, prepared, offered for sale, or sold on a farm, including by providing for exemptions from certain regulations. This includes raw milk being sold on a farm and allows for herdshares.

Please contact the subcommittee of Rep. Latham, Wills (bill sponsor) and Judge to discuss this bill. Their emails are:

Shannon.Latham@legis.iowa.gov - Franklin

John.Wills@legis.iowa.gov – Dickinson County

Kenan.Judge@legis.iowa.gov – Dallas County

Numerous documents with talking points can be found on the IEHA website at https://www.ieha.net/Iowa-Advocacy-Resources.

  • 2)      Update on HF80 Home Bakery -The subcommittee on House File 80, which would remove the current $35,000 cap on annual sales of a bakery business legally termed a "home bakery" concluded at 12:45 yesterday.  This measure failed to get out of subcommittee.  It's dead.
  • Testimony came from the Iowa Restaurant Association executive director who explained why IRA opposes the bill, from Americans for Prosperity, which wholeheartedly endorsed the legislation, from DIA which, though registered "undecided", indicated their unease with this move.  IEHA Lobbyist Bob Mulqueen made mention about the current difficulty of home bakeries to accommodate food safety necessities in a small facility where family meals are also produced.  

Representative Gjerde expressed his concern about food safety.  Representative Mitchell expressed his desire to pare down or streamline the existing Iowa food code, but said that HF80 was not what he wanted to do.  The subcommittee chair, Representative Jacobsen, expressed his support for this bill, but admitted that he needed another signature.  

In regards to Rep. Mitchell’s comment about streamlining the food code: During the subcommittee meeting, the executive director of IRA handed the legislators the sum of the pages (literally) of the Iowa Food Code and then handed them the two pages of the food code which apply to home bakeries.  The looseleaf pages of the food code consisted of a stack of 8.5 by 11 pages which seemed to be roughly two inches high.  This brought Representative Mitchell to comment that his problem is not raising the income threshold on home bakeries, but with the size of the Iowa food code.

Thank you for your help!

IEHA Legislative Committee


 IEHA Legislative Committee Updates

Legislative Objectives

For 2021, IEHA has the following two legislative objectives:

        Achieve funding for the Natural Resource Trust Fund – In 2010, 63% of Iowans voted for a constitutional amendment to create the Natural Resources and Outdoor Recreation Trust Fund and provides a formula to allocate the funds: Natural resources establishment, restoration and enhancement – 23%; Soil conservation and water protection – 20%; Watershed protection – 14%; REAP – 13%; Local conservation initiatives – 13%; Trails design, maintenance and expansion – 10%; Lake restoration and water quality improvement – 7%. The amendment also included the funding mechanism - the next time the state sales tax is increased, 3/8 of a cent goes into the fund. It is estimated that the fund has lost out on $1.5 billion in the ten years since its passage because the sales tax was never increased. IEHA is working with Iowa State Association of Counties (ISAC), Iowa Association of County Conservation Boards, Iowa Environmental Council (IEC) and many other partners to achieve this objective. For more information on the trust fund, please go to http://www.iowaswaterandlandlegacy.org/.

        Establish an advisory committee to evaluate the use and value of the Master Matrix -  The Master Matrix was created in 2003 and theoretically provided for local advice and consent for CAFO’s. However, the Master Matrix has proven to be weak and ineffective, as an applicant only needs 50% of the possible points for a passing score and does not need to complete all questions/categories to pass. If an applicant reaches the 50% score, the CAFO is approved whether or not the County Board of Supervisors approves it. This objective will take us more than one legislative session to accomplish. We are working with ISAC, Iowa Zoning Association, and the Iowa County State Association of County Supervisors on this objective.

Public Health funding will be an issue during the 2021 session as our public health partners will be advocating for increases. IEHA will support our partners in this endeavor and register on bills when appropriate.


2021 Session Timetable

January 11 - First day of the Legislative Session

February 4 – Virtual Public Health Day on the Hill (IPHA)

February 12 - Last day for individual lawmaker to request bills and resolutions to the Legislative Services Agency

February 17 – Virtual County Day at the Capitol (ISAC)

March 5 - “First Funnel.”  The date by which a bill must be approved by a standing committee of its house of origin to remain eligible for further consideration that year.

April 2 - “Second Funnel.” The date by which a bill must be approved by a standing committee in the opposite house of its origin.

April 30 - Last “scheduled” day of the 2021 Legislative Session.

TBD – Environmental Lobby Day (IEC)


IEHA's Legislative Priorities


 IEHA 2018 Legislative Position Statements


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