Iowa legislative assault on public land and wildlife

ElkFever2

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Mar 4, 2019
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Iowa
I know this may be small potatoes to most forum members, but please consider getting involved to help defend hunting opportunity for the common sportsperson in Iowa. For over a decade now, every IA legislative session there is an assault on this opportunity, and 2022 is no different. There is a bill to effectively prevent public land acquisitions (SSB 3134), a bill permitting LO deer tags to be transferred and sold (SF 2219), and a pile of other bills aimed to reward campaign contributors and industry lobbyists. Iowa has a Republican Governor, and strong Republican majorities in both the House and Senate. Despite a streamlined path to pass legislation, relatively few changes are made each year, due in large part to effective lobbying of the Iowa Bowhunters Association, as well as significant numbers of Iowa hunters voicing strong opposition to the proposals. Iowa hunters are overwhelmingly satisfied with our current game and fish laws, and we are not the ones pushing these bills! It is rather organizations such as Iowa Farm Bureau, Ravin Crossbows, etc.

The IA legislative session is Jan 10 - Apr 19, and things are moving quickly on numerous bills. Two places where natural resources bills are tracked and updated are https://iowawhitetail.com/forums/legislative-forum.24/ and https://www.iowabowhunters.org/news.html . Each bill is introduced as a Senate File (SF) or House File (HF), and then moves to 3-member subcommittee, as a Senate Subcommittee Bill (SSB) or an House Subcommittee Bill (HSB). If passed out of subcommittee, it moves to the full committee, typically the Natural Resource Committee. If passed there, it gets renamed as a Senate Bill (SB) or House Bill (HB), and gets discussed, and sometimes put to a vote by the whole chamber. If approved, goes to the other chamber, and then the governor's desk. Right now most bills are in the Subcommittee, Committee, or full chamber. To date, all natural resource bills have advanced along party lines.

New this year, the DNR's lobbyist may declare "for" or "against" bills. Previously, they were only permitted to declare "undecided", because they are a government agency supposedly representing "the resource", rather than whichever party is in power. Sad and disheartening as it is, the agency has now moved into position that could potentially be abused as a political arm of the governor's office. The DNR lobbyist, Todd Coffelt, has declared being "for" a number of bills. To his credit, all the bills he has declared being "for" relate to environmental cleanliness and protection, and he appears to be firmly representing the resource itself, rather than any party political agenda. Hopefully, no upcoming change in that respect.

How to get involved:

1. Most subcommittee and committee meetings may be joined via Zoom, open to the public, and there may be an opportunity to speak or comment via IM. It is also possible to leave written comments in advance of the meetings via https://www.legis.iowa.gov/committees . Please note that the .gov website is hard to navigate, so links to comment from the IA whitetail forum or the IA Bowhunters Assoc. are typically easier to follow.

2. Call or email IA legislators. Emails are listed at https://www.legis.iowa.gov/legislators/informationOnLegislators/allLegislators . If you click on the name often their cell # is listed as well. When calling or texting please try and be respectful. IA is a small town state and nearly everyone is quite neighborly. You might actually get someone who answers the phone or calls you back.

Thanks again everyone! It is no secret that IA highly restricts non-resident deer hunters, even non-resident landowners. We are sort of a last stronghold of resident opportunity in the midwest. A NR buck license is expensive, and takes years to draw. One consequence of this is it allows residents to gain access to hunt on private land with relative ease, and our tiny amount of public lands are not overly-crowded. I wish this was the case everywhere in NA. Anyone who wants to come hunt IA you are more than welcome! If you are a self-guided public land hunter feel free to PM me and I can try and help in any way. I've lived in SE, SW, central, and eastern IA, and have hunted public ground in all those areas. I am just not in favor with ripping the doors off the barn to allow a deluge of commercialized interests take over our resources, which is pretty much what would happen if all these bills were passed this year (read:MT)
 

Gellar

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Last session this was met with record amounts of calls, emails and opposition. I did not hear anything about it from the county conservation system today. Hopefully tomorrow we will get a legislative update on it.
 

Gellar

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Never mind, I just checked my email. It looks like several conservation groups, Iowa county conservation system, Iowa natural heritage found, etc have signed on in opposition. There is no one currently registered as in favor. This bill will make it so county conservation and dnr can pay no more then a certain price for land, no doubt it will be less than the going average for land. Also, this bill will prohibit private land owners from donating their land to the dnr or county conservation board!
 

BrentD

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Joined
Feb 3, 2018
Messages
4,449
Location
In the middle
I know this may be small potatoes to most forum members, but please consider getting involved to help defend hunting opportunity for the common sportsperson in Iowa. For over a decade now, every IA legislative session there is an assault on this opportunity, and 2022 is no different. There is a bill to effectively prevent public land acquisitions (SSB 3134), a bill permitting LO deer tags to be transferred and sold (SF 2219), and a pile of other bills aimed to reward campaign contributors and industry lobbyists. Iowa has a Republican Governor, and strong Republican majorities in both the House and Senate. Despite a streamlined path to pass legislation, relatively few changes are made each year, due in large part to effective lobbying of the Iowa Bowhunters Association, as well as significant numbers of Iowa hunters voicing strong opposition to the proposals. Iowa hunters are overwhelmingly satisfied with our current game and fish laws, and we are not the ones pushing these bills! It is rather organizations such as Iowa Farm Bureau, Ravin Crossbows, etc.

The IA legislative session is Jan 10 - Apr 19, and things are moving quickly on numerous bills. Two places where natural resources bills are tracked and updated are https://iowawhitetail.com/forums/legislative-forum.24/ and https://www.iowabowhunters.org/news.html . Each bill is introduced as a Senate File (SF) or House File (HF), and then moves to 3-member subcommittee, as a Senate Subcommittee Bill (SSB) or an House Subcommittee Bill (HSB). If passed out of subcommittee, it moves to the full committee, typically the Natural Resource Committee. If passed there, it gets renamed as a Senate Bill (SB) or House Bill (HB), and gets discussed, and sometimes put to a vote by the whole chamber. If approved, goes to the other chamber, and then the governor's desk. Right now most bills are in the Subcommittee, Committee, or full chamber. To date, all natural resource bills have advanced along party lines.

New this year, the DNR's lobbyist may declare "for" or "against" bills. Previously, they were only permitted to declare "undecided", because they are a government agency supposedly representing "the resource", rather than whichever party is in power. Sad and disheartening as it is, the agency has now moved into position that could potentially be abused as a political arm of the governor's office. The DNR lobbyist, Todd Coffelt, has declared being "for" a number of bills. To his credit, all the bills he has declared being "for" relate to environmental cleanliness and protection, and he appears to be firmly representing the resource itself, rather than any party political agenda. Hopefully, no upcoming change in that respect.

How to get involved:

1. Most subcommittee and committee meetings may be joined via Zoom, open to the public, and there may be an opportunity to speak or comment via IM. It is also possible to leave written comments in advance of the meetings via https://www.legis.iowa.gov/committees . Please note that the .gov website is hard to navigate, so links to comment from the IA whitetail forum or the IA Bowhunters Assoc. are typically easier to follow.

2. Call or email IA legislators. Emails are listed at https://www.legis.iowa.gov/legislators/informationOnLegislators/allLegislators . If you click on the name often their cell # is listed as well. When calling or texting please try and be respectful. IA is a small town state and nearly everyone is quite neighborly. You might actually get someone who answers the phone or calls you back.

Thanks again everyone! It is no secret that IA highly restricts non-resident deer hunters, even non-resident landowners. We are sort of a last stronghold of resident opportunity in the midwest. A NR buck license is expensive, and takes years to draw. One consequence of this is it allows residents to gain access to hunt on private land with relative ease, and our tiny amount of public lands are not overly-crowded. I wish this was the case everywhere in NA. Anyone who wants to come hunt IA you are more than welcome! If you are a self-guided public land hunter feel free to PM me and I can try and help in any way. I've lived in SE, SW, central, and eastern IA, and have hunted public ground in all those areas. I am just not in favor with ripping the doors off the barn to allow a deluge of commercialized interests take over our resources, which is pretty much what would happen if all these bills were passed this year (read:MT)
Thanks for posting this.
 

jlmatthew

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Joined
Aug 28, 2010
Messages
1,873
Location
Colorado
Everyone loves to say how great Colorado is, but when their states try to do Colorado stuff, folks fight it! hahahaha! 😂

But I'm with you. I wish Colorado would adopt Iowa's thinking with tags concerning Resident/Nonresident allocations. Or Wyoming, Arizona, Montana, Utah, Idaho, Oregon, Kansas, etc, etc....
 

Shangobango

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Joined
Aug 5, 2019
Messages
1,602
Location
Louisiana
Thanks for posting this. I never would have known. I hope this stuff gets canned.

I have driven through Iowa a bunch of times. I always wanted to hunt or trap up there.

The Loess Hills area always intrigued me. I would love to ramble around in it for a few days.

Good luck!
 

Gellar

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Joined
Jan 31, 2014
Messages
3,493
Location
The Driftless Area
This week coming up, February 14- February 18 is the first of three funnel weeks for Iowa legislature. That means if a bill has not been passed by the full committee it is assigned to by Feb. 18 it is dead for the year. If the bill is passed by the committee before the end of business on Friday it is not passed but has gotten one step closer.

Keep calling, emailing, sending smoke signals, or whatever other way you prefer to contact your legislators and let them know you will not stand for this BS.

There are other bills that have been introduced that may negatively or positively affect the DNR and public land in Iowa.

Link to Iowa Natural heritage and Iowa county conservation board legislative newsletter: https://myemail.constantcontact.com...eport.html?soid=1102478471782&aid=2j3rNsmtlF4
 

Gellar

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Messages
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The Driftless Area
If you haven’t looked at the bills affecting the DNR and county conservation in the last couple of days most of them have been amended. Some are not bad bills, some don’t really pertain to the hunting and fishing side of the DNR, and in the sb3134 the values that are allowed to be payed have been added and also some clarification on how land owners can/can’t deduct the sale of the land from their income tax. The values that can be payed are 75% the appraised value for timber/non tillable land, and 70% or less for crop land depending on the crop rating of it.
And of course private landowners cannot donate their land to Dnr or County. You may ask is there anyone who is actually just giving their land to the DNR or a county conservation board? There probably are not many landowners that are doing straight to the DNR or county, but landowners donate their land to the Iowa natural heritage foundation or many county conservation boards have a nonprofit 501c3 set up for fundraising and donations operated by a separate volunteer group that will accept land or buy land and transfer it to the county conservation board.

In the last two or three years we have had at least 3 properties donated to our local county conservation foundation and then transferred to to public side. This would no longer be acceptable under these new rules. In all of the circumstances the landowner approached the county first with the idea for donating their land.
 

Gellar

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Messages
3,493
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The Driftless Area
I grew up in Iowa and have seen the ups and down of this state when it comes to conservation. Lately, it has been hard to watch. I just wrote everyone on the committee. Fingers crossed the right thing will get done.
It is very concerning when the legislature continues to try and pass all of these bills attacking public land and the DNR that no one is in favor of but in 2010 over 2/3 of the residents of Iowa voted to raise the sales tax to provide dedicated funding for conservation and outdoor recreation in Iowa at the city, county and state level they have sat on their hands and failed to act.
 

Gellar

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Jan 31, 2014
Messages
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The Driftless Area
It looks like the only bill that did not get through committee is sb2215 which would pay private landowners who allow public access under the IHAP program $8/acre.

Please note, they do have until Friday to pass bills from committee. AND if a bill gets past this week it is not official yet. There are two more funnels to go before it is voted on by all. But that is not any reason to back down and let these folks know how you feel.

I could not watch the hearing today as I was teaching a hunters Ed class to a bunch of sixth graders, but I will learn more tomorrow and report back.
 

Gellar

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Messages
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The Driftless Area
How is Raven Crossbows supporting this stuff? I'd be happy to send them a nastygram as well if anyone shares some deets.

Ssb 3139 pertains to training for emergency medical training.

Hf 2365 would allow people who do not fill their tag during bow season to use it during another season.
 
Yeti

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