Lawmakers near the end of the 2024 session

We have just finished the last full week of the 2024 Legislative Session. Our last day is next Tuesday. I do not believe we will be well and truly done. There is optimistic speculation that we might make it by the end of next week, but we will just have to wait and see.

I’m writing this week’s letter from my office at home. I just finished doing chores, ordered feed, and am now trying to gather my thoughts to share with you.

The reason we came home early this week was the House has caught up with the Senate in passing policy bills. The appropriations process slowed down as there is a chance in the next couple of days the House, Senate, and the governor are going to try to agree on budget numbers. Hopefully this will happen before we go back on Monday. If they do agree on numbers, I think there is a very good chance we could get done next week.

I have had several of you call me about bills you have been interested in this session. I will be honest with you, if it has not been passed by now then there is not much hope it is going to make it out in the last few days of this legislative session.

Hopefully, with these extra couple of days at home on the farm, I will be able to catch up on some sheep jobs as well as get equipment ready for the field. This time of year, I always feel so far behind as my neighbors were already in the field as I returned home. We don’t even have anything hooked up and ready to go yet.

Also, this may be my last newsletter of the year. Since next Tuesday is our last paid day, we will be losing our clerks which means we are on our own. We will just have to see how it goes.

HF 2681: Regulation of Traffic Cameras

We’ve heard from so many Iowans who are frustrated by the amount of speed cameras we’ve seen pop up all around Iowa in the past few years.

Some cities and counties argue these speed cameras are used to increase public safety. However, it’s clear that some municipalities are abusing these systems and using them as cash cows to raise revenue for themselves. Regulation on speed cameras is long overdue.

Here’s what the bill stipulates:

• Cities or counties must prove a legitimate safety concern and receive a permit from the Department of Transportation to install a traffic camera.

• Traffic cameras could only be used to issue tickets to someone driving more than 10 miles over the speed limit.

• Images taken by the traffic camera must be deleted within 30 days unless they are a part of an ongoing criminal investigation.

• Signs must be placed between 500 and 1,00 feet in advance of any traffic camera.

• Local governments can only use the money generated by traffic cameras for transportation infrastructure improvement or for their police and fire departments.

Just for the record there was an amendment to completely ban speed traffic cameras which I voted for, but it did not pass.

Bills from Agriculture:

The Senate passed the Meat Integrity Bill, which I have talked about in a past newsletter. It is now on its way down to the governor’s desk.

SF 2204: Foreign Ownership of Land

Another ag related topic, Gov. Reynolds signed into law legislation to strengthen Iowa’s laws on ownership of Iowa’s agricultural land by non-U.S. citizens. SF 2204 easily passed with bipartisan support with a vote of 95-0 in the House. The new law increases reporting requirements, increases enforcement of current laws, and authorizes the Attorney General’s office to investigate reports of potential violations of Iowa’s laws concerning foreign ownership.

SF 2204 expands the registration requirements for nonresident ownership to include intermediaries and parent corporations. The reports shall now also include the legal name, birthplace, nationality of the owner, and the supervisor of the daily operations on the land. Additionally, the reports require a statement of the purpose for conducting business in the state. The bill gives the Attorney General the authority to conduct investigations regarding violations of land ownership, including subpoena powers.

The new law also increases the civil penalties for failing to file a report on time by increasing the penalty up to 25% the assessed value of the land. The legislation also requires the Secretary of State to prepare an annual report compiling the information included in the foreign land ownership registrations to be provided to the General Assembly and the governor.

I will try to do a newsletter next week hopefully we will be done, and it can be a wrap up of the session.

State Rep. Mike Sexton, R-Rockwell City, represents Calhoun, Pocahontas and Sac counties plus western Webster County.


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