A lot has happened since my last post on the Smart Planning legislation. What seemed in doubt on Thursday came back to life on Friday, only to be fed poison that same day. The bill was resuscitated on Saturday and, under a new identity, is being taken up by the House as this post is being written. This is a brief summary, leaving out many of the amendments that have inserted/deleted various provisions of less importance.
SF 2265 passed the House by a 51-41 vote on Friday, but only after a number of amendments were proposed. One of the amendments proposed by the Republicans that was adopted on an 89-2 vote and made part of 2265 before its passage essentially read that any state agency, local government or other entity planning according to the included smart planning principles:
“shall not implement or undertake a planning, zoning, development, or resources managment decision that involves the use of eminent domain authority under Chapters 6A or 6B [of the Iowa Code].”
In other words, if a community practices smart planning, it would lose its ability to exercise eminent domain authority under virtually any circumstances.
Another amendment included in the House version brought back language from the Water Resources Coordinating Council bill that died 3 weeks ago. It gave the Smart Planning Taskforce the responsibility to develop a model floodplain ordinance for local governments to consider that would regulate development in the 0.2% (500-year) floodplain.
The bill was messaged back to the Senate. Rather than reconsider SF 2265 with the amendments included by the House, however, the original language, minus the eminent domain amendment but including the model floodplain ordinance amendment, was attached to the Rebuild Iowa Infrastructure Fund appropriations bill – SF 2389. (Don’t ask me how it works. I’m convinced that parliamentarians must hold advanced degrees in physics). If you want to find the Smart Planning language in SF 2389 it begins on page 23. An important addition places $30 million in a fund for disaster prevention programs, and links city and county eligibility for the funds to following the smart planning and comprehensive planning provisions of the bill.
SF 2389, with the Smart Planning language, passed out of the Senate 29-16 on Saturday. At this time (5:20pm Monday), the bill is being considered on the floor of the House.