Bills introduced week of February 11

SF192 would allow the department of transportation or a board of supervisors to straighten, deepen, or otherwise improve any channel, river, stream, or other watercourse if a highway project results in a situation that might contribute to flooding in areas that are not part of the highway right-of-way. They will also be authorized to use eminent domain procedures for this purpose.

SF169 would require the department of natural resources to submit a regulatory fiscal impact on cities report to the governor and legislature by January 1, 2014. The report would describe the “probable quantitative and qualitative impact of each chapter of administrative rules adopted by the environmental protection commission, economic or otherwise, upon affected cities, including a description of the nature and amount of all of the different kinds of costs that would be incurred in complying with each chapter over a 10-year period.”

HF219 makes several modifications to eminent domain authority:

  • property listed on the state register of historic places shall not be removed from the register solely for the purpose of allowing the property to be acquired by condemnation unless the condemnation is undertaken by the department of transportation.
  • property on the state register of historic places may not be condemned unless a joint resolution authorizing the condemnation is approved by a vote of at least two-thirds of each house of the general assembly and signed by the governor. This does not apply to a condemnation by the department of transportation
  • it makes several changes to eminent domain for the development or creation of a lake, raising the bar to exercise eminent domain, and making a provision that if work has not commenced within two years the original owner shall be given the option to buy the property back.
  • requires a city proposing to condemn land outside the city limits – including for an urban renewal project – show that “viable alternatives do not exist within the city and the acquisition of the property is necessary.”
  • HF208 would create an urban-rural dialogue committee to improve collaborative efforts, including by reviewing existing programs administered by state agencies and by studying methods to improve awareness, understanding, and communication between the different types of communities. The committee would be headed by the department of agriculture and land stewardship, and include representatives from the department of natural resources, Iowa state university, and public members representing urban and rural communities.
  • HF184 would prohibit cities from regulating rental occupancy based on the familial status of the renters.  Successor to HSB 9.
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