This bill was introduced last year and passed the House. There is a lengthy discussion in that thread from last year just a few threads below this one. The bill was introduced in the Senate and assigned a sub committee. The legislation session ended before any action could be taken on the bill. The bill was supposed to be reintroduced and acted on Monday but I have not seen anything. I hear today that Farm Bureau is blocking the bill from any action because the Habitat Stamp funds would allow for public land acquisition. The same reason they fought so hard against it last year. Look at the following cut and paste that shows what kind of land the DNR acquires and how much: What are Iowa’s PUBLIC lands? Iowa’s public lands include lakes, streams, forests, prairies, preserves, hatcheries, wildlife areas, and parks. Eminent domain is NOT used by the DNR. Did you know? · The DNR is one of the only state agencies that pays property taxes on Iowa’s public lands. In FY18, the DNR paid a total of $1,009,469.15 in property taxes. · Iowa has 36 million acres · 109,208 – total number acres for which the DNR pays property taxes · 380,507 – total number of acres publicly available for use including state parks, wildlife management areas, public hunting areas, trails and lakes. · 1% - total percentage of public lands available for use by Iowans in the entire state. · 137,543 -- total number of acres of public land acquired since 1990 when the DNR tax code—which requires DNR to pay property taxes on land acquired with REAP and Wildlife Habitat Stamp—was enacted. · 32 – average Corn Suitability Rating (CSR) of public lands · $2,258 – FY17 average purchase price per acre for public lands · $7,326 – 2017 statewide average farmland value per acre · 37% of public lands are classified as Highly Erodible Soils (HEL) · 17% of public lands are Hydric Soils · 40% of public lands are forested · 14% of public lands are water · 919,405 – number of acres of public lands in Iowa’s Road Right-of-way · Iowa ranks 47th in the nation for fewest acres for public use, according to the U.S. Census, Statistical Abstract of the United States How it works: The vast majority of sellers make initial contact the DNR about land they are wishing to sell to the Department. Often, landowners want their land permanently protected and available for Iowans to enjoy. The DNR does not automatically accept; however, the land must meet the following criteria: There must be a large benefit for conservation, recreation or the environment. Functional habitats, water quality, etc. It must provide a public benefit and access. DNR staff must be able to efficiently manage the land. The Department does turn down land purchase offers and donations often due to not meeting the above objectives. Funding Sources REAP Open Spaces funding is used, in part, to purchase public land for outdoor recreation. Land purchased is ONLY acquired from willing sellers and at appraised market value. These lands remain on county property tax rolls. Primary funding sources for these activities include: REAP Open Spaces Wildlife Habitat Stamp Federal: Duck Stamp Federal Receipts North America Wetland Conservation Act State Wildlife Grant Pittman/Robertson Act Federal Endangered Species Federal Mitigation Funds Federal Highway Administration (Scenic By-Way) Other: Private/Partner Organizations Please contact the members of the Ways and Means Committee: Randy Feenstra (R, District 2), Chair Jerry Behn (R, District 24), Vice Chair Pam Jochum (D, District 50), Ranking Member Joe Bolkcom (D, District 43) Michael Breitbach (R, District 28) Waylon Brown (R, District 26) Jim Carlin (R, District 3) Dan Dawson (R, District 8) William A. Dotzler Jr. (D, District 31) Jeff Edler (R, District 36) Robert Hogg (D, District 33) Matt McCoy (D, District 21) Herman C. Quirmbach (D, District 23) Jason Schultz (R, District 9) Roby Smith (R, District 47) Tell them you are supportive of a license fee increase and you would like to see the bill (HF631) move forward. Or even tell them you are supportive of a fee increase in someway other than HF631. If you are not supportive of a fee increase tell them that too and ask that they let the Farm Bureau dictate politics and laws in Iowa.