The Preservation of Rural Iowa Alliance 
MAY 25th  2015 Legislative Update  
HELP Contact Iowa Legislature Leadership 
Along the "PROPOSED" route in Clay County
Help protect Iowa's private property! 
STOP the use of  eminent  domain to take private property! 

Update from The Board of Directors

Even on Memorial Day as we honor those who fought and died for our country and remember family and friends we have lost - many of us are also thinking about our property rights and what the next several months will look like for us.  

Today someone asked if I had given up on any legislative action being successful. Without hesitation my answer is NO!  But I also know that we are in the final week of the legislative session and we must continue to keep the pressure on legislators with our biggest focus on contacting members of leadership.  

As of Friday May 22nd Senate File 506 has still not moved to the Senate Floor for debate. HSB 249  has also not moved out of The House Government Oversight Committee and on to the House floor for debate. 

In the past week we have heard a good deal of support from legislators that we have contacted.  Their message is clear -Leadership in the House and Senate are not allowing these bills to be brought to the floor for debate. 

Our one and only job this week is to contact leadership followed by ongoing contact with legislators asking fort their support of these 2 bills. 

Today a friend of mine was flying out of New York and sent me this picture which is an advertisement for Siemens USA, the company that manufactures wind turbines. No matter what you think of renewable energy or wind energy you still have the right to be against the use of eminent domain to take private property. Do not let legislators forget private property rights and farming crops is critical for American's future. 

"Iowa farming"- We feed the world!

New York Airport Advertisement for Siemens uSA 

Thank you very much for continuing to do this important work!!!
Carolyn Sheridan 
Board of Director President 
On Behalf of The Preservation of Rural Iowa Alliance 
Leg islative Information - What do you need to do? 

This is the last week of the session.  If the budget is not passed this week they will only come back for work on the budget.  During the end of the session when passing the budget is critical this is an optimum time to put pressure on leadership since they need their party to stand together. 

This week the following needs to happen:  
  • House Study Bill 249 needs to come out of committee and on to the House floor for debate. 
  • Senate File 506 needs to move to the Senate Floor for debate.
To be successful we need you to 
Contact Leadership! 

The more email messages and phone messages the bigger the impact.  
When you call - ask to be connected to their phone and leave a detailed message. 
When you email - ask for their support in bringing these bills to the floor for debate. (see more details below on ideas for your email) 

Senate Leadership: I spoke personally with Senator Gronstal (Majority Leader) last week and the discussion was good. He did not state he would bring this bill to the Senate Floor but he also did not dismiss the idea completely so hearing from you will send a powerful message.


Senate Majority Leader is  Michael Gronstal
Phone number:  (515)281-4610

House Leadership:
 At the end of last week we  heard that House leadership members (Linda Upmeyer and Kraig Paulsen) continue to  discourage this bill from coming out of committee and they have also indicated they will not allow this bill to be put on the calendar even if it comes out of committee.  

House Majority Leader is  Linda Upmeyer 
Phone:   (515)281-3221 

Speaker of the House is   Kraig Paulsen
Phone:  (515)281-3221

During the end of the session when passing the budget is critical this is an optimum time to put pressure on leadership since they need their party to stand together. 

After you contact Leadership - contact Representatives 
Senators  with the following message: 

Contact Representatives across the state with this message: 
"We need your help to allow HSB 249 to come out of committee to be debated on the House floor. "

Contact Senators across the state with this message. 
"Please ask your leadership to debate SF 506 on the Senate Floor." 

To email Representatives -   click here to be directed to the Iowa Legislature  House page which gives you their contact information. 

To email  Senators - click here to be directed to Iowa Legislature Senate page which gives you  their contact information.
What should you include in your  communication  with legislators?

Most important - 
Ask them to work with their leadership so action can be taken in the House and Senate on both bills.
  • Your personal story and why you opposed to the misuse of eminent domain
  • Additional Key points you may consider adding:
    • There are no bench marks for the IUB to look towards for the number of voluntary easements that must be obtained before eminent domain will be granted. A minimum number of 75% voluntary easements should be part of the IUB criteria.
    • There are currently less than 15% voluntary easements signed in the entire state of Iowa. This is after 20 months of work by RICL land agents.  We do not see this changing. 
    • These bills provide guidance to the IUB in handling petitions by merchant transmission companies that request the right of eminent domain as part of their petition for a transmission franchise. 
    • Eminent domain should not be used by a private company for private purposes to locate a "merchant transmission line" that will not provide any electricity to any Iowan.  We believe very strongly that allowing eminent domain to be used in such a situation is an abuse of the eminent domain process
What do these bills do? 
The bills in the Senate and the House do five things:
  • First,  these bills  require that before these companies can be given the power of eminent domain, the agency in state government that is responsible for energy development - the Iowa Economic Development Authority - must recommend that the proposed project  be built in its annual report under Iowa Code section 473.15.  This addresses the need for ongoing planning that is not currently met by our state law.
  • Second, the bills require that before these companies can be given the power of eminent domain, they must acquire 75% of the land needed for a project through voluntary easements.
  • Third, the bills require that the companies seeking voluntary easements are subject to the complaint and investigation authority of the Iowa Utilities Board in section 476.3(1).
  • Fourth, they increase the financial responsibility for crude oil pipeline projects from $250,000 total to $500,000 or more per county.
  • Fifth, the bills provide additional landowner protections - including access to legal counsel if the board finds there is good cause to make the companies pay for legal counsel for affected landowners - to assist landowners who are facing eminent domain by companies which are not public utilities, which do not have a duty to serve Iowans, and which are not subject to ongoing supervision and planning by the Iowa Utilities Board.
Updated Numbers 
Voluntary Easements:   Less than 15% 
The number of voluntary easements remain flat with 176 registered at county court houses in all 16 counties. The Alliance checks each county court house weekly to monitor these numbers. 
Objections:  1324 formal objections 
  Click to see table   with numbers in each county as of May 25th   
Legislators Contact Information 

To call your legislator during session:
Representatives: 515.281.3221
Senators: 515.281.3371
Ask to be transferred to their desk.

To write your legislator during session:
(Legislator Name)
1007 East Grand Avenue
Des Moines, Iowa 50319

To email your legislator call the numbers above or visit the Iowa Legislative website: 
Home addresses and phone numbers are available online. 
Or visit our website - Call to Action/Legislation Tab

Board of Directors
The Presevation of Rural Iowa Alliance
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