Iowa House: Thomas Gerhold, March 27, 2023

Hello District 84 from the State Capitol!

Greetings from under the golden dome in Des Moines! The Iowa House of Representatives continues to pass very important bills for Iowans and on March 22nd, we passed a huge bill that protects land-owners property rights.

The House passed House File 565, also known as the “eminent domain” bill which prevents the potential unrestricted use of eminent domain by the three private pipeline companies (Wolf, Summit, and Navigator). Their plan is to bury carbon capture pipelines which would pump the CO2 to both Illinois and North Dakota. HF565 requires at least 90% land-owner approval of the proposed route before eminent domain can be considered. The bill also creates an interim study committee to make recommendations that will improve eminent domain policy in Iowa. The committee will look, for example, at standards for entering land for surveying purposes, review of eminent domain public benefit and private use tests, land compensation practices and procedures, and Iowa Utility Board perspectives.

I am by no means against ethanol companies. In fact, I’m very much in favor of using ethanol over importing petroleum for gas from other countries. It’s better for our air and is a renewable product that adds over $1 per bushel to corn. That’s a win/win for all Iowans and especially the farmers! This bill just prevents the use of government to abuse land-owner rights.

Instead of burying pipelines to pump the CO2 deep underground, one option that could and should be looked at is using the CO2 to make methanol, which can be burned in diesel engines with a small modification. You can read more about this at or watch here:

We also passed HF 604, which gives teachers more tools in dealing with student behavioral issues in the classrooms. We have heard many examples of teachers not getting the support from their administrations when problems arise. This bill will allow teachers to make a complaint directly to the ombudsman’s office about violence and requires them to investigate and includes teacher whistleblower protections.

HF 604 also has a 3-strike system for disciplining disruptive students. The 1st offense has the student meeting with the school counselor and one day of in-school suspension. The 2nd offense will require the student to meet with the school counselor and five days of in-school suspension. The 3rd offense will result in the student being removed from the class and if in high school, they will not receive credit for that class. Legislators were told horrific accounts of teachers being punched, knocked unconscious, biting, kicking, etc., and this bill addresses these unacceptable problems.

The legislature has focused on helping parents with the education of their children, and a recent Des Moines Register poll has shown that Iowans approve at large margins. A few examples: the Iowa legislature has a 52% approval/30%disapproval with parents that have children under 18for handling its job. The legislature has a 60% approval/39% disapproval with parents that have children under 18 for a ban on public schools teaching students about gender identity in K-6th grade.The legislature has been listening to parents and look to do what’s best for the students.

This last week, members of the Iowa Farm Bureau traveled to the Capitol to visit with their legislators, which is always good to visit with constituents!

I hope this finds you healthy, please be careful, and hope you have a great week!

Farm Bureau members visit the Capitol on March 21st. From left: Rep. Gerhold, Atkins, Steve Thompson of Van Horne, and Michael Hopper of Vinton.

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