Representatives from Corn Belt Power Cooperative, Calhoun County REC, Midland Power Cooperative and Prairie Energy Cooperative met with state legislators Dec. 19 in Fort Dodge to thank them for their recent legislative support and brief them on co-ops’ views for the upcoming General Session.
Bill McKim, chief executive officer, Midland Power, thanked Sen. Tim Kraayenbrink and Rep. Mike Sexton for their support of the “Move Over, Slow Down” legislation passed last session that helps protect linemen working alongside roads. He also thanked them for helping to pass a bill that simplifies energy efficiency reporting.
Co-op representatives emphasized how important the assigned service area laws are so utilities can plan generation supplies and infrastructure development. Additionally, they explained how assigned service territories help with price stability and encourage economic development efforts.
Electric co-ops have placed these issues on their 2018 legislative agenda:
• In favor of standards that provide co-ops authority to trim trees where easements are not recorded
• Support efforts to extend and refocus tax incentives for renewable energy that benefit all rate payers
The meeting concluded with legislators reviewing issues they anticipate will be addressed in the upcoming General Session. Issues will likely include a look at the livestock matrix, the possibility of taxing online sales and a potential cap on tax increment financing.
Sexton commented, “This session will be fast and furious. We’re supposed to go 100 days. This year, the speaker of the house wants to do 90 days, in effort to save on legislators’ per diem. If we want something done, it needs to be introduced right away.”
On Jan. 9, more than 150 co-op representatives discussed priorities with legislators at the Welcome Back Reception, held at the State Historical Building, downtown Des Moines. The Welcome Back Reception is designed to give co-op leaders an opportunity to make contact with their legislators as they return to Des Moines.
The Iowa Association of Electric Cooperatives, the Iowa Institute for Cooperatives, Petroleum Marketers and Convenience Stores of Iowa, Iowa Communications Alliance, and Iowa Biotech Association sponsored the event.
Senators and representatives were invited to attend the day after they convened the opening of the 2018 General Session. Gov. Kim Reynolds, who earlier in the day gave her first Condition of the State address, discussed issues with co-op directors and employees at the reception.