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Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52401
DES MOINES — State lawmakers in the Iowa House on Tuesday approved a resolution that recognizes Ukraine’s sovereignty and expresses support for the people of Ukraine in their quest for freedom and self-governance.
Russia, under the order of President Vladimir Putin, began a full-scale invasion of Ukraine on Feb. 24.
The Iowa House on Tuesday gave unanimous support to House Resolution 108, which says the House “commends the courage and resolve shown by the Ukrainian people in their pursuit of sovereignty and democracy, and pays tribute to the many men and women who gave their lives in pursuit of a free and democratic Ukraine.”
The Senate has a similar resolution that also has bipartisan support.
One of the legislators who read the House resolution Tuesday was Rep. Todd Prichard, a former Iowa National Guard member from Charles City. During previous remarks on the House floor shortly after Russia began its invasion, Prichard recalled his experience training with Ukrainian troops during joint exercises with Eastern European countries in 2017.
“You learn what motivates them and why they want to be a part of what we in America represent. It’s about freedom and it’s about democracy,” Prichard said during those previous floor remarks. “We are always under threat. This country, this idea of freedom and democracy is a controversial subject and concept in other parts of the world. It’s very controversial to Putin. … That’s what Ukraine wants to be and that’s what Russia doesn’t want it to be, because it’s fearful of that.”
SOLAR TAX CREDIT: Legislation to “make good” on a solar tax credit that had more takers than the Legislature appropriated and now has expired was unanimously approved by the House Appropriations Committee on Tuesday.
HF 2395 would make the tax credit available to anyone who filed for the state solar tax credit before it expired.
Over 10 years, more than 4,600 Iowa homeowners received nearly $15 million in tax credits for solar energy installations. However, the residential credit, which was capped at $5 million a year, ran out before all applicants received their credit. According to the bill’s sponsor, the Department of Revenue said there were just shy of 1,500 homeowners who filed for $4.5 million in tax credits in 2020 who were placed on a waiting list. The numbers are expected to be similar for 2021.
“We're not extending the solar tax credit, but we're making good on the credit that should have been available” to homeowners who completed their solar installations before Dec. 31, 2021, Rep. Jane Bloomingdale, R-Northwood, told the committee.
Investment in solar “is good for so many folks,” said Rep. Eric Gjerde, D-Cedar Rapids. “It’s good for small businesses in the solar industry. It's good for homeowners. It allows them to add equity to their home. It's good for farmers. It's green energy. It diversifies our energy grid.”
Iowa’s major utility companies, the Iowa Utility Board, the Sierra Club and bankers were registered as undecided on the bill. No group was registered in opposition.
SENATE CONFIRMATION: Iowans appointed by the governor to serve on roughly two dozen state boards and commissions would no longer face confirmation in the Iowa Senate — unless specifically requested by a majority of senators — under legislation approved in the Senate.
Two Democrats, Joe Bolkcom of Iowa City and Herman Quirmbach of Ames, joined majority Republicans in voting for SF 2263, which now moves to the Iowa House for consideration there.
Currently, gubernatorial appointments to state boards and commissions must be approved by a two-thirds vote of the 50-member Iowa Senate.
The state Board of Corrections, Law Enforcement Academy Council, Public Information Board, Council on Human Services, and Hawk-I Board are among the boards and councils that would no longer be required to have its members confirmed by the Senate.
Senate Democrats argued the bill weakens the system of checks and balances in state government by removing the ability for the Senate to weigh in on many appointments by the governor.
“Our governor holds a lot of power, and I don’t care who is in that governor’s office, but we as Iowans deserve checks and balances on that governor’s office,” said Sen. Janet Petersen, D-Des Moines.
Sen. Roby Smith, R-Davenport, argued the bill does not weaken the system of checks and balances because the bill allows senators to request a confirmation vote on gubernatorial nominees. However, before such a request would be honored and brought to the Senate for a vote, the request must include signatures from 26 senators. So if the same political party holds the governor’s office and a majority in the Senate — as Republicans do now — a senator would need votes from legislators in that party to challenge one of the governor’s nominees.