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Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds vetoes lawmakers' 'good government' legislation

Bill dealing with state government leases had bipartisan support

Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds signs into law House File 2627, which changes the state's professional licensing requirements, du
Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds signs into law House File 2627, which changes the state’s professional licensing requirements, during a Thursday ceremony at the Associated Builders and Contractors of Iowa in Grimes. On Tuesday, she signed more bills and vetoed on in its entirety. (Erin Murphy/Gazette-Lee Des Moines Bureau)

A bill on state government leases that was approved with bipartisan support in the Republican-controlled Legislature has been vetoed by Gov. Kim Reynolds.

House File 2556 was described as a “really simple bill” by floor manager Rep. Dave Deyoe, R-Nevada, when it was approved 97-0 by the House on March 4. After being amended in the Senate, where it passed 33-14 with bipartisan support, the House voted along party lines, 52-40, to send it to the governor.

Reynolds vetoed the bill in its entirety, saying it “lacks clarity and could lead to litigation, confusion and unintended consequences surrounding governmental real estate transactions even where a unanimous vote approves of the transaction.”

The bill would have required state government leases of property over $50,000 to be submitted to the Legislative Services Agency and the Legislature’s Government Oversight committees.

“It’s really a good government bill in terms of helping us know when those leases are let and what they’re let for,” Rep. Mary Mascher, D-Iowa City, said in March.

Reynolds was more concerned with a requirement that any sale of property by the state or a local government must be sold to the “highest responsive, responsible bidder” unless the sale is for “good cause” and approved by a two-thirds vote rather than a simple majority.

“Governmental bodies may reasonably conclude that factors other than price — such as a potential developer’s jobs and economic impact, environmental cleanup, or improvements to the property and infrastructure — should determine to whom a property should be sold,” the governor said. “Imposing a two-thirds vote requirement to make this choice would unnecessarily complicate a local government’s decision-making and could unintentionally hurt redevelopment and economic growth efforts in our state.”

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She also vetoed a portion of HF 2643, an act relating to state and local finances by making appropriations and providing for legal and regulatory responsibilities. Reynolds vetoed Section 57, which would limit the amount of revenue the Iowa Veterans Home could carry forward at the close of the fiscal year to $800,000.

She also vetoed Section 91, which would have authorized the Iowa Economic Development Authority to assist broadband providers in obtaining federal funds. Although she supports improvements to broadband infrastructure, Reynolds said that the Office of the Chief Information Office coordinates those efforts. Introducing another agency would be “unnecessary and could be counterproductive.”

Reynolds also signed:

HF2642: Making appropriations to state departments and agencies from the Rebuild Iowa Infrastructure Fund and the Technology Reinvestment Fund.

HF2644: Making appropriations to the Department of Transportation.

Comments: (319) 398-8375; james.lynch@thegazette.com

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