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Sunday Talk: Rowley on the Senate Budget Debate

This week in the Iowa Senate we had three days of debate, committee work, and continued to focus on the FY 2025 state budget. As chair of the Administration and Regulation budget subcommittee, I presented SSB 3199 to the Appropriations Committee this week and saw it pass through both subcommittee and committee. This starts the discussion between both chambers as we set budget priorities that are prudent and fiscally conservative.

This week the Senate passed SF 2412, a bill to help control the cost of herbicide for farmers. This bill attracted some attention so I’d like to use this week’s newsletter to provide some background about the significance of this bill.

A few years ago, trial lawyers took aim at RoundUp, a commonly used herbicide on many farms across the state. Trial lawyers found a willing judge and jury in California to award a multi-billion-dollar judgement against the maker of that product, claiming the label the company used did not adequately warn the users of the product of the risks using it.

To be clear, the label used on RoundUp is determined by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. If the company does not use the label approved by the EPA, that company cannot sell the product in the United States. The EPA has determined the label on RoundUp is correct and appropriate given the risk of the product, which is minimal. This agency is the same one trying to regulate every farm pond in America, so if there was even a hint of a problem with RoundUp, the EPA would regulate it as strictly as possible.

RoundUp is more effective, cheaper, safer for farmers, and better for the environment than many herbicides used a couple of decades ago. It is usable for farmers because of the advances in seed genetics that made crops resistant to it. If this product was not available, it would have a disastrous impact on agricultural production in our state.

This bill, SF 2412 simply states manufacturers cannot be sued for the required EPA label that they are required to put on their agricultural products. In other words, no company should be sued for something they have no control over. It is a common-sense proposal, but during debate in the Senate there were many wild claims made about not allowing farmers or others to sue if they get sick. Despite the false rhetoric of opponents to the bill, nothing in this bill prevents them, or anyone from suing, if a product is found to cause cancer. This bill just states a manufacturer cannot be sued due to the language on the label, if they label their product as required under federal law and regulated by the EPA.

In Iowa the legislature is routinely battling out-of-state attacks on production agriculture. The attack on an effective, affordable product that helps Iowa farmers produce the cheapest and safest food supply in human history is unfortunate, but not surprising. I voted for this this bill and it passed on a 30-19 count.  It now moves out of the Senate to the House.

At this time, I am optimistic the 90th Assembly will adjourn on time, but as many of us know there’s no guarantee and it usually does not work that way! I continue to work on getting several bills to the floor yet and I am anticipating a heavy debate schedule this coming week. More to follow next week!

I want to thank these people, their organizations and communities, for holding public forums this 2024 session. It is a lot of hard work putting these forums together and it so appreciated!

  • Melissa Michaelis, Executive Director of Winn-Worth Betco: Lake Mills, Thompson, Buffalo Center, Forest City
  • Vicki Mallory, Executive Director of the Algona Area Chamber of Commerce:  Algona
  • Deb Hite, Executive Director of the Emmetsburg Area Chamber of Commerce:  Emmetsburg
  • Lexie Ruter, Executive Director of the Estherville Area Chamber of Commerce:  Estherville
  • Sheriffa Jones, Executive Director, and Blake Goss, Events & Programs Coordinator of the Spencer Area Chamber of Commerce:  Spencer
  • Kae Hoppe, Owner of Tweeters Bar & Grill of Okoboji:  Iowa Great Lakes

I also want to recognize the Lake Mills High School students and chaperones who visited us last Wednesday. They were a great group and it was a pleasure to visit with them. Thanks to Charise Schwarm, Principal Madson, Dan Rice (teacher), Megan Peterson, (Aid/Assistant), and Terry Ringham for driving that bus all the way back and forth! I hope you had a great time!

The best way to contact me is email at [email protected] or by cell at (712) 330-5596. Have a great week!

Senator Dave Rowley, District 5
Serving: Clay (Partial), Dickinson, Emmet, Palo Alto, Kossuth and Winnebago

Visiting with Lake Mills High School students

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