Democrats are raising a stink about some of the changes republican lawmakers have made in the bill that would establish new state regulations for livestock operations.The “gang of 12” lawmakers who’ve been meeting privately to hammer out the details hashed things out for over six hours yesterday, but republicans and democrats left the meeting split over key elements of the plan. Republicans don’t want the new rules to go into effect until March of next year, but democrats say that’s unacceptable. Representative Bill Witt, a democrat from Waterloo, says there are a lot of “big holes to be covered” in the bill — no pun intended, he adds. He says they needed to make sure there would be enforcement of air regulations immediately, instead of delaying that enforcement. Witt says democrats aren’t ready to abandon the bipartisan effort, yet. He says they have to keep working and keep it together.Senate Republican Leader Stewart Iverson of Dows says the delay is merely an attempt to respond to some of the complaints they’ve heard from farmers.Iverson says the delay doesn’t gut the bill, but makes it something that’s practical.Another point of contention centers on whether anyone should be able to artificially lower the water table in order to be able to build a manure lagoon. Senate leaders had hoped to debate the bill in the Ag Committee AND on the Senate floor today, but those plans may change.
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