The Iowa House is now debating the bill that establishes new regulations for large livestock units. Another attempt’s being made to give local county boards of supervisors the authority to decide where confinements may or may not be built. Democrat Representative David Schrader of Monroe says today, there are different people living in rural Iowa, with different priorities. He says the problem is not just environmental, he says it’s societal as rural Iowa doesn’t look like it used to.Republican Representative Teresa Garman of rural Ames says county officials need some say when it comes to where large confinements are built. Garman says putting 15-thousand hogs on 20 or 30 acres, it’s no longer a farm operation, it’s a commercial enterprise. She says commercial enterprises are regulated by counties. Garman says government closest to the people is the best government. Garman says the same voters who elect legislators elect supervisors and says, “Do they use good judgment when they vote for us, and bad judgment when they vote for the supervisors? I don’t think so.”But the bill crafted by a bipartisan group of lawmakers maintains statewide standards for the livestock industry, and does not give county officials any authority to make siting decisions. Republican Representative Ralph Klemme of LeMars says that’s the better approach. Klemme says public outcry, though, is having an effect, despite the fact that county officials hands are tied. He says across the state now, the public pressure is strong enough to make potential builders move. He says that’s also local control.The House, at this hour, is still debating the livestock bill and will continue for several more hours. There’s already been one vote on an amendment which would have given county officials “local control”, but that amendment failed.
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