A bill to help Iowa’s smallest towns attract new grocery stores or other retail outlets has passed the Iowa House, and awaits debate in the Iowa Senate. Lawmakers say residents of the town of Stratford formed a cooperative and started a grocery store, but then ran into regulatory problems when they tried to do the same thing for a hardware store.

Representative Stu Iverson, a Republican from Clarion, says the bill gives towns the direction they need to stay legal. He says when people try to go together form a coop and kick in some money to start a grocery store or hardware store, they were running into problems with the Securities and Exchange Commission. Iverson says his own home town would be helped by the bill.

“I know in the community of Dows where I grew up, the grocery story that closed, so we are talking about the exact same thing,” Iverson. He says it the smaller communities that are having the bigger problems. The bill applies to towns with populations of less than 2,000.

Iverson says it will help his own hometown of Dows form a coop to start a grocery store.