A huge crowd gathered in the governor’s formal office at the capitol this morning to witness Kim Reynolds sign a water quality bill into law.
“Making strides towards improved water quality takes collaboration among many players and we are surrounded today by farmers, landowners, city officials, researchers, agribusiness leaders who all play a role in the shared goal of improved water quality,” Reynolds said during the bill-signing ceremony. “With the signing of Senate File 512, we now have a long-term, dedicated and growing source of funding.”
It was the first piece of legislation Reynolds has had the opportunity to sign into law since she took office last May.
“It was pretty darned exciting, let me tell you,” Reynolds told reporters after the event, “because we have been working on it for a long time.”
Three years ago, Reynolds’ predecessor, Terry Branstad, started to push legislators to find a consistent and larger source of state funding for water improvement efforts and Reynolds made it clear she wanted the first bill she signed into law to address that goal. The bill will dedicate nearly $290 million to water quality projects in cities and on farms over the next 12 years.
“The issue of water quality impacts all of us regardless of where we live,” Reynolds said, “or how we use the land.”
Reynolds had dozens of pens on hand for the bill-signing ceremony. As is often the custom for signing official documents in a ceremony like this, Reynolds used as many pens as possible to make the letters of her name.
“I need a longer name,” Reynolds said, drawing laughter from the crowd. “Shoulda did Kimberly, gosh darn it!”
Reynolds later told reporters she’s looking forward to the opportunity to sign more bills into law as the 2018 legislative session progresses.
“To stop and do one line at a time in the name, it’s a technique,” Reynolds said, laughing.
Reynolds isn’t predicting whether she’ll be signing another bill yet this year that would expand the water quality initiative and, perhaps, call for measuring the outcome of state-financed projects.
“Legislators are already working on it. As I’ve said over and over: ‘Never be satisified with the status quo,'” Reynolds said. “…But today, I think — honestly — we need to celebrate Senate File 512. This is a great bill. It’s a great step forward and I could not be more proud to have this be the first bill that I had the opportunity to sign as governor.”
Many legislators attended today’s bill signing ceremony, along with officials from ag commodity groups that had lobbied for the bill. Reynolds posed for an official photo and a few in the audience took “selfies” with her. As a show of the significance of her very first bill signing ceremony, Reynolds welcomed most of the crowd at the door of her office with a handshake or hug. Reynolds stood with her back to the television cameras and thanked the group for attending before walking behind her desk and delivering her prepared remarks.