Republican Senator Ken Rozenboom worked on the legislation and publicly urged other senators to support the bill that has boosted penalties for trespassing at a farm, packing plant or other “food operation.”
Two groups — Iowa Citizens for Community Improvement and Food and Water Watch — filed an ethics complaint. They referred to an undercover video that taken in a livestock confinement owned by Rozenboom’s family. The groups accused Rozenboom of retaliation and of setting up new protections for his family’s operation.
The Senate Ethics Committee unanimously rejected the complaint. Senator Pam Jochum, a Democrat from Dubuque who’s a member of the panel, opposed the bill Rozenboom supported, but Jochum said she concluded Rozenboom’s actions did not violate Senate Ethics rules because the bill applies to all farming operations, not just Rozenboom’s.
Rozenboom says Iowa has a citizen legislature, so senators are often required to vote on matters that impact their livelihoods.
In a statement, Iowa Citizens for Community Improvement noted the committee meeting lasted less than 10 minutes and they accused the panel of failing to uphold the integrity of the senate.