Area lawmakers hold legislative briefing
Montgomery County’s first legislative coffee of the year was held at the Montgomery County Family YMCA Feb. 4.
Attendees heard comments from new county representatives Sen. Tom Shipley of Nodaway, who is beginning his ninth year in the legislature, and Rep. Tom Moore of Griswold, who is beginning his eight year in the legislature. The lawmakers replaced Sen. Mark Costello, and Rep. David Sieck and Rep. Cecil Dolecheck in representing Montgomery County due to redistricting.
At the Iowa House of Representatives, Moore said one of the constitutional amendments he’s working on would change the house of representatives to four-year terms, referencing the fact that Shipley has only had three elections to run for office, while Moore has won five.
“We’re just starting the conversation. I think it’s an interesting one to have, and I understand the positives and the negatives. But when we look at politics, and the time and money spent on elections, maybe it’s time to do things a little differently. It’s just food for thought,” Moore explained.
Among the questions asked during the Q/A period, Moore was questioned if he was going to include term limits in his proposed bill in the legislature, in addition to extending the term lengths. Moore said he wasn’t going to include the prospect of term limits, as he felt that term limits would get rid of good people, rather than get rid of problem legislators that could be removed via election.
“This is my eighth year, and what’s the magic number to set on? While they could get rid of people we don’t like, they would also remove good legislators. After eight years, I feel I’m finally coming into my stride and effectiveness. I’ve got more bills in the legislature this year than in the entire seven years prior,” advised Moore. “While I understand why people want term limits, I don’t think it will be beneficial in the long run. Government is complicated, and it takes time to figure out how things work. I passed a bill last year that took me seven years to get passed. I’ve got another bill I’ve been working on for an additional seven years. So the question remains what an acceptable term limit would be.”
Shipley and Moore were asked about their opinions regarding the Summit Carbon pipeline.
Moore admitted he had mixed feelings about the pipeline, believing it would be beneficial for the state to get rid of the carbon from ethanol plants, per federal law. However, he was adamantly against the use of eminent domain for private industry, unless they could make it so it was of significant benefit to the communities and people it would effect.
From a personal standpoint, Moore said he was uncertain why private companies weren’t looking for an alternate method for getting rid of carbon.
“We’re the smartest nation on the planet, and we have the best people to think about ways to use this carbon, why aren’t we finding better solutions? That’s where I am with that topic,” Moore commented Shipley was also against the use of eminent domain, but said some counties are up to 80% or better of people signed up.
“You have a situation with two neighbors with hundreds of acres. One is owned by people that farm the land, and they don’t want the pipeline. The other land was inherited to someone who lives out of state. They want the money. It will make for an interesting Thanksgiving,” stated Shipley.
Moore and Shipley also confirmed that the final decision on the project fell to the Iowa Utilities Board, and not the legislature.
The next legislative briefing is set for 8 a.m. March 4 at the Montgomery County Family YMCA.