DES MOIENS — The Iowa Senate has passed a bill that would prohibit the Iowa Natural Heritage Foundation from borrowing money from a state fund to purchase land for water quality projects.Senator Tim Kapucian, a farmer from Keystone, is among the 31 Republican senators who voted for the bill. “This bill is simply putting in place the intent of the original law and that is none of these dollars are to be spent for land acquisition and that’s all we ask here,” he said. “We want to continue to do water quality projects, use this money for what it was intended for.”Farmers in the senate said too much Iowa farmland has been taken out of production for conservation projects, making it difficult for beginning farmers to buy land. Democrats like Senator Rob Hogg of Cedar Rapids said the bill will undermine efforts to create wetland areas upstream that will reduce downstream flooding.“This is a practical tool that Iowa has had to help fight future flood damage and we’ve got a bill here to take that away.” Hogg said. “That is one of the cruelest, meanest things you can do, especially while half the state of Iowa is underwater.”The bill passed on a mostly party-line vote. One Republican voted against it and one Democrat voted for it.
MASON CITY — One of the three Republican candidates for Cerro Gordo County Recorder has withdrawn his name from consideration. Mason City businessman Steve Minert had announced his intent to seek the office on the heels of the announcement by longtime Recorder Colleen Pearce that she was retiring. Minert, who co-owns the Harley-Davidson dealerships in Mason City and Charles City, says in a written statement that he’s dropping out due to business reasons, adding that dealership sales territories for the company are being expanded and he doesn’t have the time to currently seek public office. Cerro Gordo County Republicans are holding a special convention today to decide their nominee. County deputy treasurer TJ Shovein and Rockwell city councilman Larry Wentz are the two remaining publicly declared candidates. The winner of the special convention will face Democrat AnnMarie Legler, who has worked for Cerro Gordo County for 13 years, the last eight in the Recorder’s office, in the November general election to fill the remainder of Pearce’s term. Pearce retired after more than 30 years as the County Recorder.