2020 Legislative Session Recap

Posted on June 19, 2020 in Blog

Legislative BreakfastOn Sunday, June 14th, the Iowa legislature concluded what proved to be one of the most unique legislative sessions in our state’s history. The session began in January with an exciting opportunity to increase conservation funding by tens of millions of dollars. In her Condition of the State address, Governor Reynolds laid out the framework of the Invest in Iowa Act, which would finally fund the Natural Resources and Outdoor Recreation Trust Fund.

INHF worked closely with the Governor’s office, legislators and partners to help ensure that the proposal would provide the best possible outcome for conservation and outdoor recreation programs. We engaged with legislators at our annual legislative breakfast by showcasing successful public land projects and potential projects that could be funded by the Invest in Iowa Act. In partnership with the Rails-to-Trails Conservancy, we hosted a rally to support funding for Iowa trails by featuring various speakers to highlight the economic, public health, and community benefits of multi-use trails. We also participated in Environmental Lobby Day to advocate for important natural resource programs, such as the Resource Enhancement and Protection (REAP) program.

Unfortunately, the legislature was forced to recess for two months due to COVID-19, and the Invest in Iowa Act was put on hold for the session. However, INHF’s policy work continued remotely, and our focus shifted to preserving and supporting existing conservation programs. With your help, we were able to highlight the value of nature and outdoor spaces, and despite a challenging legislative session, we achieved some key policy goals:

  • $1 million appropriated to the State Recreational Trails Program
  • $12 million appropriated to the Resource Enhancement and Protection Program (REAP)
  • 2 year extension for REAP, pushing back the sunset date to 2023

During the interim, INHF will continue to engage with policy makers in important conversations about the sustainable funding and support of natural resource protection, water quality improvement and outdoor recreation opportunities. We hope that you will join the discussion by sharing your experiences in Iowa’s parks, lakes and trails with your legislators. Please take some time to tell them why these natural spaces are important to you and your community. As we work to protect and restore Iowa’s land, water and wildlife, your voice is invaluable. Learn more about INHF’s legislative priorities and how you can enhance your advocacy by reading our Nature’s Advocate guide.

Thank you for your support,
Anna Gray
INHF Public Policy Director