Natural Resources & Environment – All-Bill Summary 2020

All bills assigned to the Senate Natural Resources and Environment Committee, passed by the Legislature and sent to the Governor for her signature in 2020.

SF 280 – Armed forces residency for hunting, fishing, trapping

SF 280 allows active-duty members of the armed services stationed and domiciled at the Rock Island Arsenal to qualify as Iowa residents for hunting, fishing and trapping privileges. Their spouses and dependents also qualify. This change would mirror legislation enacted in 2019 that allowed these service members to qualify as Iowa residents to register their dependent children in Iowa school districts.
[6/5: 50-0)]

HF 599 – Allowing non-resident youth to hunt without a license

HF 599 would allow non-resident youth to hunt without purchasing a non-resident hunting license if they are accompanied by a licensed adult. Previously, the non-resident would need to purchase a non-resident hunting license to hunt with a licensed hunter. The bill is aimed to allow visiting non-resident youth to hunt with resident relatives when visiting the state. The bill is not restricted to that specific situation, however.

An amendment clarifies that a nonresident youth would need to purchase a nonresident deer or wild turkey license if they were to hunt those animals.
[6/13: 38-11 (No: Bolkcom, Boulton, Celsi, Dotzler, Giddens, Mathis, Petersen, Quirmbach, J. Smith, R. Taylor, T. Taylor, Absent: Hogg]  

HF 716 – Firearms requirements for hunting deer

HF 716 makes changes to existing law regarding restrictions on allowed firearms used when hunting deer. Previously, the Natural Resources Commission (NRC) had a number of rules to limit the firearms and ammunition used when hunting deer with pistols. Shoulder stocks and long-barrel modifications were prohibited when hunting with a pistol, and only center-fire, straight-wall ammunition was allowed.

The bill eliminates those restrictions. Instead, handgun regulations would mirror federal regulations, meaning more types of firearms and attachments would be allowed. The bill would also restrict the NRC from adopting regulations on ammunition outside of stated limits on the size of the projectile. This would allow “necked down” cartridges that are not currently allowed under law.

The bill also removes the prohibition on using a pistol for deer hunting by someone under 16. A person under 20 can now hunt deer using a pistol as long as they are accompanied by a responsible person with a hunting license who is at least 21.

Firearms advocates are in favor of this legislation because they believe the previous law and rules unnecessarily restricted firearms and ammunition for hunting deer. Federal regulations were inconsistent with those state regulations, which were designed to encourage safe and ethical hunting behavior.
[6/10: 37-13 (No: Bolkcom, Celsi, Giddens, Hogg, Jochum, Mathis, Petersen, Quirmbach, Rozenboom, Schneider, J. Smith, Wahls)]

HF 2410 – Crossbow deer tags for seniors

HF 2410 would lower the eligible age for a special senior statewide antlerless-only crossbow deer hunting license from 70 to 65.
[6/13: 49-0 (Absent: Hogg)]

HF 2455 – Tracking wounded deer using a dog

HF 2455 would allow a licensed deer hunter to use a leashed dog to track and retrieve a wounded deer. The dog must remain under physical control of the hunter with a maximum leash length of 50 feet. The dog must be trained in deer-blood tracking.

The use of dogs while hunting deer was previously prohibited because the state did not allow the use of dogs to chase or harass deer.
[6/10: 48-1 (No: Celsi; Absent: Bisignano)]

HF 2475 – Review of sewer and water distribution line extension by DNR

HF 2475 would allow the permitting of sewer or water distribution system line extensions for local utilities when the utility retains a qualified licensed engineer who reviews the plans to ensure that they meet standards adopted by law. Legislation passed in 2019 allows this process for utilities that employ a qualified licensed engineer. This bill will address utilities that retain engineers for these services.
[3/11: 46-0 (Absent: Breitbach, Brown, Feenstra, Hogg)]