Area lawmakers working on changes to rules regarding ethanol in gasoline have gone about penning new legislation in the right way: By bringing all stakeholders to the table, hashing out differences and working toward compromise.
Iowa House of Representatives Study Bill 185 would require that new gas station infrastructure support at least 10% ethanol products and that fewer pumps deliver gas with no ethanol. It also would create seasonal biodiesel standards, among other things.
Rep. Lee Hein, R-Monticello, said members spent weeks seeking opinions from various groups, and the resulting measure looks significantly different than the original bill proposed. The heart of the issue is a 10% ethanol standard statewide, a priority set out before the session by Gov. Kim Reynolds. Changes to the bill would raise the standard to 15% by 2028.
Hein was joined by Sen. Dan Zumbach, R-Ryan, and Rep. Lindsay James, D-Dubuque, in supporting the measure. Its details call for waivers for small retailers in an effort to negotiate a more palatable bill. Still, the move will face strong opposition from the fuel industry.
A statewide ethanol standard makes sense for Iowa. Production of ethanol is good for the state economy and the environment. A standard of 10% ethanol still means 90% gasoline, so the petroleum industry remains the dominant player in every transaction.
Credit goes to Hein and colleagues for attempting to hammer out more palatable legislation. No group gets everything it wants in a negotiation. This is how complex issues should be approached.
If Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds signs off on a bill on her desk, no cities in the state would be allowed to force landlords to accept Section 8 housing vouchers.
Pending that possibility, the City of Dubuque is wise to move forward with more incentives for landlords to try to increase the number of housing units potentially available to those struggling financially.
Four pilot programs are now in effect and will be tested for six months to try to encourage landlords to accept tenants receiving assistance.
The new incentives include a landlord signing bonus, which provides $1,000 to landlords who successfully lease to a housing choice voucher participant. A no-loss vacancy program reimburses landlords up to one month of rent for holding a vacant unit so a tenant receiving housing assistance can lease it. Another incentive program provides up to $2,500 in reimbursement for a landlord who accepts a housing voucher tenant and experiences damage to the leased unit.
Here’s another good example of government officials seeking collaborative solutions. Housing officials listened to landlords and devised incentives based on what landlords said might entice them. Federal relief aid from the pandemic will cover the cost of some of the initiatives. A $50,000 grant from Community Foundation of Greater Dubuque will cover another. It’s great to see community stakeholders stepping up to address this ongoing issue.
The pilot programs should provide officials some good data to pave the way toward a broadening of available housing options for those who need government assistance.
Talk to someone under the age of 30 about changes in the LGBTQ community, and they likely will be entirely nonplussed. They are of a generation far more accepting of gender identity and sexual orientation differences than their parents’ and grandparents’ generations.
And that acceptance, thankfully, is growing.
A recent Gallup poll showed one in six, or 15.9%, of adult Generation Z individuals — noted as people ages 18 to 23 — identify as LGBTQ+. The survey shows 9.1% of millennials, noted in the survey as ages 24 to 39, identify as LGBTQ+; 3.8% of Generation X, ages 40 to 55, identify this way; and 2% of baby boomers, ages 56 to 74, do the same.
As those numbers grow, so, too, do awareness and tolerance, according to tri-state-area LGBTQ activists. Reporter Kayli Reese examined this changing cultural trend in Sunday’s TH. Her work shed light on an evolving cultural shift — exciting to see but with much work still to be done.
The City of Dubuque has been a leader in this area. Dubuque was first recognized for its LGBTQ+ inclusion efforts in 2016 by the Human Rights Campaign with a score of 82 out of 100 on the Municipal Equality Index. The score increased to 84 in 2017 and has been at a full 100 points for the past three years. Yet how many local businesses and institutions would earn a similar score?
It’s encouraging to see the community becoming more welcoming and inclusive to people of all gender identities.