Bergan Report

By: News Release
Mar 29th, 2019


SF581 Auditor Bill subcommittee on March 27th, State Government

March 28th, 2019

Greetings from the State House,

Several bills have been debated and passed on the House floor this week.  The bills will be sent over to the Senate to be considered in committee to meet the second funnel.  House members are holding subcommittees on Senate bills and moving them forward for committee consideration.  

I am chairing the subcommittee that is moving forward SF581 making changes to operations in the state auditor’s office by establishing division directors licensed as Certified Public Accountants.  The bill ensures attestations meet national standards and provides professional supervision of staff. SF275 is a measure establishing criminal penalties for assault by threat of a targeted attack.  The subcommittee is recommending an amendment to establish the penalty of aggravated misdemeanor instead of a class D felony.

I continue to receive many messages from constituents asking me to vote “No” on HF669 (f/k/a HSB185), the bill dealing with utility fees for grid-tied solar arrays.  The companion bill SF583 (f/k/a SSB1021) passed out of the Senate on March 18th and has survived the second funnel.  I feel there are several misconceptions in communications to me about the bill that cause confusion.  I am currently withholding support as I work to understand implications of the bill.  The Iowa Utility Board is responsible for determining rates for the investor owned utilities, MidAmerican and Alliant.  The IUB is in the process of a study, collecting data on solar array production and costs, due to conclude in May 2020. It may be beneficial to expand the study, to gather information on the factors proposed in the legislation.  It is appropriate for the legislature to set policy to be implemented by the IUB, but I want to be informed on the factors relevant to determine the rate, which include benefits and cost savings from electricity production during peak usage periods.

Responding to Severe Flooding Across Iowa

Over the last few weeks, much of the state has experienced severe flooding which doesn’t look to be slowing down anytime soon. The western part of Iowa has been impacted significantly compared to the rest of the state with several towns being evacuated.

In response to the flooding, Governor Reynolds has been traveling the state to survey the damage and meet with local officials. House Republicans thank the Governor for her work and quick action to help in recovery efforts.

Governor Reynolds requested an expedited Presidential Disaster Declaration for $1.6 billion in aid which President Trump quickly approved for 56 counties, making them immediately eligible for federal disaster relief.

Eligible counties include: Adair, Allamakee, Audubon, Boone, Bremer, Buena Vista, Butler, Calhoun, Carroll, Cass, Cherokee, Clay, Crawford, Dallas, Decatur, Dickinson, Emmet, Fayette, Franklin, Fremont, Greene, Guthrie, Hamilton, Hancock, Hardin, Harrison, Howard, Humboldt, Ida, Iowa, Jasper, Kossuth, Lyon, Madison, Mahaska, Marshall, Mills, Monona, Montgomery, O’Brien, Osceola, Page, Plymouth, Pocahontas, Polk, Pottawattamie, Sac, Shelby, Sioux, Tama, Union, Webster, Winnebago, Winneshiek, Woodbury, and Wright. (Additional counties could be added later.)

This is how the $1.6 billion in aid will be disbursed to assist in recovery efforts:

Agriculture $214,000,000

Public Assistance  $77,417,455

Business (4,244 commercial parcels) $300,000,000

Homes with Minor Damage $417,000,000

Homes with Major Damage  $64,000,000

USACE Levees (70 miles) $350,000,000

Non-Federal Levees (175 miles) $175,000,000

TOTAL $1,597,417,455


Learning from past disaster events, the Legislature passed legislation in 2011 that gave the Governor the authority to use the Economic Emergency Fund to quickly respond to disasters across the state.

Thanks to this forward-looking legislation, it is unlikely that the Legislature will need to take action this session, but House Republicans stand ready to assist with recovery efforts if necessary. Individual legislators with flooding in their districts have been actively working with local officials and community leaders to assist in cleanup efforts and will continue to do so.

For more information on the flooding and disaster aid, Iowans are encouraged to visit the following websites:

  • Floods2019.iowa.gov

  • DisasterAssistance.gov

I received visits from members of Iowa Corn Growers and Iowa Cattlemen at the Capitol this week.  Both groups encouraged legislative support of investments in agriculture, including biosciences and a veterinarian diagnostics laboratory.   I do not have any public forums scheduled as I spend time working with my tax clients through April 15.

Very truly yours,

Representative Michael Bergan

Michael.Bergan@legis.iowa.gov

SF275 subcommittee meeting March 26th, 2019, an act relating to the criminal offenses of assault by threat of a targeted attack, Judiciary Committee.


Association of Iowa Fairs Executive Director Tom Barnes and Susan Barnes, Executive Secretary/Treasurer, traveling from Cresco, were at the Capitol with county fair representatives on March 26th, 2019.



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