State Task Force Takes on Criminal Justice Reform, Ethanol Mandate Deal Still Not Resolved

Nov 7, 2019

Courtesy the National Council

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A new committee tasked with making criminal justice reform recommendations to Governor Kim Reynolds met for the first time today.

Iowa criminal justice system leaders and stakeholders heard presentations about trends in Iowa’s prison population and the barriers people face when they leave prison.

Lieutenant Governor Adam Gregg chairs the committee. 

I think there is bipartisan interest in criminal justice reform. And it’s our challenge to put some meat on that. What does that actually look like? What are the kinds of things that are going to make offenders be successful as they leave?

The committee is expected to deliver some of those answers to the governor ahead of the next legislative session that starts in January.

Senator Joni Ernst says the White House may step in and demand that the EPA honor an agreement between President Donald Trump and farm-state lawmakers on the ethanol mandate.

Last month, the EPA said it wanted to increase the mandate to make up for waivers granted to small oil refineries. But Ernst says the agency’s formula may not restore all of the demand that was lost through the waivers.

The president is upset that this is not the same formula that we agreed on in the oval office.

Ethanol groups say small refinery waivers are responsible for reducing ethanol demand by about 4 billion gallons over the last few years. The EPA proposal is still in the comment stage.

Iowa renewable fuels industry leaders say they expect President Donald Trump to honor the deal his office struck with them on the federal ethanol mandate and to reject a proposal made by his environmental protection office.