Gov. Branstad and Lt. Gov. Reynolds release statements on farm inspections

June 29, 2012

Gov. Terry Branstad and Lt. Gov. Kim Reynolds, today, issued statements commending Department of Public Safety Commissioner Larry Noble for stopping illegal farm inspections. 

Commissioner Noble issued an order on June 22, 2012 making it clear that his department would not conduct farm inspections, except as required by Iowa law. Inspections of farm homes and farm buildings open to the public will continue as required by law. 

On January 23rd of this year, Gov. Branstad formally objected to an overbearing rule by the Electrical Examining Board mandating farm inspections by regulation, even though Iowa law does not require them.

Governor Branstad released the following statement:

“The Electrical Examining Board went beyond their statutory authority. Their overreaching rule required a state inspection for any electrical work on farm buildings or structures, even though the legislature provided a common sense exception for farmers in the law. This rule is unnecessary and costly, and it was created by a board that did not have the authority to create it. This power-grab by the Electrical Examining Board hurts hard-working Iowa farmers and the Iowa economy,” said Branstad.

“I am glad that that DPS has taken this action to stop this regulatory overreach that hurts hard-working Iowa farmers.  Iowa farmers have safely conducted electrical work on their barns, grain bins and outbuildings for years.  They’ve hired experienced electrical contractors and licensed professionals who don’t need the state looking over their shoulders. Overreaching regulation by the Electrical Examining Board hasn’t changed that.  Farmers still have qualified people do their electrical work.  But, the rule added another significant expense to farmers’ projects and caused delays lasting days or weeks that are especially costly when livestock are involved—or during busy times of the crop year. Now, with the action by Commissioner Noble, it is clear that these overreaching inspections will no longer be forced on farmers.” 

Lt. Gov. Reynolds released the following statement:

“Over-reaching rules hurt economic opportunities in agriculture and job growth in Iowa. Our administration is committed to regulatory reform. We know that small businesses, including farmers, are the greatest generators of job growth and are also disproportionately burdened by regulations. I applaud today’s action by Commissioner Noble.”

The full text of the Governor’s Objection can be found below:

January 23, 2012

Commissioner Larry Noble

Iowa Department of Public Safety

Department of Public Safety Headquarters Building

215 E . 7th Street

Des Moines, IA 50319

Dear Commissioner Noble:

I object to the portions of Iowa Admin. Code r. 661-551.2 and 661-552.1 which regulate electrical installations on farms as defined in Iowa Code §103.1.  These filings were adopted by the Electrical Examining Board and published as part of ARC 7346B in XXXI IAB 11 (11-19-2008) and ARC 8396B in XXXII IAB 13 (12-16-2009), respectively.

The Electrical Examining Board has gone beyond their statutory authority.  Iowa Code chapter 103 does not grant authority to the Electrical Examining Board to adopt rules to regulate electrical installations on farms by requiring a request for an inspection, a permit and/or an inspection. I find that the Electrical Examining Board went beyond the authority delegated to the agency when it included farm electrical installations within the definition of a “commercial installation” in Iowa Admin. Code r. 661-551.2.  I further object to that portion of the second sentence of exception 1 to Iowa Admin. Code r. 661-552.1(1) which requires a state electrical permit and/or an electrical inspection for a farm electrical installation as it is beyond the delegated authority of the agency.

The permit and inspection requirements for electrical installations on farms are unreasonable, arbitrary and capricious for several reasons.  These rules increase the regulatory burden on farms and farmers.   This power-grab by the Electrical Examining Board hurts hard-working Iowa farmers.  It leads to unwanted government intrusion.  It imposes the very costs on farmers that the legislature intended to protect them from when it created common-sense exemption for farmers.  (2007 Iowa Acts, chapter 197).  This rule hurts the opportunity of hard-working Iowa farmers to earn a living, free from undue bureaucratic interference.  These over-reaching rules harm economic opportunities in agriculture and job growth in Iowa. 

The portions of the Iowa Administrative Code r. 661-551.2 and 661-552.1 as described herein, are deemed to be unreasonable, arbitrary, capricious, or otherwise beyond the authority delegated to the agency.  This letter constitutes notification of my objection to the above referenced rules as required by Iowa Code §17A.4(6).

Certified as a true and correct copy of my objection this 23rd day of January 2012, by:

Terry E. Branstad, Governor

cc:           Electrical Examining Board

                Administrative Code Editor

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