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County Home Rule in Iowa New County Officers School January 19, 2005 David Vestal General Counsel ISAC (515) 244-7181.

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Presentation on theme: "County Home Rule in Iowa New County Officers School January 19, 2005 David Vestal General Counsel ISAC (515) 244-7181."— Presentation transcript:

1 County Home Rule in Iowa New County Officers School January 19, 2005 David Vestal General Counsel ISAC (515)

2 Dillon Rule: Counties had only those powers expressly granted or clearly implied by state law.

3 County Home Rule was approved by the people of Iowa on November 7, 1978.

4 County Home Rule Amendment: Article III, sec. 39A of the Constitution of Iowa

5 Key provisions of the Home Rule Amendment:  Counties are granted home rule power and authority,  Not inconsistent with the laws of the general assembly,  To determine their local affairs and government,  Except they shall not have power to levy and tax unless authorized.

6 If the power or authority of a county conflicts with the authority exercised by a municipal corporation, the municipal corporation shall prevail within its jurisdiction.

7 Implementation of County Home Rule: Senate File 130, the home rule implementation bill, became law July 1, It is now Iowa Code chapter 331

8 General powers and limitations

9 1.A county may, except as expressly limited by the Constitution, and if not inconsistent with the laws of the general assembly, exercise any power and perform any function it deems appropriate to protect and preserve the rights, privileges, and property of the county or its residents, and to preserve and improve the peace, safety, health, welfare, comfort, and convenience to its residents.

10 2.A power of a county is vested in the board, and a duty of a county shall be performed by or under the direction of the board except as otherwise provided by law.

11 3.The enumeration of a specific power of a county, the repeal or a grant of power, or the failure to state a specific power does not limit or restrict the general grant of home rule power conferred by the Constitution in this section. A county may exercise its general powers subject only to limitations expressly imposed by a state law.

12 4.An exercise of a county power is not inconsistent with a state law unless it is irreconcilable with the state law.

13 5.A county shall substantially comply with a procedure established by a state law for exercising a county power unless a state law provides otherwise. If a procedure is not established by state law, a county may determine its own procedure for exercising power.

14 6.A county shall not set standards and requirements which are lower or less stringent than those imposed by state law, but may set standards and requirements which are higher or more stringent than those imposed by state law, unless a state law provides otherwise.

15 Chapter 331 and the County Home Rule Amendment Basically gives counties the power to act in just about every area of life, unless state law says otherwise.

16 Home Rule Limitations 1. Local affairs only. 2. No power to tax unless in Iowa Code. 3. Counties cannot regulate inside city limits in ways that conflict with the city’s regulations. 4. Counties cannot regulate in a manner that is “inconsistent” with state law. 5. Counties cannot set standards which are less stringent than state law.

17 Home Rule Court Decisions Worth County Friends of Agriculture v. Worth County, 688 N.W.2d 257 (Iowa 2004): County ordinance regulated the activities that were part of livestock confinement operations is expressly preempted by state law and unenforceable.

18 Goodell v. Humboldt County, 575 N.W.2d 589 (Iowa 1982): Home Rule amendment is constitutional, does not violate supremacy clause.

19 Smith v. Board of Supervisors of Des Moines County, 320 N.W.2d 589 (Iowa 1982): Home Rule amendment is constitutional, does not violate supremacy clause.

20 There are almost 70 Attorney General’s opinions that have interpreted the meaning of “county home rule.”


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