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Cities fighting for local control 50 years after Home Rule Amendment

January 10, 2018

Des Moines Register,

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January 8, 2018-

City government leaders are still fighting state laws that inhibit their abilities to adjust and adapt to their residents’ needs 50 years after the Home Rule Amendment constitutionalized local control of city governments in Iowa. Norwalk city manager Luke Nelson said during a recent budget meeting one of the city’s priorities should be to watch for the “perceived attack on the Home Rule.

“As a city government, we have an awful lot of freedoms as far as how we can operate and how we do business,” Nelson said. “There is a perception that there is a growing sentiment among state legislators that they want to remove some of those freedoms from local government.” The Home Rule Amendment was passed in 1968. It allows cities and counties to govern themselves. Alan Kemp, executive director of the Iowa League of Cities, said one of the league’s priorities this year is to maintain the local control granted by the Home Rule.

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