Emergency legislation aimed to provide monetary aid to low-income Iowans and others who rely on propane to heat their homes is on its way to the full Senate Appropriations Committee.
Senate Study Bill 3137 would appropriate $2 million towards the federally-funded Low-Income Heating Assistance Program. Lana Ross, executive director of the Iowa Community Action Association, told the three-member committee there is a need for more money to assist Iowans dealing with a colder winter and high heating costs. Ross said despite five percent of LIHEAP appropriations going towards another emergency program for unanticipated heat-related assistance, additional state funds would allow their emergency program to address not only the propane crisis but continue to help non-propane heating needs.
Sen. Dennis Guth,R-Klemme, refrained from immediately signing off on the bill. Guth said he’s hesitant to appropriate funds now but lawmakers should wait and monitor the weather and propane prices rather than “trying to appropriate money prematurely.”
Subcommittee Chairwoman Rep. Liz Mathis, D-Cedar Rapids, read off the forecast from her phone for the next week, pointing to the continued sub-zero to single digit temperatures.
“It doesn’t look like it’s going to get any warmer, at least in the next week,” she said.