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Iowa Legislature approves voluntary water quality bill

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — Iowa lawmakers are sending a voluntary water quality bill to Gov. Kim Reynolds that doesn't require comprehensive monitoring of water pollution.

The Republican-controlled House voted 59-41 Tuesday for the legislation, which passed in the GOP-majority Senate last session and remained alive in the two-year legislative calendar.

The bill would create a fund that redistributes tax money currently going to Iowa's state budget. It also takes money from an existing infrastructure fund.

Iowa has faced water pollution issues for years, and research shows it's tied in part to farm runoff. A state-supported water quality initiative, known as the Nutrient Reduction Strategy, estimates effectively addressing the issue would cost billions of dollars. The bill is expected to generate $282 million over 12 years.

Reynolds and other Republicans who back the bill say it's a first step.