The policymaking process in the Iowa Legislature can be complicated. Host John Pemble breaks it down and makes it easier to understand. Under the Golden Dome provides context, depth and a better understanding of the Iowa legislative session and the laws that come out of it. Learn about the elected officials, influencers, issues and bills working their way through the statehouse.
Return and adjourn
The 2022 Iowa legislative session ends after many weeks of little to no activity in the House or Senate. During a busy two days, final budget bills are approved. Most come revised from the Senate including the education appropriation that funds the public universities. Also a number of policy bills are eligible for the governor to consider, including one changing Iowa’s four decade old can and bottle redemption law. One of the final bills, known as the “standings bill” includes a section that removes the open enrollment deadline for Iowa’s public schools.
Retiring and waiting for Senate budgets
Around this time, legislators who have announced they aren’t seeking re-election in the Iowa legislature are granted a “retirement” speech from the chamber floor. Between the House and Senate, around 35 legislators are not running for re-election. A few are seeking to run in the other chamber and there are some running for congressional seats. Some of these decisions are also due to redistricting. Also, many large budget bills have passed in the House, but so far the Senate has not taken them up. With the legislature near the end and moving at a slower pace, this podcast will pause until the session has gaveled out for the year.
Disagreement between the House and Senate
Proposals about public schools pass in the Senate and House requiring online publishing of curriculums. Private schools are exempt from doing the same. Unlike the House version, the Senate’s includes millions of dollars in scholarships for students attending private schools. One Republican says this is necessary after accusing some public schools of promoting a “leftist agenda.” And the House passes a budget with no increase to the regents universities’ general fund. But the bill does propose appropriating $12 million for new scholarships.
Posting curriculum online, surplus vs failure to appropriate, and contentious debate about unemployment benefits
A bill requiring teachers to post everything they use in a classroom online before a semester begins, advances. After a committee, it now has something that may let teachers update that information as they teach. Budgets are now starting to pass out of the House. Democrats say the $1 billion surplus should be used to provide more funds to state departments. And the longest debate so far this year is for a bill about unemployment benefits. It reduces the maximum number of weeks for unemployment. Republicans say it’s part of a solution for a workforce shortage, but Democrats strongly disagree.
First Department of Corrections budget and striking bills
The Department of Corrections director lays out the condition of the prisons to a committee that determines its annual budget. The House reduces one budget item, makes it up with money from a previous fiscal year, then allocates 7 million new dollars for fiscal year 2023. The House passes a bill allowing midwifery to be licensed in Iowa, but the bill is derailed in a Senate committee. And a bill changing how Iowa’s four decades old container redemption system operates advances from a subcommittee. It would collect millions of dollars in unclaimed deposits, but when coming to the full committee an entirely different version of the bill advances.
Changing confirmation, time, and property tax notifications
A bill removing Senate confirmation for some of the governor’s appointees advances. Confirmation for those exempt appointees is still possible if 26 senators want it, but the 18 Democrats in the Senate say it isn’t fair. A bill that would overturn an Iowa Supreme Court ruling about police searching garbage without a warrant passes in the Senate. As it comes to a House committee, the bill’s potential to become a law that stays on the books is in question. There’s a proposal that would require the state to send everyone a letter calculating how much or less their property taxes would be under local government budget proposals. And a bipartisan bill that would change Iowa to Daylight Saving Time year-round clears the House.
Worth It’s Weight In Gold
John Pemble has his finger on the pulse of state government. Along with all the resources of Iowa Public Radio, he focuses on the issues that impact the daily lives of Iowans. I don’t miss an episode.
This is exactly the type of political coverage that I have been looking for. It would be great if there was something like this for national politics as well.
This podcast is so helpful for understanding what is going on in the Iowa government. I hope it will continue to be produced for a long time to come. It provides a valuable resource to Iowans.