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Iowa Republican Leader Vows to Prevent Government Shutdown PDF Print E-mail
Commentary/Politics - Iowa Politics
Written by Lynn Campbell   
Friday, 06 May 2011 12:40

The 2011 session of the Iowa legislature will go on for weeks if not months, Senate Majority Leader Mike Gronstal said Thursday.

“This is going to take a while,” said Gronstal (D-Council Bluffs).

A budget agreement between Republican Governor Terry Branstad, the Republican-controlled House, and the Democrat-led Senate is needed by June 30, the end of the fiscal year, to avert a government shutdown. House Speaker Kraig Paulsen predicted that an agreement would be reached by then.

“House Republicans are not going to let government shut down,” said Paulsen (R-Hiawatha). “I think that would be unacceptable.”

This year’s situation is similar to one in 1992, when Branstad, who also was governor at that time, and the Democrat-controlled legislature were also deadlocked on the state budget and tax policy. A compromise was eventually reached on June 25, in a second special session.

Iowa Politics Roundup: Two Moves Toward Legislative Adjournment PDF Print E-mail
Commentary/Politics - Iowa Politics
Written by Lynn Campbell   
Wednesday, 04 May 2011 12:55

In two distinct moves toward adjournment of the Iowa legislature despite a lack of agreement, Statehouse Republicans on Tuesday decided upon the size of the budget pie while the Democratic-led Senate pushed ahead with what’s usually the final bill of the year before adjourning for the week.

“This starts our movement to hopefully adjourn the session,” said Senate Appropriations Chair Bob Dvorsky (D-Coralville). “We don’t have any more bills to do anything with.”

Iowa’s state general-fund budget for the fiscal year that begins July 1 will be less than $6 billion, according to an agreement reached Tuesday by Republicans in the Iowa House and Senate and Governor Terry Branstad.

The move represents one step toward agreement and eventual adjournment of the 2011 legislative session. However, no Democrats were at the table in determining the size of the budget pie, and they control the Iowa Senate.

Iowa Politics Roundup: Senate Approves Gambling Bill PDF Print E-mail
Commentary/Politics - Iowa Politics
Written by Lynn Campbell   
Thursday, 21 April 2011 08:24

The Iowa Senate on Wednesday voted 38-12 for a gambling bill that calls for a report on Internet poker and lifts the requirement that Iowa casinos face a vote of the people every eight years.

“There are good parts of this bill and other parts that give me grave concern,” said Senator Brad Zaun (R-Urbandale). “The seven years I’ve been down here, we’ve talked about the referendums, horse racing, but never could any of these bills survive and stand on its own two feet.”

Senate File 526 would have the Iowa Racing & Gaming Commission produce a report that would look further into the issue of Internet poker. The bill originally would have legalized Internet poker, but Zaun credited the change to an Iowa poll that showed 73 percent of Iowans are opposed to legalizing Internet gambling.

Iowa Politics Roundup: Legislature Swiftly Approves New Political Map PDF Print E-mail
Commentary/Politics - Iowa Politics
Written by Lynn Campbell   
Friday, 15 April 2011 10:24

It was the first bill called up in the morning on the first day lawmakers were eligible to vote on a new map of congressional and legislative districts.

After it was taken up, the Iowa House took only a few minutes to approve the map on a 91-7 vote.

The Senate quickly followed suit, swiftly approving House File 682 on a 48-1 vote and sending it to Governor Terry Branstad.

The new map will have sweeping implications on Iowa’s political landscape for the next decade. Some incumbents will be pitted against one another, others will move, some will hang it up, and newcomers will see an opportunity to run for political office.

Iowa Politics Roundup: State Won’t Claim $14.5 Million for Unemployment Benefits PDF Print E-mail
Commentary/Politics - Iowa Politics
Written by Lynn Campbell   
Friday, 04 March 2011 20:26

House Republican leaders said Thursday that they do not support or intend to pass a bill that would allow Iowa to receive $14.5 million in federal money for extended unemployment benefits. Iowa is one of nine states that have yet to request the benefits.

“The Labor Committee is going to look at that, but the House Republican caucus is not interested in making it harder to be an employer in the state of Iowa,” said House Speaker Kraig Paulsen (R-Hiawatha). “What’s going on with unemployment compensation right now is making it harder to be an employer.”

The Iowa Senate approved the measure on a 27-22 vote this week. The money would benefit the more than 7,000 Iowans who have been out of work for more than a year. Democrats urged the House and governor to act on Senate File 303 by March 10, or they said the state will almost certainly lose the $14.5 million in federal help for the unemployed.

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