State Capitol News – Weekend Recap
State Capitol News – Weekend Recap
by Paul Deaton[Editors'
Note: Following is a weekly recap of stories from Des Moines that
came through the Weekend Editor's in-box in the twelfth week of the
legislative session. Check out the House Democrats page for a
different take on the week here.
Senate Democrats are here.
Watch for this feature every Saturday while the legislature is in
Second FunnelFriday was the last day for Senate bills to be reported out of House Committees and for House Bills to be reported out of Senate committees. When we consider that the legislature adjourned after 80 days in 2010, and Friday was day 82 of the 2011 session, with only one 2012 budget bill passed, the legislature has a lot to do to adjourn by April 29th when per diem ends. While the rules about the funnel are intended to turn the legislature's attention to budgetary matters in April, the rules can be suspended to consider bills deemed politically important. Since they have to pass a budget before adjourning, here's hoping elected officials will hunker down and get it done.
First Redistricting Maps PublishedAlthough political junkies reacted with fervent intensity to the redistricting maps released by the Temporary Redistricting Advisory Commission, most Iowans interviewed by Blog for Iowa on the subject were not aware that the maps were released, or that it was important to their daily lives. Judging from the comments of elected officials, there were reactions to how the map impacted their personal district, but neither condemnation nor celebration were forthcoming. The open question from our post Thursday has been answered by Representative Loebsack, who indicated he wanted to continue to serve in the US Congress, representing people from the southeast part of Iowa. This means that if the map is approved as is, he would move from Mount Vernon into the new district and avoid a primary with Representative Bruce Braley. To check out the proposed district maps, click here. If you would like to comment on the redistricting maps, the public hearing schedule is here and the on-line comment link is here. The Des Moines Register opined that the first map favored Democrats.
Iowa House Debates HF 657 on Late Term AbortionsThe Iowa House passed a bill intended to prevent a specific Nebraska physician from moving his practice to Iowa. The bill had bipartisan support with Democrats Dan Muhlbauer (D-51), Brian Quirk (D-15), Kurt Swaim (D-94) and Roger Thomas (D-24) voting with the Republican majority. During the debate, Representative Kim Pearson (R-42), sent an e-mail to constituents explaining why she decided to vote against the bill with the Democratic minority. It was not because she supports a woman's right to choose, quite the opposite. Pearson stated her objection, “An entire generation has been raised to believe that political pragmatism and incrementalism are the best, and perhaps only, way to achieve our ultimate goals.” She objected to the compromise made by House Republicans to produce a bill that was less extreme and had some chance of gaining consideration in the Iowa Senate. Whether the Senate will take up HF 657 seems unlikely.
Progressives should watch, understand and learn from ideologues like Kim Pearson, as she represents the extreme views of the Republican party. It seems unlikely that many of her constituents would have been surprised by her vote and because of this session's Republican majority, the defection of Pearson,Tom Shaw (R-08) and Glen Massie (R-74) to vote against the bill did not affect the outcome. This is not the last we have heard from pro-life activists.
Governor Branstad was a Signing FoolThis week, the Governor's office announced signing ceremonies for a number of bills, indicating that some work is being done in the legislature. He signed a transportation budget, pleased that the legislature approved it for two years. It seems unlikely that he will get his requested two year budget for everything as the session shifts gear to budgetary matters (at least we hope that is what they do). While in Cedar Rapids on Thursday, the author drove past the I-Jobs sign with the Culver-Judge name on it. Governor Branstad, the jobs haven't trickled down yet, so where are they? Seriously, show us a sign.
2012 Democratic National Convention Delegate PlanFor the hard core politicos, the Iowa Democratic Party released a delegate plan for the 2012 convention. It can be viewed here. ~Paul Deaton is a native Iowan living in rural Johnson County and weekend editor of Blog for Iowa. E-mail Paul Deaton