Under the Golden Dome
Summary: The process of creating policy and law in the Iowa Legislature can be complicated. We break it down and make it easier to understand. Under the Golden Dome provides context, depth, and a better understanding of the legislative session. Learn about elected officials, influencers, and issues on this weekly podcast.
During the last week of the 2020 legislative session a series of changes about absentee voting passes in the Senate, but the House changes the bill dramatically. A proposal titled "More Perfect Union" is drafted and passes unanimously in both chambers during one afternoon. And in the last 24 hours of the session a newly-introduced abortion restriction amendment passes. Also, the budget is amended with a new requirement about how county auditors must contact voters when there is incorrect voter
While the session was suspended for 12 weeks, 564 Iowans died from COVID-19 complications. Before returning, the legislative council met to discuss how to come back to the Capitol with new health and safety measures. The Revenue Estimating Conference also met to provide the legislature with a new number on which to base the FY 2021 budget. A legislative proposal, “More Perfect Union” is aimed at preventing violent conflicts between law enforcement and Iowa residents. And a constitutional
With the coronavirus reaching community spread, Gov. Kim Reynolds and legislative leaders are suspending the 2020 legislative session. In order to do this, first the House and Senate must meet to pass some spending measures and a resolution. In this podcast episode, we bring you the final day of the session before they pause for 30 days.
The Revenue Estimating Conference meets to share a forecast of how much revenue the state will take in. For Fiscal Year 2020, things are on track from previous estimates, but FY 2021 is revised downward a bit over concerns about coronavirus. As of Thursday March 12 , legislative leaders and the governor have not called to pause the session or restrict public access to the Capitol over coronavirus concerns. The 2017 Cannabidiol Act is revised this year in the House. The same was attempted last
Three weeks ago the Senate and House passed different funding levels for K-12 public education. This week the chambers announced a compromise and now schools know where to set the budgets they will be submitting in April. A bill to help citizens of Puerto Rico move to Iowa for jobs passes a subcommittee, but with a much lower level of funding that originally proposed. Another House subcommittee moves forward a bill that passed in the Senate last year changing language and penalties in Iowa’s
The governor appoints hundreds of people to positions requiring Senate confirmation. This week some of the individuals making it through the required two-thirds majority vote are Department of Natural Resources director Kayla Lyon and Department of Human Services director Kelly Kennedy Garcia. The Senate takes up a bill requiring a third-party vendor to verify the income of a person on a public assistance program. And the House holds a public hearing on a controversial constitutional amendment
During funnel week, dozens of bills come before subcommittees hoping to make it past the committee level to stay in play for the rest of the session. One bill that would add clarity about “bona fide religious purpose” to Iowa Civil Rights Act of 1965 doesn't make it. Legislators say the language is too broad for it to advance. A bill requiring vaccination information to be on a child's death certificate passes a committee and is eligible for floor detate. And two bills about Iowa’s 41-year-old
One of the first legislative debates of the year is over school state aid. Forty-three percent of the state’s budget goes to K-12 public education. This year the Senate and House are at odds over how much to increase funding. A bill in the House Education subcommittee has advanced that would require K-12 schools to notify parents if sexual orientation or gender identity are part of curriculum or school instruction of any kind. Parents would have the option of excusing the student from
Directors of state agencies visit appropriations subcommittees to explain their department goals , budget needs, and to answer legislators questions. The Iowa Department of Revenue director Craig Paulsen and deputy director Mory Mosiman speak about IT upgrades and improvements made in their taxpayer call center. A House subcommittee passes a bill that would fine drivers for using electronic communication devices. In the Senate, a subcommittee advances a bill expanding veterans drug treatment
Current law does not allow barbers in Iowa to cut hair in a mobile facility, but a bill is gaining support to change that as a Waterloo barber visits the Capitol to convince lawmakers. There is a proposal from the governor to cut income taxes and raise the state sales tax. The Legislative Services Agency makes an extensive analysis of this proposal and also a short explainer video . Lawmakers are considering a constitutional amendment that requires a two thirds majority to raise income taxes.
Last year a law changed how justices make their way to the bench. Senate Republicans supported the change because they claim some court rulings are examples of “judicial activism.” Acting Chief Justice David Wiggins says the job of the court is to make sure laws don’t violate the constitution. This year, Senate Republicans are trying to pass a state constitutional amendment in response to a 2018 Iowa Supreme Court ruling about abortion access. This is also happening at a time when the governor
The Iowa General Assembly lasts two years. As legislators pick up where they left off in 2019, we hear priorities from both parties and Gov. Kim Reynolds lays out her budget and policy proposals in the Condition of the State. The first week of this session also has new leadership roles for the majority party in the House of Representatives.
This is the last week for the 2019 Iowa Legislative Session. It was scheduled for 110 days,but ended a bit early on day 104. This is also the last episode for this year’s podcast. On this final episode, we cover the passage of the sports betting bill. It legalizes both sports wagering and fantasy sports. In May 2018, the United States Supreme Court made a ruling allowing state to add sports wagering. So far eight states have done so.
Gov. Kim Reynolds invited Republicans to a press conference to announce the creation of a Flood Recovery Advisory Board. She says it will help decide what to do and how to use funds from the federal and state level. The governor is asking legislators to make $15 million available from fiscal year 2019’s ending balance go to the flood mitigation fund. She’s also asking for $10 million in the next fiscal year for the Workforce Housing Tax Credits to accelerate housing improvements in flooded areas
In the first month of the legislative session it’s common to see heads of large departments visit a committee to explain their budget requests. In January, the Department of Transportation asked for $259 million dollars for its highway division. The DOT set aside $13 million a year to buy 225,000 tons of salt. Normally they use 156,000 tons in a season. In February, Iowa received record or near record amounts of snowfall and the DOT used a lot of salt on the roads. They’ve already used around