Greetings from under the golden dome!
While we continue to lack for much floor debate in the senate, we are rapidly approaching "the funnel." Next week is funnel week. That is when we have agreed, through rules' that all bills other than appropriations must come out of committee to be eligible for debate this session.
When a legislator requests a bill to be drafted it goes to the Legislative Service Bureau. They are non-partisan employees of the state who draw up the official language of the bill and make it conform to the pertinent part of the Iowa Code.
Then, if the language conveys the change in the law that the originator intended, it will be forwarded to the appropriate committee chairman. The chairman and ranking member will assign three committee members who will hold a subcommittee meeting where all parties involved will be allowed to voice their likes and dislikes. If two out of the three committee members agree the bill warrants further debate, they will recommend passage and forward it to the full committee. The chairman of the committee will assign the bill for committee debate and if the committee approves the bill it will be forwarded to the majority leader. He then can decide to either bring it to the floor or to do nothing with it. If it makes it to the floor it will then be debated and if it passes a vote it will then be sent to the other chamber for debate. If it passes in the other chamber it will be sent to the Governor where he can either sign it into law or veto it. So as you can see the bill, in essence, goes down this long "funnel" and if it gets to the other end without being thrown out it lands on the Governor's desk.
There other ways to address new legislation after funnel week, but the process becomes much harder. So, we are busy with subcommittee meetings trying to make the funnel deadline.
While this seems like a long and tedious process, it is, but the bills could become law that will impact the daily lives of all Iowans. The more we vet a bill the less the chance of poor legislation. Poor legislation or unintended consequences happen as well, but hopefully this process keeps it to a minimum.
This weekend Representative Pettengill and I will be co-chairing rules and regulations meetings in Sioux City and Council Bluffs. Catch me at one of these meeting or contact me by phone: 515-281-3371 or e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org.
See you out and about.
GRUNDY, TAMA, BENTON