The Band is Tuning Up

Capitol Dome

Capitol Dome

LAKE MACBRIDE— Grab your partner, the band is tuning up.

In Des Moines, the Iowa House passed two bills today. One favors the tobacco industry in it’s language for controlling e-cigarettes (HF 2109), and another prohibits termination of pregnancy using telecommunications technology (HF 2175). The former got more votes than the latter, although both were equally ill considered. We’ll learn who voted which way in the journal tomorrow, but the final votes were 72-22 for HF 2109 and 55-42 for HF 2175.

This curious explanatory language is part of HF 2175, “the inclusion of this explanation does not constitute agreement with the explanation’s substance by the members of the general assembly.” What the hell? If that’s the case, why not put in language like, “doctors will be smitten by god if they break this law?” Then they would really have something to write to constituents about in the weekly newsletter.

We are back to the good old days when the Republicans pass bills in the House because they can, messaging them exuberantly into the abyss also known as the Senate inbox. All that’s missing is anti-abortion activist Kim Pearson. I haven’t been following the Senate as closely but their six percent allowable growth proposal appears equally dead on arrival in the House. The only caveat here is the e-cigarette bill may have a chance in the Senate because of Democratic support in the House.

Let’s not forget the executive branch. Yesterday the state auditor reported the governor’s budget overspends state revenues by $144 million. Sounds like the governor is planning to pay for things using one-time money in the surplus, something he repeatedly criticized Chet Culver for doing as part of his 2010 campaign.

As a friend wrote this morning, “there is no budget surplus. We are underfunding nearly every category in the budget.” The legislature will have to work through this before leaving Des Moines for the midterm elections— or not. Well, who knows what they might do? There are good people in the Iowa legislature, but one wouldn’t know it by the work they produced this week. And, it’s only Tuesday.

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