LAKE MACBRIDE— The storm let up, the driveway was dug out, and the second session of the 85th Iowa General Assembly began to shape up during its annual funnel week. The funnel means most non-spending bills must be passed out of committee or they are dead for the year. It’s not a firm rule, but it has implications.
The session starts to take shape the way a funnel cake does at the Iowa State Fair. Political funnel cake is nowhere near as tasty, and be ready to apply lots of powdered sugar to sweeten the underlying bitterness of this airy confection.
Some impossible bills have come forward, like the ban on telemedicine abortions, and a bill introduced by a gunsmith allowing silencers. Such extreme measures are unlikely to make it through the bicameral legislature. Senator Joe Bolkcom of Iowa City withdrew his medical marijuana bill the same day he filed it when no bipartisan support could be found. He seems smarter than others.
Legislators are busy with committee work, attempting to advance their priorities. Any analysis of this session seems premature until we at least get past the funnel.
There is an election this year, and political fundraising has been a recent topic at the coffee shop. We receive countless requests for donations in the mail and via the Internet. Funds are limited this year, and people who ask personally or by telephone are more likely to receive financial help.
Thus far, the following five people have asked me personally for a campaign contribution: State Senator Bob Dvorsky, who has represented me for almost 20 years; county supervisor candidates Janelle Rettig and Mike Carberry; Congressman Dave Loebsack; and candidate for the first congressional district seat, Anesa Kajtazovic. These are all busy people, so if they can call, any candidate not in a state-wide race should be dialing for dollars.
Political coverage takes a lot of work if it’s done right, and my coverage is more on the spotty side. Writing about politics forces me to think about it, something any normal human avoids like the plague. Honestly, I’d rather be at the fair.