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The 2019 Iowa Legislature Session--a Democratic view

Posted: Mon, May 13, 2019 8:37 PM

Bill Dotzler has been a member of the Iowa Legislature for 23 years.  The State Senator from Waterloo says the way the legislators handle bills has changed in recent years--especially this year when Republicans controlled the Iowa House, Iowa Senate and Iowa Governor's Office.

"Most of the (proposed) bills got sprung on us," he says, adding many bills were presented so much at the last minute that other legislators weren't even given a chance to discuss the bills or ask questions about them.  Dotzler calls the current atmosphere "so partisan" and says it's part of an effort to centralize power for those who are in control.

State Senator Pam Jochum from Dubuque says there were some achievements by the 2019 Iowa Legislature.  She says creating a better mental health program for juveniles was a positive step, "but we need a sustainable funding source."  Jochum also praises the legislature's move to extend school infrastructure funding, although she notes the legislature added new requirements about how the one cent sales tax money could be spent.

Dotzler praises the legislature for turning back several energy-related bills which he says "were written by MidAmerican Energy and Alliant."  He says several other pieces of bad legislation didn't get voted down, nor did they get approved, which means they will still be pending when the 2020 session of the Iowa Legislature begins.