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April 20th, 2009

Running Out The Clock

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Written by: Craig Robinson
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capitolTime is running out on the 2009 legislative session. May 1st will mark the 110th day of the session. That is also the day when legislators will stop receiving their daily per diem. Many expected the legislators to be gone long before then, but if that’s going to be the case, they need to get moving.

For months, we have heard various legislators say that they want to finish up and get home early, but week after week, Democrats have failed to bring key pieces of legislation to the floor for a vote. Many capitol observers have never seen such an unorganized, unorthodox session as this one.

As we enter into the final days of the legislative session, there are a number of big issues that are still stuck in limbo. Democrats have been going to vote on the elimination of federal deductibility for more than three weeks now. Last Friday, they let it be known that they only have 50 “yes” votes in the House, one less than is required for it to pass. Similarly, there are a host of labor bills that many thought were dead, but could be resurrected.

All of this uncertainty has caused groups like Iowans for Tax Relief to continue running their TV and radio ads against the repeal of federal deductibility. It has also caused the Iowa Association of Business and Industry to go back up on the air with radio ads against the various pro-union bills. Many people believe that both groups are wise not let up on their efforts.

Also lurking in the shadows is Governor Culver’s $750 million bonding proposal, his signature piece of legislation that he has campaigned for across the state. House and Senate Democrats are in agreement with the Governor about borrowing the money, but there has been a lot of disagreement about what the money will be used for and how the state will pay it back.

If the Democrats are going to pass any of these major pieces of legislation, they are going to need to start moving forward with them this week. That may be difficult given that the legislature is already set to debate a proposal to alter Iowa’s sex offender law. There will be a public hearing on the matter later tonight.

The Democrats’ procrastination and inability to get their own members to agree on their legislative agenda might force them to throw in the towel on a few of these issues and wait until next year. With each passing day, it seems more and more likely that the Democrats will pass their budget, will probably pass Culver’s bonding proposal, and call it good and go home. If that indeed happens, this legislative session will have been a disaster for legislative Democrats and Culver.

Speaker Murphy and Majority Leader Gronstal walked into the Capitol in January with larger majorities than they have ever had before. They were cocky and arrogant, but it seems like they will leave Des Moines this spring not having accomplished much at all. Their major accomplishment has nothing to do with legislation at all. But, the Democrats have done one thing that Republicans have been trying to do for the past decade: find a way to unite the fiscal and social conservatives, while also attracting independents to the conservative cause.


About the Author

Craig Robinson
Craig Robinson is the founder and editor-in-chief of TheIowaRepublican.com, a political news and commentary site he launched in March of 2009. Robinson’s political analysis is respected across party lines, which has allowed him to build a good rapport with journalist across the country. Robinson has also been featured on Iowa Public Television’s Iowa Press, ABC’s This Week, and other local television and radio programs. Campaign’s & Elections Magazine recognized Robinson as one of the top influencers of the 2012 Iowa Caucuses. A 2013 Politico article sited Robinson and TheIowaRepublican.com as the “premier example” of Republican operatives across the country starting up their own political news sites. His website has been repeatedly praised as the best political blog in Iowa by the Washington Post, and in January of 2015, Politico included him on the list of local reporters that matter in the early presidential states. Robinson got his first taste of Iowa politics in 1999 while serving as Steve Forbes’ southeast Iowa field coordinator where he was responsible for organizing 27 Iowa counties. In 2007, Robinson served as the Political Director of the Republican Party of Iowa where he was responsible for organizing the 2007 Iowa Straw Poll and the 2008 First-in-the-Nation Iowa Caucuses. Following the caucuses, he created his own political news and commentary site, TheIowaRepublcian.com. Robinson is also the President of Global Intermediate, a national mail and political communications firm with offices in West Des Moines, Iowa, and Washington, D.C. Robinson utilizes his fundraising and communications background to service Global’s growing client roster with digital and print marketing. Robinson is a native of Goose Lake, Iowa, and a 1999 graduate of St. Ambrose University in Davenport, where he earned degrees in history and political science. Robinson lives in Ankeny, Iowa, with his wife, Amanda, and son, Luke. He is an active member of the Lutheran Church of Hope.




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