DES MOINES, IOWA — Iowa State Representatives were told to go home last Tuesday from party leaders with agreements needing to be made among House and Senate Republicans.
The last official day of the legislative session is April 19 at the Iowa Statehouse but it appears that lawmakers are preparing to stay past the last day.
“We are diligently trying to find a pathway to sine die but it takes both chambers to be in agreement to be able to accomplish that,” said State Representative Matt Windschitl, (R) from Missouri Valley.
Republican party leaders need to settle their differences on unemployment benefits. The House does not want a one week waiting period for those to start receiving checks, but the Senate does. There is also a dispute on a bottle bill, where the Senate wants there to be more retailers who can be exempt from collecting back cans and bottles.
But, Governor Reynolds is focused on a completely separate issue.
“I wish they would focus on the kids that is what I wish they would focus on, if we are going to be honest, if I want to be honest” said Governor Reynolds. “That is what I am talking to legislators about it is not a bottle bill. I am talking to the legislators about the students.”
The Governor is continuing her two-year battle to allocate an estimated $55 million in taxpayer dollars for private schools. Her “Students First Scholarship” program would allow for 10,000 students to switch from public to private schools; in an effort to allow less fortunate families to have school choice.
The Senate passed that bill several weeks ago, but the House has not budged on the issue. On The Insiders this past weekend one Republican lawmaker shared his thoughts on if it was possible for House Republicans to find the votes for the bill within their own party.
“We have been having those conversations within our caucus about how to get some of those ‘no’ votes to a ‘yes’ vote,” said State Representative Carter Nordman (R) from Adel. “To my understanding the Governor is more than willing to talk about those changes, I imagine the Senate would too. But at the end of the day you have to have 51 votes and if you don’t have 51 votes something has got to give.”
Until the Governor Reynolds’ school voucher bill is decided on, the legislature will have to wait to make decisions on the bottle bill or unemployment as mentioned above. On Monday the Senate will see floor action, but the House will not.