Special Session Part III

House just reconvened at 11:11 am.

House Majority Leader Chuck Gipp:  we’ve all voted on this bill several times…I would hope the vote taken originally would be followed up today with a strong vote to override.

Rep Jeff Kaufmann (R-Wilton):  comes as no surprise that I stand in strong support.  Tells anecdote about rural Iowan who bakcs bill.  This goes beyond e.d.  This goes beyond govt.  This about the people speaking in an overwhelming voice.  This is about making this the people’s House.  I respect right to disagree, governor’s right to veto.  I’ve heard people say we need another tool.  ED as a tool in econ dev is like going duck hunting with a bazooka.  You might get the job done but it’s not right.  It’s not Iowa.

(Denise Essman called to ask about some email she sent about soemthing that happens Monday, interrupting the flow)

Now, back to Kaufmann:  In May when we voted overwhelmingly, I said not in Iowa.  The peopel want us to understand a deed is more than a deed, a business is their pride and joy.  We are number eight in ranking on how rigid our slum and blight is.  We’re middle of the road in slum and blight.  This is more fundamental than anything.  That’s why you’re all hearing a roar…but this has to be done because the people trump politics.  Folks, I would encourage you to override not for embarassment..because this House has to be the People’s House.

Rep Ed Fallon (D-Des Moines):  Rise to add my Democratic voice to
this bipartisan effort.  I’m sorry we’re back but pleased to see a
strong showing from teh public.  They feel very passionate about this
issue…many have sacrificed to try to stick up for their property.
What has frustrated me is when someone tells me there is no abuse of
e.d. — I’ve seen the faces.  The threat of e.d. is as powerful as e.d.
itslef.  Compare it to the bully at school who threatens to beat you up
for your lunch money.  He gets the money without beating you up — a
little bit harsh, perhaps, but e.d. has been the bully.  Let me be
clear there is a rightful place for e.d. and condemnation.  That’s
good.  That’s appropriate and that will continue.  if we’ve done
anything that needs to be fixed, next year legislators will fix.  In
1999 we passed an e.d. bill that had a lot of problems in it — the one
bill I floor managed.  it was exciting to me to work through the
process but that bill was about 20 pages long.  Hopefully you won’t
have a 20 page bill to fix this but I don’t think you will.  This is a
compromise in a big way but gets to the heart of a lot of problems.
Brought up in response to Kelo, but brewing in the background for a lot
of years are issues that needed the spark that Kelo provided to get a
fair hearing here.  I’m really, really excited that we’re finally
getting around to doing that.  This bill isn’t perfect.  It’s a
compromise.  Hope changes are all with the idea of defending the little
guy because this bill is about making sure little guy has a voice.  I
don’t want to talk for too long.  A lot of us who want to get out of
here for lunch.  Respect the time of those who’ve taken a day off.  One
person’s here missing their kid’s birthday.  I think we’re poised to do
the right thing.  Fallon talks about lot in his district.  Roads are a
public purpose, but there are some cases where a proposal for a new
road has acted more on behalf of development interest than public
interest.  Let’s vote to override this veto.  There’s some pain in
doing that as a Democrat because those of us who are Ds have some
respect for our governor, but this is the right thing to do.

Rep Walt Tomenga (R-Johnston): one of great things about House
provides opportunity to listen to minority.  I will give minority
report.  I stand in opposition (to override) not because I’m concerned
about the many untintended consequences that we can perceive and not
perceive.  I’m not in oppoistion because I believe there’s a better
way, a better bill that we can produce.  Let me share concerns about
unintended consequences:  e.d. an important tool in our democracy.
States that the gfood of the majority at times and for necessary
reasons need to prevail over the rights of the minority.  That’s been
the case for years and years since the history of our country started.
It’s a delicate balanced because by it’s nature it poses one entity
against another.  I find is unique that we use e.d. that we’re upset
and surprised that somebody finds it an abuse of power.  I would be
surprised if they didn’t.  It’s taking something that somebody doesn’t
want to give so that the body politic can have a variety of things.  I
think one of unintend consequences is this bill destroys that balance.
It will icnrease the cost of acquistion of private property.  That
doesn’t sound like a bad deal if it’s my property being acquired but
going back to the common good purpose, that means all of us pay more
for something we need.  I’m concerned projects that are for the common
good — potable water for communities through reservoirs — may be out
of reach because of increased cost that goes beyond what is fair.  I
have no illusions that House will vote to override…but just think
about what impact will be.

Rep Phil Wise (D-Keokuk):  I’m going to be voting to override, but
that doesn’t mean that Rep. Tomenga is wrong because he’s not.  Let me
explain the reason I’m voting to override but it’s a risky approach to
resolving the issue of protecting private property rights.  It’s the
only vote that I’m going to tbe allowed to have today.  It’s not as if
I could vote on a better piece of legislation.  I even filed a bill.
So the only vote I’m going to get to cast is this vote and I’ll vote
for it.  But understand the risk of this approach to resolving the
problem.  Almost certainly should this override pass, the legality of
that action will be challenged in court.  I’m not an attorney…but I
know enough that there is at least a chance the whole thing before us
will be invalidated and we’ll have not additional propery rights.  More
prudent approach:  pass a new piece of legislation.  That would require
us to be in DSM longer, but that is a safer approach than what we’re
about to do.  But I will vote yes cause it’s only choice.  This issue
is not over when we adjour today and there is a real risk that the work
that has been done will have to be revisited, far more than minor
tinkering.  I regret the solution is s aveto override.  Slip back into
my former life of a govt teacher: what we’re doing need not happen.  We
collectively could have avoided this and when I say we I am referring
to executive as well.  First vote I had on this issue was in middle of
February and final action was in first week of May.  I profoundly wish
that the governor had wished the governor had raised his objections in
the spring rather than after we adjourned because I believe that some
if not most of what gov has objected to could have been addressed,
probably would have been addressed because there was a strong
bipartisan imperitive.  I regret that the exec waited ’til after the
fact to raise his objections.  I believe some of his objections are
valid but unfortunately this process has not worked as it could have
and should have and so now we’re going to take an action that will nto
finally resolve this issue.  I have no idea what court will do.  So
Fallon, we’ll be back doing tinkering, but we may be starting from
scratch and writing new bill.  There was a better way and we failed to
take it.

Rep Danny Carroll (R-Grinnell):  feels unusual to be here but
encourage override because I think the process is working just as it
was designed.  Looking back on history of bill, the process worked very
well.  Extensive debate in sub committee, committee, House and Senate
and even as I recall sat on the calendar under MTR for a few weeks
where any considerations could easily be addressed and here we are
today considered a veto override rare to be sure and probably a good
thing.  I don’t understand why Gov vetoed the bill.  It’s still a
little bit confusing why that veto was put in place but it would be a
mistake to take up a new bill at this time.  We do not have the benefit
of committee process, public input that’s in place during legislative
session.  This bill had that benefit from Feb to May.  The idea we
ought to look at compromise would be simply inappropr.  Of more concern
is meat of issue and eld. primarily because I think it interferes with
healthy negotiations between buyer and seller.  It’s obvious and it
gets used in subtle ways that we don’t know or fully appreciate.  It is
a power that gopt must have and we all benefit when public use projects
are involved.  If there’s a questiona botu balance, the balance outhgt
to be in favor of private land owner.  Finally, legality of our
action:  it’s very siply this.  If a governor can veto, then a
legislature can override.  It’s as simple as that.

Rep Richard Anderson (R-Clarinda):  I really hadn’t intended to
speak, but as rep from southern IA where the issue of lake I felt like
I should say something.  I’ve been in teh crosshairs.  There’s no
question that this bill went through much labor and final result allows
critical need of drinking water to be met in southern Iowa when it is
needed.  The real controversy is over the recreational lake development
and there’s no question recreation provides certain amount of economic
development.  Lakes add to quality of Life.  I see Corning and Creston
enjoying their lakes from a qual of life perspective but I’ve talked to
local officials in and around those lakes but they quickly add the econ
dev is limited.  Real econ dev goes beyond recreation and it comes from
private development around those lakes.  Lakes surrounded by homes and
tax revenue generated from those homes, when investors and developers
privately acquire land and they build homes and businesses that
increase property tax revenue or create real jobs.  The issue we face
as a legislature regarding lakes and slum and blighted is the legit
scope and limit of the power of condemnation.  Nearly 150 of us
concluded the power of condemnation should be allowed for lakes only
when lake for drinking water.  This does not rpevent private developer
expanding size of lake for greater rec value.  When both sides look at
that they’ll realize the wisdom in that balance but I think the balance
has been found.

Rep Kraig Paulsen (R-Hiawatha):  As chair of committee of
jurisdiction I felt compelled to say something.  I just wanted to
remind people of some things.  This bill started last summer and it
started by legislators on both side sof isle.  There were several bills
drafted.  Bill showed up with bipartisan sponsors,  We took countless
hours of subcommitte time, testimoney within House Judiciary Committee
and tis entire process was repeated in Senate.  This bill received
longest debate of any bill we did all year.  More amendments than any
other.  Virtually every one of the proposals from the governor less the
ombudsman and the bstudy were offered as amendments on the floor and
they were offered in senate.  This bill went through the deliberative
process.  There is no question that the governor’s proposal weakens
property rights.  I think this was a bill that was crafted correctly
and I think the question that’s before us is fair.  It is an inherent
power of a legislative body to override the veto of the executive.  Now
there’s some different legal theories and argue with a straight face on
the other side.  I would aks support override.

Gipp:  Owning public property is a basic American tenant since we
became a country.  Kelo shook confidence of Americans and Iowans in
owning property.  Bill passed with 89 votes after many, many hours of
meetings, amendments, work, and then passed to Senate.  We are here to
reestablish the confidence of Iowans in owning property and protecting
private property rights of Iowans.

Voting machine opens at 11:44.  At 11:45 machine was closed:  90-8.  Veto overridden.

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About O.Kay Henderson

O. Kay Henderson is the news director of Radio Iowa.