Just to clear up any confusion…

As you may know by now if you've been reading this blog, House Speaker Pat Murphy is sitting in the Iowa House of Representatives this Saturday morning, keeping the House voting machine open because the "prevailing wage" bill did not pass Friday evening.  It got only 50 votes; 51 are necessary to pass a bill.

House Democratic Leader Kevin McCarthy of Des Moines was surrounded by reporters on Friday night who were asking him to explain what went wrong and what would happen next.  I share now the text of this impromptu news event, hoping it provides clarity to those of you who may be wondering just what went wrong.

McCarthy: "Don't scare me." (He said this as two microphones and several tape recorders were thrust in front of his face as he stood in front of the press bench.)

Question: "You didn't think we'd be coming to see what you'd be doing?"

McCarthy: "This was kind of a, I've never seen any vote like this because it was a pretty interesting chess game, for those that like to play chess.  What happened was during the debate was there appeared to be 51 votes for the bill at the start of debate. There was an agreement reached with one of our members (McKinley Bailey) to in essence accept a Linda Upmeyer amendment, amendment 1075, that was an out of order amendment.  To cause Linda Upmeyer's amendment, which had the effect of increasing the bid thresholds and exempting or treating community colleges and hospitals similar to cities and counties that required an amendment to be filed by Representative Bailey that further would have, which was out of order, which further would have required a reconsideration of the previously passed Olson amendment.  I know I'm getting complicated here.  In order, that could have been done within the time allotted for debate.  We had a time certain on the bill, ok?  When there's a time certain, what the motion that occurred at 5:20 p.m. was, or what occurred at 5:20 p.m. was the requirement that an immediate vote, with no debate, occur on all remaining, in order amendments, putting that one amendment out and that was kind of made an interesting chess move because I think one of the strategies that Republicans had was to force, see if McKinley Bailey would vote for the bill notwithstanding his amendment did not pass, or whether he would vote for what would have been the original, earlier, stronger bill and he chose to vote no as you see."

Question: "Is one option to kick the bill across the way with the agreement that you'll put it in over there?"

McCarthy: "No."

Question: "What's the roadmap to 51?"

Another question: "No, what happens tonight?  I mean, can we start there?"

McCarthy: "Nothing."

Question: "You're going to leave the board open?"

McCarthy: "It's thespeaker prerogative to keep the machine open as long as he or she wishes and that's his prerogative and you'll have to ask the speaker regarding that, as the presiding officer of the house."

Question: "And what do you hope happens by doing that? To change the vote on Monday?"

McCarthy: (He let loose with one quick "ha" then spoke.)  "It's the speakers prerogative to keep the machine open, so I suggest you walk — he's right there, ask the speaker regarding his decision to maintain, to keep the machine open, OK. I don't speak for the speaker.  I would recommend you speak with the speaker."

Question: "So we're going to be here all night?"

McCarthy: "That's up to you."

As reporters turned their focus to Murphy, who was sitting in the speakers chair surrounded by legislators and staff, all engaged in intense conversation, Representative Jodi Tymeson walked by and told reporters:  "He can't come out of the chair if he has the machine open."

Did that clear it up for ya?

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About O.Kay Henderson

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