Gov’t reorg on the fast track

An Iowa Senate subcommittee’s meeting this afternoon drew a large crowd of about 100 on-lookers (yes, I counted).  The subcommittee waded through a huge bill which outlines a variety of state government reorganization ideas.  The subcommittee’s leader — Senator Staci Appel — sat at a huge table along with two other senators and a variety of support staff. She called out the specific subject matter in each section of the bill and people in the audience chimed in with their two-cents worth. 

Perhaps two-cents worth isn’t accurate, because the people who were airing their concerns or support or background for each respective section of the bill were lobbyists.  Some work for state government; others work for interests groups ranging from the Iowa Newspaper Association to the Iowa Alliance for the Mentally Ill; still others get paid to lobby for big businesses, like Johnson & Johnson to name just one.  I’m pretty sure nearly all earned more than two-cents for their time on this matter. 

I was struck by a very common phrase, as the legislation in question is “evolving” which means it’s not in final form yet and revisions are being made.  “We reserve our right to comment at a later date on this,” several of the lobbyists told the subcommittee members.  That’s not quite pleading the fifth, so to speak, as the lobbyists aren’t saying they’ll never talk.  Indeed, they may have a LOT to say if the revisions aren’t to their liking.

The subcommittee work on the bill was done, as of about 4:45 p.m. this afternoon according to Senator Appel, as she/the subcommittee made it all the way through the bill with the public/lobbyists in attendance.  She said the full Senate State Government Committee will take up the bill on Wednesday of next week and the goal is to have the full Senate debate the bill the week after that — which means BEFORE the month of January is over.

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About O.Kay Henderson

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