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Under the Golden Dome: End Game

John Pemble / Iowa Public Radio
Iowa’s Capitol during the final week of the 2019 legislative session";

This is the last week for the 2019 Iowa Legislative Session. It was scheduled for 110 days,but ended a bit early on day 104.

This is also the last episode for this year’s podcast. On this final episode, we cover the passage of the sports betting bill. It legalizes both sports wagering and fantasy sports. In May 2018, the United States Supreme Court made a ruling allowing state to add sports wagering.  So far eight states have done so.
A bill that passed this year and was signed into law in March is now the subject of a lawsuit. The  Agricultural Production Facility Trespass bill is referred to as “Ag-gag 2.0” by opponents. A similar bill was passed in 2012 but struck down by a court for violating the First Amendment. The state is currently appealing that decision.

A longtime Republican legislator is changing his party registration to Democrat. Andy McKean of Anamosa was a Republican when he took office as a representative in 1978. He was elected to the Senate in 1991 and retired from the legislature in 2002. In 2016 he decided to run for an open Republican House seat. Since returning, McKean says the Statehouse is more partisan.  As he looks to the elections in 2020, he says he is unable to stay in the Republican party.

Budget bills are part of the end of the session. They can contain amendments about anything.
We focus on some of those budget bills with amendments. The Justice System Appropriations bill contains an amendment requiring the Attorney General to seek permission from the governor, executive council or legislature to participate in out-of-state lawsuits.

The Standings appropriations bill has an amendment changing how potential justices on the Iowa Supreme Court are considered. The Health & Human Services budget has two amendments, one eliminating federal funding for Planned Parenthood of the Heartland for sex education programs.  The other blocks publicly funded health insurance from covering surgeries for transgender and intersex Iowans.

John Pemble is a reporter for IPR