Podcast: Under The Golden Dome Week 15 (4/21/2017)

Apr 21, 2017


It's the last full week of the 2017 legislative session with many long and complicated discussions about next year's budget.  This week's show stays clear of most of the budget discussion and we can present a final show next focusing on the budget with a wrap up of the past 15 weeks.

For this second to last show in the series, we focus on some of the final non-budget bills passing both chambers.

A consumer fireworks bill in the House is managed by Representative Matt Windschitl.  Days before it comes up he hesitates to bring it before the body because he has a hard time securing at least 51 votes.  This bill is opposed by some Republicans because they don't want loud explosions to upset returning veterans adapting to life outside of a war zone.  Windschitl says veterans fought for the freedom of Iowans to use consumer fireworks.

Although Governor Terry Branstad has yet to be confirmed as the next U.S. Ambassador to China, the administration is moving forward with his plans to resign. This involves setting up a $150,000 transition fund, an amount Reynolds says is necessary to accommodate potential staff transitions.

One of the bills signed this week prohibits texting while driving.  It doesn't go as far as Governor Branstad wants, but he says it's a good start and maybe in the near future a "hands free" bill will be introduced.

With control of House, Senate, and governor's office, Republicans are introduce restrictions on abortion.  A bill banning abortions after 20 weeks with no exceptions for a fetal anomaly and a 72 hour waiting period is on its way to the governor.  The debate elicits strong reactions, including Senator Rick Bertrand's disappointment that an all-Republican state government can't pass a bill with even more abortion restrictions.

Democrats are unable to oppose any of the anti-abortion bills, but they are able to deny the confirmation to re-appoint two members on the Iowa Board of Medicine who voted to ban telemed abortions in 2013.  The confirmation requires a two-thirds vote.  The failure of these two board members angers Senator Randy Feenstra, who calls the Democrats bigoted and intolerant because one of the board members immigrated in the 1970s from Egypt to the United States.