Under the Golden Dome: Amends

Feb 15, 2019

To amend the state constitution, two consecutive Iowa General Assemblies must approve a resolution. Then it must be approved by Iowa voters. But first, the Secretary of State must publish the amendment in newspapers.

Secretary of State Paul Pate failed to do that for two amendments approved during the last General Assembly. Pate says it was a mistake and he apologized, but because of this error, supporters of the resolutions must start the process over. One would enshrine gun rights in the state constitution and the other clarifies the gubernatorial line of succession.

The State Government Subcommittee has restarted the gubernatorial succession amendment.  The resolution stems from the situation in 2017 when Gov. Reynolds left the office of lieutenant governor to become the governor.  The Attorney General issued a formal opinion that a lieutenant governor who becomes governor is not constitutionally permitted to select the next lieutenant governor. This resolution clarifies the line of succession.

In a Senate Judiciary Subcommittee, senators listen to public input on a bill that would remove the requirement to have a permit to carry a firearm. Fourteen other states have passed similar laws, also known as "constitutional carry," that allow guns to be carried, whether concealed or not.

Part of education funding for K-12 comes from state supplemental aid. Due to a shortfall in state revenues, the funding increase over the last two years has been around 1%. This year, Republicans proposed an increase of 2.06%, but Democrats argue 3% is required to maintain quality education. State revenues are projected to grow by only 1.9% for fiscal year 2020 and advocates for the bill say a 3% increase for education would require cuts to other state departments.

With additional funding for transportation and per-pupil funding, the final funding increase for public education is 2.3%. The total amount of state supplemental aid will be 3.3 billion dollars.