Under the Golden Dome: First Division

Feb 1, 2019

This week, the Iowa House voted for the first time in this General Assembly, but there wasn’t anything ordinary about this one.  During the election for House District 55, the incumbent Rep. Michael Bergan, R-Dorchester, won by nine votes.

Ballots arrived in Winneshiek County without postmarks and the county auditor tossed them. The Democratic challenger Kay Koether sued to have the ballots counted. A judge ordered the barcodes on the envelopes be scanned to determine if they were sent before Election Day. The scans indicate they were.

The judge ruled the Iowa House of Representatives has the authority to determine if the ballots should be opened and counted. During the first two weeks of the session, a Contested Election Committee with a Republican majority recommended the ballots not be opened.

You can listen to our show from last week to hear how this committee worked through the challenge.

The House has the final say about what to do with these 29 ballots and this week they voted to accept the report on party lines.

The third week is a time where a great number of bills are in subcommittees. On our show, we bring you to three panels to give you an idea of how a bill passes through the legislative process.

The three Senate subcommittees we visit are State Government (SF 53), Senate Agriculture (SF 57), and Judiciary (SSB 1038).