Overview / Major Events
With this first week post the 2nd funnel, the House and Senate began the process of closing the loop on numerous policy bills and starting floor work on the 10 bills that will constitute the state budget.
A reminder to readers that the 110th and final day of Session (final, in the sense that all Per Diem expenses end on this date) is May 3rd – leaving just three weeks remaining to complete work.
The window for Senate confirmation of gubernatorial appointees extends from March 1 (the date the nominations must be delivered to the Senate) through April 15. Thus, this week saw daily action in the Senate to review, debate, and vote on the hundreds of individuals nominated by Governor Reynolds to lead state agencies and serve on dozens of state boards and commissions.
The vast majority of confirmations are done via an En Bloc calendar (meaning, no Senators have expressed an objection or desire to do individual votes on the names included on that calendar). Using the En Bloc calendar, large blocks of nominees can be confirmed on ONE vote. However, most key agency and department leaders are subject to an individual vote of the Senate. Here are some of the key positions and people who were confirmed this week (and confirmation requires a 2/3 vote of the 50 Senators—34 affirmative votes):
Senate Democrats did unite to defeat Governor Reynolds’ nomination of Phil Hemingway as a member of the Board of Educational Examiners. With all Democrats voting NO, he was short of the required 2/3 votes necessary. An outspoken member of the Iowa City School Board, Mr. Hemingway often clashed with current Senator Zach Wahls over the years (when Senator Wahls also served on the Iowa City School Board).
Iowa Supreme Court Receives Newest Member
Judge Christopher McDonald was officially welcomed as the newest member of the Iowa Supreme Court last Friday (4/5/19) during his Investiture Ceremony in the Iowa Supreme Court Chamber. Governor Reynolds administered the Oath of Office to new Justice McDonald and he became the first minority member of the Iowa Supreme Court. Justice McDonald is the second member of that Court named by Governor Reynolds.
Efforts on Behalf of Community Bankers of Iowa