All session long, Iowa lawmakers talked about adjourning early. But the 100th day of the legislative session came and went. Starting today, they are no longer collecting a paycheck.
State lawmakers have yet to come to terms on the budget and other high-profile policy issues.
“Broadband, Home Base Iowa, bullying and so we’re still on those and trying to reach consensus on all the pieces and I think we will,” says State Rep. Chris Hagenow, (R) Windsor Heights.
This will be the fourth year that they passed a balanced budget. Hagenow says they were making good progress until a few weeks ago. That’s when Senate Democrats called for an investigation into confidential settlements paid to former state workers.
“I don’t think Oversight has factored in to the budget negotiation,” says State Sen. Janet Petersen, (D) Des Moines.
The Senate Oversight Committee is working to ban secret settlements in state government. The proposed bill includes expanded protection for whistleblowers and overhauls the ‘Do Not Hire’ database for fired state workers.
“It’s time for us to put together some legislation and get it passed to clean up state government,” says Petersen.
Lawmakers are still considering a limited medical marijuana bill. It’s only for certain epileptic patients and comes with a list of restrictions.
“A low THC form of cannabis that would provide, has provided, is providing, benefits to these kids with uncontrolled seizures . So that’s really the focus. It’s not something you can smoke, it’s not something that people will get high on,” says State Sen. Joe Bolkcom (D) Iowa City.
Now in overtime, lawmakers are ready to wrap up the session.
“Hopefully soon,” says Hagenow.
“We‘re chugging along,” says Petersen.
Last year, lawmakers adjourned on May 23rd after 130 days in session.