SESSION OVER: Senate Approves Subpoena Power

Iowa senators completed their work quickly Friday morning at the Statehouse and adjourned for the session.

It’s a stark contrast to Thursday, when lawmakers worked all through the night.

Friday morning, senators met for just an hour. During that time, Democrats voted to give subpoena power to the oversight committee. They can use the power to force people to testify at oversight hearings.

Democrats still want to find out who authorized confidential agreements for fired state workers. Oversight Chair Janet Peterson, a Des Moines Democrat, believes there’s much Iowans don’t know about activities going on in their state government. “I believe there’s a lot to be investigated,” she said.

When asked whether something illegal has happened, Petersen, responded, “You know I hate to speculate. I think we’ll get to the truth through the facts.”

Republican leaders dismissed Friday’s actions as just politics and say previous hearings found no evidence of illegal activity. Senate Minority Leader Bill Dix of Shell Rock said, “If there’s something that was truly illegal that has happened, you would think it would have been brought forward by now.”

On the Insiders this week, Des Moines Register political columnist Kathie Obradovich, said, in the end, lawmakers on both sides don’t want the transparency the other side wants.

“A situation where you can make that argument. When you’re talking about transparency, both sides have things they don’t want to give up,” said Obradovich.

Republicans wanted Democrats to join them in passing a bill that bans future confidential settlements with state workers, as well as allows the public to view personnel records to show why state employees lose their jobs.

Democrats want focus on finding out who authorized confidential agreements along with “hush money” payments to workers. They oppose efforts to allow workers’ personnel records to become public.

If you want to see the rest of the interview tune in to The Insiders with Dave Price on Sunday at 9:30 a.m.

The oversight hearings can continue after the legislative session ends and they could stretch long into the summer.

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