What to Watch For This Legislative Session

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DES MOINES, Iowa -- They're 150 of your neighbors all over the state.

For state legislators, the first day of a new legislative session brings much of the same old optimism and much of the same pledges that parties can unite for Iowans’ sake.

“We commit to move bipartisan legislation a quickly as possible,” said House minority leader Mark Smith.

History shows that over the next several months that for these lawmakers, especially in an election year, “expectations rarely predict future realities,” said Linda Upmeyer, House Speaker.

Politics will push patience and promise.

One challenge lawmakers will face is Gov. Terry Branstad proposal to change the way the penny sales tax works. He proposes only some of the money should go towards schools and another chunk should go toward Iowa's water quality.

Another challenge is that Republicans don’t want any state tax dollars to go toward Planned Parenthood, whereas Democrats disagree.

Lawmakers must also decide how to regulate sports fantasy websites to decide how Iowans can gamble.

Those challenges offer the backdrop for this place, and cynics expect trouble.

“Settling for what is expected would be a very disappointing habit for this body to get into,” Upmeyer said.

Lawmakers will try to convince Iowa’s skeptics they're wrong.

“To fight strongly and intelligently for the things we feel are correct and beneficial for the good, hard-working people of Iowa,” Smith said.

One more thing to watch is that Gov. Terry Branstad said he’s willing to talk about raising the minimum wage, which is something Democrats really want. House Republican leaders said Monday that still do not want to raise the minimum wage.