Lawmakers Miss Deadline Leaving High-Profile Nominees in Limbo

DES MOINES, Iowa--April 15th came and went. Now, Iowa lawmakers have to make up for lost time.

State law requires the senate to confirm Governor Terry Branstad's nominees for certain state agencies, boards and commissions by April 15th. But senate Republicans and the governor's office didn't get that done in time.

That left Branstad's nominees in limbo including Iowa Lottery CEO Terry Rich, Department of Natural Resources Director Chuck Gipp and Iowa Division of Labor Commissioner Michael Mauro.

Senate Majority Leader Bill Dix, the Shell Rock Republican, pushed a resolution during a rules committee meeting Wednesday to address the issue. It essentially gets rid of the April 15th deadline. Dix told committee members, "This is a policy that has been adopted in the past, in fact, in 2015. We are doing it again to move forward and continue gubernatorial appointments."

Read the resolution here. 

Democrats say that isn't accurate. They agreed that they, too, missed deadlines for confirmations in the pasts when they held the majority in the senate. But they agreed on a resolution before the deadline passed, not after.

State Senator Bob Dvorsky, a Coraville Democrat, was the only person on the 11-member committee to vote against the Republican resolution Wednesday. "Because they have the votes," Dvorsky said of majority Republicans, " they're running all over all kinds of things here. And this is another example. In theory, if you follow the statute, the 15th is the deadline. Anybody after that, they're deemed not being appointed. So the governor, in theory, would have to appoint people on an interim basis."

In theory, Democrats could block any confirmations. It takes 34 votes of the 50 senators to confirm a nominee. Republicans have just 29 members, meaning it would take some Democrats to join them in approving candidates. But Dvorsky doesn't expect his party to block the three leaders. "I don't think it is fair to them necessarily," he said.