This new podcast from Iowa Public Radio highlights the activity at the Iowa Capitol during the legislative session.
Our first week begins with the opening of the 87th General Assembly, where Republicans control the Senate, House, and the governor’s office. In the first half hour of the session, outgoing Senate President, Democrat Pam Jochum hands Republican Senator Jack Whitver the gavel. Republican priorities this year include changing collective bargaining, implementing voter ID, and defunding Planned Parenthood.
Iowa Public Radio’s Ben Kieffer and Joyce Russell talk with the leaders of both parties. Republican House Speaker Linda Upmeyer and Senate Majority Leader Bill Dix expand their party’s plan, while House Minority Leader Mark Smith and Senate Minority Leader Rob Hogg say Republicans are basing these proposals on “fake problems".
Governor Terry Branstad delivers what is likely his final Condition of the State address, pending his confirmation as the U.S. Ambassador to China. Until then, the governor says he’ll stay here in Iowa pushing his agenda forward. His entire speech is part of this show. Analysis follows from Associate Professor of Political Science, Chris Larimer of the University of Northern Iowa.
With a budget shortfall of almost $100 million, most state departments are seeing no increase from the governor’s proposed budget. Some are seeing cuts. The proposed cut for the Judicial Branch is $7.7 million less than what Chief Justice Mark Cady is requesting. Justice Cady uses the budget shortfall as a main talking point in his State of the Judiciary. The complete audio of his speech closes this week’s podcast.