There are only a few days before per diems stop for legislators. It's the goal for the session to end by the 100th day -- April 17th -- but with two different tax codes in the works and no fiscal year 2019 budget, it's likely the session will continue longer.
This week a public hearing on a House tax code received praise and pushback from around three dozen Iowans. Support ranges from it stimulates the economy to it adds "gravy on our taters." This is a reference to the federal tax breaks that started in January. Leaders in the House and Senate will have to find a compromise between their two very different tax bills.
Gov. Kim Reynolds is concerned about trade tension between the United States and China. It could have negative effects on Iowa's agriculture industry. President Trump says "trade wars are good and easy to win," but Gov. Reynolds says "no one wins in a trade war." She traveled to Washington D.C. to share her concerns with federal officials about what a trade war could mean for Iowa farmers.
Members of the Senate have a letter for the president sharing their concerns about the ag economy. It is discussed during their points of personal privilege, which escalates to harsh criticism of the president and fellow senators. At one point, the decorum breaks down as one senator asks for another to stop talking because "he is an idiot."
Right now Iowa doesn't have lieutenant governor. Last year when Gov. Reynolds wanted to appoint Adam Gregg, the attorney general wrote a legal opinion stating she didn't have this authority. To resolve the legality, Gregg is officially Iowa's acting lieutenant governor.
A state constitutional amendment that would allow a governor to appoint a lieutenant governor passes out of the House. Democrats oppose it because it does not include a requirement the House and Senate confirm such an appointment. They argue since Senate confirmation is already a requirement for hundreds of the governor's appointments, the same should apply to the lieutenant governor position should this rare situation occur again.
Most of the governor's appointments are confirmed in the Senate, but this week two of them are denied. One for supporting an anti-LGBT blog post, and another for involvement in the changes to Iowa's collective bargaining laws.