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SPRING CLEANING IN THE IOWA LEGISLATURE

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The Iowa Legislature is now entering its final month of session, with key legislators saying they still hope to wrap things up by Easter (April 20).   Last Friday (March 14) was the second and final legislative "funnel" deadline.  By this date, House Files must have been voted out of Senate Committees, and Senate Files had to be voted out of House Committees.  Anything left in committee after March 14 is no longer eligible for debate, and is officially dead.  However, three committees are exempt from this deadline, so bills coming out of the Appropriations, Ways and Means, or Government Oversight Committees are alive until the session ends for the year.

Our bill tracker has been updated with the status as of today, so any bills that didn't make the funnel deadline will only appear on the "inactive" list.  You can find our custom Bill Tracker here.

Over the past two weeks, the Legislature has cleared a lot of non-controversial bills off the deck as they prepare for the final push toward adjournment. It's their own version of "spring cleaning" - cleaning off their desks with the easy stuff, and rolling up their sleeves to dig deep into the harder or more complicated things.  So you should continue to see lawmakers spending a lot of time on the floor in debate.

Did you know you can now watch bills being debated from your computer, tablet, or smart phone?  For the last several years, Iowans could watch their elected officials debate bills in real time, as the debate happened.  But you had to know when those bills would be debated, or you missed it.  With frequent delays and caucuses, it's tough for legislators themselves to predict exactly when a bill will be debated.

That has changed!  Every day, the Iowa House of Representatives and the Iowa Senate archives their debates, so you can go the legislative website at any time and watch an entire day's debate, or just watch debate on a specific bill!  So if you missed debate on a bill you really care about, just follow the links below and you can watch it now!   Even if you aren't watching any specific bills, it's a good way to watch the legislative process in action!

NOTE: The Senate Bill Archives will show Senate Debates on a bill, both House Files and Senate Files.  The House Bill Archives will show House Debates on a bill, both House Files and Senate Files. So if you want to watch debate on a Senate File, make sure you check both House and Senate archives, because both chambers must vote on the bill before it can go to the Governor.