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SESSION ENDS WITH PASSAGE OF $7.168 BILLION BUDGET

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The 2015 Iowa Legislative Session finally ended just before 4:00 p.m. on Friday, June 5, 2015.. The end of session was delayed by more than a month when House Republicans and Senate Democrats could not find a middle ground on things like education spending, government budgets, and dozens of policy bills.

It was a difficult session.  Budgets were tight and demands high.  Some legislators were fearful of what the bird flu outbreak will do to our state's economy.  After passing a gas tax increase early in session, many legislators were unhappy and not willing to compromise on other issues.  Add to that tensions over Medicaid managed care, mental health institute closures, school funding, fireworks, bullying prevention, medical marijuana expansion, school start dates, and you soon start to see how the gridlock started.  But it ended on Friday, June 5, with decisions to fund education at 1.25%.  After that, the budgets started falling into place.  But that doesn't mean everyone was happy with the final fall of the gavel, what legislators call "sine die."

Governor Terry Branstad now has 30 days to sign bills into law, or veto things he does not like. In Iowa, our Governor also has the ability to line item veto things in budget bills.  That means the Governor can select which parts of a budget bill he wants to sign, and which parts he wants to veto.  The Governor can only do this in budget bills, in other bills its all or nothing.

So take some time to review the bills that passed this year, either at the list at the end of this issue, or in our online Bill Tracker at www.infonetiowa.org/news/bill-tracker/.  If you see something you like (or don’t like), take action!

  • Send your State Senator and State Representative a note (email or mail) and thank them for their work this session.  Your elected officials worked long and hard this session, and they rarely hear the words “thank you.”  If you see something you liked in the bills that passed, thank them for that too!
  • Tell Governor Branstad what you think about the bills passed this year.  You have 30 days to convince your Governor why something should be signed or vetoed. 

Just a few tips to remember when taking action:

  • Be positive in your message.
  • Tell them which bill you are talking about (use the bill number).
  • Tell them why its important, and how it impacts you.
  • Sign your name, address, email/phone number if you have one.
  • Mailing addresses can be found in your 2015-16 Legislative Guide: http://bit.ly/1BQ87Qw.
  • Use our Grassroots Advocacy Center to email legislators and the Governor:  www.infonetiowa.org/action/actioncenter/.