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In case you haven't heard, Senator David Johnson has decided to become an Independent.  Many of you know him - he has been a strong advocate for disability rights and has been vocal about his concerns with Medicaid managed care. He has represented the NW corner of Iowa as a Republican, and has served on the Health and Human Services Budget Subcommittee, and was Ranking Member on the Senate Human Resources Committee.  

Sen. Johnson left the Republican party over differences he has with Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump, who made fun of a reporter with a disability and who has made "racist remarks."  Senate Republicans were shocked by his change to Independent after 18 years as a Republican legislaor.  They have removed him from committees, but he still attends even though he cannot vote in committee.  His change means the current balance of the Senate is 26 Democrats, 23 Republicans, and 1 Independent.  

If Senate Democrats were to lose a seat in the November 8 election, they would still control the Senate, but would need one Republican or Sen. Johnson to pass legislation (since it would be 25 Democrats, 24 Republicans, and 1 Independent). However, like all voter registrations, you can change them at any time, and Sen. Johnson has said that he will keep his options open.

Sen. Mark Costello is serving as the new Ranking Member of the Senate Human Resources Committee, and Sen. Jack Whitver was added to the committee since they are still actively meeting.  While Sen. Johnson was taken off the Education, Natural Resources and Environment, and State Government Committees, he has not been replaced since they have no plans to meet before January (when new committee appointments will be made).