The 2019 session of the Iowa Legislature kicked off in Des Moines on January 14th this year. I’d like to use the first newsletter of the year to describe the basics of our session and environment in the State Capitol. This may give citizens a bit of context and sense of atmosphere as I report back to them what I see happening.
The session is scheduled to last 110 days, ending on May 3. The political makeup at the State Capitol is similar to last year. Governor Kim Reynolds was elected to her first full term as governor and is no longer finishing out the term won by former Governor Terry Branstad.
The Iowa Senate is led by a thirty-two member Republican majority, having gained three seats. The Senate Democrats have eighteen seats. The House Republican majority stands at 54 seats after losing five seats in November. House Democrats now hold forty-six seats. Of note is that we had a significant turnover in office holders due to both retirements and Election Day losses. It is also noteworthy we now have forty-five women serving in the legislature, topping the previous record of thirty-five. I look forward to meeting these new members.
My committee assignments are the same as the last two years. I’ll be serving on the State Government, Judiciary, and Ways and Means committees, and well as Chairman of the Labor and Business Relations committee.
Each year begins with the same ceremonial or constitutionally required activities. Both Senate and House organized themselves, ratified the election results from November, and chose chamber leaders.
The first official duty is for the House and Senate to join in receiving Governor Kim Reynolds' Condition of the State speech. The next day we hear the Condition of the Judiciary, and on Thursday we listened to the Condition of the Guard speech from Major General Timothy Orr. The first week ends on Friday morning with Governor Reynolds' Inauguration.
Throughout the week, each of our policy committees met for the first time. Introductions are made and a few committees even assigned bills to subcommittee. This is somewhat rare and signifies a desire to attend to business promptly and finish our work in Des Moines as efficiently as possible. In fact, I nearly won the honor of chairing the first subcommittee meeting of the Senate’s year, missing it by fifteen minutes.
I thank the citizens of Senate District 9 for giving me the opportunity to serve you in your State Capitol. If you need to contact me during session the easiest way is to email firstname.lastname@example.org