Things were hectic last week at the Iowa State Capitol as legislators worked to pass bills out of full committee to keep them alive for the remainder of session. Funnel week is a self-imposed deadline for the legislature to have a bill pass out of subcommittee and full committee in order to still be considered.
Bills that do not survive the funnel or do not reside in a “funnel-proof” committee are essentially dead. There are ways ideas in these bills can make their way through the process, it just requires much more creativity. And the opportunity doesn’t always present itself.
Nonetheless, as I was thinking last week, I came to the conclusion that the legislature should take a “one-week” break after funnel week for lawmakers to return to their district for a full week and hold forums letting constituents know what bills are alive and what bills are dead and how the see the rest of session unfolding.
It would offer a chance for lawmakers to “reconnect” with their constituents during an otherwise busy time of year for pretty much everyone.
Most Iowans only get their updates on what happens at the Capitol from the news — and that isn’t healthy. This week to reconnect would allow constituents to hear straight from their representatives and senators. And it could easily be accomplished in one week.
Having more constant communication between legislators and constituents would be a good thing. And this reconnect week would help.
I am not convinced this idea would work, however, due to rules for the legislative session when it comes to taking so many consecutive days off. But it is an idea worth exploring nonetheless.
It would benefit everyone by giving people a break, a chance to catch their breath and examine what the priorities should be for the remainder of the legislative session.