The Iowa Senate began the process of amending the Iowa Constitution to address concerns with the gubernatorial line of succession again on Tuesday. After an oversight by Secretary of State Paul Pate led to proposed amendments failing to get published, legislators were sent back to the starting line.
Senate Study Bill 1082 made it through 3-0.
Pete McRoberts, a registered lobbyist who was at the meeting on his own accord, spoke extensively about the bill.
“What this does is it deflects and works to rectify an issue that arose from the 1988 amendment that put the governor and lieutenant governor on the same ticket,” McRoberts said.
Prior to 1988 the lieutenant governor position was elected separate from the governor.
“Fast forward to the last couple years when there became a question as to when does a vacancy occur in the office of lieutenant governor,” McRoberts said. “Obviously when differing opinions arise, we’d better address the issue.”
The bill lays out a line of succession in different situations.
“We’ve had three vacancies in the last 60 years,” McRoberts said. “Most likely in another generation we’ll have another one.”
The Attorney General’s office is registered undecided, though its representatives suggested adopting the language of the 25th Amendment. A governor could select a new lieutenant governor, but the Senate (or the Senate and the House) would have to vote to confirm the pick.
McRoberts said none of the other branches or bodies have anything to do with who the Senate selects as its president or who the House plugs into as Speaker. Therefore, he said, the executive branch shouldn’t have to subject their selection to a different body.
Senator Zach Whiting signed off on the legislation, as did Democrat Sen. Todd Taylor.
Senator Roby Smith went through the ordeal from last year when the amendment passed 35-11. Pate’s oversight, though, created a need for things to be reintroduced.
Smith added he’d likely alter the language in the amendment when its comes to publishing responsibilities.
With a pocket veto, Smith said he’ll look to add an amendment to the bill or the process that requires the publication.
“This is insurance,” Smith said. “When you buy insurance you hope you never have to use it. This is something like that.”