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Senate File 2357 received unanimous support in the Iowa Senate last week. The bill requires a school board member to vote yes, no or abstain only if they have a conflict on all matters before the board.

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This makes sense. And it may be that the legislature even has a similar law or rule, but I want to expand the idea a bit.

The Republican senators have included information about this bill in their newsletters this week. They wrote:

”Iowans expect elected officials to be clear with their opinions on specific issues, even if they don’t agree. Transparency in government bodies, at any level, is expected by Iowans and they deserve to know where their elected officials stand on issues impacting them.”

Wow. Yeah. I agree. Totally.

But does the legislature?

Bills do not get to a vote in committee — or on the floor — unless it is predetermined they have the votes to pass.

So, how does this philosophy help provide the transparency “expected” by Iowans in government bodies? How does it meet the “expectation” of elected officials being clear with their opinions on specific issues?

Short answer — it doesn’t.

The legislature should — SHOULD — bring bills to a vote on the floor and in committee whether they have the votes to pass or not. This ensures Iowans are educated about the positions of their elected representatives.

Let’s hope the legislature grows a willingness to practice what they preach in the future.

Author: Jacob Hall

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