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It happens multiple times every year. Republican priorities are killed in the Iowa Legislature because Republicans “don’t have the votes.” But Republicans are never told which lawmakers it is that are withholding their votes.


No, the “moderates” are covered by Leadership to “protect the caucus.”

A couple of years ago it was the Life Amendment that fell victim to this. Last year it was Education Savings Accounts. Every year it is something. This year it is the eminent domain bill that would have protected private property rights.

There are many more, some we’ll never even know about, because “controversial topics” won’t advance far at all simply because Republicans know they don’t have the votes anyway.

But l have been thinking, what if the legislature passed a bill that addressed this problem?

If a bill passes subcommittee, it should be required to receive a vote in the full committee. And if a bill passes committee, it should be required to receive a vote on the floor.

Let’s not waste anyone’s time with bills that aren’t going anywhere or are not deserving of going anywhere. Stop having subcommittees to have “conversations” and start working on things people actually intended to get done.

This isn’t to say it is a bad thing to have subcommittee conversations on a bill that the legislature has no intention of passing, but those conversations can still happen in subcommittee and later the bill can be killed in committee.

Such an approach would allow Iowa voters to know so much more about who they are voting for. Currently, bills don’t go to a vote in committee or the floor if the votes aren’t there. This renders voting records relatively meaningless.

But the other thing such a rule or law may do is turn some of these moderate Republican nays into yays when the time comes to put their vote on the big board.

What is the harm in such an idea?

If bills fail, fine. There is nothing wrong with honest disagreements. But the system right now allows for dishonesty, deceit and disappointment.

Let the elected officials provide their constituents with their full record. Let the voters know who supports what.

Iowa would benefit tremendously from such a decision.

Author: Jacob Hall

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  1. Totally agree! We have no idea why some of these bill never make it to the floor for a vote. Legislators would have to stop being cowards. Let’s see your real hand!

  2. The most important for voters is know how their legislators voted on anything and everything. Knowing who voted for or against a bill coming out of subcommittee all the way to getting on the floor for passage, or not. No more hiding one’s true voting record.


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