Representative Tom Moore filed a resolution in the Iowa House proposing a constitutional amendment changing terms from two-year terms for the Iowa House to four-year terms.
The amendment provides half of the 100 members would be elected in even-numbered years and the other half in odd-numbered years.
Moore said he filed the proposal to generate discussion.
“I realize this isn’t something we’re going to run through and whatever, but I did the same four or five years ago, I was the first one to propose the elimination of the inheritance tax,” he said. “And then we got there. So, that’s kind of my impetus in this.”
Moore said one benefit would be the cost to the state being less just because there will not be as many people on the ballots.
The main benefit, though, will change what he called a historical perspective of what the Senate and the House actually are. At the federal level, the two were set up very differently for various reasons. The Senate was considered “elite,” Moore said.
At the state level, Moore said he doesn’t see the Iowa Senate as being “more elite” or “more powerful” than the Iowa House. He sees each chamber as having equal power.
“So that’s one of my reasons for saying, ‘Let’s go to four,'” he said. “By doing that, now we’ve got four years to legislate.”
The general assemblies are set up in such a way as to take campaigning into consideration. This first year has 110 days while the second year has 100 days.
“Because we’re campaigning,” Moore said.
He also said there would be “a lot less” money spent on campaigns. He said it could be framed as “campaign finance reform.”
There are potential problems, Moore said. He said maybe Nebraska’s unicameral legislature has it right. Or maybe we should go to 100 senators or 50 representatives.
There would also be House candidates who never share the ballot with the President. But there could be the benefit of a member of the Iowa House not being up for re-election and instead being able to seek a higher office.
If the resolution is adopted, it would have to pass two general assemblies and then pass a vote of Iowans in order to be ratified.
“It’s never going to happen if somebody doesn’t put it out there for conversation,” Moore said. “I haven’t really had any (reaction). I don’t know that anybody has really seen it that much yet.”
This reason, “But there could be the benefit of a member of the Iowa House not being up for re-election and instead being able to seek a higher office” is enough reason not to do it. We don’t need career politicians already working the angle for the next job.