Feb. 7 was the deadline for Iowa state lawmakers to request specific bills be drafted by legislative staff, so long as the bills are not tied to taxation or spending.
These policy bills can be pet projects by the lawmakers to further a specific priority or respond to a need in their district. They also can be bills the lawmaker joined as a co-sponsor but originally came from their party’s leaders. Such bills can be pre-filed by Gov. Kim Reynolds, other elected officials, department heads or commissions that the lawmaker is managing as the chair of a committee.
For instance, Iowa Sen. Chris Cournoyer, R-LeClaire, has sponsored 15 bills so far. And speaking of pet projects, one is a wide-ranging bill “relating to the ownership of dogs,” including a measure to block cities from banning specific breeds of dogs. Other Cournoyer bills include a reform on interior designer certifications, a requirement for tougher punishments on drivers using handheld devices, a lower limit on train lengths and a requirement for the state to prioritize development of the U.S. 30 corridor when considering road spending.
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Iowa Sen. Pam Jochum, D-Dubuque, has sponsored 29 bills this session. Many of these are alongside other members of Senate Democrats leadership. One of these would require applicants for education savings accounts — created by Reynolds’s law allowing public funding to follow students to private schools — to provide information such as household income and size, race and ethnicity of the pupil, disability status and whether the pupil has an individual education program, just for instance.
But personally, Jochum has filed a bill to restrict construction of large, animal confinement feeding operations, one to dissuade teenagers driving at high speeds (after the death of three local teens) and one to base the size of election recount boards on a county’s population.
Iowa Sen. Michael Klimesh, R-Spillville, has sponsored 12 bills. One sponsored by him alone would authorize emergency medical services agencies in a county to decide the tax levy rate to support them without approval of the county board of supervisors. He also is managing a couple of bills related to the role of county compensation boards, which he has been tasked with deciding after years of lawmakers pitching disparate proposals about the boards.
Iowa Sen. Carrie Koelker, R-Dyersville, has sponsored five bills. One was the same bill regulating handheld devices while driving that Cournoyer co-sponsored. Others include a leadership bill to ban the employment of undocumented immigrants, a bill allowing local port authorities to enter loan agreements and lease contracts for improvement projects and one to allow cities to establish self-supported entertainment areas.
Iowa Sen. Dan Zumbach, R-Ryan, has sponsored two bills, one of which would waive a requirement for warning lights on vehicles of excessive weight. Zumbach co-owns a trucking company.
Iowa Rep. Steve Bradley, R-Cascade, has sponsored 22 bills, mostly from party leadership. They include one to require voters registering on Election Day be given provisional ballots, another to ban abortion drugs in Iowa and another to require school districts to excuse absences for autism-related health care.
Iowa Rep. Chuck Isenhart, D-Dubuque, has sponsored 14 bills, including one to require well water testing prior to a property’s transfer, one to exempt urban agriculture land from property tax and one to change the definition of “independent expenditure” (those by PACs) in campaign finances.
Iowa Rep. Lindsay James, D-Dubuque, has sponsored six bills, including one to require reporting from anyone selling Iowa water out of the state and one to require newly constructed garages to allow for electric vehicle charging.
Iowa Rep. Craig Johnson, R-Independence, has sponsored 15 bills — nearly all leadership bills, plus one to require the creation of a grant program for hiring and equipping law enforcement officers for schools.
Iowa Rep. Shannon Lundgren, R-Peosta, has introduced two bills — although as chair of the House Commerce Committee she has introduced numerous committee bills. One of the two bills is a joint resolution requesting a constitutional convention to remake the U.S. Constitution.
Iowa Rep. Norlin Mommsen, R-DeWitt, has sponsored 13 bills, including one to identify certain practices as soil health practices, when considering Iowa’s nutrient reduction strategy, and another requiring local government to deposit money from traffic citations issued through automated systems to the state road use tax fund.
Iowa Rep. Anne Osmundson, R-Volga, has sponsored 15 bills — mostly leadership bills, plus one to require space on license plates for veterans to place their branch’s decal.
Full lists of legislation each lawmaker has introduced or cosponsored is available on the Legislature’s website.
Van Orden at the border
U.S. Rep. Derrick Van Orden, R-Wis., was one of six freshman Republican representatives to join Speaker Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif, at the U.S. southern border in Arizona in recent days to draw attention to what they see as failures there by President Joe Biden’s administration.
Van Orden has posted frequently on social media about the trip.
One of Friday’s posts: “Joined Speaker Kevin McCarthy and my freshman colleagues at the southern border this week. The takeaway? The border is wide open. (Department of Homeland Security) Secretary (Alejandro) Mayorkas needs to do his damn job.”
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