This week we introduced several bills in to Ways and Means committee, two of which aim to increase the availability and affordability child care in the state of Iowa. Here is the process that bills go through to become law.
When bills are first introduced on the house floor they are assigned to a committee that best fits their subject matter. When a bill comes to Ways and Means it is then my responsibility as a committee chair to assign the bill to a 3-person. The purpose of a subcommittee is to take public comments, weigh the pros and cons and try to fully understand the scope of the bill and who it will impact. The subcommittee then holds a meeting and votes 1 of 3 ways. Either to pass the bill as is, pass the bill as amended, or to indefinitely postpone the bill which means the bill will not move forward in this legislative session. In a typical year these subcommittees are open to the public, but due to COVID-19 precautions the number of people has been limited. The meetings are instead live streamed via the legislative website. If the bill passes it is then debated during the full committee which is also live streamed. At this point all members of the committee are able to debate the bill. Once it passes through its respective committee, the bill is then eligible for debate on the floor. Bills can be amended in committee and/or during floor debate. If bills pass through the House they then must be put through the same process on the Senate side and vice versa before going to the governor’s desk to be signed in to law. As you can see there are many steps that a bill must go through before it becomes law. Some bills even take multiple years to make it through the legislative process.
As we have entered in to week 2 of legislative session, it has become quite apparent that this session will be different from all of the rest. With many clerks and several legislators working remotely, the hustle and bustle of the chamber is much quieter this year. The evening events are not happening as they have in previous years. Typically, the larger associations bring many constituents and members to Des Moines to visit with us on issues important to them. These events give us the opportunity to learn about various issues impacting people across the state of Iowa. In an average year the Capitol rotunda is packed shoulder to shoulder with constituents lobbying legislators on various issues. I as many other legislators miss the public interaction and face to face discussions. This is obviously not something that can happen while maintaining social distance guidelines. We would still like to hear from our constituents this session. If there is a bill or an issue that you feel strongly about please feel free to email me at Lee.Hein@legis.iowa.gov.
January, 29 @ 12pm
Monticello City Council Chambers (masks requested)
If you are interested in attending in person or via Zoom please contact Derek Lumsden with Jones Co. Economic Development via email email@example.com, or by phone at 319-480-7446.