Predictable ‘hot buttons’ likely to distract lawmakers from focus on session priorities – The Gazette – DC Initiative on Racial Equity
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Rep. Megan Jones, R-Sioux Rapids

Sen. Zach Wahls, D-Coralville

Rep. Pat Grassley, R-New Hartford

Sen. Chris Cournoyer, R-LeClaire

Sen. Carrie Koelker, R-Dyersville

Sen. Dan Zumbach. R-Ryan

Sen. Jack Whitver, R-Ankeny

There’s a familiar routine to Iowa legislative sessions.

After opening speeches from legislative leaders and the governor’s Condition of the State address next week, lawmakers devote much of their time to myriad bills addressing everything from all-terrain vehicles and animal feeding operations to water quality and weights and measures.

Despite disagreements over the amount, funding for K-12 schools typically gets set early on. Behind the scenes at first, then in subcommittees and committees, the budget gets put together — the big $8 billion-plus general fund spending plan as well as smaller departmental and program budgets that are a part of it.

When spring arrives and farm fields and golf courses beckon, deals are made and the session ends, usually until next January.

Along the way, however, there are any number of issues that can disrupt, delay and derail that routine. Often, they are the same topics from year-to-year: abortion, gun rights, traffic cameras, gambling. There’s always a risk — or opportunity, depending on one’s view — th

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