Governor’s priorities survive legislative deadline

DES MOINES – Gov. Terry Branstad’s legislative priorities survived a procedural deadline in the Iowa General Assembly this week, while some more controversial bills appeared dead Thursday.

Bills dealing with veterans support, bullying prevention and expanding broadband Internet were set to survive a Friday deadline and are moving forward in the Legislature. All three issues are part of Branstad’s relatively modest legislative agenda for the year.

“We’re pleased with the progress,” said Branstad spokesman Jimmy Centers. “The governor in his Condition of the State address outlined a focused agenda that we thought would receive bipartisan support.”

Bills on issues such as medical marijuana, abortion and gun rights did not meet the requirements to move forward.

Under legislative rules, known as “funnel week,” Friday was the deadline for most bills to receive committee-level approval in the state House or Senate. Lawmakers completed their work for the week Thursday and most will not report back to the Capitol until Monday.

Some bills are not subject to this deadline, like budget bills, and legislative leaders could always revive a bill later in the session. An exact number of bills introduced in the Republican-controlled House and Democratic-majority Senate was not available, but typically hundreds are introduced in both chambers before the first deadline.

Legislative leaders said they were satisfied with the progress made thus far in the session. This year is expected to be a light year for policy making because lawmakers tackled some sizable issues in 2013, including a property tax cut and new education spending.