DES MOINES, Iowa — After over three hours of debate, the governor’s state government reorganization bill is ready to be signed into law.
The Iowa House of Representatives was the last chamber to pass the bill through, by an unofficial vote of 58 to 39. The governor released a statement right after the bill passed.
“For decades, Iowans have seen state government grow beyond its means. Today, the Iowa House joined me and the Iowa Senate to declare an end to bloated bureaucracy. We are making government smaller, more efficient, and more effective. We are saving taxpayer dollars and putting Iowans’ needs first. This transformational legislation will put Iowa in the best position to help our state thrive.”Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds, (R)
This was a top priority that Reynolds had outlined in her Condition of the State speech at the beginning of the year. That is what House Republicans argued during the entirety of subcommittees, committees and on the debate floor.
The bill shrinks the number of executive state agency cabinet members from 37 to 16. It would give the governor the power to directly assign department directors of six more state directors. It also allows the governor to set the salaries of these directors, with no cap on it. Democrats say this gives the executive branch way too much power.
“The governor is calling this a realignment bill, it is frankly a power grab,” said House Minority Leader Jennifer Konfrst, (D), District 32, from Windsor Heights. “It gives the governor control over independent offices and agencies and gives her more power to appoint friends who are not required to have experience or expertise.”
“Twenty five directors currently serve at the pleasure of the governor and are appointed by the governor. We are adding six. This governor isn’t going to pick cronies, hire and fire someone that can’t do the job. She is going to hire the best people she can find and when we have a democratic governor, they are going to do the same thing. They are going to hire the very best people they can find. And if they don’t do the job they lose the job,” said State Representative Jane Bloomingdale, (R), District 6, from Northwood.
Subcommittees on the bill lasted for a full week in the house chamber, with what Democrats calculated equated to 14 seconds per page. Republicans said that the governor has been working on this legislation since August with department director heads.