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Second Funnel Week

Kapucian Korner

March 20, 2012
By State Senator Tim Kapucian , Toledo Chronicle, Tama News-Herald

Greetings from under the Golden Dome

This is the second funnel week in the Iowa Legislature. In order for a bill to be eligible for further debate, it must be passed out of committee in the chamber it did not originate in. This means Senate files need to pass through a House Committee and House files need to pass through a Senate Committee. There are a few exceptions to this rule, and there are definitely ways around it if the majority party leadership is willing to utilize these means. In large part, the second funnel pretty well sets the stage for bills that are likely to become law.

Since each chamber is controlled by opposite parties the likelihood of both chambers agreeing to appropriations bills is unlikely without going to a conference committee.

Article Photos

State Senator Tim Kapucian

Conference committees are created after the House and the Senate pass different versions of a piece of legislation. A Conference Committee is composed of members of the House of Representatives and Senate, and it is charged with resolving disagreements on a specific piece of legislation. Conference committees must negotiate a compromise bill that will be voted upon by both Chambers. This is because both houses must pass identical legislation for the bill to go to the governor's office.

The first conference committee can only deal with issues that are specific to the bills. If the conferees cannot come to an agreement the conference is dissolved and a second conference is established. The second conference can address issues that go beyond the original intent of the bills.

Property tax reform is still a priority of mine and other legislators on both sides of the aisle. Property tax reform is crucial for main street Iowa so businesses can be given an environment to compete and be profitable resulting in economic growth in Iowa and creating good paying jobs.

So as April nears and we experience record high temperatures - a sure sign of spring and summer, an ending date to this year's session is anybody's guess.



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