By Dan Bickley, Associated Press WriterThe Iowa House has passed a bill that would re-enter the Iowa Senate and give the House a majority of three votes, allowing the Republican-controlled chamber to pass legislation on a variety of issues.
The bill also would eliminate the Senate’s ability to use a filibuster for any bill, and would give the Senate full control over the Iowa Supreme Court.
The Iowa Senate was sworn in earlier this month, after a Republican-led Senate majority had used a constitutional amendment to remove the power of the Senate to make laws, effectively giving the chamber the ability to do so.
The Senate voted to take up the bill last week, with some Republican senators saying they would support it if it made it to the House.
Republican Rep. Paul Kitzinger of West Des Moines said the bill would allow the Iowa Legislature to move forward with bills and take up bills on issues that the House had already taken up.
Kitzener said he believes the House would have to act in a more unified manner.
“If we’re going to have to do this with three or four bills at the same time, I think we’re really going to be stuck in a gridlock situation,” Kitzner said.
Republican Sen. Steve Ellis of Cedar Rapids said he supports the legislation, saying he supports it because he believes there is an urgent need for it.
“We’re not in a position to take on the responsibility of doing this,” Ellis said.
“It’s the legislature’s responsibility to make sure that we have a functioning government.”
Ellis, the top Republican on the Iowa State Senate, said he expects the Iowa GOP to take a different approach to passing bills this session.
Ellis said the Iowa legislative session is the most important in the history of Iowa, and the Senate should be the leader in this.
“The Senate has been elected in 18 months and it’s going to take us a long time to get back to the point where we were before,” Ellis told the Associated Press.
Elles also said the Senate will take a much different approach from what it took when the Iowa Republican controlled the chamber in 2015.
“This session, we’re a much more unified body,” Ellis added.
“I think we’ll be able to get things done.
The Republican-majority caucus will be in the majority and that will give us a lot more ability to get something done.”
The Senate, which is controlled by Republicans, is expected to vote on the bill Thursday.
Ellises said the changes he believes will be made to the Iowa state constitution will be a major change, and said he is looking forward to working with lawmakers to pass bills that affect Iowa’s communities.
Ellys said he does not expect any changes to the state’s current state law, which requires a majority vote to pass any bill.
The state constitution has been in place for nearly 150 years, Ellis said, and that includes the history in Iowa of people voting in elections.
Elliss said that changes he is planning to make to the constitution would allow for a state-run lottery system, which would be the first in the nation to allow for online and telephone voting.
Ellips said the lottery system would allow people who don’t have access to the Internet to register for it, and he hopes to make it available to people who have never voted before.
Ellies said the change would not affect the existing lottery system that allows voters to purchase a lottery ticket at the Iowa Capitol.
“I think this is going to give us the chance to do things like this that will really change the face of the state,” Ellis stated.
The bill was referred to the Senate Judiciary Committee for a final vote.