Call For Special Session Showing Lawmakers Split, Again

Democrats need 2/3 signatures from both chambers to pass

By Claire Powell | cpowell@weareiowa.com

Published 07/07 2015 06:11PM

Updated 07/07 2015 08:34PM

 
On Monday night, statehouse Democrats announced they want to hold a special legislative session in order to override Governor Branstad's recent vetoes.
 
Gov. Branstad passed 14 laws into bills on Thursday, including a few line-item vetoes including nixing a $55.7 million one-time education funding, $8.8 million in community and university funding and $6.4 million in restoring a mental health institution in Mt. Pleasant. 
 
In order to hold a special session, two-thirds of both Senate and House chambers have to sign the petition or the governor has to make a proclamation. 
 
Tuesday, Speaker of the House Rep. Kraig Paulsen said he doesn't see how a special session will be approved.
 
"I do not see a special session. I don't see the support in the general assembly to call ourselves back to veto or override," said Rep. Paulsen. "It appears to me that Senate Democrats are playing politics with K-12 education. The whole conversation shouldn't have lasted that long this last session." 
 
Paulsen said some of the House members may support the special session, but not enough. 
 
Gov. Branstad told Local 5 News Tuesday morning that the regular session went long enough and he doesn't want next years legislation hung up on the same fight. 
 
"It doesn't make sense for the legislature to come back for a special session when they failed to appropriate the funding for both school years funding aid, they just fought over it," said Gov. Branstad. "It's important to focus on things where we'll get results."
 
Some lawmakers say they're not done fighting.
 
"Well, first and foremost, it's unfortunate he vetoed the one-time money because it's needed. Secondly, it's unfortunate that everyone isn't on board to override the vetoes," said House Democrat Rep.Ako Abdul-Samad, Des Moines. 
 
Abdul-Samad says he doesn't see how education and mental health can be ignored and his supporters agree. He has two elementary schools and Broadlawn's Hospital in his district, all three need financial help. 
 
"If it were up to me, we would've been in session by the end of this week. We'd override the veto and we'd be moving on," said Abdul-Samad. "My constituents are totally frustrated! I have two schools in my community, plus Broadlawn's, that are totally frustrated!"
 
He's calling on his supporters and other legislators to speak up and push for the special session. 
 
Lawmakers can be called into session at any time by either governor proclamation or by petition. 

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