Guest Opinion from the Iowa House
The greatest challenges facing the 83rd General Assembly are balancing the budget during a severe recession and providing disaster relief to hard hit counties in Iowa. These issues notwithstanding, there is a better way to do government business.
I have proposed HJR 4 to significantly modify the process by which state government operates. In short, our General Assembly would continue being a two year session with the major change being that legislation will only be considered in the second year. The first year would be dedicated to bill filings, extensive committee work, and intensive review of recent legislation for unintended consequences. This proposal helps resolve the issues of campaign finance and transparent government allowing for the best possible decision making.
This is a leap forward for open government and citizen participation. The legislative process tends to be fast paced, dense, and difficult to follow. Technology has provided more access, but this proposal would allow citizens the time for consideration and to build rapport with their elected officials. Voter input will be greatly increased, along with a better understanding of state government. It would also allow citizens a better picture of campaign finances in relation to voting records. The bills approved would receive adequate consideration and paint a traceable campaign donation picture that would inform voters.
Following a timely bill drafting and committee process would lead to better informed decisions. There is rarely legislation (other than disaster mitigation, for example) that needs to be on the “fast track.” This resolution would lead to better understanding of campaign finance, provide for open government, and allows legislators to make solid decisions, allowing for a better way to govern.