Iowa Legislators convene in a special session this morning to deal with a handful of issues. Two issues are slam-dunks. The General Assembly will endorse a plan which remaps Iowa’s legislative and congressional districts and pass a bill that makes sure state taxes aren’t assessed on your federal tax rebates. The sticky wicket is a bill that’d make it easier for utilities to build new power plants. House Republicans are ready to bow to democrat Governor Tom Vilsack’s demand that a controversial portion of the bill be removed. House Republican Leader Christopher Rants of Sioux City accuses Vilsack of opposing that provision because unions oppose it. Rants says that’s good politics, but not good public policy. With the compromise house Republicans are willing to make, Rants believes MidAmerican will build a new power plant and municipal utilities will band together to build a plant if the scaled-back bill is enacted. Alliant, however, will not build a plant in Iowa. Rants says they’ll send the governor a bill they hope he can sign.Senate Republicans, though, aren’t ready to compromise yet. Senate Republican Leader Stewart Iverson of Dows and other Senate Republicans met privately last night at the statehouse and spent an hour talking about Alliant’s demand for special contracts that ensure prices are set for the long-term. Iverson says it’s a huge loss to the state of Iowa if they lose a power plant.The House and Senate will convene at 10 o’clock this morning.It costs about 45-thousand dollars-a-day to hold a special session, but costs for this one are even higher as new phone lines, shuttle vans and other expenses were racked up because the House is not meeting in the House. It’s meeting in the State Historical Building because the House chamber’s ripped up for renovations. House Republican Leader Christopher Rants of Sioux City admits it’ll be a weird set-up.Legislators who want to debate will have to stand in line at a microphone and wait their turn.
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