Governor Chet Culver says it may not be necessary for state legislators to meet in special session this fall to respond to this spring’s massive flooding.
When the flooding began in June, Culver began talking about a special legislative session in Des Moines so lawmakers could approve an assistance package for flood victims this fall rather than waiting ’til January when the regular legislative session is scheduled to begin.
But today Culver told reporters a lot’s been accomplished without special legislative action. "For example, yesterday the executive council — which I’m the chair of — appropriated $4 million to deal with helping cities and counties pay for things like debris removal," Culver said, "so we’re looking at all options on the table in terms of finding financial resources."
Culver is using the emergency powers at his disposal as governor to redirect state funds to flood recovery effort. "We’re being as flexible and creative as we can here, trying to free up resources," Culver said.
The Rebuild Iowa Commission is to present its report to the governor on September 2 and the commission’s recommendations might require some legislative action before January, so Culver isn’t totally ruling out the idea of calling lawmakers into special session this fall. "It’s just a matter of if we have to do it, you know, we will," Culver told reporters.
One unknown at this point is how much the federal government will pay to cover the costs of flood recovery. "Those types of things will also impact my final decision on whether or not we call a session," Culver said, "depending on what we hear from the feds in the next couple of weeks."
On Monday, legislative leaders said the chances for a special session are 50/50 and Culver today told reporters he agreed with that assessment.