The Iowa Senate has passed a bill that would give Iowa companies an advantage in selling goods and services to state government. If an out-of-state company is the lowest bidder, Iowa companies with bids just a bit higher would be given a chance to match the low bid and win the contract.
Senator Rick Bertrand, a Republican from Sioux City, said many senators voted for the legislation because they fear the campaign pamphlets that would be circulated if they voted no.
“This is a feel good bill,” Bertrand said. “…We’re all going to vote for it because if we don’t…they’re going to beat the hell out of us on the campaign trail on this, so let’s just vote it up and be done with it.”
Bertrand said everyone’s for promoting Iowa businesses, but Iowa taxpayers won’t get the best deals on state contracts because low bidders from out-of-state will lose. Senator Liz Mathis, a Democrat from Robbins, defended the legislation.
“You can feel good about voting for this bill because business people back home will see you standing with them,” Mathis told her fellow senators, “supporting them for building their business in Iowa.”
The bill passed on a 34-16 vote. This is the second year the Senate has endorsed the concept. It’s unlikely to win support in the Iowa House.