An Iowa House leader plans to bring the electric deregulation bill up for debate this week. Support for the bill eroded over the past month, but House Republican Leader Christopher Rants of Sioux City believes last week was a turning point when MidAmerican announced it might build two new power plants in Iowa. Rants says the issue is too important to let die.Rants vows to round up the 51 “yes” votes required for passage of the bill in the House.But Senate Republican Leader Stewart Iverson of Dows says since the Senate Commerce Committee failed to endorse the bill last week, he sees little chance it will become law this year. He says it’s sometimes a little frustrating, but that’s the process they work with.Iverson says prospects are even dimmer for electric deregulation next year.He says there won’t be near the enthusiasm for dealing with it next year, but says it is possible.Republican legislators and the Governor are negotiating on a wide-range of state budget issues as lawmakers wrap up their work for the year. Governor Tom Vilsack continues to threaten to veto the G-O-P’s education budget plan, mostly because of how much money to spend on the state-supported Universities in Ames, Cedar Falls and Iowa City.The Presidents of Iowa, Iowa State and U-N-I say the Republican budget plan is 22-million dollars below the break-even point and might require staff reductions.
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