Republican leaders intend to adjourn the 2001 Iowa Legislature’s regular session this week, without an agreement with the Governor over key spending priorities. Democrat Governor Tom Vilsack wants more money to provide teacher pay hikes and to hire more state child abuse investigators, but Republican legislators say they’ll pass their leaner state budget plan this week and go home. That means lawmakers probably will be back to Des Moines this summer for a special session to deal with the budget, at the same time they consider a second plan for re-drawing the lines for Iowa’s congressional and legislative districts. Senate Republican Leader Stewart Iverson of Dows says the next couple of days won’t be easy. He says the end of the session is always difficult.Democrats like Senate Minority Leader Mike Gronstal of Council Bluffs are already labeling the 2001 Legislature as a “do-nothing” session.Gronstal says it’s the worst education session in 20 years. House Democrat Leader Dick Myers of Iowa City gives an even harsher assessment.Myers says republicans are trying to turn Iowa into a quote “southern backwater” by passing bills that would, for example, let people with a bachelor’s degree become teachers without going through the same kind of education classes other teachers must take.Also this week, Republicans want to pass a controversial bill that would ease state regulations for the construction of new power plants, but groups like the A-A-R-P have lined up against the plan, putting the bill’s future in doubt.
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