This is scheduled to be the final week of the 2002 Iowa Legislative session, and lawmakers in charge have a short “to do” list. Republican leaders say they’ll put the finishing touches on the state budget, and pass the bill that’d set new state regs for large livestock operations. House Republican Leader Christopher Rants of Sioux City would like to also pass a tax break for the state’s insurance industry, but may not have time to debate the complicated issue, but not a “must-do issue.”Governor Tom Vilsack has threatened to veto the G-O-P budget plan if it doesn’t spend enough on education and a few other priorities. Senate Democrat Leader Mike Gronstal of Council Bluffs says the budget republicans drafted is, in his words, an “abject failure.” Gronstal says it’s time to start the process forward and present the governor with bills that he won’t veto.On Friday, Governor Tom Vilsack delivered an ultimatum to legislators: pass the livestock bill this week, or he’ll call ’em back in “special session” later this spring or summer to get it done.Legislative leaders planned a shorter session this year, partially as a budget cutting move, and also because it’s an election year and lawmakers want to get out on the campaign trail.
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