The partisan deadlock in the Iowa Senate is causing frustration in the Iowa House, which is controlled by Republicans. House Speaker Christopher Rants, a Republican from Sioux City, says Democrats in the Senate are holding two important House bills hostage. Rants says it’s clear the power-sharing arrangement in the senate is now “gumming up the works.” Rants admits it’s not uncommon for bills to clear the House but not the Senate, but he says the bills haven’t even been assigned to a committee in the Senate. They’re still “sitting in limbo,” he says, wondering how they’ll get the session done and legislation moved along when bills can’t even get assigned to committee, let alone floor debate. Senate leaders say the holdup is due to a disagreement over which committees should debate the bills. Senate Co-President Jack Kibbie, a Democrat from Emmetsburg, says Rants is partly right that the Senate’s even split — with 25 Republicans and 25 Democrats — has caused problems. Kibbie says he doesn’t think it’s worked as well as they’d hoped. “I think we’re more civil, but progress in the senate has not been very good.” One of the disputed bills deals with workers compensation rights after an injury. The other expands workplace drug testing. Democrats oppose both bills.
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