Governor Tom Vilsack Thursday signed the last bill from the legislative session that ended last month. He’s approved 179 bills passed by the lawmakers, and vetoed just three…the lowest number of vetoes since this governor took office in 1999. Republican Senate Co-President Jeff Lamberti of Ankeny says it’s a good sign. Lamberti says that despite the closely-divided legislature it shows they could get things done. He says they passed a lot of bills, “and all of them had to have bipartisan cooperation.” The Democratic governor’s staff touted the low number of vetoes as being another sign of that cooperation. Lamberti says he’d noted earlier in the year that just because the legislature was closely divided didn’t mean they were going to do nothing. He says it was just a different agenda, calling for work to find common ground, and they did wind up passing quite a few bills. Altogether, lawmakers passed 182 bills this past session, 32 fewer than last year but only five fewer than in 2002. Lamberti says it probably isn’t surprising since with the state senate evenly divided nothing was going to get passed without bipartisan. He says the number of bills was consistent with the past, and though he might have guessed there were a lot fewer this year, “it just seemed like it as we went on for 130 days.” Governor Vilsack has called it a historic session because lawmakers evenly divided by political party worked together to pass important legislation, including a crackdown on sex offenders, a tough bill to block the making of methamphetamine, and funding for preschool education.
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