Legislators appear to have enough votes to call a special sesssion to deal with a bill Governor Tom Vilsack vetoed that would have limited city and county governments’ ability to seize property and turn it over for private development. Democrats and republicans though are still at odds over whether they should try for a compromise bill or an override.
Just before noon Senate Republican Leader Mary Lundby of Marion said there were only 25 of the 34 votes needed from senators to call a special session. Lundby says they are not at the required two-thirds approval to call a special session. Lundby says,”We are very, very disappointed about that.” She says the bill sat on the calendar for two weeks and they did not have any conversations with the governor or anyone else about changing the bill, and thought the bill was strong.
Lundby says noon today (Friday) was the “drop dead deadline” to get enough votes for the special session. Lundy says republicans are disappointed the democrats aren’t willing to come back for a veto override of “a lame duck governor, and for a, for big developers. We’re very disappointed by that.” Senate democrats later said they heard back from enough senators to have enough votes to call the Legislature back into a special session.
On the House side, Democrat leader Patrick Murphy of Dubuque said 35 of the 49 House democrats have agreed to a special session. Murphy says the democrats feel the issue is important enough to do something now instead of waiting until January. Murphy says democrats want responsible economic growth, “But we believe you can create jobs and spur development without trampling the rights of property owners in this state. So Iowa’s laws must be adjusted to achieve the balance.”
Murphy says democrats would be willing to look at a compromise bill instead of a veto override. Murphy says their goal is to deal with the issue of property rights and they would be willing to talk with the governor about a compromise. Murphy says a majority of democrats supported the bill — but he stopped short of criticizing the democrat governor for the veto.
Murphy says democrats felt like they did due diligence on the bill and it was a surprise when the governor vetoed the bill. But, Murphy says they want to put that behind and get on with fixing the situation.
While Murphy would consider a compromise, House Speaker Christopher Rants, a Republican from Sioux City, said that’s not an option. Rants says, “Our intent as House Republicans is to override the veto. We have no intention on compromising away the rights of Iowans.” Rants says the time for discussions on a compromise have passed. Rants says they’ve already repeatedly talked compromise on the bill as he says there were 89 votes on the bill.
Senate Democratic Leader Mike Gronstal of Council Bluffs says legislators need to work a compromise on the vetoed bill. Gronstal says, “I think it’s time for reasonable people to sit down and talk about what we could craft, and we could all agree to, and we could get a signature on.
Gronstal says if republicans are serious about the issue, they’d agree to a compromise. He says if republicans really want to get something done, they should sit down and talk, otherwise Gronstal says if they want a political issue, “They’ll play out the hand for politics.” Gronstal says democrats want to move forward and not play politics.