Democrats who controlled the 2007 Iowa Legislative session’s agenda are declaring it the "best year ever" for young Iowans.
You might be familiar with the cable television show "Best Week Ever" on VH1. The top four Democrats in the legislature have never heard of the show, but they’re using the show’s catch phrase to make their point.
Senate Democratic Leader Mike Gronstal of Council Bluffs cites the teacher pay hike legislators endorsed as a milestone. "Kids that are about to graduate from college, a whole bunch of them no longer to have to say: ‘Am I going to go Texas or Arizona or California or even Wisconsin or Minnesota?’" Gronstal says. "They’re saying: ‘Our opportunities lie here in Iowa.’"
Senate President Jack Kibbie, a Democrat from Emmetsburg, is boasting about the Iowa Power Fund which will finance research and other development in the renewable fuels industry. "I’ve been around here a long time and there’s been a lot written about the last time the Democrats had control in 1965 and this session will be a landmark session. We’ve tackled issues that no one has tackled in the past 10, 12 years," Kibbie says. "We’re getting thank yous one right after the other on our emails."
But Republicans like Senate GOP Leader Mary Lundby of Marion don’t agree with the "best session ever" designation. "If young people like to pay taxes, it was a good session for them. If young people wanted nothing done on the environment, it was a very good session for young people," Lundby says.
Lundby is making one concession — that the teacher pay package was good for young people. "If they’re teachers or they want to be teachers — pretty darned good. If it was a session where you tried to kill ‘Right to Work’ and kill jobs, wasn’t that good for young people?" Lundby asks.
House Republican Leader Christopher Rants of Sioux City is unwilling to say 2007 was the "best session ever" either. "I mean there’s a lot of feel good fluff they’ve passed this year, but unfortunately, on the important things — no," Rants says. "They promised they were going to fix work study and they cut it. They promised they were going to do something to make it easier to own property in this state…Not gonna happen. They threw the property taxpayer overboard in their final negotiations."
House Democratic Leader Kevin McCarthy of Des Moines says Democrats were "focused" and "productive." McCarthy calls Democrats’ agenda "mainstream."
The 2007 Iowa Legislature passed tax incentives for movie-makers and the computer company Google, but decided against asking folks to pay taxes on the music, movies and ring tones they download on the Internet.
Iowa lawmakers also voted to ease restrictions on stem cell research and they voted to extend civil rights protections to homosexuals.