The 2009 Iowa Legislature adjourned for the year after two marathon workdays that started Friday morning and concluded Sunday morning just before dawn.
It was sometime around four o’clock Sunday morning when House Democratic Leader Kevin McCarthy of Des Moines started to share some closing thoughts with fellow legislators.
"It’s very, very — can’t say late. It’s very early in the morning," McCarthy said, with a laugh.
But a few minutes later, the partisan sniping resumed. Representative Scott Raecker, a Republican from Urbandale, complained about the spending plan Democrats developed and which got final approval in the wee hours of Sunday morning.
"I’ve heard it since I was a teenager from my father, that nothing good happens after midnight," Raecker said.
Shortly after five o’clock Sunday morning, the House concluded its work. House Speaker Pat Murphy, a Democrat from Dubquue, bid his colleagues good-bye
"And now after 103 days, or maybe it’s 104, it’s time for us to go back to our families and our other life outside the legislature," Murphy said.
The action shifted, then, to the senate. Senator Bob Dvorsky and a key senate staffer searched on Dvorsky’s laptop for an electronic version of the proposal that had just passed the House. "Is this it?" Dvorsky asked, as some senators laughed. Others milled about — trying to stay awake by staying on their feet. Senator Dick Dearden, a Democrat from Des Moines, was unhappy the bill tampered with hunting and fishing license fees.
"Can we hold on just a couple of seconds here?" Dearden asked. "I’d like to at least put a pencil to these numbers here and make sure they’re correct."
After a brief interlude, the senate finally passed the final bill of the 2009 session. It was just before six o’clock on Sunday when Senate Democratic Leader Mike Gronstal made the parliamentary move which ended the session.
"I would just like to thank all of the staff for their cooperation. I would say you can take most of the day off, after you finish your work," Gronstal said, to groans.
After two days and 38 work-hours of debating and waiting for the final deals to be struck, Senate President Jack Kibbie seemed surprised.
"Are we done?" Kibbie asked a staffer.
Kibbie then quickly offered this: "The chair would like to take this opportunity to thank everybody for their patience. It’s been wonderful working with you. Have a great summer."
After 15 weeks, those were the final "official" words of the 2009 legislative session.