There’s been a big “Leap Day” exit at the statehouse. 

Democrats in the Iowa House accuse Republicans of a “double-cross” and the 40 Democrats who serve in the Iowa House have left the building rather than stay and debate two gun-related bills. Democrats say they were led to believe the bills would not be debated today. The Republican leader in the Iowa House says there was no double-cross and all bills listed on a special, internal “calendar” are always eligible for debate. 

 The speaker of the House, a Republican, says he wants to talk with the top Democrat to smooth things over and start debate on over a dozen bills, including those gun-related proposals.  The walk-out is unprecedented, but House Speaker Kraig Paulsen says he does not intend to start debate without the 40 Democrats present. 

There are 60 Republicans serving in the Iowa House and it only takes 51 votes to pass a bill.