Governor Terry Branstad.

Governor Terry Branstad.

Governor Branstad says he’s a “realist” and it will likely be sometime in June before he and legislators resolve their differences over a state budget plan. The governor’s also hoping lawmakers pass his anti-bullying bill as well as a bill that would boost broadband access in the state.

“I would point out that oftentimes the tough decisions do get left by the legislature to the end, so I’m still hopeful,” Branstad said this morning during his weekly news conference. “…I’ve always said patience and perseverance pays off in this business, so we’ve tried to be very patient.”

May 1 was the last day members of the House and Senate from around the state got a daily state allowance to cover living expenses in Des Moines, but unlike other states there is no hard-and-fast deadline for concluding the Iowa legislature’s yearly sessions. Senate President Pam Jochum, a Democrat from Dubuque, said school funding is still the “big issue” to resolve, plus she says Senate Democrats, House Republicans and Republican Governor Terry Branstad all have different overall spending targets.

“There’s a lot to do, a lot to be discussed in the next 24 hours and hopefully we will reach an agreement soon,” Jochum said this afternoon during an interview in her statehouse office.

House Speaker Kraig Paulsen of Hiawatha told reporters he’s hoping everything will get “figured out” soon.

“Still unwilling to make a prediction. We could be done in May, though,” Paulsen said this morning. “That’s what we’re shooting for.”

There were just a handful of House members present when Paulsen convened the House early this afternoon. Representative Vicki Lensing, a Democrat from Iowa City, was among them — and she agreed to give the day’s opening prayer.

“In these, what we hope are the last weeks of our legislative session, I want to share a few words by Winston Churchill to remember: ‘Courage is what it takes to stand up and speak. Courage is also what it takes to sit down and listen,'” Lensing said.

The state senate convened about an hour later, but no votes are scheduled this week and only a handful of senators are at the statehouse.