The Iowa House debated until 3 a.m. today — suspending a rule that bars the House from voting between the hours of midnight and 8 a.m. It was up to House Speaker Pro Tempore Matt Windschitl to preside over a sometimes raucous debate.
“I’ll remind the body that we are in open floor debate. If you have a conversation that needs to take place, take it outside of the chamber,” Windschitl said shortly before midnight to address the rising level of chatter in the chamber. “Be respectful of the other members.”
Tempers flared as Democrats argued with Republicans. “That is nothing but a falacious and egregious departure from the truth,” one Democrat said.
And Republicans lobbed accusations in return. “That’s no longer an egregious fabrication,” a Republican said. “That’s a lie.”
Windschitl was repeatedly asked to referee the rhetorical melee.
“We’re going to have a robust debate here this evening. I understand there are passions on both sides of this issue,” he said shortly after midnight. “Now, everyone’s got an opinion to share here and I understand that some opinions may vary, but please let’s be respectful to each other and to the institution and to the people of Iowa that we serve.”
After this overnight debate along with rapid-fire action on dozens of other bills yesterday, it’s possible the 2019 legislative session may conclude yet this week. There are final decisions and votes to be cast on a host of budget issues, as well as a few policy issues ranging from election law changes to an extension of the one-cent sales tax that’s used to finance school infrastructure.