Five years after Kim Reynolds took over as governor, the Iowa legislature is proposing an amendment to the Iowa Constitution to clarify the line of succession at the top of state government.
In 2017, Iowa Attorney General Tom Miller issued an opinion saying his reading of the constitution indicated Reynolds, who was lieutenant governor at the time, would become “acting governor” after Terry Branstad resigned and would continue serving as lieutenant governor, too. Branstad and Reynolds disagreed and Reynolds named Adam Gregg as her lieutenant governor.
The proposed amendment to Iowa’s Constitution aligns with that decision. “The governor is qualified to select someone to serve as lieutenant governor,” Representative Brooke Boden, a Republican from Indianola, said.
Representative Mary Wolfe, a Democrat from Clinton, voted against the proposed amendment. “I don’t know how I even feel about it,” Wolfe said. “I mean, we do need to do something, I agree. That mess we went through last time this happened was not good, did not reflect well on anyone.”
Wolfe unsuccessfully argued there should be a confirmation vote in the legislature for any newly designated lieutenant governor.
Two-thirds of the House and Senate members have now approved the language for the proposed constitutional amendment. The legislature must OK the draft again in 2023 or 2024 before Iowans could vote on the proposed amendment in the 2024 General Election.