Iowa Statehouse Dome SquareThe Iowa Senate passed SF 510, their appropriations standings bill, yesterday.  In section XX of the bill you’ll find the language of SF 345, the anti-bullying bill, that has stalled in the Iowa House.  During debate State Senator Mark Chelgren (R-Ottumwa) challenged the germaneness of that language as there is not any appropriations directly tied to it.

Article III section 29 of the Iowa Constitution states, “Every act shall embrace but one subject, and matters properly connected therewith; which subject shall be expressed in the title. But if any subject shall be embraced in an act which shall not be expressed in the title, such act shall be void only as to so much thereof as shall not be expressed in the title.”

There are multiple subjects in the appropriations bill, and “anti-bullying” is not listed in the title.  Senate President Pam Jochum (D-Dubuque) ruled the language germane.  If somebody had the resources to sue they could challenge that ruling, but sources familiar with the legislative process told Caffeinated Thoughts that is never done.

This year all appropriations bills will head to a conference committee, and all the conference committees can discuss are the differences between the House and Senate versions of the bill.  The speculation is that this language will be used as a bargaining chip.  Senate Democrat members on the committee will ask House Republicans – “what are you willing to give to see that language removed?” which will probably mean funding for something or another (I’d suspect for education).

So House Republicans will be forced to either keep the anti-bullying language that degrades parental rights or spend more money that will upset those with an economic focus.

Who will prevail?  All over language that is clearly unconstitutional as part of an appropriations bill.  This is a great example of why the legislative process is referred to as sausage making.

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