With the new school year starting in a few weeks, Republican lawmakers ignored their constituents and refused the call for a special session to overturn Governor Branstad’s reckless veto of $56 million for Iowa schools, university funding to prevent tuition increases, and the loss of urgently needed mental health services.
“The compromises legislators reached had strong bi-partisan support. I’m especially disappointed Republicans refused to listen to the parents, teachers and community leaders urging them to invest in our schools,” said Senate President Pam Jochum of Dubuque. “The state can afford it and it’s the right thing to do.”
As of Wednesday, July 29th, every Democrat in the Iowa House (43) and Iowa Senate (26) joined the call for a special session. However, as of Wednesday’s deadline no Republican lawmaker returned a signed request to the Chief Clerk of the Iowa House or the Secretary of the Senate. Since two-thirds of the members of each chamber are needed to bring lawmakers back for a special session, Governor Branstad’s vetoes are unlikely to be overridden.
“Since Republicans won’t stand up to their own Governor, our kids will be stuck in more crowded classes with fewer teachers and most Iowans will pay higher property taxes,” said House Democratic Leader Mark Smith of Marshalltown. “After months of delays and partisanship from Republicans, Democrats believe it’s time to make educating kids our top priority again.”
“Legislative Republicans had a simple choice: Support your local schools and communities by restoring bipartisan compromises or provide political cover to Governor Branstad’s mistake. Given the opportunity to help half a million Iowa school kids, statehouse Republicans refused at every turn. Our kids deserve better,” said Senate Majority Leader Mike Gronstal of Council Bluffs.
An updated list of the signed statements from individual legislators calling for a special session that have been received at the Iowa Statehouse, and how much is at stake for each Iowa school district, can be found at: http://bit.ly/Restoring-School-Funding-ToolKit .