Ghost of past vetoes haunts Iowa education reform negotiations

Governor Terry Branstad has invested a lot of political capital in education reform. His staff organized a large conference on the topic in 2011, featuring U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan and other nationally-recognized speakers. Later that year, the governor rolled out an ambitious blueprint for education reform, which was a focus of his “Condition of the State” speeches to state lawmakers in 2012 and 2013. Branstad wants something bigger and better than the narrowly-focused education reform deal approved last spring. To encourage legislators to work harder on this issue, the governor has even held up K-12 school funding decisions that should have been made a year ago under Iowa law.

Iowa House and Senate members are now negotiating over education reform bills approved in each chamber on party lines. But Branstad’s past use of his line-item power is standing in the way of broad legislation.  

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