Who's who in the Iowa House for 2017

The Iowa House opens its 2017 session today with 59 Republicans, 40 Democrats, and one vacancy, since Jim Lykam resigned after winning the recent special election in Iowa Senate district 45. The 99 state representatives include 27 women (18 Democrats and nine Republicans) and 72 men. Five African-Americans (all Democrats) serve in the legislature’s lower chamber; the other 95 lawmakers are white. No Latino has ever been elected to the Iowa House, and there has not been an Asian-American member since Swati Dandekar moved up to the Iowa Senate following the 2008 election.

After the jump I’ve posted details on the Iowa House majority and minority leadership teams, along with all chairs, vice chairs, and members of standing House committees. Where relevant, I’ve noted changes since last year.

Under the Ethics Committee subheading, you’ll see a remarkable example of Republican hypocrisy.

Some non-political trivia: the Iowa House includes two Taylors (one from each party) and two Smiths (both Democrats). As for first names, there are six Davids (four go by Dave), four Roberts (two Robs, one Bob, and a Bobby), four Marys (one goes by Mary Ann), and three men each named Gary, John, and Charles (two Chucks and a Charlie). There are also two Elizabeths (a Beth and a Liz) and two men each named Brian, Bruce, Chris, Greg, Michael, and Todd.

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The Medical Cannabis Debate in Dallas County, Iowa

Erin Miller shares her family’s experience with a rare medical condition at the Abram Mayhem blog. You can find her past contributions to Bleeding Heartland here. -promoted by desmoinesdem

This blog is specifically regarding medical cannabis and what happened during the recent debate in Iowa House district 19 between State Representative Ralph Watts and his opponent, Bryce Smith. Please watch the enclosed video first, then read the following story.

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Iowa Republicans tell Sick Iowans: "Go Somewhere Else."

Thanks to AbramsMom for her first-person account of how Iowa House Republicans avoided a floor vote on legislation that would have genuinely expanded access to medical cannabis. The author blogs about her son at Abram’s Mayhem. -promoted by desmoinesdem

As a parent who has been advocating for medical cannabis both before and after we obtained a Cannabidiol Registration Card (the fluke identification card that decriminalizes me for possession of my son’s medicine), I want to share what happened this year with Medical Cannabis, why it failed miserably and why I feel that the amendment (to an amendment) to a Controlled Substance Bill that expanded conditions – yet still did NOT ALLOW ACCESS IN IOWA is absolutely disgustingly wrong.

I sat in the House Gallery not once, but twice as Medical Cannabis came to the House Floor. The first time, I thought I was going to hear a debate on a Democratic amendment (because our original Bill for this year was stalled and killed in the Ways and Means committee by House Leadership) that would allow for expansion of qualifying conditions and would have allowed ACCESS IN IOWA – which is what every parent and patient have been asking for and advocating on behalf of for YEARS.

I sat in the Gallery in the last week of the session to learn that the Democratic Amendment was pulled by House Leadership and instead we heard a debate on Medical Cannabis that stunned those sitting in the Gallery hoping to have access to medicine for their children, their loved ones or for themselves.

What transpired was nothing short of being absolutely blindsided by a garbage truck.

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Never let it be said that the 2016 Iowa legislature accomplished nothing

In four months of work this year, Iowa lawmakers made no progress on improving water quality or expanding conservation programs, funded K-12 schools and higher education below levels needed to keep up with inflation, failed to increase the minimum wage or address wage theft, let most criminal justice reform proposals die in committee, didn’t approve adequate oversight for the newly-privatized Medicaid program, opted against making medical cannabis more available to sick and suffering Iowans, and left unaddressed several other issues that affect thousands of constituents.

But let the record reflect that bipartisan majorities in the Iowa House and Senate acted decisively to solve a non-existent problem. At a bill-signing ceremony yesterday, Governor Terry Branstad and supporters celebrated preventing something that probably never would have happened.

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