Two triumphs for Iowa lobbyists: Dog racing and e-cigarettes (updated)

Iowa lawmakers advanced two bills yesterday that illustrate how effective corporate and interest group lobbyists can be. In the Iowa House, a bill allowing greyhound racing to end in Council Bluffs and become less costly for a casino in Dubuque won final passage by 79 votes to 16. I’ve posted the roll call after the jump. As Bleeding Heartland discussed here, Iowa greyhound breeders and trainers, along with their paid representatives, managed to get the state legislature to insist on a massive bailout for their industry–even though public demand for dog racing is near zero these days. According to the Dubuque Telegraph-Herald’s Erin Murphy, Governor Terry Branstad has not committed to signing the bill. But if he does, tens of millions of dollars from the Las Vegas-based Caesar’s corporation will be divided among a relatively small group of greyhound breeders, trainers, kennel owners, and rescue organizations.

Meanwhile, yesterday the Iowa Senate approved “an act relating to vapor products and alternative nicotine products, and providing penalties.” Bleeding Heartland discussed this bill in February, when it passed the Iowa House. On its face, House File 2109 looks like it is designed to protect children’s health by banning e-cigarette sales to minors. But medical and public health groups opposed the bill. Lobbyists who supported it mostly represented tobacco companies or retailers. They liked the bill because it didn’t classify vapor cigarettes as tobacco products and didn’t ban fruit-flavored e-cigarettes. Before final passage, senators rejected an amendment offered by Senator Joe Bolkcom, which would have strengthened the bill. They then approved an amendment offered by Senator Bill Dotzler, making minor changes to the definition of “vapor product.” The lobbyist declarations on the bill still show opposition from the public health community and support from the tobacco industry and retailers. On final passage senators approved the bill by 37 votes to 12. Because of the slight change in wording, this bill goes back to the Iowa House rather than straight to the governor’s desk. I doubt it will run into any trouble there, given how easily it passed in February.

Incidentally, the e-cigarettes bill is a rare example of legislation that passed the Iowa Senate with more votes from the minority party (22 of the 24 Republicans) than from the majority party (15 of the 26 Democrats). Someone please correct me if I’m wrong, but I can’t think of any similar Iowa Senate vote during the last few years. Scroll to the end of this post for the roll call.

UPDATE: On April 29, the Iowa House approved the Senate version of House File 2109, after rejecting along party lines Democratic amendments that would have strengthened the bill. The vote on final passage was 74 to 23, similar to the margin by which House members approved the e-cigarette legislation in February. I’ve posted details on the roll call after the jump.

The House Journal for April 28 posted the roll call on Senate File 2362, the dog racing bill. The 79 state representatives who voted in favor of final passage:

Republicans:

Rob Bacon

Chip Baltimore

Mark Brandenburg

Mark Costello

Dave Deyoe

Dean Fisher

Greg Forristall

Joel Fry

Stan Gustafson

Chris Hagenow

Mary Ann Hanusa

Lee Hein

Megan Hess

Jake Highfill

Dan Huseman

Ron Jorgensen

Bobby Kaufman

Jarad Klein

Kevin Keoster

John Landon

Dave Maxwell

Linda Miller

Brian Moore

Steve Olson

Walt Rogers

Sandy Salmon

Jeff Smith

Chuck Soderberg

Quentin Stanerson

Rob Taylor

Linda Upmeyer

Guy Vander Linden

Ralph Watts

Matt Windschitl

Gary Worthan

Kraig Paulsen

Democrats:

Ako Abdul-Samad

Marti Anderson

Bruce Bearinger

Dennis Cohoon

Nancy Dunkel

John Forbes

Mary Gaskill

Chris Hall

Curt Hanson

Lisa Heddens

Bruce Hunter

Chuck Isenhart

Dave Jacoby

Anesa Kajtazovic

Jerry Kearns

Dan Kelley

Bob Kressig

Vicki Lensing

Dan Lundby

Jim Lykam

Mary Mascher

Brian Meyer

Helen Miller

Dan Muhlbauer

Pat Murphy

Jo Oldson

Tyler Olson

Scott Ourth

Todd Prichard

Joe Riding

Patti Ruff

Kirsten Running-Marquardt

Mark Smith

Art Staed

Sharon Steckman

Sally Stutsman

Todd Taylor

Phyllis Thede

Roger Thomas

Beth Wessel-Kroeschell

Cindy Winckler

Mary Wolfe

Frank Wood

The 16 state representatives who voted against this bill were Democrat Rick Olson and the following House Republicans:

Dwayne Alons

Josh Byrnes

Peter Cownie

Cecil Dolecheck

Jack Drake

Tedd Gassman

Pat Grassley

Greg Heartsill

Dave Heaton

Mark Lofgren

Dawn Pettengill

Henry Rayhons

Jason Schultz

Tom Shaw

Larry Sheets

The Senate Journal for April 28 shows the roll call vote on House File 2109, the e-cigarettes bill. The 37 senators who voted yes:

Democrats:

Daryl Beall

Tod Bowman

Chris Brase

Tom Courtney

Jeff Danielson

Bill Dotzler

Mike Gronstal

Rita Hart

Wally Horn

Liz Mathis

Herman Quirmbach

Amanda Ragan

Brian Schoenjahn

Steve Sodders

Mary Jo Wilhelm

Republicans:

Bill Anderson

Jerry Behn

Rick Bertrand

Nancy Boettger

Mike Breitbach

Jake Chapman

Mark Chelgren

Bill Dix

Joni Ernst

Randy Feenstra

Julian Garrett

Sandy Greiner

Dennis Guth

David Johnson

Tim Kapucian

Ken Rozenboom

Charles Schneider

Amy Sinclair

Roby Smith

Jack Whitver

Brad Zaun

Dan Zumbach

The twelve no votes on this bill came from Republican Mark Segebart and the following Democrats:

Dennis Black

Bob Dvorsky

Pam Jochum

Joe Bolkcom

Dick Dearden

Jack Hatch

Rob Hogg

Matt McCoy

Janet Petersen

Joe Seng

Rich Taylor

UPDATE: The House Journal for April 29 posted the roll call on House File 2109, the bill on vapor products. 51 Iowa House Republicans and 23 Democrats voted in favor of final passage:

Republicans:

Dwayne Alons

Rob Bacon

Chip Baltimore

Clel Baudler

Mark Brandenburg

Josh Byrnes

Mark Costello

Peter Cownie

Cecil Dolecheck

Jack Drake

Dean Fisher

Greg Forristall

Joel Fry

Tedd Gassman

Pat Grassley

Stan Gustafson

Chris Hagenow

Mary Ann Hanusa

Greg Heartsill

Dave Heaton

Lee Hein

Megan Hess

Jake Highfill

Dan Huseman

Ron Jorgensen

Jarad Klein

Kevin Koester

Dave Maxwell

John Landon

Mark Lofgren

Linda Miller

Brian Moore

Steve Olson

Dawn Pettengill

Henry Rayhons

Walt Rogers

Sandy Salmon

Tom Sands

Jason Schultz

Tom Shaw

Quentin Stanerson

Rob Taylor

Linda Upmeyer

Guy Vander Linden

Ralph Watts

Matt Windschitl

Gary Worthan

Kraig Paulsen

Democrats:

Bruce Bearinger

Dennis Cohoon

Nancy Dunkel

John Forbes

Mary Gaskill

Chris Hall

Curt Hanson

Jerry Kearns

Bob Kressig

Dan Lundby

Jim Lykam

Brian Meyer

Helen Miller

Dan Muhlbauer

Pat Murphy

Rick Olson

Scott Ourth

Todd Prichard

Joe Riding

Kirsten Running-Marquardt

Mark Smith

Roger Thomas

Frank Wood

The following 23 House members voted against the e-cigarettes bill (three were absent for the vote, all Democrats).

Republicans:

Bobby Kaufmann

Dave Deyoe

Democrats:

Ako Abdul-Samad

Marti Anderson

Ruth Ann Gaines

Lisa Heddens

Bruce Hunter

Chuck Isenhart

Dave Jacoby

Dan Kelley

Vicki Lensing

Mary Mascher

Jo Oldson

Tyler Olson

Patti Ruff

Art Staed

Sharon Steckman

Sally Stutsman

Todd Taylor

Phyllis Thede

Beth Wessel-Kroeschell

Cindy Winckler

Mary Wolfe

LATE UPDATE: The Sunday Des Moines Register published a letter to the editor from Douglas Beardsley, past president of the Iowa Counties Public Health Association, on May 11.

We’ve all heard and understand the term “A wolf in sheep’s clothing.” That would be an appropriate description for H.F. 2109 which supposedly will keep our youth from electronic cigarettes.

H.F. 2109 was authored and promoted by the tobacco industry and their distributors in an effort to convince us that this legislation has at its heart the best interests of our children. This is the same wolf which knowingly lied to us for decades that it was harmless even when its own documents showed otherwise. Every one of us has had a friend, relative or co-worker who has been affected by the health problems of tobacco addiction.

H.F. 2109 makes no attempt to protect the public’s health by restricting e-cigarette use the same as tobacco cigarettes currently are. E-cigarette vapor is not the harmless water vapor as claimed in their ads. The end game of this bill is to create loopholes that will allow a new generation of replacement smokers to become hooked on nicotine.

The governor should join every health-related organization in Iowa, none of which has anything to gain other than the good health of Iowans, and veto this bill.

  • The "public health advocates" are not funded by the public.

    They are often funded by wealthy neoliberals who like regressive taxes. Were talking people such as Mayor Bloomberg, and Zeke Emmanuel. If public itself wanted to tax ecigs like regular ones, and make them so disgusting to taste,  people go back to smoking real cigarettes, maybe you would be correct in saying that the defeat of this bill would a defeat for lobbying.  As it is, you are really playing around with labels in a way that misleads.  The truth is both sides were backed by various lobby groups.  The good thing is that the more powerful one was on side of the people this time.

    I believe the ecigarette is saving lives, and I don’t believe anyone who really cares about health would oppose them.

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