Iowa House chief clerk recovering from surgery

Iowa House Chief Clerk Carmine Boal will be away from the legislature for some time while undergoing treatment for a brain bleed, House Speaker Linda Upmeyer informed state lawmakers and legislative staff today.

Sources provided the text of this e-mail:

I wanted to share with you some unwelcome news regarding the Chief Clerk of the House, Carmine Boal. Recently Carmine suffered bleeding in her brain that required surgery. Thankfully, Carmine sought care right away and was diagnosed early. Due to some complications, her road to recovery will not be short or easy but early signs are positive. Please keep Carmine and her family in your prayers as they adapt to the circumstances.

In the meantime, please recognize that an integral member of our family here in the Iowa House is not able to be with us. Please be patient while we make adjustments and know that you can reach out to my office or the Assistant Chief Clerk Meghan Nelson with your needs.

Linda Upmeyer
Speaker of the House
State of Iowa

Assistant Chief Clerk Nelson did not immediately return a phone call seeking clarification on whether Boal will be out for the remainder of the legislative session. Lawmakers will likely wrap up this year's work in late April or early May.

The House Chief Clerk's office handles various administrative tasks such as registering lobbyists, credentialing members of the news media, and processing room reservations or lobbyist function reports.

When House members debate legislation, the chief clerk also helps the speaker (or presiding officer sitting in the speaker's chair) determine whether proposed amendments are germane to the bill. Sometimes those calls are obvious, as when House Democrats offered amendments yesterday seeking to reverse Medicaid privatization, and the underlying bill had nothing to do with Medicaid. On other occasions, it's a close call, and a friendly ruling on germaneness can spare members of the majority from casting an unpalatable vote.

UPDATE: Boal announced her retirement on May 7, Radio Iowa's O.Kay Henderson reported.

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