On Friday May 25th, the beginning of the Memorial Day weekend when most people are not paying attention to what’s going on in Des Moines, Gov. Terry Branstad drained the ink out of his veto pen by striking many bipartisan ideas that passed the House and Senate, controlled by Republicans and Democrats respectfully.
It’s no surprise most Iowans haven’t heard much about Branstad’s Black Friday Vetoes. This is a classic example of taking action when most people aren’t paying attention, in order to minimize negative press. It worked. He even vetoed an entire bill designed to save taxpayer money and make government work better, including the ability to renew driver’s licenses online.
When you consider the time and effort it took to get these bills to the Governor’s desk—some took years—the breadth and depth of the vetoes is astounding. Every idea was paid for in a fiscally responsible way. Iowa has a balanced budget, with the highest surplus in decades. Our approach to balancing the budget, without raising taxes, while focusing on results has worked.
I believe compiling a comprehensive list of Branstad Black Friday Vetoes helps explain the frustration people express about politics. Even when legislators work together in a bipartisan way, unilateral action by Governor Branstad unravels all the good that took months to achieve. It’s common to hear voters say “why can’t you work together in a bipartisan way?” Well, we did, and I feel your pain.
I will continue to work in a bipartisan way to achieve progress on the issues where common ground and common sense come together. What follows is a list of ideas that reflect that spirit, despite Branstad’s Black Friday Vetoes:
Reinvent Iowa’s Government (SF2338): Entire bill vetoed
- Online Driver’s License Renewal
- Information Technology Consolidation and Paperwork Reduction requirements
- Medication Therapy Management – Reduces prescription drug costs and improves health of employees
- State Physical Resources Assessment
- Eliminate Audit Fees – Mental Health Centers/Substance Abuse Community Action Agencies and commodity organizations (corn, turkey, egg, sheep and wool).
- Public Defense and Homeland Security & Emergency Management Merger
- Paperless Communication Directive
- State Records Management Modernization – Department of Cultural Affairs
- Dept. of Revenue State Debt Report
- Dept. of Natural Resources/Auditor Clean-up Bill
- Ongoing Program Review Requirement
- IJOBS Board transferred to Iowa Finance Authority
- E911 Board advises Interoperability Board
Health & Human Services Budget (SF2336):
- Veteran’s Home monthly budget reports
- Statewide Emergency Food Bank bill
- Medicaid Cost Containment limitations
- Tanager Place language and $37,000
- Field Operations, FIP, Child Protection & General Administration budget carry forward
- $1 million from Chip Contingency for Child Welfare Resources Fund
- Disapproved funds to revert to the community housing revolving loan program
- PMIC Competitive Grant program
- Special Education Funding
Agriculture & Natural Resources Budget (HF2336):
- Required the DNR hire an additional 2 to 4 full time park rangers and 2 conservation officers.
Economic Development Budget (HF2337):
- Division of Workers Compensation to hire a Chief Deputy Commissioner to clear hearing backlog