2014 legislative session coming to a close

DES MOINES, Iowa – Local lawmakers have been hard at work in Des Moines since January, but the clock is ticking and the 2014 legislative session is quickly coming to an end.

Some lawmakers have seen great success in passing legislation this year while others have been struggling to come to bipartisan compromises.

One topic that has been discussed for the past couple of months is the broadband internet bill that would expand and allow for internet access to be available for cities throughout the Hawkeye state, including rural areas.

This bill was one of Gov. Terry Branstad’s top priorities for the session but in a vote on Friday the bill was shot down in the House chamber.

Rep. Josh Byrne’s, (R) Osage, says that the bill’s failure was thanks in part to a political statement of sorts that some representatives in the house have been trying to make to the Governor.

“We used a very important topic as a political pawn,” he says, “I don’t do things that way, so to me it was a frustrating vote.”

The broadband bill was not the only thing that didn’t make it through this session.

Lawmakers have a growing concern about the life of the anti-bullying bull that has been one of the main focuses since day one of the session.

Rep. Sharon Steckman, (D) Mason City, says that it’s an important bill since bullying has become such a major issue, but she’s concerned about whether it will be finalized and passed this year, or if this is something they will tackle next year.

“I was pretty hopeful last week but things change constantly toward the end of the session,” Steckman says, “it’s really about balancing balls and trying to get everything done so, we’re hopeful but, we’ll see.”

With lawmakers hoping to wrap things up within the next week, there are many bills, like the anti-bullying bill, that are still on the table.

The bill to increase minimum wage in the state is yet another bill that is in the mix of bills lawmakers are scrambling to finalize.

Steckman says that this scramble toward the end of the session is something they typically see every year, but this year it is coming at the cost of bills that could impact many people throughout the state.

However, the state house was anything but quiet on Tuesday as everyone was working as hard as they can to finish up and get things off the table for next year.

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