Iowa Public Television

 

Iowa Political Journalists

posted on March 30, 2006

Borg: ELECTION CAMPAIGNS GEAR UP AS THE LEGISLATURE'S CLOCK WINDS DOWN. PERSPECTIVE FROM IOWA POLITICAL JOURNALISTS ON THIS EDITION OF 'IOWA PRESS.'

FUNDING FOR THIS PROGRAM WAS PROVIDED BY 'FRIENDS,' THE IOWA PUBLIC TELEVISION FOUNDATION; BY THE IOWA BANKERS ASSOCIATION... FOR PERSONAL, BUSINESS, AND COMMERCIAL NEEDS, IOWA BANKS HELP IOWANS REACH THEIR FINANCIAL GOALS; BY THE ASSOCIATED GENERAL CONTRACTORS OF IOWA, THE PUBLIC'S PARTNER IN BUILDING IOWA'S HIGHWAY, BRIDGE, AND MUNICIPAL UTILITY INFRASTRUCTURE; AND BY CAPITOL RESOURCES, INC., LOCATED IN BROOKLYN, IOWA; AND BY NICOLE SCHLINGER AND ERIC LANGE INDIVIDUALLY, FUND-RAISING AND COMMUNICATION SERVICES FOR MAJOR CAMPAIGNS SINCE 1996.

ON STATEWIDE IOWA PUBLIC TELEVISION, THIS IS THE FRIDAY, MARCH 24 EDITION OF 'IOWA PRESS.' HERE IS DEAN BORG.

Borg: AT THE IOWA STATEHOUSE, TUESDAY, APRIL 18, IS THE FINAL SCHEDULED DAY OF THIS YEAR'S 100-DAY LEGISLATIVE SESSION. AS WITH MOST ANNUAL SESSIONS, MAJOR DECISIONS ON WHERE AND HOW TO SPEND MONEY ARE SAVED FOR THOSE FINAL THREE WEEKS OR SO. AND BECAUSE THERE'S SO MUCH AT STAKE, THERE'S CONSIDERABLE POLITICAL BARGAINING DURING THOSE WANING WEEKS. SOMETIMES IDEAS THAT APPEAR TO BE DEAD SUDDENLY COME TO LIFE AS AMENDMENTS TO PRIORITY LEGISLATION. WE'LL GET COMMENTS FROM POLITICAL JOURNALISTS WHO HAVE SEEN A LOT OF LEGISLATIVE HORSE TRADING: 'DES MOINES REGISTER' POLITICAL COLUMNIST DAVID YEPSEN; 'LEE NEWSPAPERS' STATEHOUSE BUREAU CHIEF TODD DORMAN; 'ASSOCIATED PRESS' SENIOR POLITICAL WRITER MIKE GLOVER; AND 'IOWA PUBLIC RADIO' STATEHOUSE REPORTER JOYCE RUSSELL. TODD, I'M GOING TO START OFF WITH YOU. THIS PAST WEEK WE PASSED A SECOND FUNNEL DEADLINE. I'M INTERESTED IN KNOWING -- I'VE JUST SAID SOMETIMES THINGS THAT APPEAR TO BE DEAD SUDDENLY GET RESUSCITATED. BUT WHERE ARE WE RIGHT NOW IN TERMS OF WHAT'S LEFT?

Dorman: WELL, I HOPE ALL THAT'S LEFT IS ABOUT THREE WEEKS. AS WITH ALL LEGISLATIVE SESSIONS, THEY LEAVE A LOT OF -- MOST OF THE WORK FOR THE LAST FEW WEEKS OF THE SESSION -- ACTUALLY THE LAST FEW HOURS OF THE SESSION NORMALLY. THERE ARE A LOT OF POLICY ISSUES STILL OUT THERE. THEY'VE GOT TO FIGURE OUT WHAT TO DO WITH ISSUES LIKE THE SEX OFFENDER PENALTIES AND ETHANOL AND CURBING THE POWER OF LOCAL GOVERNMENTS TO SEIZE PROPERTY. BUT REALLY THE BIGGEST -- THE MAIN EVENT STILL YET TO COME IS THE DEBATE OVER THE BUDGET AND HOW DEMOCRATS AND REPUBLICANS AND THE GOVERNOR FIGURE OUT WHAT THAT BUDGET IS GOING TO LOOK LIKE. I MEAN THAT'S THE KEY TO ADJOURNING THE SESSION.

Borg: IS THAT ALWAYS CONTENTIOUS, JOYCE?

Russell: OH, ALWAYS CONTENTIOUS WHEN YOU HAVE A DIVIDED GOVERNMENT, ESPECIALLY CONTENTIOUS NOW WHEN THE CONTROL OF THE HOUSE AND SENATE IS BY SUCH NARROW MARGINS AND THE SHARED CONTROL IN THE SENATE. BUT JUST AS IN MOST YEARS, WHAT WILL HAPPEN THIS YEAR IS A GROUP OF SMALL PEOPLE, THE LEADERS -- A SMALL GROUP OF PEOPLE -- A SMALL GROUP OF PEOPLE, THE LEADERS, WILL SIT DOWN WITH THE GOVERNOR AND HASH OUT AN AGREEMENT ON THIS BUDGET BETWEEN THE TWO PARTIES AND, IN THE COURSE OF THAT, HASH OUT AGREEMENT ON A NUMBER OF EDUCATION ISSUES THAT ARE TIED TO THE EDUCATION BUDGET.

Glover: I LIKE THE WAY YOU PUT IT -- [ LAUGHTER ] AND YOU ALSO TOUCHED ON WHAT I THINK IS GOING TO BE THE BIG HURDLE THEY HAVE TO GET OVER AS A RESULT, AS TODD MENTIONED, IN THE STATE BUDGET. THE BIGGEST PIECE OF THAT PIE IS EDUCATION. EVERYBODY IS TALKING ABOUT POURING MORE MONEY INTO EDUCATION, REPUBLICANS, DEMOCRATS. THE KEY IS WHAT KIND OF STRINGS DO YOU TIE TO IT, WHAT KIND OF CONDITIONS DO YOU PUT ON IT. ALL OF THOSE ISSUES ARE YET TO BE RESOLVED. THE ONE THING WE KNOW IS THERE'S GOING TO BE PROBABLY $150 MILLION OVER FIVE YEARS POURED INTO EDUCATION, AND WE'LL FIGHT ABOUT WHAT KIND OF STRINGS ARE TIED TO IT.

Borg: NOW, THAT BRINGS UP -- WE'LL TALK ABOUT EDUCATION AS WE GO ALONG HERE IN THE DISCUSSION, BUT EDUCATION IS AN APPROPRIATION CONSIDERATION. THERE ARE OTHER THINGS THAT AREN'T APPROPRIATION CONSIDERATIONS THAT MAYBE ARE STILL LEFT OR HAVE FALLEN BY THE WAYSIDE. DAVE, YOU HAD SOME COMMENT ON THAT?

Yepsen: WELL, MY POINT WAS THAT IN THESE BUDGET NEGOTIATIONS, WHICH IS REALLY THE BIG GAME HERE AT THE END, THEY GOT SOME GOOD NEWS, AND THAT IS THAT TAX REVENUES ARE BETTER THAN THEY EXPECTED. AND SO IT'S ALWAYS HELPFUL WHEN -- TO LEADERS WHEN THEY'RE TRYING TO CUT A DEAL TO HAVE A LITTLE EXTRA MONEY TO SPEND. THE ECONOMY IS GOOD. THAT'S GOOD NEWS FOR THEM. IT TURNS OUT IT DOES NOT APPEAR THAT THEY'LL HAVE TO SPEND AS MUCH ON HEALTH CARE FOR THE POOR AS THEY THOUGHT THEY WERE GOING TO HAVE TO SPEND. THIS FREES UP DOLLARS TO PUT INTO EDUCATIONAL PROGRAMS. IT ALSO HAS THE POLITICAL EFFECT OF MAKING IT MORE DIFFICULT TO PASS THE CIGARETTE TAX INCREASE. SO, YOU KNOW, THE GOOD ECONOMY HAS A POLITICAL FACTOR.

Borg: EXPAND ON THAT. WHY DOES IT MAKE IT MORE DIFFICULT? BECAUSE THERE'S MORE REVENUE AVAILABLE, SO WE DON'T NEED THE REVENUE SO WHY WOULD WE INCREASE --

Yepsen: EXACTLY. AND THOSE SENTIMENTS ARE PARTICULARLY STRONG IN THE HOUSE.

Borg: WHAT DIDN'T MAKE IT THAT'S SIGNIFICANT, JOYCE?

Russell: WELL, ALL OF THE THINGS THAT REALLY WEREN'T EXPECTED TO BE PASSED THIS YEAR ARE NOT GOING TO BE PASSED THIS YEAR: MINIMUM WAGE INCREASE, DEATH PENALTY -- A LIMITED DEATH PENALTY BILL, A CONSTITUTIONAL AMENDMENT TO BAN GAY MARRIAGE. AS EXPECTED, ALL OF THOSE HAVE GONE BY THE WAYSIDE.

Borg: AND NONE OF THOSE -- AS I SAID, SOME OF THOSE ISSUES TRADITIONALLY GET HOOKED ONTO SOMETHING THAT IS PRIORITY, BUT NONE OF THOSE ISSUES, MIKE, ARE GOING TO MAKE IT.

Glover: AND I DON'T KNOW IF EVERYBODY ELSE FEELS THIS TOO, BUT WHEN WE TALK ABOUT WHAT DOES AND DOESN'T MAKE IT IN THIS LEGISLATURE, I'M GETTING A REALLY PALPABLE SENSE OF ANGST TO GET OUT OF THERE. AND IT WENT UP A NOTCH WITH THE FILING DEADLINE. THIS IS A VERY CLOSELY DIVIDED LEGISLATURE: A 25/25 SENATE, A 51/49 HOUSE. WE'VE GOT AN ELECTION COMING UP PRETTY QUICKLY, AND I GET A SENSE THAT THESE PEOPLE WANT TO WRAP UP THIS SESSION PRETTY QUICKLY, GET BACK HOME, AND GET ON THE CAMPAIGN TRAIL. AND THAT IS GOING TO PUT PRESSURE ON ALL THESE BUDGET NEGOTIATIONS. AND WHEN ANYBODY RAISES AN ISSUE AND SAYS, OH, I'D LIKE TO -- LET'S SPEND A FEW DAYS TALKING ABOUT THIS... LET'S NOT. LET'S GO HOME.

Yepsen: I'VE HAD THE SENSE THEY'VE WANTED TO ADJOURN SINCE ABOUT THE DAY THEY CONVENED, BECAUSE EVERYBODY KNOWS THAT IT'S DEADLOCKED, IT'S GRIDLOCKED, IT'S GOING TO COME DOWN TO A FEW LEADERS LATE IN THE SESSION CUTTING SOME DEALS. A LOT OF THESE ISSUES THAT JOYCE JUST MENTIONED -- MINIMUM WAGE, DEATH PENALITY, GAY MARRIAGE -- THOSE ARE ALL POLITICAL ISSUES. EVERYBODY KNOWS THEY'RE NOT GOING TO BE APPROVED, BUT EITHER THE REPUBLICANS WANT TO PUSH THEM OR THE DEMOCRATS WANT TO PUSH THEM FOR POLITICAL PURPOSES, PUT A LINE ON THEIR BROCHURE. HAVING SAID THAT, IT'S ALSO TRUE THAT AT THIS STAGE IN THE LEGISLATIVE SESSION, DEAN, I HAVE LEARNED THE HARD WAY NEVER TO KILL ANYTHING TOO DEAD BECAUSE STUFF CAN BE LEFT BY THE BOARDS WILL GET RESURRECTED AS PART OF THE NEGOTIATIONS AT THE END. A GOOD EXAMPLE IS A BILL BANNING SOCIAL PROMOTION IN OUR SCHOOLS WAS KILLED OFF, BUT THAT COULD GET RESURRECTED IN THE DISCUSSION OF WHAT GOES INTO THE EDUCATION PACKAGE. THE SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE IS SAYING, 'WELL, I MIGHT DO A MINIMUM WAGE IF YOU DEMOCRATS WILL AGREE ON SOME THINGS BUSINESS WANTS.' SO THOSE KINDS OF THINGS ARE STILL IN PLAY.

Borg: ANY INSIGHT ON THAT, TODD, AS TO WHAT MIGHT APPEAR DEAD BUT STILL MIGHT HAVE A LITTLE LIFE?

Dorman: WELL, ONE GOOD -- ONE GOOD EXAMPLE IS THE SENATE PASSED A PACKAGE OF TOUGHER PENALTIES FOR SEX OFFENDERS. THE HOUSE IS STILL -- THE HOUSE DIDN'T PASS THE BILL THROUGH COMMITTEE, SO TECHNICALLY IN THE FUNNEL, IF YOU BELIEVE THE FUNNEL DEADLINE IS SOMETHING THAT ACTUALLY CAN KILL A BILL, IT WOULD BE DEAD. BUT IN REALITY, THEY'RE GOING TO PASS SOME SORT OF PACKAGE ON SEX OFFENDER PENALTIES. IOWANS WANT IT. IT'S AN ISSUE THAT'S STILL OUT THERE. IT'S BEEN OUT THERE FOR A YEAR. THERE'S A FEELING THAT THE STATE ISN'T DOING ENOUGH TO TRACK THESE PEOPLE AND KEEP THEM IN PRISON. SO SOMETHING IS GOING TO HAPPEN. EVEN THOUGH IT LOOKS DEAD AT THIS MOMENT, IT'S NOT DEAD AT ALL.

Glover: TO ECHO ONE OF THE POINTS THAT DAVE MENTIONED -- AND IT GOES WITH WHAT TODD IS SAYING TOO -- IS YOU HAVE SUCH AN EVENLY DIVIDED LEGISLATURE, A LOT OF PEOPLE UP THERE ARE SAYING WE NEED AN ELECTION. ON A LOT OF THESE ISSUES LIKE MINIMUM WAGE, LIKE GAY MARRIAGE, WE NEED VOTERS TO SEND US A MESSAGE. WE'RE GOING TO TAKE OUR MESSAGE TO THE ELECTORATE THIS JUNE AND NEXT NOVEMBER AND HAVE THEM SEND US A MESSAGE. AND IF DEMOCRATS WIN AN OVERWHELMING MAJORITY IN THE LEGISLATURE, THEN, OKAY, MAYBE A MINIMUM WAGE IS WHAT VOTERS WANT AND MAYBE WE'LL GIVE IT TO THEM.

Borg: IT'S KIND OF A DEATH WISH THOUGH, ISN'T IT, TO TAKE THAT SORT OF A CHANCE: I'LL TAKE THIS ISSUE TO THE VOTERS AND MAYBE I'LL LOSE MY SEAT OVER IT?

Glover: SO? THAT'S WHAT POLITICS IS ALL ABOUT. THAT'S WHAT ELECTIONS ARE ABOUT.

Yepsen: AND IT'S ALSO TRUE, DEAN, IN DEFERENCE TO THE PROCESS, THAT IT'S GOOD THAT THE PROCESS TAKES A LONG TIME. AN IDEA IN IOWA HAS A TWO- OR THREE-YEAR GESTATION PERIOD. PEOPLE MAY BE FOR A HIGHER MINIMUM WAGE OR FOR THE DEATH PENALTY, BUT THOSE ARE COMPLICATED ISSUES. THEY HAVE SERIOUS RAMIFICATIONS. THE CRIME BILL THAT TODD MENTIONED, YOU KNOW, HOW WE DEAL WITH SEX OFFENDERS, YEAH, THERE'S BUMPER STICKER PARTS OF THAT, BUT THERE ARE SERIOUS CORRECTIONAL AND REHABILITATION ISSUES INVOLVED WITH THAT. SO IT'S GOOD THAT, I THINK, THAT ISSUES ARE RAISED, THEY'RE DEBATED, WE GET THEM IN THE PUBLIC DOMAIN. AND THEN OUR POLICYMAKERS AND EXPERTS HAVE SOME TIME TO LET IT -- TO LET IT COOK, TO TINKER, TO GET IT RIGHT WHEN THEY DO PASS IT.

Borg: AND A GOOD EXAMPLE OF THAT, I JUST IN PASSING HERE -- LET'S SPEND A FEW SECONDS ON THE NEW PRISON IDEA. YOU KNOW, THE LEGISLATURE CONVENED RIGHT AFTER THERE HAD BEEN A PRISON BREAK, AND THERE WAS THIS PUSH BY THE GOVERNOR WE NEED TO BUILD A NEW PRISON. THE REPUBLICANS SAID, OH, LET'S TAKE SOME TIME TO THINK ABOUT THIS. WHERE IS IT NOW, MIKE?

Glover: WELL, IT'S NOT GOING TO HAPPEN. THEY'RE NOT GOING TO BUILD A NEW PRISON THIS YEAR. THEY'RE GOING TO SPEND A COUPLE HUNDRED THOUSAND DOLLARS STUDYING THE STATE'S PRISON SYSTEM, AND THAT'S ANOTHER EXAMPLE OF WHERE MAYBE SOMEBODY SAID, 'WHOA, WAIT A SECOND HERE, WE'LL SPEND A HUNDRED MILLION DOLLARS BUILDING A NEW PRISON, WHICH WILL COST US $40 MILLION A YEAR TO RUN. DO WE NEED IT? HOW MANY INMATES DO WE HAVE THAT NEED A MAXIMUM SECURITY PRISON? WHAT'S THE CAPACITY OF OUR PRISON SYSTEM? WHAT SECTIONS OF OUR PRISON SYSTEM NEED BOLSTERING? WHAT SECTION DO WE HAVE OVERCAPACITY?' THEY SAID BASICALLY LET'S SLOW DOWN AND TAKE A LONG LOOK AT THIS. WE'RE GOING TO HAVE A RATHER LANDMARK ELECTION THIS YEAR. WE'RE GOING TO ELECT MAJORITIES IN BOTH CHAMBERS OF THE LEGISLATURE, AND WE'RE GOING TO ELECT A NEW GOVERNOR. AND I THINK AT THIS POINT, THE MOOD I SENSE AT THE STATEHOUSE IS LET'S NOT HEAD OFF IN A RADICAL NEW DIRECTION. LET'S SEE WHAT KIND OF A MESSAGE VOTERS SEND US. WILL WE HAVE A REPUBLICAN GOVERNOR NEXT YEAR? WILL WE HAVE A DEMOCRATIC GOVERNOR NEXT YEAR? WILL WE HAVE A REPUBLICAN LEGISLATURE NEXT YEAR? DEMOCRATIC LEGISLATURE NEXT YEAR? LET'S WAIT AND SEE WHAT HAPPENS.

Borg: TODD, LET'S APPLY THAT PHILOSOPHY TO THE EDUCATION PACKAGE THAT IS BEING DEVELOPED. HOW MUCH MIGHT BE DEFERRED TO SEE WHAT DO THE VOTERS WANT?

Dorman: I THINK -- I THINK THEY'VE GOT TO DO SOMETHING SIGNIFICANT IN EDUCATION BECAUSE THEY'RE GOING TO GO ONTO THE CAMPAIGN TRAIL. EDUCATION IS ALWAYS A BIG ISSUE IN A CAMPAIGN, AND IF YOU LEAVE A LEGISLATIVE SESSION WITHOUT DOING SIGNIFICANT REFORMS OR PUTTING MONEY INTO PROGRAMS, YOU RUN THE RISK OF YOUR OPPONENTS PAINTING YOU AS NOT BEING -- AS BEING ANTI-EDUCATION. I THINK THEY ARE GOING TO DO SIGNIFICANT THINGS WITH NEW SPENDING. I THINK THEY ARE GOING TO PASS SOME SORT OF LEGISLATION THAT CHANGES THE WAY SCHOOLS OPERATE.

Borg: YOU MEAN LENGTH OF DAY, LENGTH OF SCHOOL YEAR?

Dorman: LENGTH OF DAY, CHANGING THE SCHOOL YEAR FROM DAYS TO HOURS, CHANGING THE WAY KINDERGARTEN AND EARLY CHILDHOOD OPERATES. I MEAN THESE ARE THINGS THAT ARE GOING TO HAPPEN.

Yepsen: A COUPLE PIECES IN THIS DEAL, DEAN. THE GOVERNOR HAS TO HAVE MONEY FOR A SUBSTANTIAL INCREASE FOR PAY RAISES FOR TEACHERS. HE ALSO WANTS MONEY FOR PREKINDERGARTEN AND EARLY CHILDHOOD PROGRAMS. IN ORDER TO GET -- DEMOCRATS GENERALLY WANT ALL THOSE THINGS. IN ORDER TO GET THAT, THE REPUBLICANS IN THE LEGISLATURE TO GO ALONG, THEY'RE GOING TO HAVE TO AGREE TO THINGS LIKE A PERFORMANCE COMMISSION, TYING PAY RAISES TO IMPROVED PERFORMANCE.

Borg: IN OTHER WORDS, IF REPUBLICANS WANT THAT, DEMOCRATS ARE GOING TO HAVE TO AGREE IN ORDER TO GET THE MONEY?

Yepsen: RIGHT. ONE HAND WASHES THE OTHER, LOGROLLING, WHATEVER YOU WANT TO CALL IT, IT'S A TRADEOFF. OTHER THINGS, CHANGING THE 180-DAY SCHOOL DAY TO ACTUAL NUMBER OF HOURS THAT ARE SPENT IN A CLASSROOM, AN END TO SOCIAL PROMOTION. NOW, YES, IT'S HORSE TRADING, IT'S BARGAINING. BUT YOU KNOW WHAT, DEAN, IT ALSO TENDS TO WIND UP WITH WHAT THE PEOPLE OF IOWA TELL US IN POLLS THEY WANT. THEY WANT A PAY RAISE. BUT THEY WANT SCHOOLS THAT PERFORM BETTER AND ARE TOUGHER. SO I THINK AT THE END OF THE DAY, DESPITE ALL THIS GRIDLOCK AND TENSION, YOU COULD SEE A PRETTY LANDMARK PIECE OF EDUCATION LEGISLATION COME OUT OF THIS SESSION.

Russell: PROBABLY THE MOST SUBSTANTIAL OF THOSE THAT THE REPUBLICANS ARE ASKING FOR IN EXCHANGE FOR PAYING MORE FOR SCHOOLS IS THE ONE THAT DAVID JUST MENTIONED, SOME KIND OF MERIT-BASED PAY FOR TEACHERS. THE LEGISLATURE PASSED A BIG PACKAGE LIKE THAT A FEW YEARS AGO. IT WAS NEVER FUNDED AND NOW THERE -- AND SOME PEOPLE SAY THAT THEY'RE SORT OF STARTING BACK ON SQUARE ONE WITH THIS IDEA AGAIN OF TYING PAY TO PERFORMANCE IN THE CLASSROOM. BUT I THINK OF ALL OF THOSE EDUCATION PROPOSALS THAT ARE OUT THERE, THAT'S PROBABLY THE MOST SUBSTANTIAL THAT THE REPUBLICANS ARE AFTER.

Glover: IT'S THE EASIEST TO EXPLAIN. WHEN YOU GO BACK HOME AND PEOPLE SAY, 'I'M WORRIED ABOUT MY SCHOOLING,' YOU CAN SAY, 'WELL, WE PUT A BUNCH OF MONEY INTO INCREASED TEACHER PAY BUT WE'RE GOING TO MAKE THEM EARN IT AND WE'RE GOING TO MAKE THEM IMPROVE STUDENT PERFORMANCE. WE'RE GOING TO MAKE THEM ACTUALLY DO THEIR JOB A LITTLE BIT BETTER.' IT'S A VERY EASY THING TO EXPLAIN, AND I THINK IT'S PROBABLY THE MOST LIKELY TO HAPPEN.

Borg: WELL, WHO OPPOSED THAT IDEA, THOUGH?

Glover: NOBODY.

Yepsen: WELL, THE TEACHERS UNION.

Glover: WELL, THE TEACHERS UNION TRADITIONALLY HAS OPPOSED IT, BUT THE TEACHERS UNION HAS A PRICE. IN OTHER WORDS, I DON'T LIKE PERFORMANCE-BASED PAY, BUT DEPENDING ON HOW MUCH OF A PAY RAISE YOU WANT TO GIVE ME, MAYBE I'LL TAKE A LITTLE.

Russell: AND ON THE DEMOCRATIC SIDE, THEY'RE -- AS TODD MENTIONED, THEY'RE QUARRELING OVER 6-PERCENT OR 4-PERCENT ALLOWABLE GROWTH IN SCHOOL BUDGETS. AND THAT'S ANOTHER THING, MIKE, THAT I THINK IS EASY TO EXPLAIN TO VOTERS: WE ASKED FOR A 6-PERCENT RAISE FOR SCHOOLS INSTEAD OF A 4-PERCENT RAISE FOR SCHOOLS.

Yepsen: AND NOT MANY IOWANS ARE GETTING EITHER 4-PERCENT RAISES OR 6-PERCENT RAISES, AND SO YOU HAVE TO COUPLE IT WITH SOMETHING LIKE PERFORMANCE SO THAT A POLITICIAN CAN GO OUT AND SAY, 'YES, WE GAVE SCHOOLS A LOT MORE NEW MONEY BUT WE'RE EXPECTING RESULTS.'

Borg: DO YOU THINK IN THE FINAL ANALYSIS, TODD, THAT BOTH REPUBLICANS AND DEMOCRATS ARE GOING TO BE COMING OUT WITH SOMETHING THAT THEY CAN GO TO THE VOTERS AND SAY, 'LOOK WHAT WE DID,' AND THE VOTERS WILL SAY, 'FINE'?

Dorman: SURE. DEMOCRATS CAN SAY, 'LOOK, WE INVESTED MORE IN EDUCATION AS WE PROMISED WE'D DO BEFORE THE LEGISLATIVE SESSION.' REPUBLICANS CAN COME OUT AND SAY, 'WE REFORMED THE EDUCATIONAL SYSTEM LIKE WE PROMISED WE'D DO. WE CHANGED THE WAY SCHOOLS DO BUSINESS. WE'VE TIED THIS MONEY TO STUDENT ACHIEVEMENT.' BOTH OF THEM COME OUT WITH PLENTY TO CROW ABOUT.

Glover: AND THE PRESSURE -- THE PRESSURE TO MAKE ALL OF THIS GET RESOLVED FAIRLY QUICKLY IS HIGH BECAUSE IT'S ALL TIED TO THE LEGISLATIVE ELECTIONS. AND THERE ARE ONLY A HANDFUL OF LEGISLATIVE DISTRICTS THAT ARE ANYWHERE NEAR REMOTELY COMPETITIVE, MAYBE A DOZEN. CONTROL OF THE LEGISLATURE WILL BE SETTLED BY ABOUT A DOZEN DISTRICTS AND A HANDFUL OF A FEW HUNDRED VOTES. SO THE URGENCY TO GET BACK HOME AND START CAMPAIGNING IN THOSE DISTRICTS IS GOING TO DRIVE THIS WHOLE DEBATE. IT'S A PRETTY SIMPLE THING. THE SOLUTION IS PRETTY CLEAR. THE COMPROMISE IS PRETTY CLEAR. DEMOCRATS WANT MORE MONEY. REPUBLICANS WANT SOME CONTROLS. THEY'LL DO BOTH. LET'S GET IT OVER WITH QUICK.

Borg: AS WE TALK ABOUT CONTROL OF THE LEGISLATURE, DAVE -- I WANT TO SPEND JUST A SECOND TALKING ABOUT THAT -- IS IT THE SENATE, WHICH IS NOW EVENLY DIVIDED, WHERE DEMOCRATS MIGHT STAND THE BEST CHANCE OF TAKING CONTROL?

Yepsen: THE CONVENTIONAL WISDOM RIGHT NOW HAS IT THAT THE DEMOCRATS WIN THE IOWA SENATE, PICK UP THREE OR FOUR SEATS. AND IN THE HOUSE IT'S A LITTLE -- IT'S 50/50 WHETHER THE REPUBLICANS CAN KEEP CONTROL. REPUBLICANS ARE A LITTLE MORE CONFIDENT OF KEEPING CONTROL. I THINK THAT'S WHERE THEY'LL BE PUTTING THEIR EFFORT AND THEIR RESOURCES IN A LAST-DITCH EFFORT TO HOLD ONTO THAT HOUSE. BUT, DEAN, ONE OF THE THINGS THAT WE'VE ALL LEARNED COVERING THESE LEGISLATIVE CAMPAIGNS IS THAT THEY'RE ALL DRIVEN BY LOCAL ISSUES AND LOCAL PERSONALITIES, AND THERE'S ALWAYS SURPRISES. SOMEBODY GETS BEAT, SOMEBODY THAT WE DON'T EXPECT, AND SO IT GETS REAL DIFFICULT TO MAKE FIRM PREDICTIONS.

Glover: I HAVE A STORY I'D LIKE TO TELL. IT GOES BACK TO THE 1980S WHEN I WAS TRYING TO WRITE A LEGISLATIVE CONTROL STORY. AND THERE WAS ONE PARTICULAR RACE THAT I WAS GOING TO FOCUS ON AND USE AS A HOOK TO GET INTO THE STORY, AND IT WAS A RACE WHERE WE ALL KNEW THIS ONE CANDIDATE. THIS ONE CANDIDATE WAS JUST BOUND TO WIN AND HE WAS WELL KNOWN AND HE WAS GOING TO WIN, DA-DA-DA-DA-DA. SO I DECIDED TO GO TO THAT PARTICULAR DISTRICT AND TALK TO SOME PEOPLE AND USE THAT AS A HOOK TO GET IN IT. TURNS OUT THE GUY'S -- THIS WAS THE 1980S -- THE GUY'S BROTHER WAS A LOCAL BANKER AND WAS FORECLOSING ON EVERY FARMER WITHIN A HUNDRED MILES, AND HE COULDN'T GET ELECTED DOG CATCHER. SO THAT'S THE KIND OF ISSUES THAT DRIVES LEGISLATIVE ELECTIONS.

Borg: WAS, TODD, TOUCH PLAY AT ALL A LOCAL ISSUE? AND I ASK THAT QUESTION -- I KNOW IT'S A STATE ISSUE IN A LOT OF ASPECTS, BUT LOCAL ALSO BECAUSE THAT LOCAL SUPERMARKET OR CONVENIENCE STORE HAD A TOUCH PLAY MACHINE, AND IF THAT LOCAL REPRESENTATIVE OR STATE SENATOR WAS ON EITHER SIDE OF THE ISSUE WHERE PEOPLE DISLIKED THAT, THAT MIGHT COST HIM AN ELECTION?

Dorman: IT WAS A LOCAL ISSUE --

Borg: HIM OR HER.

Dorman: I THINK LAWMAKERS HEARD A LOT FROM THEIR CONSTITUENTS WHEN THEY WENT HOME ON THE WEEKEND, ESPECIALLY THAT FINAL WEEKEND BEFORE THE VOTE. THERE WERE COUNTY CONVENTIONS -- REPUBLICAN CONVENTIONS WHERE A CONSERVATIVE ACTIVIST PASSED RESOLUTIONS CALLING FOR THE BANNING OF TOUCH PLAY. AND I THINK THAT, ESPECIALLY FOR REPUBLICAN REPRESENTATIVES AND SENATORS, I THINK THAT REALLY HIT HOME. I THINK THEY SAW THAT BACK IN THEIR DISTRICTS THAT PEOPLE WERE NOT HAPPY WITH THE EXPANSION OF GAMBLING AND THE COURSE THAT IT TOOK.

Glover: AND I THINK -- I THINK FOR REPUBLICANS, IT'S A PROBLEM BECAUSE I THINK WHAT THEY HEARD AT THOSE CONVENTIONS WAS ONE SIDE OF A SPLIT WITHIN THE REPUBLICAN PARTY AND THEY DIDN'T HEAR THE OTHER SIDE OF THAT SPLIT THAT WAS IN THE REPUBLICAN PARTY, WHICH WAS EVEN MAYBE A MORE IMPORTANT SIDE.

Borg: EXPAND ON THAT.

Glover: IN THE REPUBLICAN PARTY, YOU'VE GOT TWO DISTINCT BIG INTERESTS. YOU'VE GOT EVANGELICALS, SOCIAL CONSERVATIVES WHO HATE GAMBLING OF ALL SORTS INTRODUCE THOSE RESOLUTIONS TO COUNTY CONVENTIONS, AND YOU'VE GOT THE BUSINESS COMMUNITY THAT WAS MAKING A FAIR AMOUNT OF MONEY OFF OF THOSE TOUCH PLAY MACHINES BUTTING HEADS. AND ONE OF THE OLDEST SAYINGS IN POLITICS IS 'DON'T MAKE YOUR LOCAL BARTENDER MAD,' AND THEY DID.

Yepsen: AND THAT'S WHY THIS ISSUE IS OVER. THERE'S STILL A DEBATE TO BE HELD AT THE LEGISLATURE OVER JUST WHEN THESE MACHINES COME OUT. THE BILL CALLS FOR THEM TO COME OUT IN 45 DAYS. THERE ARE SOME PEOPLE THAT WANT TO DO IT ON JULY 1, AND THERE ARE OTHER PEOPLE THAT WANT TO DO IT ON SEPTEMBER 15. WHY? SOME OF THESE BUSINESSES HAVE MADE INVESTMENTS IN THESE MACHINES, AND THERE'S A SENSE OF, WELL, IF WE CAN ALLOW THEM TO RECOUP SOME OF THIS INVESTMENT, PERHAPS THEY WON'T SUE THE STATE FOR DAMAGES AS A RESULT OF THIS DECISION. SO THE TOUCH PLAY DEBATE THAT HAS DOMINATED THIS SESSION IS STILL GOING TO BE AROUND.

Borg: IS THAT POLITICALLY VOLATILE AT ALL? ARE PEOPLE WILLING TO SAY EXTEND THE DEADLINE, DO YOU THINK, MIKE?

Glover: YES. I THINK PEOPLE ARE WILLING TO TALK ABOUT EXTENDING THE DEADLINE. IN FACT, THAT DEBATE IS GOING ON RIGHT NOW. THE DISCUSSION IS HOW LONG DO YOU EXTEND THAT DEADLINE TO. MIKE GRONSTAL, THE DEMOCRATIC LEADER OF THE SENATE, SAID JUST THE OTHER DAY THAT THOSE WHO ARE TALKING ABOUT A YEAR OR TWO PROBABLY ARE NOT BEING REALISTIC BUT SOMETHING SHORT OF THAT PROBABLY IS REALISTIC. LIKE I SAY, THIS IS A BIG REPUBLICAN CONSTITUENCY. THESE ARE STREET CORNER BUSINESS OWNERS WHO ARE LOSING MONEY BECAUSE OF A DECISION THE LEGISLATURE MADE.

Russell: AND EVERY MONTH THAT THAT DEADLINE IS EXTENDED JUST GIVES THOSE COMPANIES A LITTLE BIT MORE TIME TO RECOUP THE INVESTMENT THAT THEY MADE ON THE MACHINES.

Borg: AND THE STATE IS MAKING MONEY ON IT TOO, JOYCE.

Russell: THEY ARE. AND THAT'S GOING TO, AS WE HAVE DISCUSSED ALREADY, THAT WILL BE A LITTLE BIT OF POT OF MONEY THAT THEY'LL HAVE TO SPEND.

Borg: TODD, IS THERE -- WE HAD THE SPEAKER OF THE IOWA HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES, CHRISTOPHER RANTS, ON THIS PROGRAM LAST WEEK. HE MADE QUITE A POINT OF SAYING I THINK THIS SESSION -- AND HE WAS GOING TO PUSH IT, FROM WHAT I DISCERNED, BRINGING THIS IOWA LOTTERY UNDER CONTROL. THAT IS, WE'RE GOING TO TAKE AWAY THE CHARTER STATUS THAT THEY HAVE NOW. IS THAT GOING ANYPLACE?

Dorman: THEY CAN PASS A BILL BUT THE GOVERNOR WON'T SIGN IT. HE SAID IN THE PAST HE'S NOT INTERESTED IN CHANGING THE CHARTER AGENCY STATUS. HE THINKS THE LOTTERY IS FINE WHERE IT'S AT. AND THERE'S ALSO SOME QUESTION EVEN IF THE HOUSE PASSED A BILL WHETHER THE DIVIDED SENATE WOULD EVEN TAKE SUCH A PIECE OF LEGISLATION UP WITH THE GOVERNOR OPPOSED TO IT.

Yepsen: THE LOTTERY GOT A LITTLE CARRIED AWAY ON THIS ONE, DEAN, AND MANY MEMBERS ARE MAD. I THINK THE LEGISLATURE AND THE GOVERNOR WERE AMBUSHED BY THIS TOUCH PLAY DEBATE. AND WHAT ED STANEK AND THE LOTTERY DID WAS THEY JUST OVERDID IT. HAD THEY TAKEN THESE TOUCH PLAY MACHINES, PUT THEM IN A FEW BARS OUT OF SIGHT, PEOPLE WOULD HAVE BEEN HAPPY WITH THIS. BUT ALL OF A SUDDEN WE WOKE UP IN THIS STATE AND THERE ARE THOUSANDS OF THESE MACHINES EVERYWHERE. AND THE POLITICIANS DIDN'T -- DON'T LIKE BEING SURPRISED LIKE THAT.

Borg: DO YOU THINK THAT THERE IS ANY, MIKE, LONG-TERM IMPLICATIONS FOR GAMBLING IN THIS STATE AS A RESULT OF THE GALVANIZING AGAINST TOUCH PLAY?

Glover: THAT WAS PART OF THE DEBATE. A LOT OF THE ENTRENCHED GAMBLING INTERESTS WERE WORRIED THAT THIS, WHAT WAS SEEN BY MANY AS A MASSIVE EXPANSION OF GAMBLING, WOULD START A DEBATE OVER WHETHER WE OUGHT TO HAVE GAMBLING. I INTERVIEWED A CONVENIENCE STORE OWNER WHO HAD INVESTED SOME MONEY IN THESE MACHINES AND LOST THE MONEY BECAUSE THEY'RE COMING OUT. AND HE SAID, 'FINE, TAKE MY MACHINES AWAY. LET'S JUST TAKE THEM ALL AWAY. IF I CAN'T HAVE THEM, LET'S JUST SHUT THEM DOWN.' AND THERE WAS SOME WORRY THAT THAT DEBATE WOULD GET STARTED. THIS WAS THE FIRST TIME SINCE THE LOTTERY WAS ESTABLISHED THAT GAMBLING OPPONENTS -- AND IT WASN'T JUST GAMBLING OPPONENTS; IT WAS OTHERS -- HAVE ACTUALLY SUCCEEDED.

Yepsen: I THINK, DEAN, IOWANS DID SAY, 'WE'VE HAD ENOUGH, WE'RE SICK OF IT.' AND IT HAS REAL RAMIFICATIONS FOR OTTUMWA AND FOR FORT DODGE WHO WANT TO BUILD CASINOS. THEY'VE NOW GOT TO CONVINCE A POLITICAL CLIMATE IN DES MOINES THAT IS VERY ANTI-GAMBLING. IT WILL BE A TOUGH SELL.

Glover: BUT AS FAR AS YOUR QUESTION, IS THE CURRENT GAMBLING ESTABLISHMENT THREATENED, NO. AND THAT'S SIMPLY BECAUSE THIS STATE IS HOOKED ON GAMBLING REVENUES. IF YOU TOOK AWAY GAMBLING REVENUES FROM THIS STATE, YOU'D BE STUNNED AT WHAT YOU'D SEE IN THE STATE BUDGET. FOR EXAMPLE, ABOUT HALF OF THE WATER QUALITY PROGRAMS IN IOWA ARE FINANCED WITH GAMBLING PROFITS, SO THERE ARE A LOT OF ENVIRONMENTALISTS OUT THERE --

Dorman: AND IT'S STEADY REVENUE.

Glover: YEAH.

Dorman: I THINK IN THIS CASE IT WAS JUST A SITUATION WHERE PEOPLE WERE COMFORTABLE WITH GAMBLING UNTIL IT WAS IN THEIR FACE. IT WAS IN THEIR FACE IN THE CONVENIENCE STORES AND GROCERY STORES AND THE DRY CLEANER AND WHEREVER ELSE IT WAS.

Yepsen: AND, DEAN, GAMBLING INTERESTS MAKE AN AWFUL LOT OF POLITICAL CONTRIBUTIONS --

Glover: THAT'S WHY I HESITATED WITH WHAT I SAID BEFORE. IT WASN'T GAMBLING OPPONENTS THAT KNOCKED DOWN THE TOUCH PLAY MACHINES. IT WAS CASINOS THAT KNOCKED DOWN TOUCH PLAY MACHINES BECAUSE THEY SAW A THREAT TO THEIR BUSINESS.

Borg: JOYCE, ALTERNATIVE ENERGY IS A POPULAR SUBJECT BECAUSE EVERYBODY -- MOST EVERYBODY HAS A VEHICLE IN WHICH THEY HAVE TO PUT $2.50 GAS -- OR FUEL I SHOULD SAY, NOT GAS, ALL THE TIME. ETHANOL AND ALTERNATIVE FUELS, ANYTHING THAT'S GOING TO COME OUT OF THIS SESSION?

Russell: WELL, SOMETHING. THEY'RE GOING TO PASS SOMETHING TO PROMOTE ALTERNATIVE FUELS, ESPECIALLY ETHANOL. AND THEY'RE IN THE THROES RIGHT NOW OF TRYING TO COME UP WITH A COMPROMISE THAT EVERYBODY CAN AGREE WITH. THE TWO MAIN INTEREST GROUPS WHO ARE WEIGHING IN ON THIS ARE THE CORN GROWERS AND THE IOWA FARM BUREAU.

Borg: BOTH WOULD BE PUSHING.

Russell: WELL, PUSHING BUT PUSHING WITH LIMITATIONS --

Borg: WHY?

Russell: AND THE FARM BUREAU HAS SORT OF STEPPED BACK FROM MANDATING OR PENALIZING DISTRIBUTORS WHO DON'T COME THROUGH WITH THE ETHANOL STANDARDS. THE CORN GROWERS ARE A LITTLE MORE OUT THERE IN REQUIRING A CERTAIN AMOUNT OF ETHANOL SOLD BY A CERTAIN DATE. IN IOWA IT HASN'T GONE NEARLY AS FAR ON THIS AS SOME STATES, INCLUDING MINNESOTA. SO ON ONE SIDE, YOU HAVE PEOPLE PUSHING FOR A MANDATE -- AGGRESSIVE MANDATES, AND THEN YOU HAVE OTHER PEOPLE, MORE PRO BUSINESS PEOPLE KIND OF PUSHING BACK AND SAYING DON'T FORCE THE -- DON'T PENALIZE CONVENIENCE STORES OR PETROLEUM MARKETERS FOR NOT COMING UP WITH THIS STANDARD.

Glover: EVERYBODY WANTS TO SET A GOAL. BY SOME YEAR WE WANT SOME PERCENT OF THE FUEL SOLD IN IOWA TO BE RENEWABLE, BE IT ETHANOL, BE IT BIODIESEL, WHATEVER. AND THE QUESTION IS HOW DO YOU GET THERE. DO YOU PUT IN PLACE PENALTIES IF YOU DON'T GET THERE? IF WE DON'T GET TO THIS LEVEL BY THIS TIME, YOU'LL HAVE TO DO THIS, OR DO YOU --

Borg: WHO WOULD YOU PENALIZE?

Glover: YOU WOULD PENALIZE THE DISTRIBUTORS, THE MARKETERS, EVERYBODY, THE WHOLE INDUSTRY. OR DO YOU PUT IN PLACE INCENTIVES THAT SAY WE WANT YOU TO GET TO THIS LEVEL AND WE'LL GIVE YOU THIS INCENTIVE TO DO IT?

Borg: TODD, ANY OTHER THING ON WIND ENERGY AS WE TALK ABOUT ALTERNATIVE ENERGY SOURCES? THERE'S ETHANOL BUT ANOTHER ASPECT OF ETHANOL IS E85. NOW, IS THAT IN THE SAME DEBATE HERE?

Dorman: WELL, THE E85 ISSUE IS FIGURING OUT HOW TO HELP GAS STATIONS OR HOW TO CONVINCE GAS STATIONS TO SELL E85, BECAUSE THERE ARE ONLY ABOUT 30, 35 GAS STATIONS IN IOWA THAT ACTUALLY SELL THIS BLEND OF 15-PERCENT GASOLINE, 85-PERCENT ETHANOL. AND ONLY ABOUT 2 PERCENT OF THE CARS ON THE ROAD IN IOWA ACTUALLY CAN RUN ON E85. AND TO SELL E85, YOU'VE GOT TO SPEND TENS OF THOUSANDS OF DOLLARS CONVERTING YOUR PUMPS AND TANKS AND FITTINGS TO ACCOMMODATE THAT. SO THE QUESTION IS WHETHER THE STATE IS GOING TO COME FORWARD WITH SOME MONEY TO HELP GAS STATIONS DO THAT. THE GAS STATIONS SAY WE NEED MONEY TO HELP -- TO DO THAT UP FRONT, AND WE ALSO NEED SOME SORT OF INCENTIVES IN THE FUTURE TO HELP US WITH THE SITUATION THAT WE'RE NOT SURE THAT PEOPLE ARE GOING TO BUY THIS. WE'RE NOT SURE IF THE CARS ARE GOING TO BE THERE, SO THERE'S A LOT OF UNCERTAINTY WITH STATION OWNERS.

Glover: IT'S A TOUGH ISSUE. IT'S A TOUGH ISSUE AND, IN A SENSE, IT'S A CHICKEN-AND-EGG ISSUE. TODD TOUCHED ON THE POINT. IT'S NOT VERY AVAILABLE. E85 IS NOT TERRIBLY AVAILABLE AND THERE AREN'T A LOT OF CARS THAT CAN USE IT. SO DO YOU MAKE IT MORE AVAILABLE AND HOPE THAT DETROIT MAKES MORE CARS THAT CAN USE IT? DO YOU WAIT FOR DETROIT TO MAKE MORE CARS THAT CAN USE IT AND THEN MAKE IT AVAILABLE? IT'S A REAL TOUGH BALANCING ACT.

Yepsen: AND THEN THERE'S THE ISSUE OF WHETHER THE TAXPAYER OUGHT TO BE ON THE HOOK FOR INCENTIVES FOR PRIVATE BUSINESSES LIKE THAT. I MEAN CONVENIENCE STORES, THEY MAKE A PROFIT, AND THEY MADE A LOT OF PROFIT OFF TOUCH PLAY MACHINES, SOME OF THEM. AND NOW ALL OF A SUDDEN WE HAVE TO PROVIDE TAX DOLLARS TO SUBSIDIZE THEM.

Borg: MIKE, IT'S REALLY UNFAIR THAT IN FIFTEEN SECONDS I ASK YOU TO DO THIS, BUT IS THERE ANYTHING IN THE LEGISLATURE RIGHT NOW THAT MIGHT AFFECT THE GUBERNATORIAL CAMPAIGN?

Glover: EVERYTHING. EVERYTHING THAT THEY'RE DOING. WHAT THEY DO ON EDUCATION WILL BE AN ISSUE IN THE GUBERNATORIAL ELECTION. WHAT THEY DO ON SEX OFFENDERS WILL BE AN ISSUE IN THE GUBERNATORIAL ELECTION. ALL OF THOSE ISSUES AND THE THINGS THEY DON'T DO, THE THINGS THEY DON'T ADDRESS, WILL BE AN ISSUE IN THE GUBERNATORIAL ELECTION.

Borg: THANKS TO ALL OF YOU FOR YOUR INSIGHTS. WE'LL HAVE YOU BACK AGAIN SOON. ON OUR NEXT EDITION OF 'IOWA PRESS,' WE'LL CONTINUE OUR FOCUS ON THE FINAL WEEKS OF THE 81ST IOWA GENERAL ASSEMBLY. WE'RE GETTING PERSPECTIVE NEXT WEEK FROM SENATE REPUBLICAN COPRESIDENT JEFF LAMBERTI OF ANKENY AND DUBUQUE DEMOCRAT PAT MURPHY. HE'S THE HOUSE MINORITY LEADER. 'IOWA PRESS' NEXT WEEK: LAMBERTI AND MURPHY, 7:30 FRIDAY NIGHT, REPEATING AT 11:30 SUNDAY MORNING. I'M DEAN BORG. THANKS FOR JOINING US TODAY.

FUNDING FOR THIS PROGRAM WAS PROVIDED BY 'FRIENDS,' THE IOWA PUBLIC TELEVISION FOUNDATION; BY THE IOWA BANKERS ASSOCIATION... FOR PERSONAL, BUSINESS, AND COMMERCIAL NEEDS, IOWA BANKS HELP IOWANS REACH THEIR FINANCIAL GOALS; BY THE ASSOCIATED GENERAL CONTRACTORS OF IOWA, THE PUBLIC'S PARTNER IN BUILDING IOWA'S HIGHWAY, BRIDGE, AND MUNICIPAL UTILITY INFRASTRUCTURE; AND BY CAPITOL RESOURCES, INC., LOCATED IN BROOKLYN, IOWA; AND BY NICOLE SCHLINGER AND ERIC LANGE INDIVIDUALLY, FUND-RAISING AND COMMUNICATION SERVICES FOR MAJOR CAMPAIGNS SINCE 1996.

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