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Iowa Press #2710 - Senator Stewart Iverson and Representative Brent Siegrist
November 7, 1999

 

Borg: THE AGENDA FOR THE IOWA LEGISLATIVE SESSION OF 2000 IS TAKING SHAPE. WE'LL GET A PREVIEW FROM THE SPEAKER OF THE IOWA HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES, BRENT SIEGRIST, AND THE SENATE MAJORITY LEADER, STEWART IVERSON, ON THIS EDITION OF IOWA PRESS.

FUNDING FOR IOWA PRESS WAS PROVIDED BY FRIENDS OF IOWA PUBLIC TELEVISION. AND BY THE IOWA BANKERS ASSOCIATION. FOR PERSONAL, BUSINESS, AND COMMERCIAL NEEDS, IOWA BANKS HELP IOWANS REACH THEIR FINANCIAL GOALS.

THIS IS THE SUNDAY, NOVEMBER 7th EDITION OF IOWA PRESS. HERE IS DEAN BORG.

Borg: LEGISLATIVE REPUBLICANS HAVE DECEMBER 2 CIRCLED ON THEIR CALENDARS. THAT'S THE DATE MAJORITY REPUBLICANS CAUCUS TO SET LEGISLATIVE PRIORITIES AND TO DEVELOP STRATEGY FOR THE SECOND SESSION OF THE 78TH IOWA GENERAL ASSEMBLY. EDUCATION AND TAX REFORM ARE THOUGHT TO BE TOP AGENDA ITEMS. THE DEBATE OVER THE MANDATED ETHANOL USAGE IS LIKELY TO BE HEARD AGAIN, AS WILL IDEAS ON HOW TO SPEND MORE THAN $70 MILLION COMING IN NOW, ANNUALLY, FROM THE STATE SETTLEMENT WITH TOBACCO COMPANIES, AND A RAINBOW OF SOCIAL ISSUES WILL COMPETE FOR ATTENTION. AND BECAUSE THIS IS A LEGISLATIVE SESSION IN AN ELECTION YEAR, IT MEANS THAT THE POLITICAL IMPLICATIONS WILL BE ESPECIALLY SENSITIVE IN ALL DECISIONS OR INACTION. WELL, TO HELP US FOCUS ON THE AGENDA OF THE REPUBLICAN MAJORITY ARE SENATOR STEWART IVERSON OF DOWS. HE IS THE MAJORITY LEADER IN THE IOWA SENATE. AND BRENT SIEGRIST OF COUNCIL BLUFFS. HE IS THE SPEAKER OF THE IOWA HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES. WELCOME BACK TO IOWA PRESS, GENTLEMEN.

Siegrist: THANK YOU.

Iverson: THANK YOU.

Borg: ACROSS THE TABLE, STATEHOUSE REPORTERS DAVID YEPSEN OF THE DES MOINES REGISTER AND MIKE GLOVER OF THE ASSOCIATED PRESS.

Glover: SPEAKER SIEGRIST, IF WE COULD START WITH THE BASICS. WHAT DO YOU WANT TO ACCOMPLISH IN THIS LEGISLATIVE SESSION OR, IN SHORT, WHAT DO YOU WANT THIS LEGISLATIVE SESSION REMEMBERED FOR?

Siegrist: I THINK IT'S GOING TO NEED TO BE REMEMBERED FOR INCREMENTAL POSITIVE STEPS IN SOME OF THE REAL CONCERN ISSUES THAT WE HAVE FACING THE STATE OF IOWA. HOW DO WE CONTINUE TO IMPROVE EDUCATION? THAT WILL INVOLVE TESTING OUR CHILDREN AND MAKING SURE THEY'RE AT THE RIGHT READING LEVEL. I THINK IT WILL INCLUDE HOW DO WE ATTRACT AND KEEP WORKERS IN OUR STATE, QUALITY-OF-LIFE ISSUES. WE DO THAT VIA RECREATION AND TOURISM OPPORTUNITIES, MAJOR COMMUNITY ATTRACTIONS. ALSO, I THINK WE'LL BE LOOKING AT SOME PLACES WHERE WE CAN CONTINUE TO IMPROVE OUR WORKFORCE DEVELOPMENT. WE STARTED THAT PROCESS LAST YEAR, AND WE'LL CONTINUE TO DO THAT. THERE ARE OTHER ISSUES, BUT OBVIOUSLY, SENATOR IVERSON AND I ARE WORKING ON ALL OF THOSE.

Glover: SENATOR IVERSON, FROM THE SENATE SIDE, DO YOU SEE THOSE SAME PRIORITIES, OR ARE THOSE THE SORT OF ISSUES YOU HOPE TO FOCUS ON IN THIS SESSION?

Iverson: I THINK WE WORK TOGETHER AS A TEAM, MIKE. BRENT AND I TALK QUITE A BIT, AND WE ARE HEADED IN THE SAME DIRECTION. AND THE PRIORITIES OF THE HOUSE AND THE PRIORITIES OF THE SENATE MOLD TOGETHER, AND THAT'S WHERE WE'RE HEADED.

Yepsen: WHAT'S THE TENOR OF THE SESSION GOING TO BE, SENATOR? IS IT GOING TO BE A COOPERATIVE SESSION WITH THE DEMOCRATIC GOVERNOR, OR ARE REPUBLICANS GOING TO START TRYING TO CLEAVE SOME DIFFERENCES HERE?

Iverson: WELL, I THINK WE'VE WORKED VERY HARD TO WORK WITH THE GOVERNOR ON THINGS WE CAN AGREE ON. THE THINGS WE DISAGREE ON, I DON'T NECESSARILY SEE US SPENDING A GREAT DEAL OF TIME ON THAT. BUT WE HAVE MANY THINGS THAT WE NEED TO DO FOR THE PEOPLE OF IOWA, AND I THINK BOTH THE GOVERNOR AND THE LEGISLATURE IS HEADED IN THE SAME DIRECTION.

Yepsen: MR. SPEAKER, SAME QUESTION. WHAT'S THE TENOR OF THE SESSION?

Siegrist: ABSOLUTELY, THE SAME. WE TRIED HARD LAST YEAR TO WORK WITH GOVERNOR VILSACK. THE PEOPLE OF IOWA ELECTED HIM, AND HE IS STILL OUR GOVERNOR. MY GOAL AS THE SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE WILL BE TO COOPERATE WITH THE GOVERNOR, TO WORK WITH THE GOVERNOR WHERE WE CAN, AND WE'LL DEFINE OUR DIFFERENCES ALSO.

Yepsen: YOU'RE ALL SO LOVEY-DOVEY HERE AT THE START OF THE SESSION. MR. SPEAKER, WHERE DO YOU SEE THE BIG DIFFERENCES COMING WITH TOM VILSACK?

Siegrist: WELL, OBVIOUSLY, THERE'S SOME DIFFERENCES. LET ME GIVE YOU AN EXAMPLE: I THINK AS A RESULT OF HEARING THE MAYORS AND COUNTY SUPERVISORS OF THE STATE LAST YEAR DURING THE CONSTITUTIONAL AMENDMENT ELECTION, AND HOW CONCERNED THEY WERE ABOUT PROPERTY TAXES GOING UP, THAT WE'RE GOING TO INSTITUTE A PROPERTY TAX FREEZE. I DON'T THINK TOM VILSACK LIKES THAT, BUT WE'RE GOING TO DO THAT. I THINK WE WILL CUT TAXES ON SOCIAL SECURITY IN THIS STATE. I DON'T THINK TOM VILSACK LIKES THAT, AND ON DOWN THE LINE. I MEAN, THERE WILL BE AREAS WHERE WE WILL HAVE DISAGREEMENTS. BUT MY GOAL IS TO WORK WITH HIM BECAUSE WE NEED TO MOVE THE STATE TOGETHER.

Glover: SENATOR IVERSON, ARE YOU GOING TO PUT A PROPERTY TAX FREEZE IN PLACE? ARE YOU GOING TO CUT TAXES ON SOCIAL SECURITY?

Iverson: THAT IS MY GOAL TO DO THE EXACT SAME THING BRENT TALKED ABOUT, AND THAT'S WHAT WE'RE WORKING TOWARDS, YES.

Glover: ISN'T THERE A REAL POLITICAL NEED ON THE PART OF LEGISLATIVE LEADERS, SENATOR, TO CLEAVE SOME DIFFERENCES WITH THE GOVERNOR? YOU'RE HEADING INTO AN ELECTION. IT STRIKES ME THAT YOU NEED TO STAKE OUT SOME PLACES WHERE YOU DIFFER WITH THIS GOVERNOR FOR POLITICAL REASONS.

Iverson: I THINK WE DO DIFFER ON MANY ISSUES. LAST YEAR THE GOVERNOR'S BUDGET CAME OUT, AND WE'VE SPENT ABOUT $30 MILLION LESS THAN THE GOVERNOR. THE AIDS BILL WHICH WAS TO TRAIN WORKERS, HE VETOED THE MOST IMPORTANT PART OF THAT, THE TAX CREDITS. AND A BIG DIFFERENCE THAT I THINK, HOPEFULLY, WILL GET RECTIFIED, YOU KNOW, THE DEBACLE WITH THE IOWA FINANCE AUTHORITY. YES, I AGREE WE NEEDED TO CHANGE SOME RULES, BUT TO GO BACK AND CHANGE IT IN THE MANNER IT WAS DONE I THINK WAS WRONG. I THINK WE'RE MOVING FORWARD, BUT WE HAVE, LITERALLY, MANY PROJECTS THAT ARE HOLD NOW, WITH HOUSING, BECAUSE OF CHANGING THE RULES AFTER THE GAME, AFTER IT STARTED.

Yepsen: FLUSH OUT WITH THIS PROPERTY TAX FREEZE FOR ME, SENATOR. HOW WILL IT WORK? WHAT WILL IT FREEZE AND HOW LONG?

Iverson: ESSENTIALLY, HOW IT WILL WORK, IN A NUTSHELL, IT WILL AFFECT BOTH CITIES AND COUNTIES. WE'RE MOVING THE A-10 LIMIT, THE CUPLINK, AND GO TO AN INFLATIONARY FACTOR, WHICH ABOUT 60 PERCENT OF THE CITIES IN IOWA WILL BE BETTER OFF, PLUS ANY GROWTH. IF YOU HAVE GROWTH IN YOUR CITY, YES, THAT COUNTS. YOU GET TO USE THAT. THAT'S MORE IN THE INFLATION FACTOR, WHICH I THINK IS REASONABLE INCREASE. AND THE PEOPLE OF IOWA, I THINK, WILL FIND THAT VERY ACCEPTABLE.

Yepsen: SO IT'S NOT A FREEZE. IT'S MORE OF A SLUSH.

Iverson: IT'S A LIMITATION YOU CAN GROW WITH THE RATE OF INFLATION, PLUS ANY INCREASE IN VALUATION OF NEW GROWTH.

Glover: SPEAKER SIEGRIST, ADDRESS THAT ISSUE. DO YOU NEED, FOR POLITICAL REASONS, TO CLEAVE SOME DIFFERENCES WITH THIS GOVERNOR, TO GIVE YOUR CANDIDATES SOMETHING TO TAKE BACK HOME AND SAY "THIS IS WHY YOU SHOULD ELECT ME AND NOT THAT DEMOCRATIC CANDIDATE OUT THERE?"

Siegrist: OBVIOUSLY, WE ALWAYS WILL HAVE SOME DIFFERENCES, BUT MY GOAL IN THIS UPCOMING ELECTION ISN'T TO RUN AGAINST TOM VILSACK. THAT'S NOT WHO I'M RUNNING AGAINST IN 2000. AND I THINK WE SAW THIS IN CEDAR RAPIDS LAST WEEK WITH THE SPECIAL ELECTION. OUR AGENDA WAS OUT THERE FOR THE VOTERS OF THAT DISTRICT, AND THEY APPROVED OUR AGENDA. AND SO WHERE WE HAVE DIFFERENCES, THEY'LL BE THERE, BUT WE HAVE SOME COMMONALTIES AND I'M GOING TO WORK ON THOSE WHERE WE CAN.

Yepsen: WHAT DOES THAT ELECTION IN CEDAR RAPIDS TELL US, THOUGH, MR. SPEAKER? I MEAN, YOUR GUY WON, BUT HE'S PUTTING OUT A BROCHURE THAT SHOWS HOW HE'S WORKING WITH TOM VILSACK ON ISSUES. IS THAT REALLY A FAIR --

Siegrist: THAT'S WHAT PEOPLE WANT. THEY WANT A COOPERATIVE ATTITUDE, AND THAT'S THE ATTITUDE WE TAKE IN THERE. BUT, AT THE SAME TIME, AS WE SAID, OUR CANDIDATE, PAT SHEY UP THERE WHO WON STATE REPRESENTATIVE-ELECT PAT SHEY IS FOR THE PROPERTY TAX FREEZE, AND HE'S FOR ELIMINATING TAXES ON SOCIAL SECURITY. AND PEOPLE NEED TO UNDERSTAND THAT SPECIAL ELECTION. THAT DISTRICT WHILE HELD BY RON CORBETT, BILL CLINTON CARRIED THAT DISTRICT IN '98, TOM VILSACK CARRIED THAT DISTRICT IN '98, AND TOM HARKIN CARRIED THAT DISTRICT IN '98, AND THE LEGISLATIVE DEMOCRATS PUT THEIR AGENDA OUT THERE AND THEY GOT WAXED. OUR AGENDA WENT TO THE PEOPLE, AND THEY APPROVED IT. THE LEGISLATIVE DEMOCRATIC AGENDA IS FAR DIFFERENT THAN TOM VILSACK'S AGENDA, AND I HOPE THEY DON'T GET THE MESSAGE BECAUSE THAT BODES VERY WELL.

Yepsen: EVEN THOUGH THERE WAS THAT BROCHURE OUT THERE, YOU STILL THINK THAT YOU RAN ON A REPUBLICAN AGENDA?

Siegrist: OH, ABSOLUTELY, BUT THERE ARE AREAS WHERE WE AGREE WITH THE GOVERNOR, AND THAT'S GOOD FOR THE STATE. WE WANT TO COOPERATE WHERE WE CAN.

Iverson: AND ONE THING WE HAVE TO REMEMBER... EVERY ELECTION IS LOCAL. EACH CANDIDATE TAKES IT INTO THEIR LOCAL DISTRICTS. IT'S NOT NECESSARILY WHAT BRENT THINKS OR I THINK OR THE GOVERNOR THINKS, IT GOES BACK TO THE INDIVIDUAL AREA AND THE INDIVIDUAL CANDIDATES.

Borg: SPEAKER SIEGRIST, I'D LIKE TO FLUSH OUT AS WE BEGIN THE DISCUSSION HERE ON ISSUES, THIS IDEA OF TAX CUTS. YOU DEVOTED A LOT OF ATTENTION TO THAT, A LOT OF TIME TO THAT LAST YEAR, AND IT SORT OF GOT SHOT DOWN BY THE GOVERNOR. YOU'VE SAID ALREADY SOCIAL SECURITY TAX CUTS. IS IT GOING TO BE MORE COMPREHENSIVE THAN THAT?

Siegrist: WELL, THE BUDGET, AS WE ALL KNOW AND I'M SURE WE'LL GET TO THAT, HAS SLOWED DOWN -- OR NOT THE BUDGET, THE ECONOMY, BECAUSE THE FARM SECTOR HAS SLOWED DOWN SOMEWHAT. SO, WHERE WE WOULD LIKE TO CUT MORE TAXES, WE ARE GOING TO BE PRUDENT AND RESPONSIBLE AND SEE WHAT WE CAN DO IN TERMS OF CUTTING TAXES. I WOULD SAY THIS, THAT AT THE TOP OF THE LIST WILL BE SOCIAL SECURITY TAX CUTS AND PROPERTY TAXES WOULD BE UP THERE. BUT WE WILL NOT BE ABLE TO CUT TAXES AS MUCH AS WE WOULD LIKE BECAUSE WE WANT TO MAKE SURE THE BUDGET IS BALANCED.

Yepsen: WHEN YOU SAY SOCIAL SECURITY TAX CUTS, YOU'RE REFERRING TO NO STATE INCOME TAX ON SOCIAL SECURITY INCOME?

Siegrist: YES.

Glover: SENATOR IVERSON, SPEAKER SIEGRIST SEEMS TO BE INDICATING THAT THE STATE OF THE ECONOMY'S PRETTY MUCH TAKEN TAX CUTS, OTHER THAN INCREMENTAL TAX CUTS AROUND THE FRINGES, OFF THE TABLE. DO YOU AGREE WITH THAT?

Iverson: WELL, I THINK ABSOLUTELY. WE HAVE AN OBLIGATION TO MEET THE NEEDS OF THE CITIZENS OF IOWA. WE ALSO HAVE AN OBLIGATION TO RETURN SOME OF THE DOLLARS THAT THEY'VE EARNED BACK TO THEM. YEAH, WILL WE DO THE MAGNITUDE THAT WE'VE DONE THE LAST FEW YEARS? NO. BUT WILL WE CONTINUE TO FOCUS IN THAT DIRECTION? ABSOLUTELY.

Glover: WELL, HELP US OUT HERE. LAST YEAR WHEN WE CAME IN, WE WERE TALKING ABOUT A $900-MILLION SURPLUS, ALMOST A BILLION DOLLARS IN THE BANK, AND NOW WE'RE BROKE. WHAT HAPPENED?

Iverson: NOW, WE'RE NOT BROKE. YOU HAVE TO REMEMBER WE HAVE A 10-PERCENT CASH RESERVE IN THE ECONOMIC EMERGENCY FUND. . THAT 10 PERCENT IS NEEDED FOR CASH FLOW, WHICH IS ABOUT $450- TO $500 MILLION. SO THAT'S HALF OF THAT 900 THAT YOU'RE TALKING ABOUT, WE NEED FOR CASH FLOW. I SAT ON THE SCHOOL BOARD WHEN THE SCHOOL AID PAYMENTS CAME TWO, THREE, FOUR MONTHS LATE. WE'RE NOT DOING THAT ANYMORE. WE'RE PAYING OUR BILLS ON TIME, AND WE ARE NOT GOING TO DIP INTO THAT.

Glover: THAT'S STILL LEAVES $450 MILLION.

Iverson: THAT'S SITTING THERE, BUT WE NEED THAT FOR CASH FLOW. SO THAT'S SOMETHING THAT WE DON'T WANT TO DIP INTO.

Glover: WHAT ABOUT THE OTHER $450 MILLION?

Iverson: THAT, INCREMENTALLY, HAS BEEN COMING DOWN THROUGH TAX REDUCTIONS IS A PART OF IT AND THROUGH SPENDING. IT'S A BALANCING ACT. OUR INTENT WAS TO LOWER THE ENDING BALANCE SO THAT WE DON'T HAVE THE DOLLARS SITTING THERE TO JUST CONTINUE TO DO NEW PROGRAM, AFTER NEW PROGRAM, AFTER NEW PROGRAM, AND I THINK WE'VE BEEN VERY FISCALLY RESPONSIBLE AND HAVE BROUGHT DOWN THAT ENDING BALANCE TO WHERE IT NEEDS TO BE.

Yepsen: SENATOR, THE TOBACCO COMPANIES WILL SOON BE COMING TO YOUR RESCUE WITH $70 MILLION A YEAR. THERE ARE LOTS OF DIFFERENCES OF OPINION RIGHT NOW ABOUT HOW THAT MONEY OUGHT TO BE USED. WHAT ARE SOME OF THOSE DIFFERENCES, AND HOW DO YOU EXPECT THAT ALL TO GET RESOLVED BY THE END OF THE SESSION?

Iverson: WELL, I THINK WE WILL WORK THROUGH THAT. WHAT WE'VE TALKED ABOUT IS LITERALLY USING SOME OF IT FOR HEALTH-RELATED ISSUES, THE CESSATION PROGRAMS THAT THE ATTORNEY GENERAL'S TALKED ABOUT. I THINK WE HAVE TO BE VERY PRUDENT HOW WE SPEND THAT, BECAUSE THEY'RE TELLING US IT'S GOING TO BE FOR 20 YEARS, 25 YEARS, OR FOREVER. I DON'T KNOW IF ANYTHING LASTS FOREVER. SO I WANT TO BE VERY CAREFUL THAT WE DON'T POUR THESE DOLLARS INTO ONGOING PROGRAMS THAT IF SOMETHING HAPPENS FIVE YEARS OR TEN YEARS DOWN THE ROAD, ALL OF A SUDDEN WE HAVE A HUGE HOLE THAT WE HAVE TO FILL. SO WE'VE TALKED ABOUT THAT AREA. I THINK EVERYTHING, LITERALLY, IS POSSIBLE. I THINK IT COULD BE USED FOR EDUCATION. I THINK WE OUGHT TO SET SOME OF IT ASIDE IF THE DOLLARS START TRAILING OFF FROM WHAT'S PROJECTED NOW. SO THERE IS A WIDE VARIETY OF THINGS WE CAN USE IT FOR.

Glover: MR. SPEAKER, YOU SAID --

Siegrist: WELL, I THINK DECEMBER 2, WHEN WE COME OUT OF OUR JOINT CAUCUS, OUR INTENT IS TO HAVE TWO OR THREE AREAS WHERE WE THINK THAT WE'RE GOING TO PUT THE MONEY, AND THEN WORK WITH THE GOVERNOR ON THOSE DETAILS... BUT HEALTH CARE, PERHAPS SOME MONEY FOR EDUCATION, AND MAYBE MAJOR COMMUNITY PROJECTS. THERE ARE A LOT OF THINGS THAT WE COULD DO WITH THAT. BUT OUR GOAL IS TO ONLY, MAYBE, TAKE ABOUT HALF OF IT AND PUT IT INTO THE BUDGET ONGOING, AND THE OTHER HALF WE DON'T WANT TO BE SPENDING THAT EVERY YEAR. SO I THINK WE SHOULD USE IT FOR ONE-TIME PROJECTS.

Glover: SPEAKER SIEGRIST, THE GOVERNOR, ONCE AGAIN NEXT YEAR, WHEN YOU COME INTO SESSION, WILL ASK YOU TO REQUIRE THAT ETHANOL BLENDED GASOLINE BE SOLD THROUGHOUT THE STATE, PROPOSAL SUPPORTED BY SENATOR CHARLES GRASSLEY, WHO I THINK YOU'RE FAMILIAR WITH.

Iverson: YES, I AM.

Glover: WHAT WILL YOU DO?

Iverson: WE WILL TAKE A LOOK AT IT, BUT I DOUBT, AT THIS POINT, SITTING HERE, THAT A MANDATED ETHANOL FUEL IS GOING TO HAPPEN IN THE IOWA LEGISLATURE. WHAT WE WILL DO MOST LIKELY IS TO IMPROVE THE MARKETABILITY OF ETHANOL AND TRY TO DO WHAT WE CAN TO IMPROVE THE MARKET, BUT IT'S AN ISSUE THAT WILL BE TAKEN UP. I JUST DON'T THINK THE VOTES ARE THERE RIGHT NOW.

Glover: SENATOR IVERSON, DOES THE SENATE CARE ABOUT CORN PRODUCERS?

Iverson: WELL, SURE AND I AM A FARMER. I AM A CORN PRODUCER. BUT I THINK WE HAVE TO TAKE INTO EFFECT -- INTO CONSIDERATION, WHAT DOES THIS DO? WHEN YOU MANDATE THE USE OF ETHANOL -- I'M A BIG USER OF ETHANOL, BIG PROMOTER OF ETHANOL. I THINK IT IS ABSOLUTELY WRONG TO MANDATE IT. THAT'S KIND OF LIKE TELLING YOU, YOU HAVE TO EAT CORN FLAKES. BUT I THINK IF OTHER STATES WOULD TAKE THE LEAD THAT WE TOOK LAST YEAR BY OUTLAWING THE MTBE'S, WHICH IS HARMFUL TO THE ENVIRONMENTS, HARMFUL TO OUR HEALTH, JUST THAT MARKET OF NOT HAVING MTBE'S WILL, LITERALLY, WHAT I HAVE SEEN, RAISE THE PRICE OF CORN ABOUT 30 CENTS. WE MANDATE IT IN IOWA, WE GET ABOUT 2 CENTS. I THINK SOMETIMES WE'RE LOSING THE BIG PICTURE, BUT I THINK IT GOES AGAINST TELLING EACH AND EVERY ONE OF US THE TYPE OF GASOLINE THAT WE HAVE TO BUY. I'VE KIND OF RELATED IT TO, YOU KNOW, COCA-COLA WOULD LOVE IT IF WE OUTLAWED PEPSI OR VICE VERSA. AND I DON'T THINK THAT I, AS A PRODUCER, IF I HAVE A SUPERIOR PRODUCT, IT'S MY RESPONSIBILITY TO GO OUT AND MARKET THAT PRODUCT, NOT COME TO GOVERNMENT AND SAY GIVE ME THE MARKET SHARE.

Glover: WHAT CAN YOU DO TO HELP ETHANOL?

Iverson: WELL, WE CAN DO -- THERE'S A NUMBER OF THINGS. 1. PROMOTION. DO WE TAKE A LOOK AT THE TAXES TO INCREASE THE USAGE OF IT? DO WE LOOK AT OTHER POSSIBILITIES OF MAKING SURE IT'S AVAILABLE AT EVERY GASOLINE STATION IN IOWA. THOSE ARE SOME OF THE THINGS THAT WE'RE LOOKING AT. SENATOR BARTZ AND THE INTERIM COMMITTEE HAVE DONE A FAIR AMOUNT OF WORK, AND THEY'RE LITERALLY TRYING TO COME UP WITH SOME SOLUTIONS SHORT OF A MANDATE. I DO NOT EXPECT US TO PASS A MANDATE IN THE LEGISLATURE.

Siegrist: AND WE NEED TO BRING PRESSURE ONTO THE RETAILERS. I HAVE BEEN PAYING 4 CENTS LESS ALL SUMMER AND FALL IN COUNCIL BLUFFS, AND IN DES MOINES, IT'S EVEN OR MORE. AND WE NEED TO BRING SOME PRESSURE AS LEGISLATIVE LEADERS TO THE PEOPLE AND SAY, LOOK, THIS IS WRONG. THE PEOPLE IN DES MOINES, YOU'RE PAYING THE SAME AMOUNT. THEY'RE POCKETING THAT MONEY. IN COUNCIL BLUFFS, I'M PAYING 4 CENTS LESS. IT'S A PRICE-DRIVEN ISSUE.

Borg: WHAT YOU MEAN IS YOU'RE PAYING MORE FOR ETHANOL?

Siegrist: HERE IN DES MOINES YOU ARE. I'M PAYING LESS FOR IT THAN REGULAR UNLEADED IN COUNCIL BLUFFS.

Yepsen: SENATOR, AS YOU MENTIONED, YOU ARE A FARMER. FARM ECONOMY'S IN A WORLD OF HURT IN THIS STATE. IS THERE, AS A PRACTICAL MATTER, ANYTHING BEYOND ETHANOL THAT THE IOWA LEGISLATURE CAN OR WILL DO TO BE HELPING WITH IOWA'S FARMERS?

Iverson: WELL, THERE'S VERY LITTLE THAT WE, IN THE LEGISLATURE, CAN DO WITH FARM POLICIES. IT ALL COMES OUT OF WASHINGTON. JUST RECENTLY THE CONGRESS APPROVED AND THE PRESIDENT SIGNED A $7-BILLION PACKAGE. THAT'S BIGGER THAN OUR ENTIRE BUDGET; OF COURSE, THAT'S ACROSS THE UNITED STATES. THERE IS NOT A LOT THAT WE CAN DO THAT LITERALLY IMPACTS THE POCKETBOOK. WHAT WE HAVE DONE NOW IS LOOK AT THE VALUE ADDED. NOW, WITH THE EXCEL COMING IN WITH THE CATTLE PRODUCTION PLANT. I THINK THAT WILL HELP. THAT GIVES PRODUCERS AN OPPORTUNITY TO BUY IN WITH THAT. AND ALSO, WE'RE DOING THESE THINGS ACROSS THE BOARD.

Yepsen: IS THE STATE GOING TO PUT SOME MONEY INTO THAT EXCEL PLANT?

Iverson: WELL, WE HAVE A FUND SET UP, THE AGRIFUTURES, WHERE THEY CAN BE BORROWED AGAINST; THIS IS NOT JUST OUTRIGHT GRANTS THAT CAN HELP GET THIS FACILITATED.

Yepsen: THAT'S ALREADY IN PLACE.

Iverson: THAT'S ALREADY IN PLACE, BUT THESE ARE THE TYPES OF THINGS THAT WE CONTINUE TO LOOK AT ON HOW WE CAN IMPROVE THE ECONOMY AND THE OPPORTUNITIES FOR PRODUCTION AGRICULTURE IN IOWA.

Glover: SPEAKER SIEGRIST, BEFORE THE LAST SESSION, YOUR FIRST SESSION WITH A DEMOCRATIC GOVERNOR, YOU VERY PUBLICLY TOOK SOME ISSUES OFF THE TABLE. YOU SAID, "THERE'S NO REASON TO DEBATE THESE. IF WE PASS THEM, YOU'LL VETO THEM. WE DON'T NEED TO PUT THE STATE THROUGH THAT." ONE OF THEM WAS THE DEATH SENTENCE. ARE THOSE ISSUES OFF THE TABLE AGAIN FOR THIS UPCOMING SESSION?

Siegrist: NO ISSUES ARE OFF THE TABLE, BUT I WILL MAKE THIS STATEMENT ON THE DEATH PENALTY. FIRST OFF, I THINK IT WILL BE DIFFICULT TO PASS IT STILL. THE VOTES WOULD BE VERY, VERY CLOSE. THE GOVERNOR OF THIS STATE IS NOT GOING TO SIGN THE DEATH PENALTY BILL. I DO NOT ANTICIPATE A DEBATE ON THE DEATH PENALTY THIS YEAR.

Glover: SENATOR IVERSON, ISN'T IT IN THE POLITICAL INTEREST OF REPUBLICANS WHO ARE IN THE SENATE TO HAVE A VOTE ON THAT TO PUT PEOPLE ON THE RECORD?

Iverson: NO, I'M NOT, I GUESS, OVERLY INTERESTED IN JUST GETTING SOMEBODY'S RECORD ON A VOTE. OF COURSE, YOU KNOW THE NEXT ELECTION, THERE'S 25 SENATORS UP. WELL, 17 OF THEM ARE REPUBLICANS. SO, YOU KNOW, YOU ONLY NEED RECORDS ON EIGHT... DEMOCRATS, IF YOU LOOK AT IT THAT WAY. AND I DON'T SEE THE DEATH PENALTY ISSUE AS THE ONE THAT IS GOING TO MAKE THE HUGE DIFFERENCE. I THINK PROBABLY MOST OF US IN THE SENATE NOW HAVE ALREADY HAD A VOTE ON IT AT ONE TIME OR ANOTHER. I'D SAY IT'S HIGHLY UNLIKELY THAT WE WOULD BRING IT UP.

Siegrist: AND THAT GOES TO THIS ATTITUDE -- AND I DON'T WANT MY FELLOW REPUBLICANS THINK WE'RE BENDING OVER BACKWARDS FOR GOVERNOR VILSACK, BECAUSE WE'RE NOT. WE HAVE DIFFERENCES BUT MY GOAL IS TO TRY TO GO IN THERE AND MAKE THINGS HAPPEN. AND THIS IS ONE THAT ISN'T GOING TO HAPPEN. I'D RATHER SPEND OUR TIME DOING OTHER THINGS. I WISH I HAD A GOVERNOR THAT WOULD SIGN IT AND WE WOULD PASS IT, BUT WE DON'T.

Yepsen: SENATOR IVERSON, GOVERNOR VILSACK SIGNED AN EXECUTIVE ORDER ESTABLISHING GAY CIVIL RIGHT IN STATE EMPLOYMENT PRACTICES, SPECIFICALLY PROTECTING WORKERS FROM ANY DISCRIMINATION ON THE BASIS OF THEIR GENDER IDENTITY AND SEXUAL ORIENTATION. YOU OBJECTED TO THAT. WHAT WILL, IF ANYTHING, THE LEGISLATURE DO ABOUT THAT EXECUTIVE ORDER?

Iverson: THERE'S A NUMBER OF THINGS WE'RE LOOKING AT. CLEARLY, WHEN YOU LOOK AT THE CONSTITUTION, THE GOVERNOR CANNOT, WHETHER YOU AGREE WITH IT OR NOT, THE GOVERNOR CANNOT LEGISLATE. THAT'S EXACTLY WHAT I THINK THE GOVERNOR IS DOING HERE. AND THERE'S EXECUTIVE ORDER NO. 7, PLUS EXECUTIVE ORDER NO. 11, WHICH STATES THAT AGENCIES CAN WAIVE THE RULES IF THEY SO CHOOSE. WELL, THAT IS IN CLEAR VIOLATION ALSO, BECAUSE THAT GOES BEYOND THE SCOPE. ONLY THE LEGISLATURE CAN MAKE LAWS. THE GOVERNOR CANNOT RULE THIS WAY. I DON'T THINK IOWANS EXPECT HIM TO. SO I THINK IT GOES BEYOND JUST THE GENDER IDENTITY QUESTION. DOES THE GOVERNOR HAVE THE AUTHORITY TO DO THIS? I CLEARLY THINK HE DOES NOT. WELL, ARE WE TAKING A LOOK AT WHAT POSSIBLE OPTIONS ARE OUT THERE? YES, WE ARE. AND I THINK WE WILL ADDRESS THAT BECAUSE I THINK HE CLEARLY OVERSTEPPED HIS BOUNDS.

Yepsen: WHY DO YOU OBJECT TO HIM DOING THAT IN AN EXECUTIVE ORDER TO PROTECT SOMEONE BASED ON THEIR SEXUAL ORIENTATION, WHEN IT TURNS OUT YOU FOLKS HAVE THE SAME PROTECTION IN YOUR RULES.

Siegrist: WE'RE TALKING ABOUT TWO DIFFERENT THINGS HERE. SEXUAL ORIENTATION IS ONE, WHICH WE FOUND OUT, YES, IT'S IN THE RULES OF THE SENATE. BUT CLEARLY, EVEN THE RULES OF THE SENATE CANNOT VIOLATE THE CODE OF IOWA. THE CODE OF IOWA DOES NOT HAVE THAT IN THERE AND SO WE'RE PROBABLY IN VIOLATION OF THE CODE TOO. AND WITH THE GOVERNOR'S EXECUTIVE ORDER HERE, HE IS CLEARLY IN VIOLATION OF THE CODE OF IOWA, BECAUSE ONLY THE LEGISLATURE CAN MAKE LAWS.

Yepsen: SO DO YOU THINK THE LEGISLATURE WILL BE TAKING THAT PROTECTION OUT OF THE RULES?

Iverson: WELL, I THINK IT'S SOMETHING WE'RE DEFINITELY GOING TO TALK ABOUT, AND WE'LL APPROACH THIS LIKE ANY OTHER ISSUE. WE TALK ABOUT A LOT OF ISSUES AND DECIDE HOW WE'RE GOING TO PROCEED AND THEN PROCEED.

Glover: REPRESENTATIVE SIEGRIST, ANOTHER ISSUE THAT'S DIVIDED REPUBLICANS AND DEMOCRATS OVER THE YEARS IS ABORTION. IS THERE ANY PLACE THIS LEGISLATURE CAN GO ON ABORTION RESTRICTIONS BEYOND WHAT YOU'VE ALREADY DONE? I'M THINKING OF PARENTAL NOTICE, PARTIAL-BIRTHS, SO-CALLED.

Siegrist: YEAH, I THINK ABOUT THE ONLY ISSUE THAT'S REALLY ON THE TABLE THIS YEAR, AND I'M NOT EVEN SURE IT'S ON THE TABLE, IS THE COURT DECISION ON PARTIAL-BIRTH. I THINK WE'LL PROBABLY LET THAT PLAY OUT WITHIN THE COURTS, BUT THAT'S AN ISSUE THAT WE'RE TAKING A LOOK AT.

Glover: TO SUMMARIZE, YOU PASSED A BILL THAT BANNED CERTAIN LATE-TERM ABORTION. THE COURT STRUCK IT DOWN AS UNCONSTITUTIONAL, AND IT'S STILL ON APPEAL RIGHT NOW.

Siegrist: RIGHT. AND WE'LL PROBABLY WAIT FOR THE COURTS, BUT WE HAVEN'T MADE THAT FINAL DECISION YET.

Glover: SENATOR IVERSON, ANY PLACE TO GO?

Iverson: I THINK WE'VE COVERED -- THAT'S THE TWO MOST IMPORTANT ISSUES, THE PARENTAL NOTIFICATION AND THE PARTIAL-BIRTH ABORTION. I DON'T SEE ANYTHING BEYOND THAT COMING UP THIS YEAR.

Yepsen: MR. SPEAKER, SCHOOL BUILDINGS. THE GOVERNOR'S LIKELY TO BE BACK ASKING THE LEGISLATURE TO DO SOMETHING TO HELP LOCAL SCHOOLS FIX UP THEIR SCHOOL BUILDINGS. WILL THE LEGISLATURE DO ANYTHING ON THAT ISSUE?

Siegrist: THAT ISSUE IS ON THE TABLE. WHETHER OR NOT WE DO ANYTHING REMAINS TO BE SEEN. THERE'S STILL A DIVISION WITHIN, OBVIOUSLY, THE CAUCUSES, IF WE SHOULD DO SOMETHING. BUT THERE ARE SOME VARIOUS AREAS, BE IT THE INFRASTRUCTURE FUND OR WHATEVER, THAT WE MAY DO SOMETHING. I HAVE ADVOCATED USING SOME OF THE MONEY FOR FIRE AND SAFETY HAZARDS, AND WE WILL LOOK AT THAT ISSUE LONG AND HARD. BUT I WOULD HASTEN TO ADD, BECAUSE OF SOME OF THE ELECTIONS GOING ON, THAT WHATEVER WE DO WOULD NEVER COME CLOSE TO TAKING CARE OF DES MOINES' PROBLEMS OR SIOUX CITY WHEN THEY PASSED IT. WE MAY DO SOMETHING ON A MORE MINOR SCALE, MAYBE.

Yepsen: WHAT ABOUT IN THE SENATE? WILL THERE BE ANY SUPPORT THERE FOR STATE SCHOOLS?

Iverson: WELL, THERE IS SOME SUPPORT. THE BIGGEST THING -- I SERVED ON THE SCHOOL BOARD FOR FIFTEEN YEARS, AND I THINK WE HAVE TO HAVE A COMMITMENT IN OUR LOCAL COMMUNITIES TO HOUSE THE STUDENTS. THE STATE OF IOWA PAYS ALMOST 60 PERCENT OF THE OPERATING BUDGET FOR OUR LOCAL SCHOOL DISTRICTS. AND I THINK IT'S MY OBLIGATION AS A TAXPAYER TO MAKE SURE THAT WE STEP UP TO THE PLATE. THE THING IS WE HAVE DONE A COUPLE OF THINGS. 1. WE ALLOWED VOTERS OR THE SCHOOL BOARD TO INCREASE THE PEBBLE AMOUNT FROM 67 CENTS TO $1.34. WE ALLOWED LOCAL DISTRICTS TO VOTE -- OR COUNTIES TO VOTE ON THE OPTIONAL SALES TAX. SO THOSE ARE SOME EXTRA TOOLS. AND, AS BRENT CLEARLY POINTED OUT, WE DON'T HAVE ENOUGH MONEY TO TAKE CARE OF ALL THE INFRASTRUCTURE FOR SCHOOLS IN THE STATE OF IOWA. AND I, AS A LOCAL INDIVIDUAL, HAVE TO SAY IF I WANT TO MAINTAIN A SCHOOL, I'M GOING TO HAVE TO PAY FOR THIS.

Yepsen: SO IN THIS TOWN WHEN OPPONENTS OF THE SALES TAX SAY, THE STATE CAN HELP US OUT, THE STATE'S GOT ALL THIS MONEY, WHAT YOU GUYS ARE SAYING IS IT'S NOT THERE.

Iverson: NO, THAT'S RIGHT.

Glover: I'M SORRY.

Siegrist: IF WE DID $30 MILLION A YEAR, THAT MIGHT MEAN MAYBE 2 MILLION FOR DES MOINES, SO WE COULD FIX YOUR SCHOOLS IN 200 YEARS.

Glover: WELL, IT'S BECOMING AN ISSUE IN LOCAL ELECTIONS BECAUSE OPPONENTS --

Siegrist: I UNDERSTAND THAT, SURE.

Glover: WHY SHOULD WE RAISE OUR TAXES IF THE STATE'S GOT THE MONEY?

Iverson: THAT CLEARLY IS NOT GOING TO HAPPEN TO ANY EXTENT THAT IT WOULD BE HELPFUL ANYHOW. AND I THINK WE POINTED THAT OUT LAST YEAR BEFORE THE VOTE LAST SPRING.

Glover: REPRESENTATIVE SIEGRIST, ANOTHER ISSUE THAT YOU'VE FOCUSED ON IN THE LAST COUPLE OF YEARS HAS BEEN THE ENVIRONMENT, AND IT APPEARS AS THOUGH THERE'S GOING TO BE A BIG PUSH ON AN ENVIRONMENTAL ISSUE TO REPEAL THE BOTTLE BILL. WILL THAT BE DEBATED IN THIS LEGISLATURE?

Siegrist: WELL, CLEARLY THAT'S AN ISSUE THAT'S OUT THERE, AND I DOUBT THAT WE'LL GET TO THAT POINT THIS YEAR, BUT IT'S CERTAINLY A POSSIBILITY. AND WHAT THOSE PROPONENTS WANT TO DO -- AND I THINK IT MAY BE THE RIGHT THING TO DO -- IS REPLACE THE BOTTLE BILL WITH COMPREHENSIVE CURBSIDE RECYCLING, WHICH I THINK LONG TERM WOULD DO A LOT MORE FOR THE ENVIRONMENT THAN WHAT WE'RE CURRENTLY DOING. BUT THAT BOTTLE BILL IS SOMEWHAT OF A SACRED ICON. IT WILL BE DIFFICULT TO DO THAT. IT WILL
REQUIRE A BIG EDUCATION PROCESS. BUT IT'S AN ISSUE THAT'S OUT THERE.

Glover: BUT IT'S MULTIYEAR PROCESS?

Siegrist: MOST LIKELY, YES.

Glover: SENATOR IVERSON, THERE WILL BE A PROPOSAL TO ELIMINATE THE BOTTLE BILL, AND AS REPRESENTATIVE SIEGRIST MENTIONED, TO REPLACE IT WITH CURBSIDE RECYCLING. WILL THAT PASS IN THE SENATE?

Iverson: I'M NOT SURE IF IT WILL PASS. IT'S CERTAINLY GOING TO BE SOMETHING WE TALK ABOUT. I THINK A LOT OF OUR MEMBERS ARE GOING TO HAVE TO BE BROUGHT UP TO SPEED WITH IT. I THINK IN THE LONG RUN, IT ABSOLUTELY MAKES SENSE, BECAUSE OF THE -- AND I THINK THERE'S STATISTICS FROM OTHER STATES SHOWING THAT IT WORKS VERY WELL. AND WE HAVE TO BE COGNIZANT OF THE FACT THAT WE CAN SIT HERE, THERE'S 50 SENATORS, THERE'S 100 REPRESENTATIVES, WELL, WE MAY UNDERSTAND ALL OF IT, BUT DOES EVERYBODY ELSE? I MEAN, WE HAVE TO LOOK AT THE BIG PICTURE, AND I THINK IT'S SOMETHING THAT'S DEFINITELY WORTH WARRANTING DISCUSSION.

Yepsen: SENATOR, WHILE THE GROCERY INDUSTRY WANTS TO DO AWAY WITH IT, THERE ARE PEOPLE WHO ARE SUGGESTING THAT MAYBE IT BE EXPANDED. NOW, WHAT DO YOU SAY TO THAT? THERE ARE A LOT OF BOTTLES AND CANS THAT AREN'T COVERED BY THIS LAW BECAUSE THEY WEREN'T AROUND WHEN THE LAW WAS PASSED. WHAT ABOUT GOING THE OTHER DIRECTION?

Iverson: I THINK WE HAVE TO LOOK AT THE COMPREHENSIVE PLAN. PUTTING A NICKEL, WHETHER IT'S ON THIS CUP OR A GLASS, DOES THAT SOLVE ALL THE PROBLEMS? NO. I THINK WE HAVE TO LOOK AT THE BIGGER PICTURE, AND I THINK THAT'S THE PATH THAT WE'RE HEADED DOWN.

Siegrist: THE CITIZENS ARE AHEAD OF US ON THIS. THEY WANT TO RECYCLE. YOU'VE BEEN IN THE PARKING LOTS WITH THE BINS. THEY'RE ALWAYS FULL. WE NEED TO GIVE THEM THE OPPORTUNITY TO DO THAT. AND TO DO THAT, YOU HAVE TO KEEP THE ALUMINUM IN THE WASTER STREAM. MY FOUR-YEAR-OLD BOY THE OTHER DAY, I THREW SOMETHING IN THE TRASH, WHICH WASN'T RECYCLABLE, BY THE WAY. AND HE SAID, "DAD, DON'T YOU CYCLE THAT?" THEY KNOW ALREADY. THE PEOPLE ARE AHEAD OF US. WE NEED TO HELP THEM FACILITATE MORE COMPREHENSIVE RECYCLING.

Glover: REPRESENTATIVE SIEGRIST, ANOTHER ENVIRONMENTAL ISSUE THAT THIS LEGISLATURE HAS DEBATED IN THE PAST IS HOW DO YOU CONTROL OR REGULATE GIANT HOG PRODUCTION FACILITIES. IS THERE GOING TO BE ANOTHER HOG LOT DEBATE THIS YEAR REGULATING THEM TO CONTROL ENVIRONMENTAL DANGERS?

Siegrist: I CERTAINLY THINK IT WILL BE AN ISSUE THAT WILL BE BEFORE US. I STILL DON'T THINK THERE ARE PROBABLY THE VOTES IN THE HOUSE TO INSTITUTE LOCAL CONTROL.

Glover: IS THAT THE ONLY FIGHT, LOCAL CONTROL?

Siegrist: I THINK THAT'S THE MAJOR FIGHT. YOU MAY SEE US LOOKING AT THE ENVIRONMENTAL STANDARDS AGAIN, BECAUSE OF THE E.P.A.'S ACTION TALKING ABOUT STREAMS AND LAKES IN THIS STATE, WHICH ISN'T DIRECTLY TIED TO THE HOG INDUSTRY. I THINK WE'RE GOING TO HAVE THAT DEBATE ON WATER QUALITY, AND WE NEED TO BECAUSE WE DON'T WANT THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT TELLING US WHAT TO DO. THAT MAY BECOME PART OF THAT.

Glover: SENATOR IVERSON, DEBATE IN THE SENATE ON HOG LOTS?

Iverson: I DON'T THINK SO. IT WOULD BE DOUBTFUL. IT MAY BE ALONG THE LINES THAT REPRESENTATIVE SIEGRIST HAS TALKED ABOUT, BUT NOTHING MAJOR. I THINK ONE THING WE'RE GOING TO HAVE TO DISCUSS, THOUGH, WHEN I'D HEARD THAT MIDAMERICA IS BUILDING A POWER PLANT IN ILLINOIS, AND I LITERALLY ASKED THE LOBBYIST, I SAID, "WHY ARE YOU BUILDING THIS IN ILLINOIS?" AND HIS RESPONSE TO ME WAS, "WE CAN HAVE THIS PLANT UP AND RUNNING IN ILLINOIS BEFORE WE CAN GET THE PERMITS IN IOWA." THAT'S SOMETHING THAT WE NEED TO TAKE A LOOK AT. ARE OUR REGULATIONS OVERBURDENSOME? DO I WANT TO PROTECT THE ENVIRONMENT? YES. BUT ARE WE MAKING THIS PROCESS SO TOUGH THAT WE ARE LITERALLY DRIVING BUSINESS OUT OF THE STATE BECAUSE OF SOME OF OUR REGULATIONS? I THINK THAT'S SOMETHING WE HAVE TO TAKE A VERY HARD LOOK AT, BECAUSE IF COMPANIES ARE MAKING THAT DECISION, HOW MANY THAT I'M HEARING ABOUT -- HOW MANY ARE WE NOT HEARING ABOUT? SO I THINK THAT'S --

Borg: THIS SESSION?

Iverson: I THINK THIS SESSION WE NEED TO START DOWN THE PATH. ARE WE GOING TO GET IT ALL SOLVED? I CAN'T SAY THAT BECAUSE I DON'T KNOW WHAT ALL THE REGULATIONS ARE, BUT I THINK WE NEED TO TAKE A LOOK AT HOW WE ARE GOING THROUGH THIS PROCESS. I MEAN, LITERALLY, WHEN YOU GO THE 10 MILES ACROSS THE BORDER, ACROSS THE MISSISSIPPI, AND PUT UP A PLANT QUICKER THAN YOU CAN GET A PERMIT IN IOWA, THAT'S SERIOUS.

Yepsen: THERE'S ALWAYS TOO MANY ISSUES AND NOT ENOUGH TIME. SENATOR IVERSON, GAMBLING, WILL THERE BE ANY GAMBLING BILLS COMING OUT OF THIS SESSION?

Iverson: WE STILL HAVE A CONFERENCE COMMITTEE OUT THERE ON THE GAMBLING. WE TRIED TO GET IT WORKED OUT LAST YEAR. I THINK WE NEED TO REACH A CONSENSUS AND PUT THIS BEHIND US.

Yepsen: IS THAT YOUR UNDERSTANDING, MR. SIEGRIST?

Siegrist: IT WOULD BE DIFFICULT TO DO BUT, OBVIOUSLY, GAMBLING WILL BE AN ISSUE.

Glover: BUT IS THERE ANY MOVEMENT TOWARDS A CONSENSUS? SENATOR IVERSON MENTIONED THAT YOU DIDN'T HAVE A CONSENSUS LAST TIME AND THERE HASN'T BEEN ELECTION SINCE THEN.

Siegrist: IT'S DIFFICULT IN THE HOUSE TO GAIN A CONSENSUS, NOT AS DIFFICULT IN THE SENATE.

Iverson: WE WERE ABLE TO PUT TOGETHER, AT LEAST A CONSENSUS BILL THAT PASSED THE SENATE. IT WAS MUCH MORE DIFFICULT IN THE HOUSE, BUT I THINK IT'S SOMETHING WE HAVE TO CONTINUE TO WORK ON.

Yepsen: YOU'VE ALSO GOT A COMMISSION STUDYING PRISON SENTENCES. ARE YOU TRYING TO FIND A WAY NOT TO LOCK SO MANY PEOPLE UP BECAUSE YOU CAN'T AFFORD ALL THE PRISONS THAT YOU NEED? MR. SPEAKER, WILL THE LEGISLATURE REDUCE PRISON SENTENCES IN IOWA?

Siegrist: I DON'T KNOW THAT I WOULD TERM IT AS REDUCING PRISON SENTENCES. THEY ARE LOOKING AT BETTER WAYS TO INCARCERATE PEOPLE, AND WE NEED TO CONTINUE TO LOOK AT NONVIOLENT OFFENDERS IN COMMUNITY-BASED CORRECTION FACILITIES BECAUSE THAT'S CHEAPER, BUT WE'LL HAVE TO PROTECT THE PUBLIC. AND WE CLEARLY WILL.

Yepsen: SENATOR WILL THE SENATE GO ALONG WITH THE --

Iverson: I THINK IT'S A JOINT COMMITTEE WORKING ON THIS, AND I THINK WE'LL GET THE DIFFERENCES RESOLVED AND BE ABLE TO DO SOME THINGS.

Glover: REPRESENTATIVE SIEGRIST, DOES THIS STATE NEED A NEW PRISON?

Siegrist: WE HAVE OVERCROWDING CONDITIONS. ONE OF THE REASONS WE'RE LOOKING AT THE SENTENCING, TO SEE WHAT WE CAN DO AT THE LOCAL LEVEL CHEAPER. I THINK THIS STATE IS GOING TO MOST LIKELY HAVE A NEW PRISON SOMETIME IN THE NEAR FUTURE. WILL WE AUTHORIZE ONE THIS YEAR? NO.

Borg: YOU MENTIONED WORKFORCE DEVELOPMENT EARLY IN THE DISCUSSION. WHAT ARE YOU GOING TO DO THERE?

Siegrist: WELL, WE'RE GOING TO GO BACK AND REVISIT WHAT WE DID LAST YEAR WITH THE ACCELERATED CAREER EDUCATION PROGRAM AT THE COMMUNITY COLLEGE LEVEL, IN PARTICULAR, AND TAKE OFF FROM THERE. AND AGAIN, DO SOME THINGS THAT WILL HELP US WITH WORKER TRAINING.

Iverson: I THINK THE GOVERNOR WILL GET THE OPPORTUNITY TO REVISIT THIS ISSUE.

Yepsen: WHAT ABOUT SCHOOL TESTING? YOU MENTIONED YOU WANTED TO DO SOMETHING ON EDUCATION TO HELP SCHOOL TESTING. WHAT DO YOU GOT IN MIND?

Iverson: WELL, IF WE TEST THE STUDENTS, SAY, AT THE END OF THE SECOND OR THIRD GRADE, THE ONE THING WE HAVE TO DO -- IT'S VERY EASY TO THROW A TEST OUT THERE AND TEST, BUT THE QUESTION IS WHAT DO YOU DO AFTER YOU TEST THEM. AND THAT'S SOMETHING THAT WE'RE DISCUSSING. DO WE THEN COME IN WITH A COMPREHENSIVE READING PLAN DURING THE SUMMERTIME, THINGS LIKE THAT? AND A LOT OF IT'S GOING TO REVOLVE AROUND DOLLARS, AND I THINK IF WE DO THE TESTING, WE HAVE TO MAKE SURE WE DO THE REMEDIAL WORK BECAUSE IF WE DON'T GET TO THESE STUDENTS WHEN THEY'RE IN THE LOWER ELEMENTARY, THEY ARE LITERALLY, MOST OF THEM ARE GOING TO SUFFER THEIR ENTIRE LIVES.

Glover: LET'S MAKE THIS AN OFFICIAL IOWA PRESS SHOW. WHO ARE YOU LINING UP TO RUN AGAINST VILSACK?

Siegrist: STEW. [ LAUGHTER ]

Iverson: I THOUGHT BRENT WAS GOING.

Glover: ANY OF YOUR MEMBERS INTERESTED IN MAKING THE RUN?

Siegrist: I DON'T KNOW, LEGISLATIVELY, IF SOME ARE INTERESTED. I THINK THERE WILL BE SOME PEOPLE THAT HAVE SOME INTEREST OUT THERE.

Glover: GOT SOME NAMES? [ SPEAKING AT ONCE ]

Siegrist: I THINK DAVID OMEN'S STILL INTERESTED. I THINK THERE'S SOME OTHER PEOPLE OUT THERE THAT MAY BE.

Iverson: OH, I WAS SUPPOSED TO THROW IN ROD BOSHART TOO.

Borg: THANK YOU, GENTLEMEN.

Siegrist: THANK YOU.

Borg: ON OUR NEXT EDITION OF IOWA PRESS, WE'RE BACK ON PRESIDENTIAL POLITICS. VICE PRESIDENT AL GORE, CURRENTLY LEADING THE TWO-CANDIDATE RACE AGAINST THE FAST-GAINING BILL BRADLEY FOR THE DEMOCRATIC PRESIDENTIAL NOMINATION, WILL JOIN US HERE AT THE IOWA PRESS TABLE. THAT'S NEXT SUNDAY AT NOON AND 7:00 FOR VICE PRESIDENT AL GORE. AND THAT'S IT FOR THIS WEEK'S EDITION OF IOWA PRESS. I HOPE YOU'LL WATCH NEXT WEEK. UNTIL THEN, I'M DEAN BORG. THANKS FOR
JOINING US TODAY.

FUNDING FOR IOWA PRESS WAS PROVIDED BY FRIENDS OF IOWA PUBLIC TELEVISION. AND BY THE IOWA BANKERS ASSOCIATION. FOR PERSONAL, BUSINESS, AND COMMERCIAL NEEDS, IOWA BANKS HELP IOWANS REACH THEIR FINANCIAL GOALS.