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Iowa Press #2829 - Reporters' Roundtable
March 25, 2001

David Yepsen: UNDER THE DOME AT THE IOWA STATEHOUSE, REVENUE SHORTFALLS AND BUDGET ADJUSTMENTS ARE THE HOT TOPIC OF DEBATE. WE REVIEW THE WORK OF THE LEGISLATIVE SESSION OF 2001 WITH OUR TEAM OF STATEHOUSE REPORTERS ON THIS EDITION OF IOWA PRESS.

Narrator: FUNDING FOR IOWA PRESS HAS BEEN 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; BY THE ASSOCIATION OF BUSINESS AND INDUSTRY... THE VOICE OF IOWA BUSINESS, REPRESENTING THE INTERESTS OF OVER 1,500 IOWA BUSINESSES EMPLOYING 300,000 IOWANS; AND BY THE ASSOCIATED GENERAL CONTRACTORS OF IOWA... THE PUBLIC'S PARTNER IN BUILDING IOWA'S HIGHWAY, BRIDGE, AND MUNICIPAL UTILITY INFRASTRUCTURE. THIS IS THE SUNDAY, MARCH 25 EDITION OF IOWA PRESS. HERE IS DAVID YEPSEN.

Yepsen: IT'S 76 DOWN AND 34 DAYS TO GO IN THE SCHEDULED 110-DAY IOWA LEGISLATIVE SESSION. NORMALLY AT THIS POINT, WE'D BE TALKING ABOUT THE WINNERS AND LOSERS OF FUNNEL DAY. THAT'S THE DAY ON THE LEGISLATIVE CALENDAR WHERE PROPOSALS AND INITIATIVES GET THE GREEN LIGHT FOR FURTHER CONSIDERATION AND DEBATE. IF NOT, THOSE PROPOSALS ARE STOPPED IN THE PIPELINE. BUT THE PRIORITIES ESTABLISHED BY THIS SESSION'S FUNNEL DATE ARE SOMEWHAT OVERSHADOWED BY THE NEWS THAT A REVENUE SHORTFALL IS CREATING A BUDGET CRUNCH, CALLING FOR SOME FINANCIAL JUGGLING FOR BOTH THE FINAL QUARTER OF FISCAL 2001, WHICH ENDS ON JUNE 30, AND FOR ALL OF FISCAL 2002, WHICH BEGINS ON JULY 1. AS USUAL, THE DEVIL IS IN THE DETAILS, AND SUGGESTED SOLUTIONS REFLECT PHILOSOPHICAL DIFFERENCES BETWEEN A DEMOCRATIC GOVERNOR AND A REPUBLICAN-CONTROLLED IOWA GENERAL ASSEMBLY. SO WE TAKE A STEP BACK TO TAKE A LOOK AT WHERE THEY'VE BEEN AND, MORE IMPORTANTLY, WHERE THEY'RE HEADED. JOINING US ARE KAY HENDERSON OF RADIO IOWA, MIKE GLOVER OF THE ASSOCIATED PRESS, ALONG WITH JENEANE BECK OF KUNI PUBLIC RADIO, AND KATHIE OBRADOVICH OF THE LEE NEWSPAPERS. WELL, KATHIE, WHAT DO YOU THINK THIS SESSION IS GOING TO BE REMEMBERED FOR?

Obradovich: WELL, I'LL TELL YOU, DAVID, I'M REALLY TEMPTED TO JUST SAY DIDDLY-SQUAT AND LEAVE IT AT THAT, BUT I'M NICER THAN THAT AND I'LL SAY THAT THEY DID GIVE ME A $20 TAX CUT BY CUTTING UTILITY TAXES. THAT'S THE ONE THING THAT WE KNOW FOR SURE HAS BEEN SIGNED INTO LAW. THEY MAY DO SOME THINGS TO CHANGE THE WAY TEACHERS ARE PAID, BUT IT LOOKS LIKE THEY'RE NOT GOING TO HAVE A LOT OF MONEY TO PUT INTO THAT.

Glover: I'M NOT AS KIND AS KATHIE. DIDDLYSQUAT. [LAUGHTER] BUT TO BALANCE THAT WITH A LITTLE BIT OF FAIRNESS, THEY'RE NOT GOING TO DO MUCH THIS YEAR BECAUSE THE PEOPLE RUNNING THE LEGISLATURE WERE ELECTED WITH THE SINCERE BELIEF THAT IOWANS DON'T WANT TO DO VERY MUCH; THAT THEY'RE FAIRLY HAPPY WITH THE WAY THE STATE IS GOING; THAT THEY'RE FAIRLY HAPPY WITH THE WAY THEIR LIVES ARE GOING, AND THEY DON'T WANT A LEGISLATURE TO COME IN AND DO A BUNCH OF THINGS TO TINKER WITH IT. THEY WERE ELECTED WITH A MANDATE, THEY THINK, TO NOT DO VERY MUCH TO KEEP THE STATUS QUO GOING, AND THAT'S WHAT THEY'RE GOING TO DO.

Henderson: A FEW YEARS AGO, I ADOPTED THIS SORT OF MANTRA THAT: TEN YEARS FROM NOW, IS THIS GOING TO BE VERY IMPORTANT? IT'S SORT OF A STRESS-REDUCTION MEASURE. SO LOOKING THROUGH THAT FILTER, I THINK THERE'S BEEN A LOT OF SOUND LARGELY SIGNIFYING NOTHING. IF YOU LOOK AT THE ACCOMPLISHMENTS THAT MAY OCCUR IN THE NEXT MONTH AS THE LEGISLATURE ATTEMPTS TO SHUT DOWN, I THINK THIS BILL THAT WOULD EASE REGULATIONS FOR THE SITING OF NEW ELECTRIC GENERATING STATIONS MAY BE THE SINGLE MOST IMPORTANT THING THEY DO FOR CONSUMERS, BECAUSE CALIFORNIANS ARE FACING AN ENERGY SHORTAGE RIGHT NOW AND THIS IS THE TIME FOR IOWA TO START THINKING ABOUT THAT, AND THEY ARE.

Yepsen: THEY'VE DISCOVERED ELECTRICITY DOES NOT COME OUT OF A SOCKET. [LAUGHTER]

Henderson: EXACTLY.

Yepsen: JENEANE, WHAT'S YOUR TAKE ON WHAT THIS SESSION WILL BE REMEMBERED FOR?

Beck: WELL, I THINK IT DEPENDS A LOT ON IF THEY ARE ABLE TO GET A TEACHER COMPENSATION PACKAGE THROUGH THIS SESSION, AND IF THEY DO, IT COULD CHANGE THE WAY TEACHERS ARE PAID SIGNIFICANTLY. NO LONGER WOULD IT BE BASED SIMPLY ON SENIORITY, BUT IT WOULD BE LINKED TO STUDENT ACHIEVEMENT. AND THAT COULD BE A BIG CHANGE IN THE OUT YEARS IF IT IS APPROVED.

Yepsen: WELL, THE BIG TALK IS THE BUDGET. THEY'RE BROKE. THEY'RE OUT OF MONEY... $300 MILLION SHORT. JENEANE, WHAT'S HAPPENING TO CAUSE THIS PROBLEM?

Beck: WELL, THEY HAVE SOMETHING CALLED THE REVENUE ESTIMATING CONFERENCE, WHICH EACH YEAR SETS WHAT THEY THINK THE STATE BUDGET IS GOING TO GROW BY BECAUSE OF TAX RETURNS. SO LET'S SAY THAT, DAVID, YOU THOUGHT YOU WERE GOING TO GET A 3.5-PERCENT RAISE THIS YEAR AND YOU WENT OUT AND BOUGHT A CAR AND A HOUSE BECAUSE OF IT BASED ON THE THOSE FIGURES, AND THEN WHAT HAPPENED IS YOUR RAISE WAS LESS THAN 1 PERCENT, WHICH IS WHAT'S HAPPENED TO THE STATE. NOW THEY'VE GOT TO FIGURE OUT HOW DO THEY PAY FOR THESE THINGS -- THEY ALREADY PLANNED TO -- AND WHERE CAN THEY MAKE CUTBACKS.

Yepsen: AND WHERE WILL THEY BE MAKING CUTBACKS?

Beck: EVERYWHERE BESIDES K-12 SCHOOLS. THEY SAY THEY WANT TO HOLD HARMLESS THE TEACHER PAY PACKAGE, WHICH IS $40 MILLION, AND CHILD ABUSE INITIATIVES RECOMMENDED BY THE GOVERNOR. THAT MEANS OTHER EDUCATION, LIKE REGENTS UNIVERSITIES, WILL TAKE A CUT AND THE REST OF THE BUDGET AS WELL.

Glover: THEY'VE CARVED THEMSELVES A FAIRLY SERIOUS PROBLEM, DAVID, BECAUSE BOTH SIDES AGREED COMING INTO THIS SESSION THAT ELEMENTARY AND SECONDARY EDUCATION WAS GOING TO BE A PRIORITY AND IT WAS GOING TO GET A PRETTY BIG BUDGET INCREASE. BOTH SIDES AGREED THAT CHILD PROTECTION WAS AN IMPORTANT ISSUE BECAUSE OF THE SHELBY DUIS CASE AND THEY WERE GOING TO PROBABLY SPEND A LITTLE BIT MORE MONEY THERE. THAT'S AN AWFUL LOT OF THE STATE'S BUDGET THAT'S NOT ONLY BEING HELD HARMLESS, IT'S BEING PROMISED A BUDGET INCREASE. SO YOU'RE LOOKING AT MAKING THESE CUTS, $300 MILLION, BUT YOU'RE MAKING THOSE CUTS OUT OF MAYBE HALF OF THE STATE'S BUDGET. SO THOSE AREAS WHICH AREN'T HELD HARMLESS, WHICH ARE ALLOWED TO BE CUT, ARE GOING TO SEE SOME VERY FAIRLY SIGNIFICANT CUTTING. IF I WERE A PRESIDENT OF A REGENTS UNIVERSITY, IF I WERE RUNNING A STATE AGENCY OUTSIDE OF THERE, I'D BE VERY WORRIED RIGHT NOW.

Obradovich: WHAT'S INTERESTING ABOUT THIS SCENARIO, THOUGH, IS THAT IT'S GOING TO HAVE TO BE GOVERNOR TOM VILSACK BY LAW WHO COMES OUT NEXT WEEK AND SAYS WHERE HE'S GOING TO CUT HIS OWN BUDGET. THAT HAS NEVER HAPPENED IN THE HISTORY OF THE LAW THAT LEGISLATORS PASSED THAT SAID YOU CAN'T SPEND MORE THAN YOU TAKE IN. SO THIS TIME INSTEAD OF IT BEING REPUBLICANS OUT THERE CUTTING THE GOVERNOR'S BUDGET, HE'S GOING TO HAVE TO ACTUALLY COME OUT AND CUT HIS OWN BUDGET. IT REMAINS TO BE SEEN WHETHER REPUBLICANS WHO CONTROL THE LEGISLATURE WILL TRY TO CUT IT MORE AFTER THAT. BUT IT'S SORT OF A -- THE POLITICAL SHOE IS ON THE OTHER FOOT AT THIS POINT.

Yepsen: KAY, IS THIS ALL BAD? WE KNOW STATE GOVERNMENT SPENDING IN IOWA HAS OUTSTRIPPED PERSONAL INCOME, OTHER FAMILIES ARE HAVING TO MAKE CUTBACKS ALL ACROSS IOWA. IS THIS ALL BAD THAT THE STATE GOVERNMENT HAS TO DO THIS? IF THEY'RE NOT DOING DIDDLY, WHY DO THEY NEED ALL THIS MONEY?

Henderson: THAT'S WHAT REPUBLICANS WILL TELL YOU, THAT IT'S TIME FOR GOVERNMENT TO STEP BACK, TAKE A LOOK AT THEMSELVES. IN FACT, GOVERNOR VILSACK, A DEMOCRAT, HAS ALSO SAID THAT IT'S TIME TO START THINKING ABOUT REORGANIZATION OF STATE GOVERNMENT. GOVERNOR BRANSTAD REORGANIZED STATE GOVERNMENT, MADE IT SMALLER IN THE MID TO LATE 1980S, AND IT'S BEEN A WHILE. BUSINESSES ARE ALWAYS RETOOLING. BUSINESSES ARE ALWAYS REORGANIZING AND IT'S TIME FOR THE STATE TO HAVE THAT SORT OF A LOOK AT WHICH PROGRAMS THEY'RE DOING AND ABSOLUTELY ARE NECESSARY, AND MAYBE THEY'RE DOING SOME SUPERFLUOUS THINGS.

Yepsen: HOW MANY RE-ORGS HAVE YOU AND I BEEN THROUGH?

Glover: WE WENT THROUGH A FEW AND I WOULD TAKE ISSUE A LITTLE BIT WITH GOVERNOR BRANSTAD MAKING STATE GOVERNMENT SMALLER. HE DID NOT DO THAT IN ANY WAY, SHAPE, OR FORM. TERRY BRANSTAD REORGANIZED STATE GOVERNMENT TO MAKE HIMSELF MORE POWERFUL. BESIDES, THE STATE GOVERNMENT GREW SIGNIFICANTLY DURING HIS TENURE. HE REORGANIZED STATE GOVERNMENT TO TAKE ALL THE STATE AGENCIES AND PUT THEM DIRECTLY UNDER THE GOVERNOR'S OFFICE.

Yepsen: BUT IT WAS THE DEMOCRATIC LEGISLATURE THAT APPROVED IT --

Glover: BECAUSE THEY THOUGHT THEY WERE GOING TO WIN THE NEXT GOVERNOR'S ELECTION.

Yepsen: SO WHERE ARE WE AT TODAY, MIKE? WHAT'S THE POLITICS OF THIS THING TODAY?

Glover: THE POLITICS OF THIS THING IS YOU HAVE TO REMEMBER EVERYTHING IN STATE GOVERNMENT, EVERY PROGRAM IN STATE GOVERNMENT RUNS, EVERY EMPLOYEE THAT IS EMPLOYED BY STATE GOVERNMENT IS THERE BECAUSE SOME INTEREST GROUP OR SOME CONSTITUENCY WANTS IT. THEY'VE DEMANDED IT. GOING IN AND CUTTING A STATE PROGRAM, CUTTING STATE EMPLOYMENT IS GOING TO BE DENYING SOMETHING TO SOME GROUP THAT WANTS IT. SO KATHIE TOUCHED ON IT EARLIER. THE POINT IS, IF THEY HAVE TO CUT SPENDING, WHO GETS BLAMED FOR IT? DOES THE DEMOCRATIC GOVERNOR GET BLAMED FOR GOING IN AND CUTTING A BUNCH OF STATE PROGRAMS, OR DOES A REPUBLICAN LEGISLATURE GET BLAMED FOR IT, BECAUSE THERE'S GOING TO BE BLAME COMING OUT OF THIS LEGISLATIVE SESSION? A LOT OF WHAT YOU'RE SEEING RIGHT NOW IS PIN THE TAIL ON THE DONKEY. REPUBLICAN LEADERS ARE TRYING TO PIN THE TAIL ON THIS GOVERNOR, AND THIS GOVERNOR IS TRYING TO PIN THE TAIL ON THEM. YOU TAKE THE BLAME, NOT ME.

Obradovich: AND THE FUN PART ABOUT THIS PARTICULAR YEAR IS THAT I'VE HEARD THIS BUDGET CUT CHARACTERIZED AS TAKING MONEY AWAY FROM THE STATE EMPLOYEES UNION TO GIVE IT TO THE STATE TEACHERS UNION. YOU'VE GOT BASICALLY TWO GROUPS THAT GENERALLY ARE FRIENDLY TO DEMOCRATS, AND ONLY ONE OF THEM IS PROBABLY GOING TO END UP HAPPY.

Beck: THE BLAME THAT YOU SPOKE OF -- I'M ALREADY HEARING STORIES ON OTHER MEDIA ORGANIZATIONS WHERE THEY SAY THE REGENTS UNIVERSITIES ARE WORRIED ABOUT THE LEGISLATURE CUTTING THEIR BUDGET AND THAT THEY'RE GOING TO HAVE TO RAISE TUITION AND THINGS LIKE THAT. THEY CALL IT THE LEGISLATURE. THERE'S NO MENTION OF THE FACT THAT THE GOVERNOR APPROVES THAT AND THE GOVERNOR RECOMMENDS IT, SO THERE IS SOME BLAME ALREADY TAKING PLACE.

Glover: YOU TALK ABOUT STATE GOVERNMENT CUTS, AND YOU TOUCHED ON A VERY GOOD POINT, JENEANE. YOU TALK ABOUT SHRINKING THE SIZE OF GOVERNMENT. OKAY, LET'S CUT REGENTS UNIVERSITIES. THAT'S A POPULAR TOPIC. LET'S CUT INTO WHAT WE GIVE TO THE STATE'S REGENTS UNIVERSITIES. WHAT DOES THAT MEAN? THAT MEANS PARENTS OF A LOT OF MIDDLE-CLASS KIDS ARE GOING TO PAY MORE TUITION. THAT'S THE KIND OF RAMIFICATION THAT'S GOING TO FOLLOW FROM ALL THESE DEBATES. IF YOU WANT THAT, IF YOU THINK IOWA'S PUBLIC SCHOOL TUITION IS A LITTLE LOW -

Yepsen: WHICH SOME PEOPLE DO.

Glover: YEAH, MAYBE WE OUGHT TO INCREASE IT. THEN WE SHOULD HAVE THAT DEBATE. BUT YOU'RE GOING TO FORCE THAT KIND OF A DEBATE THROUGH THESE KIND OF CUTS.

Yepsen: KAY, I DON'T UNDERSTAND WHY THE REPUBLICANS WERE THE FIRST OUT OF THE BOX HERE TO ASK HIM TO MAKE CUTS IN THE CURRENT FISCAL YEAR.

Henderson: JOIN THE CLUB.

Yepsen: WHAT WERE THEY DOING?

Henderson: THEY WERE SETTING THEMSELVES UP FOR A FALL. I CAN'T EXPLAIN THE RATIONALE BEHIND WHAT THEY DID. GOVERNOR VILSACK, AS THE HEAD OF STATE GOVERNMENT -- AND HE SHOULD HAVE BEEN OUT THERE BEARING THE BRUNT OF THE PROBLEM RATHER THAN REPUBLICANS. I HAVE NO -- I CAN'T EXPLAIN WHY THEY DID IT.

Glover: CAN I HELP HERE? PURE BRAIN DAMAGE. [LAUGHTER]

Yepsen: JENEANE, TO THAT POINT, NOW THAT -- AND YOU MENTIONED IT WITH THE REGENTS INSTITUTIONS -- NOW THAT NEXT WEEK THE GOVERNOR IS GOING TO COME WITH HIS BUDGET CUTS, DOES THIS NOW START TO BECOME "TOM VILSACK'S BUDGET" AND "TOM VILSACK'S CUTS?"

Beck: WELL, IT DEPENDS. IN A WAY, THE LEGISLATURE HAS TRIED TO PIN IT ON HIM BY SAYING THINGS LIKE HE SPENT DOWN THIS HUGE SURPLUS WHEN HE CAME INTO OFFICE, FAILING TO MENTION THAT THEY WANTED TO REDUCE THE SURPLUS BY GIVING BACK TAX CUTS, FEELING THAT'S WHERE THE MONEY SHOULD BE. NOW THEY DON'T MENTION THAT ANYMORE SO, YES, THEY'LL TRY TO SAY THIS IS WHERE HE'S CUT THE BUDGET, BUT AT SOME POINT THEY'RE GOING TO HAVE TO WORK TOGETHER TO APPROVE THESE BECAUSE THEY'RE RUNNING OUT OF TIME.

Glover: I THINK FROM A PUBLIC PERCEPTION STANDPOINT, WHAT KAY AND I WERE TALKING ABOUT EARLIER IS THAT REPUBLICANS HAVE ALREADY COMMITTED A PUBLIC RELATIONS MISTAKE, BECAUSE FOR THE FIRST TWO MONTHS OF THIS LEGISLATIVE SESSION, THEY HAVE BEEN MAKING ALL THIS NOISE ABOUT CUTTING PROGRAMS, CUTTING SPENDING, BIG SPENDING GOVERNOR AND ALL THAT. AND SOMETHING OF A PUBLIC PERCEPTION HAS SET IN THAT IS THE LEGISLATURE TRYING TO CUT AND THE GOVERNOR DEFENDING AGAINST THAT. THAT PUBLIC RELATIONS IS GOING TO HAVE TO BE OVERCOME.

Obradovich: PLUS, THEY'RE GOING TO HAVE A HARD TIME. A LOT OF THEM ARE GOING TO HAVE A VERY HARD TIME LOOKING AT WHATEVER THE GOVERNOR CUTS AND SAYING, "OKAY, THIS IS ENOUGH, WE DON'T NEED TO CUT ANY MORE THAN THIS," OR LOOKING AT IT AND SAYING, "OKAY, WE DON'T MIND THAT HE TAKES SOME MONEY FROM THIS POT AND PUTS IT IN THIS POT AND MAKES SOME SHIFTS THAT SOME INTEREST GROUPS IN THE STATE ARE GOING TO BE UPSET ABOUT AND WE'LL GO AHEAD AND TAKE THAT HIT." THEY'RE GOING TO BE TEMPTED TO SAY, "OKAY, HE CUT SOME BUT IT'S NOT ENOUGH AND WE'RE GOING TO HAVE TO DO MORE."

Yepsen: KATHIE, ARE WE FALLING VICTIM TO THE DOUBLE SPEAK THAT GOES ON IN GOVERNMENT? ARE THEY REALLY GOING TO CUT ANYTHING, OR ARE THEY JUST TALKING ABOUT SLOWING THE RATE OF GROWTH? WILL SPENDING IN 2001 STILL BE LARGER THAN IT WAS IN 2000?

Obradovich: PROBABLY BY THE TIME THEY GET DONE. THERE MAY BE SOME PROGRAMS IN STATE GOVERNMENT THAT ACTUALLY GET THEIR MONEY CUT. I THINK IF THEY ELIMINATE PROGRAMS LIKE THEY SAY THEY'RE GOING TO, OBVIOUSLY THAT WILL BE AN ACTUAL REAL CUT IN WHAT THEY HAD TO SPEND LAST YEAR. BUT MOST OF IT -- ACTUALLY WHAT WE'RE TALKING ABOUT IS REDUCTIONS IN INCREASES, YOU'RE RIGHT.

Yepsen: WHEN WAS THE LAST TIME ANYBODY SAW STATE GOVERNMENT ELIMINATE A PROGRAM? ANYBODY RECALL THAT?

Glover: THE WATCHMAKER BOARD.

Yepsen: OH, THAT'S RIGHT, THEY DID DO THE WATCHMAKER BOARD.

Glover: IT TOOK THEM ABOUT FIVE YEARS TO BEGIN IT.

Obradovich: THE OTHER THING IS, I'LL BE SURPRISED IF ANYBODY OUT THERE IN THE STATE ACTUALLY NOTICES AFTER ALL IS SAID AND DONE.

Yepsen: KAY, THE TALK IS THEY HAVE TO DO THIS BECAUSE THE ECONOMY HAS HEADED SOUTH. WHAT'S THE CONDITION OF THE ECONOMY?

Henderson: WELL, MANUFACTURING LAYOFFS ARE OCCURRING AROUND THE STATE. THE WATERLOO WORKS, JOHN DEERE GOING TO GO IDLE FOR A MONTH BECAUSE OF THE SLOWING INDUSTRY IN THE GOODS THAT THEY PRODUCE. AND THEN YOU ALSO HAVE THIS SPECTER OF MAD COW DISEASE SORT OF HANGING OVER THE STATE'S AGRICULTURAL COMMUNITY. HOOF-AND-MOUTH DISEASE HAS SO FAR STAYED AWAY FROM THIS CONTINENT, BUT YOU HAVE WORRIED FARMERS. FARMERS ARE ALWAYS WORRIED BUT THIS REALLY HEIGHTENS THEIR CONCERN. YOU ALSO HAVE A SLOWING NATIONAL ECONOMY, WHICH IS EVENTUALLY GOING TO AFFECT IOWA.

Glover: ONE OF THE THINGS THAT IS MOST PROBLEMATIC FOR THE CURRENT CONDITION OF THE ECONOMY IS THIS IS AN ECONOMIC SLOWDOWN THAT'S LARGELY DRIVEN BY THE FINANCIAL MARKETS. IOWA WE LIKE TO THINK OF AS A FARM STATE. IOWA "IS" A FARM STATE. IOWA IS ALSO A BIG FINANCIAL SERVICES STATE. INSURANCE AND FINANCIAL SERVICES IS A BIG DEAL IN THIS STATE. WALK AROUND DOWNTOWN DES MOINES, WALK AROUND DOWNTOWN CEDAR RAPIDS AND SEE WHAT'S DRIVING THE MONEY OF THE STATE. IT'S FINANCIAL SERVICES. WHEN THE STOCK MARKET TANKS, THOSE INDUSTRIES HURT, AND THEY'RE HURTING RIGHT NOW.

Yepsen: SO EVERYBODY IS SORT OF CONTRACTING A LITTLE BIT IN THEIR SPENDING?

Obradovich: EXACTLY. IN THE 1980s WHEN THERE WAS A BIG NATIONAL RECESSION, IOWA WAS HURT BY THE FARM ECONOMY, BUT WHEN YOU LOOK AT IOWA'S INDUSTRIES WERE NOT SO DIVERSIFIED BACK THEN. ACTUALLY, THE LAST HIT OF THE RECESSION

WASN'T SO BAD ON IOWA COMPARED TO THE REST OF THE COUNTRY. IN THE LAST COUPLE OF DECADES, THE STATE HAS DIVERSIFIED. THEY'VE ADDED MORE INSURANCE. THEY'VE ADDED MORE OF THE FINANCIAL SERVICES THAT MIKE HAS TALKED ABOUT. SO WE'RE MORE VULNERABLE TO THIS KIND OF ECONOMY.

Yepsen: KATHIE, GIVEN THE CONDITION OF THE FINANCES, THE CONDITION OF THE ECONOMY, IS THERE STILL ROOM FOR TAX CUTS? REPUBLICANS ALWAYS LIKE TO TALK ABOUT TAX CUTS.

Obradovich: THE TALK ABOUT TAX CUTS IS CONSIDERABLY SOFTER AND CONSIDERABLY LESS FREQUENT THAN IT WAS WHEN WE ALL CAME INTO SESSION. BUT PART OF THE REASON IS THAT THEY CAME FROM IN CAME IN AND PASSED WHAT WILL AMOUNT TO A $90 MILLION TAX CUT IN THE FIRST COUPLE WEEKS OF SESSION. SO THEY'VE ALREADY BIT OFF THEIR BIG TAX CUT FOR THE YEAR. THINGS LIKE THE SOCIAL SECURITY TAX CUT, WHICH REPUBLICANS ALL CAMPAIGNED ON AND CLAIM THEY'RE GOING TO DO, THEY'RE NOW SAYING WE'RE GOING TO DO IN THIS BIENNIUM. SO I DOUBT IF WE'RE GOING TO SEE THAT THIS YEAR. THEY DO HAVE A FEW MORE TARGETED TAX CUTS, THINGS LIKE ETHANOL, SOME THINGS FOR CERTAIN TYPES OF CORPORATIONS THAT THEY MAY ROLL OUT, BUT THEY'RE GOING TO BE VERY SMALL.

Glover: ONE OF THE MORE MARKABLE EPISODES I'VE SEEN IN LEGISLATIVE HISTORY IS KATHIE'S DESCRIPTION OF THE PHASING OUT OF THE SALES TAX ON UTILITIES, BECAUSE I THINK A LOT OF LEGISLATIVE LEADERS, WHEN THEY PASSED THAT TAX CUT, PASSED IT ASSUMING THE GOVERNOR WOULD VETO IT. LET'S PASS THIS BIG TAX CUT; WE CAN GO BACK AND CAMPAIGN; AND WE PASS THIS; AND WINK, WINK, NOD, NOD AND WE KNOW HE'S GOING TO VETO IT. A GOVERNOR IS GOING TO -- A DEMOCRATIC GOVERNOR IS GOING TO VETO A $90 MILLION PROGRESSIVE SALES TAX CUT!

Yepsen: THAT'S SOMETHING THAT'S BEEN AN ARTICLE OF FAITH FOR DEMOCRATS FOR YEARS.

Glover: THAT'S BEEN ON THEIR PLATFORM FOR DECADES.

Yepsen: BUT IT DOES MAKE THE TAX SYSTEM MORE PROGRESSIVE.

Glover: IT MAKES THE TAX SYSTEM MORE PROGRESSIVE. IT HITS EVERY CONSUMER IN THE STATE. IT'S A DREAM. DID THEY THINK A DEMOCRATIC GOVERNOR WAS BRAIN-DEAD ENOUGH TO VETO THAT?

Yepsen: DO YOU AGREE WITH KATHIE THAT THE TAX CUT FEVER HAS GONE DOWN?

Glover: TAX CUT FEVER IS GONE AT THE HILL. WHAT THEY HAVE DONE IS THEY HAVE A SERIES OF VERY SMALL, VERY TARGETED TAX CUTS THAT THEY PROBABLY WILL DEBATE: HISTORIC DISTRICT PRESERVATION TAX CUTS, GIVING CITIES A LITTLE TAX BREAK IF THEY GO AND RENOVATE A HISTORIC DISTRICT. NOT A LOT OF MONEY BUT SOMETHING THEY CAN GO BACK HOME AND CAMPAIGN ON. BUT THE BIG TAX CUT, THE SOCIAL SECURITIES, THOSE ARE OUT THE WINDOW.

Henderson: WELL, IT MAKES SENSE. NEXT YEAR IOWA WILL DEAL WITH THE WINDFALL THE STATE WILL GET FROM THE HUGE TAX CUT AT THE FEDERAL LEVEL, SO NEXT YEAR, AN ELECTION YEAR BY THE WAY, WILL BE THE YEAR IN WHICH THEY'LL TALK ABOUT TAX CUTS.

Yepsen: SURE, AND DO TAX CUTS IN AN ELECTION YEAR.

Henderson: EXACTLY. REMEMBER IT.

Yepsen: JENEANE, LET'S MOVE ON TO OTHER THINGS THAT THE SESSION MAY BE DOING. WHAT'S LEFT? TEACHER PAY?

Beck: THERE'S TEACHER PAY AND THERE'S ALSO -- THAT'S GOING TO BE THE BIG ISSUE THAT COMES UP NEXT. THEY'VE SORT OF HIT A STANDSTILL RIGHT NOW. THEY'VE PASSED IT OUT OF COMMITTEE, BUT THERE ARE SOME HITCHES. THIS IS ANOTHER FAILURE ON REPUBLICANS WHERE THEY CAME OUT WITH THEIR PLAN FIRST, EVEN THOUGH THERE HAD BEEN BIPARTISAN WORK ON IT AND TWO COMMISSIONS HAD MADE A RECOMMENDATION. THEY CAME OUT WITH THEIR PLAN, BUT THEY INCLUDED IN A COUPLE OF THINGS THAT TEACHERS WEREN'T GOING TO LIKE, LIKE A 12-WEEK CERTIFICATION COURSE OVER THE SUMMER FOR ALTERNATIVE LICENSES FOR TEACHERS. TEACHERS HATE THAT. THEY THINK IS DUMBS DOWN THEIR WORK. THEY ALSO INCLUDED LESS MONEY THAN BOTH OF THE SUMMER GROUPS THAT WORKED ON TEACHER PAY RECOMMENDED. SO THE GOVERNOR CAME IN A WEEK LATER WITH HIS OWN PLAN AND CONVENIENTLY STRUCK THE PART THE TEACHERS DIDN'T LIKE AND ADDED MORE MONEY TO IT. SO NOW HE'S THE KNIGHT IN SHINING ARMOR ONCE AGAIN, AND WE'LL SEE WHAT HAPPENS NOW.

Glover: THIS IS ALSO A FASCINATING THING THAT'S HAPPENED UP THERE BECAUSE OTHER THAN WHO'S GOING TO GET THE MONEY AND HOW MUCH THEY'RE GOING TO GET, THEY WORKED OUT ALL THE DETAILS. WHAT I'M SEEING AROUND THE STATEHOUSE FOR THE FIRST TIME -- IT WAS AN ARTICLE OF FAITH THIS WAS JUST GOING TO HAPPEN. I'M BEGINNING TO SEE AROUND THE STATEHOUSE A LITTLE WHISPERING IN CORNERS. YOU SEE PEOPLE GATHERED IN THE CHAMBER: "DO WE REALLY NEED TO DO THIS; WHY ARE WE DOING THIS?" THERE'S SOME DOUBT AROUND THE CORNER THAT THIS IS GOING TO ACTUALLY HAPPEN.

Yepsen: WELL, YOU'RE GIVING MONEY TO THE TEACHERS. THE REPUBLICAN LEGISLATURE IS BEING ASKED TO GIVE MONEY TO THE TEACHERS UNION WHO OVERWHELMINGLY ENDORSED DEMOCRATS.

Glover: WHAT'S WRONG WITH THAT PICTURE?

Yepsen: YEAH.

Obradovich: DESPITE THE FACT THAT REPUBLICAN LEADERS HAVE INSISTED THAT THEY'VE PUT $40 MILLION IN A "LOCKBOX"

Yepsen: THEY STOLE THAT FROM AL GORE. IT WORKED FOR HIM TOO.

Obradovich: THEY SAY THEY PUT THAT IN FOR THE FIRST YEAR OF THE TEACHER PAY PLAN. THEY'RE ALL STILL VERY PUBLICLY COMMITTED TO THAT, BUT YOU'VE GOT PEOPLE ON THE EDGES, PEOPLE LIKE THE BUDGET CHAIRMAN SAYING, "I DON'T KNOW IF WE CAN REALLY STILL DO THIS $40 MILLION."

Henderson: WE'VE GOT STEW IVERSON, WHO'S THE MAJORITY LEADER IN THE IOWA SENATE, SAYING IT'S NOT SACRED. HE'S READY TO GO AFTER IT.

Glover: PEOPLE AROUND THE EDGES LIKE THE MAJORITY LEADER, THESE ARE FRINGE LAWYERS.

Beck: BUT 40 MILLION ISN'T THE FIRST YEAR ANYWAY, AND THAT'S SOMETHING TO REMEMBER THAT, EVEN IF THEY START THIS, THEY SAY, "WELL, SCHOOLS ARE GOING TO NEED A COUPLE YEARS TO GET THIS UP AND RUNNING." SO, CONVENIENTLY, THEY'VE PUT THE MONEY OFF FOR A COUPLE OF YEARS ANYWAY.

Yepsen: IS $40 MILLION GOING TO SOLVE THE PROBLEM? WHERE I COME FROM, THAT IS A LOT OF MONEY, BUT YET THAT FIGURES OUT TO, WHAT, TWELVE HUNDRED BUCKS A TEACHER? IS THAT GOING TO SOLVE THIS PROBLEM?

Glover: THE EVENTUAL FIGURE WILL END UP BEING -- AND THIS IS WHERE THE PAIN COMES IN. IT'S $40 MILLION THE FIRST YEAR, AND THEN IT INCREASES GEOMETRICALLY OVER THE NEXT FOUR YEARS OR FIVE YEARS, HOWEVER MANY YEARS THEY DECIDE. EVENTUALLY IT WILL BE ABOUT $300 MILLION A YEAR.

Yepsen: SO THEY'RE GOING TO KICK THE CAN DOWN THE ROAD.

Glover: WELL, THEY'RE GOING TO KICK THE CAN DOWN THE ROAD AND THEN WORRY ABOUT WHERE IT LANDS.

Henderson: WELL, AND THE OTHER THING THAT WE TALK ABOUT AROUND THIS TABLE OCCASIONALLY IS AN URBAN/RURAL SPLIT. ONE OF THE THINGS THAT THE POMERANTZ COMMISSION AND THE FORSYTHE GROUP RECOMMENDED -- THOSE TWO GROUPS THAT MADE TEACHER PAY RECOMMENDATIONS IN THE FALL -- WAS THAT RURAL SCHOOLS ARE FALLING BEHIND BECAUSE TEACHERS AREN'T PAID ENOUGH WHILE THE RURAL FOLKS IN THE IOWA LEGISLATURE DON'T WANT TO RAISE THE MINIMUM PAY FOR TEACHERS, AND THE REPUBLICAN PLAN THAT WAS ADVANCED DOES NOT DO THAT. SO YOU'RE STILL GOING TO HAVE TEACHERS PAID BELOW PAR AND RURAL DISTRICTS ARE GOING TO INCREASINGLY FIND IT MORE AND MORE DIFFICULT TO FIND TEACHERS TO TEACH KIDS IN RURAL AREAS.

Glover: THE SHOWCASE OF A TEACHER PAY INCREASE IS RAISING MINIMUM TEACHER PAY. THAT'S REAL SIMPLE AND EASY TO UNDERSTAND, AND YOU CAN SAY: OKAY, MINIMUM PAY RIGHT NOW IS $23,000; THE REPUBLICAN PLAN DOESN'T RAISE IT AND POMERANTZ, ET AL, SUGGESTED RATIO IS $29,000. WELL, IF YOU RAISE MINIMUM PAY FROM 23 TO 29, WHO GETS THAT? RURAL SCHOOLS, BECAUSE URBAN SCHOOLS ARE ALREADY PAYING WELL OVER $23,000 NOW. SO WHEN YOU RAISE MINIMUM PAY, YOU'RE DUMPING MONEY INTO RURAL SCHOOLS, AND A LOT OF URBAN LEGISLATORS UNDERSTAND THAT.

Yepsen: MIKE, ONE OF THE OTHER ISSUES THAT WE'VE HEARD A LOT ABOUT AT THE BEGINNING OF THE SESSION WAS CHILD ABUSE. THE SHELBY DUIS CASE REALLY EXPLODED ON THIS STATE'S POLITICAL SCENE. WHAT'S HAPPENING ON CHILD ABUSE QUESTIONS UP THERE? ANYTHING?

Glover: A LOT OF THINGS. THEY'RE DOING A NUMBER OF THINGS. THEY'RE DOING A 911 SYSTEM FOR KIDS FOR CENTRALIZED REPORTING FOR ANY POTENTIAL ABUSE. THEY'RE DOING A SAFE-HAVEN BILL, WHICH WOULD ALLOW MOTHERS WHO DON'T WANT THEIR INFANTS TO DROP THEIR INFANTS OFF AT A HOSPITAL WITHOUT BEING CHARGED. THEY'RE DOING A LOT OF LITTLE THINGS TO TINKER AROUND THE EDGES ON CHILD ABUSE TO MASK THE FACT THAT THEY'RE NOT GOING TO BE WHAT GOVERNOR VILSACK WANTS THEM TO DO, WHICH IS TO SPEND ABOUT $8 MILLION AND HIRE A HUNDRED NEW CASEWORKERS TO KEEP A CHECK ON TROUBLED FAMILIES. THEY'RE NOT GOING TO DO THAT BECAUSE IT COSTS A LOT OF MONEY. ALSO WORKING AROUND THAT ON THE FRINGES ARE A LOT OF CONSERVATIVE REPUBLICAN LEGISLATORS WHO THINK THAT IS INTRUDING TOO MUCH IN THE FAMILY LIFE. YOU'RE HIRING MORE GOVERNMENT WORKERS TO LOOK INTO PRIVATE FAMILY MATTERS. SO THEY'RE GOING TO DO A LOT OF THINGS TO TINKER AROUND THE EDGES TO BE ABLE TO SAY WE DID SOMETHING ABOUT CHILD ABUSE.

Beck: WELL, YOU'RE TALKING ABOUT A GROUP OF LAWMAKERS WHO, IN THE LAST COUPLE OF YEARS, THE DYNAMIC HAS NOT CHANGED THAT MUCH, THAT A COUPLE OF YEARS AGO SAID THE DEPARTMENT OF HUMAN SERVICES WAS WAY TOO INTRUSIVE. "THEY CAME IN, THEY STRIPPED KIDS FROM FAMILIES, THEY BROKE UP FAMILIES AND, BY GOODNESS, WE'VE GOT TO STOP THEM FROM DOING THAT. THEY HAVE TO LEAVE THOSE KIDS IN THERE AND WORK WITH THE FAMILIES." SO THIS IS THE SAME GROUP OF LAWMAKERS. BUT NOW, IN THE FACE OF THE DEATH OF SHELBY DUIS, THEY HAVE TO TALK THE TALK LIKE WE WANT TO PROTECT THESE KIDS, WE WANT TO MAKE SURE THEY'RE SAFE. IT'S NOT THAT THEY DON'T WANT THE CHILDREN TO BE SAFE, BUT THEY'RE VERY TORN BECAUSE THEY DON'T WANT THE DHS TO NECESSARILY COME IN AND STRIP ALL THESE KIDS OUT.

Glover: I DON'T WANT TO APOLOGIZE FOR ANY STATE AGENCY, BUT THE DHS IN THIS CASE IS WALKING A KNIFE EDGE. IF THEY INTRUDE ON FAMILIES, THEY'RE GOING TO GET BLASTED FROM THE RIGHT BY A BUNCH OF CONSERVATIVES WHO SAY "YOU'RE MEDDLING WITH FAMILY LIVES, YOU'RE INTRUDING IN FAMILY PRIVACY, YOU'RE INJECTING THE GOVERNMENT IN THE LIVES OF FAMILIES." AND IF THEY DON'T INTERFERE AND A SHELBY DUIS GETS KILLED, "YOU'VE GOT AN INCOMPETENT GOVERNMENT OVER THERE, THEY'RE NOT DOING WHAT THEY THEY'RE SUPPOSED TO DO TO PROTECT KIDS." THEY CAN'T WIN.

Obradovich: THE OTHER THING IS THAT JESSIE RASMUSSEN, THE HEAD OF THE DHS, HAS BEEN A VERY CONTROVERSIAL FIGURE IN ALL OF THIS. I THINK THAT THERE'S SOME REPUBLICANS OUT THERE WHO ARE TRYING TO DO ANYTHING THEY POSSIBLY CAN TO MAKE HER -- TO PREVENT HER LOOKING GOOD.

Yepsen: RIGHT, THEY SAY SHE'S GOT 5,400 PEOPLE WHO WORK FOR STATE GOVERNMENT WHO WORK FOR HER NOW. WHY CAN'T SHE REALLOCATE SOME OF THOSE PEOPLE INTO CHILD ABUSE WORK?

Obradovich: SHE'S BEEN KIND OF A SCAPEGOAT IN THE SHELBY DUIS THING BUT, ALSO, THEY'RE MAD AT HER BECAUSE OF SOME OF THE WAYS THAT SHE'S HANDLED MONEY IN THE DEPARTMENT AND THEY DON'T WANT TO GIVE HER A BUNCH MORE.

Yepsen: KAY, THE BOTTLE BILL, ALWAYS AN ISSUE AROUND THE PLACE. THERE SEEMS TO BE A LOT OF TALK THIS YEAR ABOUT IT. WILL THEY DO ANYTHING WHEN ALL IS SAID AND DONE TO EXPAND THE BOTTLE BILL OR CHANGE IT?

Henderson: ABSOLUTELY DIDDLY ON THIS ONE TOO. A COUPLE OF COMMITTEES IN THE LEGISLATURE, A COUPLE OF LEGISLATORS, SENATOR MERLIN BARTZ AND REPRESENTATIVE BRUNKHORST TRIED TO COME UP WITH THIS INCREDIBLY COMPLEX METHOD OF REDOING THE BOTTLE BILL WITH THE ULTIMATE GOAL OF GETTING IOWANS TO RECYCLE YOUR CANS AND BOTTLES AT THE CURB, AND HAVING BROADER USE OF RECYCLING PROGRAMS. WHAT THEY DID WAS JUST UNINTELLIGIBLE. EVEN THE GOVERNOR, WHO IS NOT KNOWN FOR POKING FUN OF A LOT OF THINGS, AT HIS NEWS CONFERENCE LAST WEEK SAID, WELL, HE HAD LOOKED AT THE SCHEMATIC DRAWING FOR THE NEW OUTLINE OF HOW WE WERE GOING TO RECYCLE. IT'S PUZZLING TO ME WHY THEY WENT THAT FAR, UNLESS YOU LOOK AT THE HUGE GROCERY LOBBY. GROCERY STORES IN IOWA DO NOT WANT CANS AND BOTTLES IN THEIR STORES, AND THEY'RE OBLIGATED TO DO THAT. THEY WANT OUT OF THE BUSINESS, AND SO REPUBLICAN LEGISLATORS WERE TRYING TO COME UP WITH SOME WAY TO DO IT, AND YOU JUST CAN'T.

Yepsen: WHY DIDN'T THAT COMPROMISE WORK? YOU DO HAVE AN INFLUENTIAL GROCERY LOBBY THAT WANTS TO GET RID OF BOTTLES AND CANS, YET THE LAW IS POPULAR WITH IOWANS AND ENVIRONMENTALISTS WANT TO EXPAND IT TO OTHER THINGS. SO WHAT THESE TWO LAWMAKERS WERE TRYING TO DO WAS "LET'S EXPAND IT BUT LET'S GET IT OUT OF THE STORES AND GO TO RECYCLING CENTERS." WHY DIDN'T THAT WORK?

Henderson: WELL, THERE ARE RECYCLING CENTERS IN URBAN AREAS. THERE ARE NO RECYCLING CENTERS IN RURAL AREAS, SO YOU'VE GOT RURAL IOWANS WHO ARE ABLE TO GO TO THE LOCAL GROCERY STORE AND TAKE THEIR CANS BACK ABOUT 10 MILES. THEY WOULD HAVE TO GO 40 MILES, 80 MILES ROUND TRIP TO TAKE BACK THEIR CANS AND BOTTLES. THE BOTTLE BILL IS INCREDIBLY POPULAR BECAUSE IT'S INCREDIBLY EASY. ANY ALTERNATIVE TO THAT IS GOING TO BE COMPLICATED, AND PEOPLE ARE GOING TO RESIST IT. I HAVE SOME RELATIVES WHO WENT TO KENTUCKY, WHICH DOESN'T HAVE THE BOTTLE BILL, AND THE PLACE IS LITTERED WITH CANS AND BOTTLES IN THE DITCHES. IOWA'S BOTTLE BILL IS WORKING AND IT'S GOING TO BE HARD TO UNDO IT.

Glover: THE REASON THE COMPROMISE DIDN'T WORK IS THE COMPROMISE ESSENTIALLY IS A GROCERY INDUSTRY SAYING, "ELIMINATE THE BOTTLE BILL AND LET SOMEBODY ELSE DO IT." WHEN YOU STEP BACK AND LOOK AT IT, IT'S NOT MUCH OF A COMPROMISE.

Yepsen: KATHIE, KAY MENTIONED ENERGY ISSUES EARLIER. WHAT'S GOING TO HAPPEN WITH ENERGY? ARE WE GOING TO MAKE IT EASIER TO -- WILL WE MAKE ENERGY AND POWER MORE RELIABLE IN IOWA WHEN THEY'RE DONE HERE?

Obradovich: THIS IS GOING TO BE A DEBATE THAT I THINK IS GOING TO BE PROBABLY GOING ON OVER THE NEXT COUPLE OF YEARS. IOWA DID NOT RESTRUCTURE ITS ELECTRIC INDUSTRY LAST YEAR. AND THAT -- THE DISCUSSIONS THAT GOT STARTED LAST YEAR ARE SORT OF SPILLING OVER INTO NEXT YEAR -- OR INTO THIS YEAR. NOW THEY'RE LOOKING AT A BILL -- IT WILL BE COMING UP THIS NEXT WEEK -- TO MAKE IT A LOT EASIER TO BUILD POWER PLANTS IN IOWA. IT'S NOT NECESSARILY GOING TO SOLVE IOWA'S ENERGY PROBLEMS IN THE LONG TERM, BUT WHAT IT WILL DO, I THINK LEGISLATORS ARE HOPING, IS IT WILL CONVINCE INDUSTRIES WHO USE A LOT OF POWER THAT, OKAY, WE'VE GOT GENERATION BEING BUILT IN THE STATE AND SO IT'S SAFE TO COME TO IOWA.

Yepsen: JENEANE, ONE THING THIS LEGISLATURE HAS TO DO IS REAPPORTION ITSELF, REDRAW THE DISTRICT LINES. IT'S INCREDIBLY BORING TO MOST PEOPLE, BUT IT'S VERY IMPORTANT TO EVERYBODY IN THE STATEHOUSE. WHAT'S THE STATUS OF REAPPORTIONMENT?

Beck: WELL, THE CENSUS FIGURES ARE IN, AND SO NOW THERE IS A GROUP THAT WILL DRAW UP A MAP WITH LINES ON IT THAT SAYS: THIS IS YOUR DISTRICT; THIS IS HIS DISTRICT, HER DISTRICT. THEY ARE HOPING TO HAVE THAT MAP DRAWN BY MIDDLE APRIL, APRIL 12, WHICH -- THAT SOUNDS EARLY IN THE SESSION BECAUSE WE HAVE UNTIL APRIL 27, WHICH IS THEIR SCHEDULED ADJOURNMENT, BUT THERE HAS TO BE A SERIES OF PUBLIC MEETINGS ON THIS MAP. SO IF THEY GET THE MAP APRIL 12, THEY CAN'T ACTUALLY VOTE ON IT UNTIL APRIL 26, WHICH IS THE DAY BEFORE THEY ADJOURN. SO ASSUMING THEY LIKE THE FIRST MAP, THEY GET OUT ON TIME. SO THAT MAY MAKE THE FIRST MAP A LOT MORE APPEALING TO THEM IF IT SENDS THEM HOME. Glover: YOU WALK AROUND THE STATEHOUSE AND YOU SEE PEOPLE SITTING AT THEIR DESK AND YOU SEE THEM DOODLING. YOU THINK THEY'RE JUST DOODLING BUT, NO, THEY'VE GOT A MAP AND THEY'RE DOING THEIR THING WITH THEIR LITTLE CALCULATOR, ADDING UP THE POPULATION THING. IT'S A VERY POPULAR SPORT AT THE STATEHOUSE.

Yepsen: MIKE, THAT LEADS US TO POLITICS. WHAT ARE THE POLITICS OF THIS SESSION?

Glover: THE POLITICS OF THIS SESSION ARE THE BEGINNING OF A GUBERNATORIAL ELECTION. WE'VE TALKED ABOUT THIS BEFORE OUT HERE, BUT YOU CAN FEEL IT IN EVERY CORNER, EVERY NOOK, AND EVERY CRANNY AT THE STATEHOUSE. THE RHETORIC IS HOT; THE EMOTIONS ARE HIGH; THE FEVER IS RUNNING. THE GOVERNOR'S ELECTION IS UNDERWAY. YOU GO TO A REPUBLICAN MEETING AT THE STATEHOUSE, YOU HEAR ABOUT "THE VILSACK DEFICIT," "THE CLINTON RECESSION." IT'S NOT -- EVERYTHING IS CAST IN PARTISAN TERMS. YOU GO TO THE GOVERNOR'S OFFICE, YOU FIND PEOPLE ON THE PHONE WITH CONSULTANTS LINING UP WHICH CONSULTANT IS GOING TO BE DOING MEDIA, WHICH CONSULTANT IS GOING TO BE MONEY, WHICH CONSULTANT IS GOING TO BE DOING THAT. SO THE GOVERNOR'S ELECTION IS UNDERWAY AND IT'S COLORING EVERYTHING THAT HAPPENS UP THERE. IT'S REPUBLICANS SENDING THE GOVERNOR A NUMBER OF BILLS THAT HE'S GOING TO VETO, TO TRY TO SOFTEN HIM UP. WHEN WAS THE LAST TIME YOU GOT HALFWAY THROUGH A SESSION AND A GOVERNOR VETOED FIVE FAIRLY SIGNIFICANT PIECES OF LEGISLATION? THAT HAPPENED THIS YEAR AND IT'S NOT EVEN AN ELECTION YEAR.

Yepsen: HAS THIS WORKED? VILSACK'S JOB APPROVAL HAS COME DOWN SOME, BUT WHO HAVE THEY GOT TO RUN AGAINST HIM?

Obradovich: WELL, THAT'S THE THING. BOTH OF THE HIGHEST PROFILE CANDIDATES SO FAR HAVE ALREADY STEPPED OUT. THE SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE, BRENT SIEGRIST, THE SENATE MAJORITY LEADER, STEWART IVERSON, HAVE BOTH SAID THEY'RE NOT GOING TO RUN. THAT LEAVES A COUPLE OF OTHER LEGISLATORS WAITING IN THE WINGS. STEVE SUKUP, WHO IS THE SPEAKER PRO TEM IN THE HOUSE... FAIRLY YOUNGER, WELL-SPOKEN GUY FROM NORTH IOWA. BUT NOBODY KNOWS WHO HE IS. PEOPLE WERE SAYING THAT ABOUT TOM VILSACK AS WELL.

Henderson: I WAS GOING TO SAY, LET ME ADD THE CAVEAT. ABOUT THIS TIME IN THE LAST ELECTION CYCLE, WE SAID IOWANS DIDN'T KNOW IF HE RAN A PICKLE COMPANY OR IF HIS NAME WAS VILSACK.

Yepsen: WELL, I THINK WE'RE GOING TO BE TALKING A LOT MORE ABOUT THIS RACE FOR GOVERNOR WELL INTO THE FUTURE. THANKS FOR BEING HERE TODAY. NOW, ON OUR NEXT EDITION OF IOWA PRESS, WE PICK UP WHERE WE LEAVE OFF TODAY, AT THE IOWA STATEHOUSE. IN THE FINAL MONTH'S DELIBERATIONS, THE FIRST SESSION OF THE 79TH IOWA GENERAL ASSEMBLY. I HOPE YOU'LL BE JOINING US NEXT SUNDAY AT NOON AND 7:00 HERE ON STATEWIDE IOWA PUBLIC TELEVISION. DEAN BORG REJOINS US AT THAT TIME, AND I HOPE YOU WILL AS WELL. I'M DAVID YEPSEN OF THE DES MOINES REGISTER. THANKS FOR JOINING US.

Narrator: FUNDING FOR IOWA PRESS HAS BEEN 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; BY THE ASSOCIATION OF BUSINESS AND INDUSTRY... THE VOICE OF IOWA BUSINESS, REPRESENTING THE INTERESTS OF OVER 1,500 IOWA BUSINESSES EMPLOYING 300,000 IOWANS; AND BY THE ASSOCIATED GENERAL CONTRACTORS OF IOWA... THE PUBLIC'S PARTNER IN BUILDING IOWA'S HIGHWAY, BRIDGE, AND MUNICIPAL UTILITY INFRASTRUCTURE.