Week 6:
Time for the Bills (the good kind)

Ringgenberg Fellow in Legislative Affairs

Iowa State Senate Democratic Research Staff | Des Moines, Iowa

February 16, 2019

Another week in the State Senate, another wrap up of my events and communications internship. This week at the Senate was the final week to file a bill with the deadline being Thursday. To say it was hectic was an understatement, thankfully (unlike some of my friends) I was not one of the Senators’ clerks that was running around at the 11th hour making sure bills got in on time. As for me, it was very important that, as bills got filed, our office was ensuring that we got a clear and concise message out of why specific bills were getting filed. For starters, that included a bill that would increase funding for a new fellowship at the University of Iowa to train new high-risk obstetricians as there is a shortage in the state of Iowa. Senate Majority Leader Senator Petersen had Dr. Stephen Hunter, the head of the high-risk obstetrician program at Iowa, come and give a presentation to the Senate. Dr. Hunter’s presentation was eye-opening to see a public health crisis that is forming in Iowa. In my next post I will link Dr. Hunter’s presentation as we are not yet done editing it, seeing as it is nearly an hour long. What we hope will come from that is really good 20-30 second soundbites that will show how much of an impact cuts to this healthcare program by Republicans are hurting Iowans.

I am still planning the large, multi-event roadshow and hopefully, in the coming week, I can provide an actual update on where the events will be and who they are for, but we have not made them public yet. Additionally, I planned a 5-event district tour for a senator this week as he looks to target some smaller communities in his district with listening post events. Many of our districts have one or two cities and the rest of the district is highlighted by small rural communities. In the past, few cycles Democrats have had trouble getting their message across in rural communities so it’s important that we go to these towns and listen to the people that we represent.

As I am writing this it is a Friday at the Capitol which means it is quite quiet around here. The Senate and House are only in session Monday-Thursday so that means no legislators are here which also means no lobbyists running around the Rotunda. Friday’s are nice as they allow us to catch up on work that may have fallen to the wayside during the week or finish large projects that have taken all week. It also means we get out a little early on Fridays which is always a positive for both us interns and the staff as well.

Next week floor debate on bills will begin and with it, some fireworks in the Senate Chambers I am sure.

Myself and fellow intern Jackie Sayers in the Iowa Capitol Rotunda heading out for the weekend.

Alex Salisbury '19

Alex is a history and political science major from Iowa City, Iowa.