Week 9:
Debate, Debate, Debate, Presidential Candidate, Debate

Ringgenberg Fellow in Legislative Affairs

Iowa State Senate Democratic Research Staff | Des Moines, Iowa

March 14, 2019

Hello again! This was the first week in the State Senate of full floor debate. Last week came and went and with it, the deadline to pass bills out of committees and subcommittees has come and gone. That week is known as “funnel week” as all the bills must be passed so a funnel is created. Once passed that stage the Senate Majority Leader, Republican Jack Whitver of Ankeny, determines the Senate calendar. This gives Sen. Whitver the power to decide when specific bills will be brought to the floor, when bills will be delayed, or not put on the docket at all. While Republicans control the order that bills are brought for debate they started the first week of floor debate with relative bipartisanship. Most of the bills brought to the floor were non-controversial bills or “non-cons.” These are bills that both sides want to pass and are usually common sense in nature. This is a good way to start out session on hopefully the right foot and allows the Senate to focus on lengthy proceedings later in session. Due to this first week of floor debate on bills passing by not an incredible amount of excitement occurred at the Capitol.

As I have written about before and what is nearly becoming a weekly occurrence I met another “potential” Democratic nominee for President of the United States. This week it was Congressman Eric Swalwell of California who surprisingly like myself is a native Iowan. He now represents California’s 15th district, which is in the Bay Area, and chairs the House Intelligence Committee. While Representative Swalwell has not declared that he is running for President he has mentioned that he is open to the idea. I got to see a slightly different side of the Congressman though. The event I went to was a house party hosted by the head of the Asian-Latino Coalition of Iowa. Rep. Swalwell fielded questions about the rise of nationalism in India, the tensions on the Indian-Pakistani border, and the trade war with the Chinese. I was impressed with Swalwell’s calm effective demeanor in answering tough policy heavy questions. I think his viewpoint and expertise in foreign affairs will be interesting to see in the primary process.

Myself with California Congressman Eric Swalwell.


Alex Salisbury '19

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