2019 Legislative Session - Week 2
Thursday, January 31, 2019
Despite having less time due to the MLK Day holiday, lawmakers significantly picked up their pace for the second week of the 2019 legislative session. With each chamber filing more than 100 bills between Tuesday and Friday, there are now at least 350 measures up for consideration.
Meanwhile, Rep. Michael Bergan (R-Dorchester) is one step closer to retaining his seat in northern Iowa’s contested House District 55 race. Last November, Bergan won a narrow victory against Democratic challenger Kayla Koether by nine votes. The Winneshiek County auditor initially disqualified 29 mail-in ballots because they didn’t have a postmark. Koether argued the ballots should be opened, because barcodes affixed by the US Postal Service proved they were mailed on time. Although state law says “intelligent barcodes” are as valid as postmarks, it’s an open question whether the stickers on the 29 ballots meet that definition. Bergan contended the ballots did not qualify. Ultimately, the five-person committee voted along party lines in Bergan’s favor. The full House is expected to debate and certify Bergan’s reelection. House District 55 includes parts of Winneshiek, Fayette and Clayton counties, including the communities of Decorah, Fayette and Elkader. Bergan’s victory would cement the House GOP’s majority at 54-46.