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Rep. Steckman: Bill advancing that would allow “politicians and campaign donors” to pick Iowa judges

The following is a legislative update from Democratic Rep. Sharon Steckman, who represents the middle third of Cerro Gordo county:

Last week, the Senate Judiciary Committee approved a bill to change the current system Iowa uses to pick judges to one that will inject politics into the court nominating system. The House is currently considering the same bill – one that will let politicians and campaign donors pick Iowa judges. The bill passed out of the Judiciary Committee on Wednesday.

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce ranks Iowa 9th best in the nation for the impartiality of our judges – a reputation that we have enjoyed for decades. I believe that the last thing we need is a power grab that threatens the checks and balances of our system of government. This legislation would mean that the party that controls the executive and legislative branches of government would also control the judicial branch.

Because it means a change to the Iowa Constitution, the bill must pass two consecutive Assemblies. Therefore, if it passes this year, it must also pass during the 2021-22 General Assembly as well.

If you believe our courts should remain fair, impartial, and non-partisan, you can sign a petition at here. I will keep you informed as this bill moves along.

Some bills came to the floor this week but they were all non-controversial, merely providing tweaks to current laws. However, there are several coming down the pipeline that may be cause for concern. I will write about those as they move through the process.

Our excellent caucus staff provides us with their research, in addition to our own, that helps the representatives on my side of the aisle understand fully the details and consequences of each piece of proposed legislation. The work that they do is invaluable to me as I not only need to stay informed on all of the work that is being done in committees on which I serve, but also in those on which I do not serve.

FORUM
Saturday, March 2
10:00 – 11:30
Mason City Public Library

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