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DES MOINES — Two of Governor Branstad’s top administrators have been in danger of being out of a job on May 1st. The Iowa Senate and the governor have an April 15th deadline to confirm state agency leaders for their posts. But the Republican-led senate failed to hold confirmation votes on about a dozen people this year — including the director of the Iowa Department of Natural Resources and the Iowa Lottery’s chief executive. But, because they’re LAW-makers, senators passed a resolution Wednesday to excuse their lapse.
Senate Republican Leader Bill Dix of Shell Rock says it’s fairly routine to miss the deadline. “This is something that Republicans have supported in the past when the Democrats brought it before us and other administrations going back over the years,” Dix said this afternoon, ” and it is something that we need to accomplish to continue to accomplish our work this year.” The directors of state agencies and members of state boards and commissions are nominated by the governor, THEN must be confirmed with at least 34 “yes” votes in the Iowa Senate by April 15th.
Senate Democratic Leader Rob Hogg of Cedar Rapids says Republicans have been too focused on “divisive issues” and “dropped the ball” on confirming officials to their positions in state government. “This is one of the basic functions of the senate and I’m somewhat surprised that the majority party and the governor’s office both failed to take this action last week before the April 15th deadline,” Hogg says. Hogg says Democrats won’t oppose the Republican’s proposed fix, but he says it may not solve the problem. Iowa law says the senate “shall…either approve, disapprove or defer” all confirmations “by April 15th.” Terms for state agency directors and members of boards and commissions begin May 1.