Common Good Iowa

CGI Statement: Pause Reorg Bill to Protect Iowans' Rights, Voices

March 14, 2023

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Protect checks and balances in Iowa

Give public a chance to assist on government reorganization

DES MOINES, Iowa (March 14, 2023) — Common Good Iowa released the following statement from Executive Director Anne Discher about the government reorganization bill, House File 662, to be considered Wednesday in the Iowa House of Representatives.

“Everyone should want government to operate efficiently and transparently in delivering services. When Governor Reynolds proposed a reorganization to achieve these ends, it made sense to consider. As she notes on her website, it has been nearly 40 years since Iowa state government has had a serious review. As the years go by and duties and offices are added and shifted, it’s entirely possible we’ve arrived at a structure that doesn’t best serve the state.

“But this should not be the rush job she and legislative leaders are making of it. Her proposal sailed through the Senate. The House is scheduled to consider a version of it, House File 662, on Wednesday. Less than 24 hours before that debate, there remains no official fiscal analysis for the 1,542-page bill. Lobbyist declarations are overwhelmingly undecided.

“Speaker Grassley should pull the bill and put it into study committees for the interim months between this session and next. Iowans deserve a chance to be heard, and not just in the dismissive subcommittee atmosphere where short comments are permitted but rarely affect legislation.

“The Governor wants to reduce the number of cabinet-level departments from 37 to 16. Maybe that's the right number. Maybe not. Let's talk about it. Because more important than the numbers is whether services are delivered properly — and whether checks and balances on power are maintained or even improved.

“For example, the bill undermines the independence of the Office of Consumer Advocate (OCA), a longstanding independent participant in utility rate cases to represent ratepayers. As the Iowa Environmental Council, Environmental Law and Policy Center and others have noted, the OCA's work resulted in $76 million in savings to consumers by cutting Alliant Energy's last rate increase by 38 percent. The Governor’s proposal would put the OCA under the political thumb of the attorney general, making it vulnerable to influence from powerful forces in our state.

“By giving everyone a chance to come to the table, we can make sure the best reorganization emerges — one that protects rights, pocketbooks and services that make Iowa an attractive place for families and businesses.”


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Common Good Iowa is a nonpartisan, nonprofit organization built on a collective 50 years of experience of two respected Iowa organizations — the Child and Family Policy Center and Iowa Policy Project. Our policy advocates and researchers leverage reliable data, solid analysis and collaborative relationships to craft people-centered policy solutions for our state’s most pressing issues.


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