Here are a few quick observations from the bill-signing ceremony where Governor Chet Culver signed the reorganization bill into law.
Culver praised the bipartisan nature of the bill. Several dozen Democrats stood behind him while he spoke. No Republicans did. When asked about that, Culver said, "(West Des Moines Republican Representative) Peter Cownie was here. They (Republicans) were all over. There were a number of legislators who were sitting in the crowd and standing up. We had a pretty packed rotunda. And it was good to see my good friend, Peter Cownie, down here."
Cownie was the only Republican I saw near the signing. I did see a few others on the floor, but they were headed to the free Chinese lunch provided by Hy-Vee in honor of Multiple Sclerosis awareness. Democrats went there, too. That was the most obvious bipartisan event I saw during the day.
When asked about the fate of the governor's original plan to take $50 million from the Road Use Fund to pay for ongoing expenses for state troopers, the governor said, "Not going to happen."
When asked about how this $270 million in possible savings falls short of what his budget calls for, Culver said, "I felt really good about all of it." His budget calls for $341 in general fund savings, although Republicans contend only half of the reorganization bill savings actually will go toward the general fund. If my math is accurate, (and that's always doubtful) that could leave the governor's budget nearly $200 million short of what he would need.
Finally, as the governor was walking away from reporters following his remarks, he ran into Brigadier General Timothy Orr, the head of the Iowa National Guard. Culver asked whether the general would want to come back to his office to take a look at pictures from his recent trip to Iraq. Orr then followed him in.
We then went to lunch. Chinese sounded good.
Thanks for reading.