Our Opinion: The funnel is necessary

Friday, March 24, 2006

At the end of this week, many items before the Iowa State Legislature will be dead for the remainder of the legislative season under the legislature's self-imposed "funnel."

Bills that have not gotten committee approval by Friday will be eliminated in the session that ends this spring. Exceptions are budget and tax bills which are exempt from the funnel rules.

The funnel is necessary for the legislature to keep its work load at a manageable level.

Although it would be ideal if all matters brought before the legislature received public debate, practical considerations outweigh what would be ideal.

In order to give proper attention to the bills that remain before the legislature, bills that are perennial pet projects of their supporters need to be trimmed from the list. It is appropriate that such topics as the death penalty should be fully debated once or twice in a decade, but they don't need the annual review that some would like.

Along with a death penalty bill, other likely victims of the funnel this year include a minimum wage bill, a bill that would prevent school from starting before Aug. 25 and others.

Perhaps those issues will get the attention their supporters would like next year. Right now, the legislature has more pressing matters for its attention.