COUNCIL BLUFFS — Don't expect to have to show photo identification before voting any time soon.
At least that's the opinion of Iowa Senate Majority Leader Mike Gronstal of Council Bluffs, who said Saturday that such a bill would not move forward in the Senate this year.
Requiring voters to show photo ID has been the push of Iowa Secretary of State Matt Schultz, a former Council Bluffs City Council member who says it is a way to eliminate voter fraud — though cases of voter fraud have been rare nationwide.
"There is not a single county auditor who supports" the push, Gronstal said at Saturday's Legislative Coffee. "They all think it's an overreaction."
The Republican-led House has been more receptive to the idea.
"Even if one vote is not legitimate, that is one vote too much," said Rep. Mary Ann Hanusa of Council Bluffs. "I don't think it is too much to ask to show an ID."
Highlights of other matters discussed Saturday:
» It was noted that each chamber has passed its own version of commercial property tax reduction. Now the compromise begins.
"It's a starting place," Hanusa said. "We need to work together on a plan both sides can agree to."
» An increase in the state's gas tax is possible, but it may depend on the price at the pump, the lawmakers said.
"It's hard to tell," Gronstal said of the possible tax hike.
"It's going downhill," said Rep. Greg Forristall, R-Macedonia.
» Gov. Terry Branstad's education reform proposal has moved forward, the lawmakers said, though in a smaller version.
"We spent 14 hours on it in a subcommittee and reduced the 156-page bill down to 50 pages," Forristall said.
Gronstal said there is strong agreement in both parties for improved reading skills in early education — a key focus of that bill.