Iowa state government realignment underway

The legislature already agreed to Gov. Kim Reynolds' plan to reduce the number of cabinet-level departments from 37 to 16.
Published: Aug. 29, 2023 at 6:27 PM CDT
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DES MOINES, Iowa - The legislature already agreed to Gov. Kim Reynolds’ plan to reduce the number of cabinet-level departments from 37 to 16. Now, state leaders are reviewing Iowa’s more than 250 boards and commissions that oversee state operations.

Reynolds touted her government realignment bill on the campaign trail as 2024 candidates come to town. The Boards and Commissions Review Committee is in charge of seeing it through. Right now, they’re reviewing all 256 of Iowa’s state boards. Many are facing elimination or reorganization.

Republican State Representative Jane Bloomingdale says it’s time to clean house. “One thing I noticed is how many times I heard this committee hasn’t met in 10 years. Why do we have that border committee that hasn’t met in 10 years?” Bloomingdale said.

Bloomingdale says the reorganization is long overdue. “There’s redundancies they’re inefficiency and that’s what we’re looking for right now. So we’re in the beginning. This is the beginning process, just getting it put together. So I’m actually excited. I think it’s time for a review and some consolidation so we’ll see how it goes,” Bloomingdale said.

Democratic State Senator Janice Weiner says the process is moving too fast, and many Iowans may be unaware these meetings are happening.

“While I am 100% okay with getting rid of boards and commissions that haven’t done anything for a long time that are defunct that have already served their purpose. There are a lot of, there are a lot of commissions out there that affect a lot of Iowans’ lives,” Weiner said.

Weiner says these boards usually have experts on them, and also better represent the population.

“That’s another real advantage of some of these boards and commissions. There’s geographic distribution, there are people from different professions, and you get a real give and take,” Weiner said.

The next meeting in this process is Wednesday, September 6th. Iowans can register for public comment to weigh in on any proposed changes.

The review committee will send a final report to the legislature and governor at the end of next month. Then it’s up to lawmakers to implement the changes.