Iowa lawmakers begin new session

Iowa lawmakers kicked off 84th General Assembly Monday morning.

The House convened at 10:04 a.m. when Representative Lukan called the House to order.

The session will likely be dominated by talks of budget cuts to close an estimated $500 million shortfall.

In another change, four-term veteran Terry Branstad will return after a 12-year break. The Republican beat one-term Democratic Gov. Chet Culver in the November elections.

Although lawmakers are expected to focus on a shortfall in the next fiscal year of $500 million to $700 million, they also will consider other issues, including whether to seek the impeachment of Iowa Supreme Court justices who backed a gay marriage ruling.

Both of Southeast Iowa's Democratic lawmakers, Representative Jerry Kearns and Senator Gene Fraise are both returning to the Capital. But they returned to find things have changed a lot since last session.

This year the face of General Assembly has changed dramatically...thanks to a huge turnover in the House, where Republicans now hold a 60-seat to 40-seat majority.

Iowa Rep. Jerry Kearns said, "There's a 60-40 split in the house so they're going to pass whatever they want to pass. We'll work with them as the democratic party as long as we feel we can and we'll probably have a lot of disagreements as well."

Iowa Sen. Gene Fraise said, "Both sides will have to compromise because you can't get anything passed unless both sides agree. We're going to be in a compromising position."

Click here to get the minutes from the House and Senate.

Hear from local Southeast Iowa lawmakers tonight on KHQA evening news at six.