TEMPERS FLARE IN THE IOWA SENATE

Rod Boshart
Published: March 4 2014 | 12:41 pm - Updated: 1 April 2014 | 9:08 am in

Two state senators broke into a shouting match on the Iowa Senate floor Tuesday over a health insurance bill. The accelerating verbal exchange was triggered when Sen. Mark Chelgren, R-Ottumwa, called out Sen. Tom Courtney, D-Burlington, for not being responsive to a constituent’s request for information – prompting Courtney to make the same charge against Chelgren during his rebuttal time. Chelgren and other senators called for a point of order and the two rushed to the well where the presiding officer had summoned them, shouting at each other as they approached with Courtney calling Chelgren a “lying son of a gun” and Chelgren making counter charges against Courtney. Order was restored after some heated exchanges in the well and Senate Majority Leader Mike Gronstal, D-Council Bluffs, broke the tension by calling a closed-door caucus of majority Democrats. Debate resumed after a brief break with presiding officer Sen. Steve Sodders, D-State Center, admonishing all present to observe the chambers' rules of decorum. Senators then voted 49-0 to pass Senate File 2320 with bipartisan support.

 

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