On Tuesday, August 29, the Boards and Commissions Review Committee, which was created in Gov. Reynold’s government re-alignment bill earlier this year, proposed its initial recommendations. The recommendations include eliminating or consolidating over 100 boards and commissions in the state of Iowa, including the Commission on Community Action Agencies, Board of Dietetics, Local Food and Farm Program Council, Iowa Commission on Volunteer Service, Iowa Council on Homelessness, Child Care Advisory Committee, and numerous other concerning recommendations.
The committee will submit a final report to the Governor and state legislature by September 30. Last Tuesday it was also announced that there will be ONE public input hearing on the recommendations. The public input hearing is scheduled for Wednesday, September 6, at 12:00pm in Room 103 of the Iowa State Capitol. It is scheduled to last 2 hours, and speakers will be given a maximum of 2 minutes to share their comments. If you would like to sign up to speak, you must email BCRCcomments@iowa.gov – please include your name and any organization you are representing. And even if you’re not comfortable in speaking, please show up to show that Iowans are paying attention and are concerned with these recommendations! You can also email public comments to BCRCcomments@iowa.gov.
Keep in mind – these are just recommendations. No board or commission will be eliminated on September 30. Actual elimination would require legislative action. But it’s certainly something to be concerned about, as we are only four months away from the 2024 Iowa legislative session. Now is the time to reach out to your legislators to educate them on the importance of these boards and commissions.
Unfortunately, we don’t have a lot of context on what went into these recommendations. The entire committee process was conducted in a way to skirt public oversight. According to reporting from Caleb McCullough in the Cedar Rapids Gazette, “to create the recommendations, the six-member board was broken up into subcommittees of two members, allowing the subcommittees to meet privately without violating Iowa’s open meetings law. The recommendations were not made public before Tuesday’s meeting.”
Some of these recommendations to merge, consolidate, or eliminate boards and commissions may be making minor changes. Others would eliminate major programs. But one thing is clear – these recommendations are about consolidating power in the executive branch and limiting public oversight of state government.