UPDATE: Iowa House questioned about changes before gas tax vote - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

UPDATE: Iowa House questioned about changes before gas tax vote

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DES MOINES (KWWL) -

A committee shift before a close vote on the gas tax has us asking about the law.

This week, Republican House Speaker Kraig Paulsen made changes to a House committee before the vote on a $0.10 increase to the gas tax.

He replaced one member of the ways and means committee, bringing in a lawmaker who supports the bill. Paulsen also planned to temporarily replace another committee member so that he, himself, could cast a 'yes' vote.

The bill passed that House committee in a 13-12 vote Thursday.

KWWL asked the legislature about the law that allows the speaker to remove committee members.  A House GOP spokeswoman directed us to House Rule 46, which says, "All committees shall be appointed by the speaker, unless otherwise especially directed by the House."

"This is not a new occurrence – committee membership changes have been made in the House during session 14 times since 2010, four just this year alone. Frankly, the Speaker made committee changes on Tuesday after the newest member was sworn in," said Iowa House Republicans Communications Director Josie Albrecht.

KWWL went through legislative records and found that five members of various committees were removed on Tuesday "due to the election of David Sieck to District 23." No explanation was given in the legislative record for the committee changes that happened before the gas tax vote on Thursday.

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Des Moines (AP) - Republican House Speaker Kraig Paulsen made some key changes to a House committee to help ensure there were enough votes to pass a bill raising the state fuel tax.

Paulsen said Thursday he had replaced one member of the ways and means committee, bringing in a lawmaker who supports the bill instead of a member who opposed it. Paulsen also planned to temporarily replace another committee member so that he himself could cast a yes vote.

Paulsen said he needed to make sure that "bills the body wants to debate can get to the floor." The bill passed the House committee in a 13-12 vote Thursday.

The Senate ways and means committee also approved the bill Thursday afternoon.

KWWL's Jerry Gallagher contributed to this report.

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