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Iowa governor blocks bill aimed at stopping anti-Trump suits

Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds - AP image

The measure Reynolds vetoed Wednesday was targeted at stopping Iowa Attorney General Tom Miller from joining multistate lawsuits filed against the federal government. Republicans argued Miller had sued Trump too much.

Posted: May 22, 2019 10:38 AM
Updated: May 22, 2019 11:35 AM

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds on Wednesday vetoed a measure that Republican lawmakers pushed through in the final days of the legislative session to stop the state's Democratic attorney general from filing or joining lawsuits challenging President Donald Trump's policies.

The measure Reynolds vetoed was targeted at stopping Iowa Attorney General Tom Miller from joining multistate lawsuits filed against the federal government. Republicans argued Miller had sued Trump too much.

The proposal would have required the attorney general to get the permission from the governor, Legislature or state executive council before filing any out-of-state court action. Iowa would have been the only state with such limits.

After Reynolds announced the veto, Miller issued a statement saying he'd agree to "get the consent" of the governor before joining such lawsuits. He acknowledged the agreement meant he'd stop suing the Trump administration.

"I am reassured by the fact that the cases will continue to be brought by my 26 Democratic Attorney General colleagues, and they will do a very effective job," Miller said.

Miller said he agreed to the deal with Reynolds to ensure those who hold the office in the future would retain the office's powers.

"A long time ago when I was first elected Attorney General of Iowa, my elders — the other state Attorneys General — preached to me the importance of the powers and duties of our office and the great obligation to protect those powers and duties," Miller said. "I will not be haunted by the ghosts of my elders."

In a statement Reynolds released after vetoing parts of a justice system budget bill that included the limits on the attorney general's authority, the Republican governor expressed concerns about Miller's decision to join lawsuits she said didn't reflect the "policy goals of the Legislature and governor."

However, Reynolds said she worried about reducing the attorney general's power.

"I am cautious about approving a provision that redefines the scope of the Attorney General's duties because I am mindful that the Attorney General is also elected by, and directly accountable to, the people of Iowa," she said in a statement.

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