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Answering questions on the 21-ordinance

BY DI STAFF | MARCH 30, 2010 7:30 AM

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The council has approved the 21-ordinance twice, but the discussion isn’t over. The Daily Iowan answers some questions about the ongoing process.

Why is the council voting on the proposed 21-only ordinance numerous times?

State law requires city governments to approve ordinances three times before they can go into effect, City Attorney Eleanor Dilkes said. All ordinances approved by the council go through the same process.

Why did the council opt to hold a special meeting Monday night?

The council wants to pass final approval of the measure before early April. If the councilors don’t approve the third reading by April 8, a possible referendum might not make it onto the November 2010 ballot and then would likely be postponed until November 2011.

The law allows the City Council to collapse numerous readings into one meeting, but Dilkes said the councilors wanted to hold each of the readings on a separate date.

When will the councilors cast their third and final votes on the 21-only ordinance?

The final reading of the proposed measure will probably take place at the City Council’s next regularly scheduled meeting on April 6. If approved, the council will determine when the measure goes into effect. The most recent draft of the ordinance has a June 1 implementation date.

Is there any chance the measure will not be approved a third time?

The measure passed by a 6-1 vote the first two times, but any of the councilors are free to change their position for the final vote. Dilkes declined to speculate about whether she thought any of the councilors were likely to waver. However, in interviews with the DI, councilors have indicated that their support for — or, in Councilor Regenia Bailey’s case, opposition to — the ordinance is solid.

There has also been a push to change the bar age to 18. Is that measure moving forward?

Petitioners have not yet filed any signatures with the city clerk’s office. If they collect signatures from 2,500 registered voters, Iowa City officials will certify the signatures, and the council can vote to adopt the initiative or put it on the ballot.

If the 21-ordinance passes and is petitioned to a ballot referendum, could the 18-ordinance and 21-ordinance proceed simultaneously?

Yes. If both efforts garner the requisite votes, they could both be voted on by Iowa City voters in November.

— by Adam B Sullivan


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