Too dangerous? Iowa Senate bans box-stacking tradition for pages –

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Stacking cardboard boxes from the floor of the Iowa Senate chamber until they reach the Senate gallery is a longstanding ritual for high school pages that means the Iowa Legislature is nearing adjournment of its annual session.

But Republicans who took control of the Senate in the 2017 session have ordered Senate pages not to engage in the practice of stacking boxes anymore as a safety precaution. High school students who serve as pages began folding cardboard into boxes on Monday so that Senate members can haul their paperwork home. But they told The Des Moines Register they had been instructed not to pile the boxes into large, tall columns as pages before them have historically done for many years in the past.

“We are accountable for peoples’ children here and they are high school students,” said Ed Failor Jr., top aide to Senate Majority Leader Bill Dix. “We are just concerned with their safety and we just don’t feel that them standing in the balcony and leaning over and stacking boxes is a responsible way for us to be accountable for their children.”

Senate Republicans have promoted legislation this session that has promoted gun rights and use of fireworks as “freedom” issues. But Failor said that is an “apples and oranges” comparison to allowing student pages to stack boxes 25 or 30 feet high.

Nonetheless, Sen. Joe Bolkcom, D-Iowa City, expressed disappointment.

“That’s too bad. It’s another Senate tradition down the tubes,” he said.

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