In a prior article , I had addressed concerns regarding Iowa Senate File 413, a bill to provide for Fair Share agreements in collective bargaining negotiations for public employees. I had understood this was the bill that was planned on being debated Monday of this week. As it turns out, this bill was assigned to committee at the end of the 2007 session period, and has not been brought to the floor of the Senate yet this year.
The bill that was actually being considered was House File 2645. Fair Share is NOT part of this bill, but part of the confusion I experienced was due to some statements made by Representative Christopher Rants (R-Sioux City) who interpreted some of the amendments put on the table by Democrats as being attempts to open the door to Fair Share.
That said, my comments about SF 413 continue to stand.
HF 2645 has been interesting nontheless. It appears to open collective bargaining to a larger set of issues and constrains further the local school districts’ ability to discipline teachers. The changes are pretty substantive around the text of the Public Employee Collective Bargaining part of the Iowa Code, as well as Teacher Contracts and Discipline. Many local school districts and local governments are opposed to the bill due to percieved increased costs and loss of control. The most surprising climax to this episode occured this week when Governor Culver announced that without further consideration and public comment on the bill, he was likely to veto it. This caught me off guard due to the fact the Democratic legislature has been rushing this bill through and the Governor is also a Democrat, but I will give Culver credit for recognizing the fact this bill does not have broad support around the state, deserves a meaningful public airing, and could backfire on Democrats in November.
The House has brought the bill back for reconsideration. We’ll see how the rest of this week goes.
I do apologize for the errors in my prior posting.