Siouxland lawmakers share their reactions to Iowa collective bargaining bill
DES MOINES, IA (KTIV) -
It's the most significant change to Iowa's collective bargaining since the law was passed in 1974.
The reforms, favored by Republicans and opposed by Democrats, passed the House and Senate on a mostly party-line vote, Thursday afternoon.
The bill now heads to Governor Terry Branstad's desk after three days of debate.
The bill to reform collective bargaining in Iowa passed the Senate about an hour after passing the House.
The Republican-led Senate voted 29 to 21, with all Democrats and an Independent lawmaker opposed to the measure.
The vote followed debate that began Wednesday and continued overnight.
The Republican-led House also approved the measure, 53 to 47.
Siouxland lawmakers had very different reactions to Thursday's vote.
"I'm really excited, I think this is a great step forward step for Iowa," said Rep. Megan Jones, (R) Sioux Rapids, IA. "Far too long Iowans have been burdened with the tactics of the unions and it is a brighter day in Iowa and I cannot tell you how many people have emailed me or contacted me telling me how much they support my vote."
"It's just real devastating for the public workers in our area, including our teachers, the disrespect that they showed them," said Rep. Tim Kacena, (D) Sioux City. "They don't believe that the guards in our prison are public safety personnel. They don't believe that the probations that go out are public certainty as far as personnel go. It's just, it's horrible."
The bill passed the House with an amendment.
One thing included in the amendment is that the percentage of public safety employees would go from 50 percent to 30 percent.
Public safety is largely exempt from the bill.
So, when the percentage is lowered, lawmakers say it makes it easier for unions members to qualify as a public safety union.
The amendment also clarifies that employers are only required to provide health insurance coverage to full-time employees.
Iowa union and school leaders are rushing to complete contracts before the bill becomes state law.
It's expected that Governor Branstad will sign it.
The president of the Iowa Teachers Unions says more than 140 districts settled contracts in the past week.
And, seven of 40 districts, with multi-year contracts, extended them.