Collective Bargaining

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

We spent the entire week last week debating a collective bargaining bill. This bill has been one of the biggest challenges in my nine years and changes how public union employees bargain in employment matters.

The reasoning for changing this part of the Iowa Code was to create more opportunity for schools, cities and counties to pay based on merit and allow employees to get paid at different rates. It took away the “one size fits all approach.” It also took insurance, vacation, hours and other leaves of absence off the bargaining table.

A tough -to - find science or math teacher may also get paid at a higher rate. It also gets the government out of the business of using taxpayer money to collect union dues.

Over the past week I have received many emails, texts, and phone calls concerning this issue. I have talked with superintendents, teachers, association presidents, DOC officers, and city employees about this bill.  I have heard many concerns and opinions both in disagreement and in support of changing collective bargaining.  This was a tough bill to pass as it affects our great Northwest Iowa city and county workers and teachers.

Prison Industries

I worked on passing a bill last week that allows the private sector to compete with items being made by prison industries.  The items being made by our prisoners are amazing - desks, chairs, picnic tables fire pits and many other great items.

This all sounds great, but our private sector businesses cannot compete against the massive prison workshop that pays prisoners only $1.  The bill would allow for the private sector to compete.

5-Cent Refund-ability on Cans

The State has had the can redemption plan for over 25 years.  There are several bills that are getting serious consideration that would end this program and use some of the funds for better recycling programs in the State.  This may be time to move forward and sunset this program.

Right to Try Bill

The Legislature is working toward passing a bill that would allow those who are terminally ill to try experimental drugs. The bill would remove liability from the drug companies so experimental drugs could be tried without penalty.  This may be a good bill as many drugs need years of testing before they hit the market.

My forum for this week will be this Friday, February 24, at Danny’s Sports Spot in Cherokee.