KEYC - Iowa Lawmakers Change Collective Bargaining Bill

Iowa Lawmakers Change Collective Bargaining Bill

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Several dozen people have turned up at the Iowa Capitol to watch lawmakers debate a bill that would limit how public workers can negotiate their working conditions.

Public galleries in the GOP-controlled Senate were nearly full by 6 p.m. Tuesday as lawmakers discussed details of a bill that would cut mandatory collective bargaining rights for public sector employees like teachers, nurses and correctional officers.

Lawmakers in the Senate began debating the bill around 4 p.m. The Republican-controlled House is expected to discuss the bill later Tuesday night.

Mary Beth West, a kindergarten teacher in Des Moines, says she came to the state Capitol to support her "brothers and sisters."

"I don't know what's going to become of this, but I need to be here every step of the way so I know I've done everything I can," she said.

5:00 p.m.

Democrats in the Iowa Legislature have introduced dozens of proposed changes to a GOP-backed bill that would cut most collective bargaining rights for public sector employees in the state.

Lawmakers filed more than 70 amendments in the Republican-majority House ahead of scheduled debate Tuesday. More than a dozen amendments were filed in the GOP-controlled Senate before debate in that chamber.

The process of reviewing all the proposed changes could take hours. It's unclear when formal votes will take place.

Republican lawmakers announced Tuesday afternoon they would also make some changes to the bill. Democrats say even with those changes, the legislation would gut the state's collective bargaining law.

4:40 p.m.

Republican lawmakers in the Iowa Legislature say they will propose some changes to a bill that would eliminate most collective bargaining rights for public sector employees.

Rep. Steven Holt, a Denison Republican, said Tuesday that GOP lawmakers plan to restore language in their legislation that under current law requires proper cause for suspensions or firings of workers.

Public sector employees said removing the language would make it easier to fire employees. Holt said Republicans believe there are additional worker protections, but they wanted to avoid confusion.

Other new GOP changes include removing some bargaining issues from a prohibited list that's in the bill. Democrats say the changes are not enough to offset the bill's negative impact.

The bill is scheduled for floor debate in the House and Senate on Tuesday.

9 a.m.

The Republican-controlled Iowa Legislature is moving to approve a bill that would cut most collective bargaining rights for public sector employees.

The bill is scheduled for floor debate Tuesday in the House and Senate, one week after it was made public. Republican lawmakers fast-tracked the legislation amid growing protests at the state Capitol. Hundreds turned out Monday night for a public hearing.

Procedural moves in both legislative chambers could take hours.

Iowa's collective bargaining law currently ensures roughly 180,000 public workers such as teachers, nurses and correctional officers can negotiate over issues including health insurance, extra pay and grievances. The bill would specifically prohibit those discussions, though a key GOP lawmaker says there may be changes to the bill.

Republicans say the legislation will give local officials more flexibility with budgets.

-KEYC News 12