This Week in Iowa 8/5/2017

In short we’ll be publishing a weekly review of Iowa politics, think of it like Buzzfeed but we won’t be lambasting you with ads and making you click through ten pages to read what we feel are the top most controversial or interesting developments in our state.

This week, in no specific order:

Iowa Legislature Moves To Take Public Unions’ Collective Bargaining Rights

As reported by both The The Des Moines Register and Iowa Public Radio, the Republicans in the Iowa legislature have moved forward with legislation concerning public unions and their bargaining rights. The proposed legislation would have a massive effect on how unions and their members votes are counted. The status quo of union voting is that the unions must have a majority of votes to enact some policy, to bargain for a higher wage, to barter for health benefits, a simple majority vote.

The proposed changes to law would change that from a simple vote to requiring a fifty percent plus one to enact changes to union policy, to propose changes to negotiations with the state or even to keep the union functioning. Simply put, a majority of union members would be required to vote to make any progress in negotiations. Abstaining votes would be counted as “against” votes to any proposals, thus ensuring if at least 51% of union members do not vote in favor, or do not vote, that the state will be able to write a new fiscal contract without the support of the union members. Not included in these governing changes is the assurances needed for workers to be able to cast a ballot at their workplace.

Iowa Board of Regents Does an Oops

Iowa, while being known for elementary education in the nation is not a leader in post-secondary education. The Iowa Board of Regents has continually been reducing funding for the three major state universities, Iowa State University, The University of Iowa and The University of Northern Iowa. Not only does inflation continue to rise along with the cost of living but the University of Iowa is receiving approximately $7 million dollars less than it did 20 years ago.

Beyond providing funding for our state universities, the Iowa Board of Regents was responsible for a funding faux pas that caused the universities to receive less funding in 2017 than they were told they would receive. With even less than the guaranteed funding received this year, and uncertain amounts of budgetary cuts for 2018 all universities in Iowa are struggling on how to appropriate available funds.

 

New Governor in Favor of Outside Investigation

The new governor of Iowa, Kim Reynolds, has told multiple press outlets that she is not opposed to a third-party investigation of a “sexually toxic workplace” described by Republican staffer Kirsten Anderson.

In an editorial moment I would like to state that the bipartisan divide that has been so poisonous to our nation can be healed by simple acts of humanity. I would personally urge that you contact her office here and encourage her to push for this.

 

Republicans Will Be Republicans

It is on federal record that Senators Chuck Grassley and Joni Ernst both voted for an ill-fated attempt to simply repeal the Affordable Care Act (or ACA or colloquially Obamacare) despite knowing how it both fail and affect the healthcare of many Iowans.

Grassley and Ernst have focused on 72,000 Iowans who buy their own insurance and could lose it next year if the sole remaining carrier of such policies pulls out,” reported the Des Moines Register last week. Grassley was later quoted that he would protect Iowans with a “stopgap” bill if the uncertainty caused by his vote on the repeal bill actually caused them to lose insurance.

“The American people deserve better than Obamacare’s failures,” Grassley was again quoted saying. In an effort to provide the citizens of this state with better healthcare he insists we first take it away.

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