DES MOINES, Iowa -- With a few strokes of a pen Governor Branstad could make major changes to the way 184,000 Iowans are allowed to collectively bargain.
On Thursday afternoon the Iowa House and Iowa Senate used a parliamentary procedure to speed up debate and force a vote on a bill that will drastically change how non-public safety public workers in the state can bargain. The bill removes the right for teachers, corrections workers and thousands of others to bargain for anything other than salary. For the last 40 years they had been able to bargain for insurance benefits and other perks.
The bill passed mostly along party lines in both sides of the legislature. The vote in the House was 53-47 with six Republicans joining all 41 Democrats. In the Senate the vote was 29 to 21 with all Republicans voting in favor of the bill and all Democrats and Independent David Johnson voting against it.
The votes brought an end to a marathon debate session that begin Wednesday afternoon in the State Senate and continued through the night before finally coming to an end around 3:00pm Thursday.
The bill now waits for Governor Branstad's signature and there is no indication he won't sign it. If and when he does sign it that could start another battle. AFSCME President Danny Homan announced Thursday afternoon that the bill is unconstitutional and he plans to challenge it in court if it were to become law.