525 Passes

After three days of debate, the House passed House File 525 on Friday. I’ve briefly mentioned this bill in previous newsletters. House File 525 makes changes designed to save taxpayer’s dollars. The bill does not eliminate Iowa’s collective bargaining law, rather it addresses two things: what is within the scope of negotiations between management and labor along with arbitration procedures. We’re simply leveling the playing field for taxpayers.

This bill addresses the cost of government in Iowa. Today, 84% of state employees pay nothing for their health care. Republicans added a provision that required each public employee covered by a collective bargaining agreement to pay at least $100 for the own health insurance. Employees not covered by a collective bargaining agreement, which includes state legislators, were previously required to contribute at least $100 towards their own health care coverage in both House File 45 and Senate File 209.

The state can no longer afford and the taxpayers can no longer support health care insurance which does not require the employee to at least contribute something to their own health care coverage.

The list of items that will still be bargained for is largely unchanged and still includes: wages, hours, vacations, insurance, holidays, leaves of absence, shift differentials, overtime compensation, supplemental pay, seniority, transfer procedures, job classifications, health and safety matters, evaluation procedures, in-service training, and other matters mutually agreed upon.
The reform measure allows arbitrators flexibility when dealing with contract negotiations. Currently arbitrators are forced to pick either management’s offer or the union’s offer. The bill will allow arbitrators the ability to find a middle ground between the positions and will save taxpayers money.
The bill was approved Friday afternoon a very long, very open and transparent debate. House File 525 saw 15 hours of debate in the House Labor Committee and approximately 30 hours debate on the House Chamber. There was also a 2 hour public hearing held earlier this week on the bill. The bill passed the House, 60 to 40, and now moves to the Senate for consideration.

Thank you to those of you who live in my district that have been returning my survey. Every year I send this survey to voters in my district to get your thoughts, ideas, and opinions on various issues that will be before the Legislature. I appreciate you taking the time to fill out these surveys and return them to me.

As always, please let me know if you have any questions or concerns –you can contact me at kraig.paulsen@legis.state.ia.us or (515) 281-3521.