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Iowa Legislature

Senator Matt McCoy: No More Iowa Nice

The senator takes the gloves off and explains how things are.

They [Republicans] have stopped listening. The only thing they will understand is raw power at the ballot box.

This 1-hour legislative forum was broadcast live Sunday on Facebook.  It is safe to watch because there is no screaming and yelling, but there are pointed questions asked in a civil manner and honestly and frankly answered.  It is serious, informative, funny, upbeat, real, amazing, and inspiring. Listen to it while you are doing something else on the computer; you will not be sorry.  Topics: ALEC and the Koch Brothers, the terrible collective bargaining bill, gerrymandering, confronting GOP lies, Dems’ new campaign strategy, how we will fight back, what they did to beat Gronstal, and much more!

I promise you will not feel demoralized or defeated after watching; you will feel like getting out there and joining the fight.

The forum actually starts at about the 9-minute mark.

Legislative Forum, Live With Senator Matt McCoy

Posted by Matt McCoy on Sunday, February 19, 2017

SCREWED

Republicans That Voted Against Iowa Workers

I write this just after learning that the Iowa legislature has set the state back about a century as they strip public unions of almost all rights they have in the workplace.

Republicans have their usual BS reasons why it was such a great bill – efficiency, blah, blah, saves money, blah, blah. All of these reasons have been refuted by economists. Iowans called en masse to oppose this bill. But all that means little to nothing to Republicans. They don’t have the 2 million or so Iowa voters to answer to. Nope, they answer to Charles and David Koch and the other members of ALEC.

In what had to be one of the oddest scenes in a whole strange week. Republican legislators went behind closed doors to get a pep talk from Wisconsin’s big union buster and puppet of the Koch Brothers, Scott Walker. This is time that could have been used listening to constituents. I jest of course. They don’t care about constituents. They care about Koch Brother’s money.

Rick Smith at the Iowa Daily Democrat has a great story that lists some of the major donors to Iowa Republicans through a Koch operation. For Republicans these are the people they work for.

Nor do they worry about being re-elected. The next order of business will be to restrict voting. I suspect they will really clamp down on student voting and make it much harder to vote absentee.

Busting the unions will most likely have a very deleterious effect on Iowa’s economy as pointed out in this study by Peter Fisher of the Iowa Policy Project.

Will businesses worry about the loss of business due to the cuts Iowa’s public sector workers will suffer? Well, then it is time for more tax cuts! Sadly these tax cuts may not do a lot of good for small businesses in small town Iowa but then someone has to take one for the team and I guess you were chosen.

And for an extra kick in the teeth, expect congressional Republicans to repeal and not replace the ACA. They have a promise of huge tax cuts for the wealthy and that is one promise they will most likely keep. Without the ACA the cost of health insurance will go up across the board to cover the cost of care for those who are no longer able to get insurance after the ACA is repealed.

So the state workers will get increasingly lousier insurance to “save money.” (remember those tax cuts? That was money.) Therefore the burden of higher copays and deductibles will fall back on union workers who will have no power to bargain.

Since this affects about 15% of Iowa workers, expect it to make a noticeable dent in our economy., especially in the small towns Iowa Republicans claim to love so much.

I frequently heard this fall how union members in Iowa were turning out for Republicans because they were going to shake things up. Well they did, didn’t they? Republicans never really told you what they were going to do.

However, if you are a working person and a union member you should have learned by now to always ask yourself when a Republican says he or she is going to help you out – Just exactly when has a Republican ever helped a working person out? I can’t remember a time, but then I have only been around about seven decades.

Iowa Republicans will probably get a special mention at the summer ALEC meeting in Denver next July 19th – 21st.

Perhaps the worst part of all this is that reversing insanity like this is not as simple as just voting for Democrats. Besides a massive turn in the legislature we also need a new progressive governor. Those have been a rarity in Iowa. Remember, voting will soon be different also. In power grabs like this, one of the most important things to do is to stack the deck in favor of your side.

So sad to see this happen to what was once a wonderful state full of wonderful and thoughtful people.

This Week’s Legislative Forums

The vote by the Iowa House and Senate has been taken, and the Governor has signed it. We can’t let up on these elected representative. They need to hear from you how you feel about their vote on this issue, and the many other attacks they are planning on Iowa working families.

Please attend as many of these forums as you can. Bring friends!

We are also asking every one to call the Governors office and let them know how your feel about this blatant attack on Iowa Working Familes. 515-281-5211

ALTOONA (Priority)
Saturday February 18 – 10 AM.
ALtoona HyVee Club Room. 108 8th st SW, Altoona

ANAMOSA
Saturday February 18: 9 AM
Legislative Forum McOtto’s, 100 Chamber Dr, Anamosa

ARLINGTON
February 18, 9:00 AM
Arlington Community Center 853 Main St, Arlington

BOONE (Priority)
February 18, 8:00 Am
Ericson Public Library, 2nd Floor702 Greene St, Boone

BETTENDORF
State Representative Gary Mohr Constituent Meetings:
Every Friday 9AM at the Hyvee, 2900 Devils Glen Road, Bettendorf, IA

BURLINGTON (Priority)
Saturday, February 18: 9:30 AM
Legislative Forum at Burlington Library: 210 Court Street

CEDAR RAPIDS (Priority)
Saturday, February 18: 10:30 a.m.-11:45 a.m.
Legislative Forum with Linn County Area Legislators at Mercy Medical Center in the Hallagan Ed Center, 701 10th Street SE.

Saturday, February 18: 12:00 – 1:00 PM
United Labor Alliance Legislative Luncheons at Carpenters Local 308, 305 Waconia Court, SW, Cedar Rapids, IA

CHARLES CITY
February 23: 10:00 AM
Floyd County Courthouse 101 S Main St, Charles City

CRESTON
Saturday, February 18: 8 a.m.-9 a.m.
Legislative Coffee at The Depot

DECORAH (Priority)
February 18: 11:15 AM
Decorah City Hall, 400 Clairborne Dr. Decorah

DES MOINES (Priority)
February 19: 2PM
Des Moines Public Library, 1000 Grand Ave, Des Moines

February 20: 8 AM
Grounds for Celebration 2645 Beaver Ave, Des Moines

FAIRFIELD
Saturday February 18 – 7:30 AM
Fairfield Public Library, 104 W Adams Ave, Fairfield

FORT DODGE
February 18, 10am – 12pm
Where Elderbridge Agency On Aging, 308 Central Ave, Fort Dodge

GARNER
February 21: 2:15 PM
Hancock County Courthouse, 855 State St, Garner

GLENWOOD
February 18, 9:00 AM
Glenwood City Hall, 5 North Vine st. Glenwood

HARLAN
February 18: 10:00 AM
Nishnabotna Valley REC 1317 Chatburn, Harlan

IOWA FALLS
February 21: 7:45
Iowa Falls Fire Department, 218 South River St. Iowa Falls

JANESVILLE
February 18, 9:00 AM
City Hall 227 Main st, Janesville

NEWTON
Saturday March 18: 9 AM
Legislative Forum. Newton HyVee Club Room, 1501 First Ave E, Newton

NORTHWOOD
February 18: 8 AM
Northwood City Hall, 627 Central Ave. Northwood

OKOBOJI
February 18: 11:30 AM
Pearson Lakes Art Center

RED OAK
February 18, 7:00 AM
Red Oak YMCA, 101 Cherry St, Red Oak

SIGOURNEY
February 18: 1 PM
Keokuk County Courthouse, 101 S Main St. Sigourney

SPENCER
Saturday, February 18: 9 a.m.-10:30 a.m.
Eggs & Issues at Spencer City Hall in the Council Chamber, 418 2nd Ave W.

STORM LAKE
Saturday February 18 : 9AM
King’s Pointe Banquet Room 1520 E Lakeshore Dr. Storm Lake

TRIPOLI (Priority)
February 18: 11:00 AM
Tripoli Library, 101 4th Ave SW, Tripoli

WASHINGTON
Saturday February 18: 10 AM
Legislative Forum- Washington City Hall 215 E Washington St, Washington IA

WEST BURLINGTON
February 18, 9:15
West Burlington City Hall, 122 Broadway St, West Burlington

Iowa Republicans Don’t Know What Is In Their Union Busting Bill

…because they didn’t write it… and apparently,  haven’t read it.

From Iowa House Dems Facebook page

Need more proof #ALEC #KochBros #AFP wrote the bill to gut collective bargaining behind closed doors without input from Iowans? Watch this. The Republican Chair of the Labor Committee can’t answer basic questions and doesn’t even have a copy of the bill. #ialegis #saveIAworkers

 

Republican Dave Deyoe Can't Answer Questions

Need more proof #ALEC #KochBros #AFP wrote the bill to gut collective bargaining behind closed doors without input from Iowans? Watch this. The Republican Chair of the Labor Committee can't answer basic questions and doesn't even have a copy of the bill. #ialegis #saveIAworkers

Posted by Iowa House Democrats on Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Raucous Rally At The Statehouse Monday

Senator Nate Boulton kicks off Monday’s rally at the Iowa Statehouse.

SHARE this video and visit saveiowaworkers.com to TAKE ACTION.

 

Sen Nate Boulton and the Senate Democrats speak up for Iowa wo…

Senator Nate Boulton kicks off Monday's rally at the Iowa Statehouse.SHARE this video and visit saveiowaworkers.com to TAKE ACTION.

Posted by Iowa Senate Democrats on Monday, February 13, 2017

Busting Iowa’s Public Unions


(2 minutes)

Looks like Republicans will finally achieve one of Terry Branstad’s dreams: public unions are on the verge of being effectively destroyed in Iowa.

The Iowa Policy Project did an analysis of the effects of the republican attacks on collective bargaining. While some legislators no doubt deeply believe that they are serving a major smack-down to unions that are out of control and way overpaid, they seldom think of the ripple effects.

As IPP notes the ripple effects will be especially felt in rural areas where state and local governments are some of the best employment opportunities in this areas.

Public employees are a significant share of the Iowa workforce and live and work in every Iowa county, from the most urban to the most rural. Of the nearly 1.6 million nonfarm payroll jobs in Iowa, about 1 in 7 jobs — 238,500 — are in state and local government. These workers are important to the state’s economy, as taxpayers supporting local schools and state and local services, and as consumers supporting local businesses and other private sector jobs.

Potential impact of changes in a law directly affecting the working conditions of such a large number of Iowans, who are engaged in every aspect of essential public service from the local to the state level, will be significant and widespread. From snowplow drivers to nurses, teachers to custodians, police, dispatchers, fire fighters, county clerks, librarians, social workers, corrections officers, paraeducators, and many other public employees in communities across Iowa could see changes in their pay, benefits and working conditions. Such changes would, in turn, have consequences for local economies, public services, and Iowa’s labor market as a whole.

New limitations on collective bargaining predictably opens the door to erosion of wages, benefits, and working conditions in public employment, and corresponding spillover effects of downward pressure on wages and working conditions in the private sector. Such labor market effects have become evident in Wisconsin five years after dramatic collective bargaining changes were enacted, and lawmakers in Iowa should be wary of the statewide economic impact likely to accompany any such changes here. Since 2011, Wisconsin has fallen to 40th of 50 states in job growth, and 42nd in wage growth.[3]

Any decline in the number or quality of public sector jobs will have a disproportionate effect on Iowa’s rural communities because, as the USDA notes, the public sector is a “major source of earned income in rural areas” that tend to attract far fewer of the financial, professional, or information service activities concentrated in urban areas.[10] Eroding the quality of public sector jobs in Iowa will further exacerbate recent effects of unprecedented declining public-sector employment levels following the last recession, which USDA data suggests are already causing negative effects in rural counties, along with negative multiplier effects on private-sector employment.[11]

The article goes into much greater detail documenting the potential effects. The point is simply this: Unions have not caused any problems in the Iowa economy. They do not exist in a vacuum and the huge changes to the current system that will result in negative impact on the workers will have a great effect on the Iowa economy as a whole.

Drastic changes like this dovetail nicely with Republican long term goals of destroying unions. The major reason behind the destruction of the unions is the unions role as the main base for the Democratic Party and their legally recognized role as bargaining units. As bargaining units unions were once able to help the common worker achieve middle class and dignity.

Since unions were given legal backing during the New Deal, Republicans have had unions in their legislative sights.

Republicans have used a vast amount of lies to push for the end of unions. Now they are within grasp of that goal. This has been one of the main reasons that businesses and corporations have backed Republicans. Without legal recognition of unions, corporations believe that their profits will soar as they can get labor on the cheap. This is of course the logic behind moving their manufacturing offshore – cheap labor.

What they forget is that in order to sell their widgets and other crap, they must have customers. As wages stagnate and even depress, as other fixed costs such as health insurance and housing squeeze the family budget even more, the customer base is drying up. As with many things the small business person is hit first.

Nothing happens in a vacuum.

Republicans Have A Great Week


(6 minutes)

The Country Reels

They Have Been Dreaming About This One For Nearly A Century.

One can only guess what kind of wet dreams Republicans are having after this week.

At a national level they proved that qualifications mean nothing. All of the levers of government will now be controlled not by men and women of knowledge and experience but by those who have something much more important – the right ideology. The only logic I can get out of this is that they believe that there is something divine that will keep the US from erring, as long as they run the government with the right ideology.

At both the state and national level schools and teachers felt a real kick in the crotch and boot in the face as republicans started lining up the strategy to demolish the public education system.

Installing Betsy DeVos as education secretary was a double finger and a moon to Americans. This is Republican’s way of letting us know that our kids only have value to them as a commodity to fill their for profit schools.

In Iowa the ongoing starvation of education took a huge step forward as Republicans piggybacked on a shortfall in revenue to take the knife to education. Once upon a time in Iowa – in an Iowa that actually valued education – such a situation would be met with a temporary tax or at least a bi-partisan study to save the best education system in the land. Times like that seem like a dream.

Now on both the state and the national level, the push is to make public education looks so bad that parents will be begging for private for profit education systems to save their kids from the horrible public schools.

You may think this is an outrage and you would be very correct. So what are you going to do? Vote the scoundrels out? Sorry but they are a step ahead of the masses. While Democrats were tweaking existing voting systems to represent everyone, Republicans were busy destroying both the system and the confidence in it. Along with destroying our public education system Republicans already have several steps into making our voting system heavily in their favor.

With 32 states having the toxic combination of control of both houses of the state legislature and the governor’s chair, expect an onslaught of new voter restriction laws. Expect Iowa and many others to adopt the interstate voter cross-check strategy that threw millions of voters off the the rolls last election.

Expect the national congress to adopt some form of interstate cross check to national elections. What, you think somebody should stop that? Like who? The only agency in the federal government that had only a smidgen of power to stop such shenanigans is being destroyed by republicans in congress.

In the meantime, while The Netherlands announces that, due to hacking fears, they will do away with computer tabulation machines in favor of hand-marked, hand-counted paper ballots (“Democracy’s Gold Standard”) for their upcoming election, Republicans in the U.S. House moved to abolish the U.S. Election Assistance Commission (EAC), the only federal agency tasked with setting standards for our nation’s oft-failed, easily-hacked electronic voting and tabulation systems.

See how Republicans are setting things up so that solutions such as privatized for profit schools are the only answer? Think they can’t do that to Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security? Think you can vote them out of office next election.

Now that the country has jumped in bed with the extremist Republicans ideologues it will not be easy to crawl out of that bed. Do you think Republicans are just going to let America walk away when they have a grip on its neck? Of course not. That is why they are restricting the vote. They will also ramp up the propaganda to an incredible level. Plus the lies will be coming fast and furious at a speed that will almost be impossible to keep up with.

Will we be able to stop this onslaught through public protests and court actions? One need only look at the lesson of Wisconsin to see that once the extremist Republicans gain power they don’t give it up easily. Immediately following Scott Walker’s assumption of the governorship in Wisconsin with a majority in both houses of the legislature.

Walker immediately went after unions and schools. None of his proposals were even mentioned during the campaign. More than 100,000 showed up to protest in the cold of Wisconsin in 2011. The protests lasted for months, but Walker and the Republicans waited them out. By summer the unions had been busted, the schools had been starved and the protestors had other stuff to attend to.

An attempt to recall Walker in 2012 was unsuccessful as huge amounts of money came pouring in to the Walker campaign thanks to the SCOTUS decision in the Citizens United case.

See how it all fit together for Walker? It is even much worse now. Republicans have literally worked for this moment for decades. You certainly do not expect them to see the errors of their way and walk away from the electoral and ruling frameworks they have set up do you? Their dreams of dismantling the New Deal, rolling back civil rights and privatizing everything is within their grasp. Their dream of a ruling elite is already here. The dream of corporations unfettered by laws is within grasp.

They believe and have said out loud that fatigue will set in on our side as it did in Wisconsin. They also believe with the apparatus they have set up for elections that it will be nearly impossible for us to ever gain an overwhelming majority. They already have mechanisms set up to stop legislation in most states and in Congress in the off chance that Democrats ever do gain power. Witness the incredible obstruction of the Obama years.

Their war against America is not just starting, but in full swing. Can we stop it? It will take a huge and sustained effort.

We need a fifty state strategy with a long range plan. At the same time we need an incredible effort to win in 2018.

And I didn’t even mention the media control which will soon be strengthened by ending of internet neutrality.

Robb Hogg: Stand Up For Iowa Workers!

Today, I am writing to ask you to help speak up over the next five days for our public workers – teachers, firefighters, police, correctional officers, human service social workers, sanitation workers, snow plow operators, and many others – who do so much on our behalf to make our communities and our state better.

On Tuesday, Republicans proposed SF213 which would gut the rights of our public workers to organize and negotiate contracts for wages, benefits, and other terms and conditions with local and state elected officials. You can read that bill at the legislative web site, www.legis.iowa.gov.

Among other things, this bill would make it harder for Iowa to recruit and retain great teachers and public workers, would drive down take-home pay for our public workers, and would take away the voice of our public workers.

Instead of attacking public workers, we should be considering legislation to improve the rights, wages, and benefits for all workers in our state. Unfortunately, Republicans are rushing this bill through the legislative process, and we expect they may try to vote on the bill on the floor of the Iowa Senate early next week.

When I sent out a survey to constituents in early January, 73% agreed that “Iowa workers should have the opportunity to organize and bargain for fair wages and benefits.” Only 16% disagreed. That’s why it is so important that you speak up now to help us find five courageous Republicans in the Iowa Senate and ten in the Iowa House who are willing to reject or soften this attack on our public workers.

Here are three events in the next three days where you can participate to help speak up for our public workers:


Mason City Rally for Iowa Working Families

With Senator Ragan and Representatives Steckman and Prichard
Saturday, February 11, at Noon
Mason City Central Park, N Federal and 1st St. NE, in Mason City
https://www.facebook.com/events/245039512609938/

March for Iowa’s Teachers

Sunday, February 12, from 2:00 p.m.
Stewart Square near Iowa State Capitolhttps://www.facebook.com/events/373424353032673/

Public Hearing
Monday, February 13, at 6:00 p.m.
Iowa Capitol, Room 103
You can sign up to speak with this link:
https://www.legis.iowa.gov/committees/publicHearings?action=viewOnlineSignup&meetingID=24398

You can also attend one of the legislative forums this weekend. For a complete list, visit:
http://www.infonetiowa.org/calendar/events/

You can contact state legislators directly. For contact information, visit www.legis.iowa.gov. You can call the Branstad-Reynolds Administration at 515-281-5211, and please speak up in public.

Finally, mark your calendars now for our next legislative forum in Cedar Rapids on Saturday, February 18, from 10:30 to 11:30 p.m. at Mercy Hospital, 701 10th Street SE, in Cedar Rapids. I hope to see you there.

I hope this information is helpful. Please let me know if you have any questions or suggestions, and I will do my best to respond.

Rob

Senator Rob Hogg

Senator Rob Hogg
Senate Democratic Leader
Cedar Rapids
(515) 281-3901 (office)
(515) 281-4610 (assistant)
(319) 247-0223 (home)

Forced Rural School Consolidation Act of 2017

Sen Bolkcom's 2 minute update this morning to the Iowa Senate on the "Forced Rural School Consolidation Act of 2017"

Posted by IA Sen Dems Staff on Wednesday, February 8, 2017

List Of Events This Week At The Capitol And Around Iowa

Action Alert from Senator Rob Hogg:

Events this week at the Capitol and in Johnston, Ankeny, Fairfield, Ottumwa, & Cedar Rapids
Dear Friends:

Now that the Super Bowl is over and I am getting ready to head back to Des Moines for another week, I wanted to share some of the upcoming events this week and next with you to invite you and to urge your continued participation.

School Funding Public Hearing, State Capitol, Monday, February 6, 11:00 a.m. – The Iowa House is holding a public hearing, at the request of Iowa House Democrats, on the Republican proposal to set education funding at 1.11%, even less than the 2.00% proposed by Governor Branstad. For more details, visit: https://www.facebook.com/events/1849243578693185/

Rally to Save Iowa Workers, State Capitol, Tuesday, February 7, 10:30 a.m. – Various groups including Progress Iowa and AFSCME are organizing a rally to save Iowa workers at the Capitol for this event. For more details, visit: https://www.facebook.com/events/184400808708736/

Johnston Democrat’s February Meet-Up, Johnston, Wednesday, February 8, 6:00 to 8:00 p.m. – I will be speaking to the Johnston Area Democrats for their monthly meeting at Cozy Café, 8385 Birchwood Court, in Johnston. For more details, visit: https://www.facebook.com/events/204649373340785/

Des Moines Public Schools Day on the Hill, Capitol, Thursday, February 9, 8:30 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. – This event is open to parents and advocates from across the state. It starts at East High School then goes to the State Capitol. For more details, visit: https://www.facebook.com/events/1241602839264931/

Ankeny Area Democrats, Thursday, February 9, 6:00 p.m. (social), 7:00 p.m. (dinner) – I will be one of the speakers at the Ankeny Area Democrats’ Winter Banquet at the UAW Local 450, 4589 NW 6th Drive, in Des Moines. Tickets are $30 per person, $15 for students, and can be purchased at:  https://secure.actblue.com/contribute/page/aadwinterbanquet

Jefferson County Democratic Breakfast, Fairfield, Friday, February 10, 8:00 to 10:00 a.m. – I will be joining the Jefferson County Democrats for their regular breakfast at George’s Café, 57 W. Broadway Avenue, in Fairfield.

Wapello County Listening Post, Ottumwa, Friday, February 10, 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. – I will be joining State Rep. Mary Gaskill and House Democratic Leader Mark Smith for a listening post at the Hotel Ottumwa, 107 2nd Street East, in downtown Ottumwa. Optional buffet lunch is available for $11.

Postcard Party and Community Discussion, Cedar Rapids, Sunday, February 12, 3:00 to 5:00 p.m. – I will be joining concerned citizens at the Cherry Building, 329 10th Avenue SE, in Cedar Rapids to discuss advocacy options as we stand up to Trump and his Republican allies. For more details, visit: https://www.facebook.com/events/998672640232519/

League of Women Voters’ Forum, Cedar Rapids, Saturday, February 18, 10:30 to 11:30 a.m. – I will be joining other Linn County area legislators for the monthly legislative forum at Mercy Medical Center, 701 10th Street SE, in Cedar Rapids.

Stay tuned for more details about additional upcoming events in Boone (February 24), Ames (March 4), Des Moines (March 5), Okoboji (March 18), and other events that are being added to my schedule.

If you have questions or suggestions, email me at SenatorRobHogg@gmail.com. Keep in touch. It is critical that Iowans stay engaged with a renewed spirit of citizenship to protect our people, our communities, and our future from dangerous changes underway at the state and federal levels and to share a positive vision of a better future.

Senator Rob Hogg
Cedar Rapids

Rob Hogg is a state senator representing portions of northeast, southeast, and southwest Cedar Rapids in the Iowa Senate. He is serving his third term after two terms in the Iowa House. In November, he was elected as the new Iowa Senate Democratic Leader. Together, we can uplift our democracy and make Iowa even better.