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Iowa legislature 2017

20 Procedural “Irregularities” Used By Iowa Republicans

From the Facebook page of Senate Minority Leader Rob Hogg  @SenatorRobHogg

While it is fresh in my mind, here is a list of 20 major procedural irregularities used by Republicans on the bill to take away workers’ rights and teachers’ rights (that were originally enacted in 1974 by a Republican Governor and a Republican Legislature after two full years of work and after 12 days of floor debate in Iowa House and a week in Iowa Senate):

(1) Republicans did not campaign on issue;

(2) Republicans told the public after election they would do “minor tweaks,” misleading the public including city, county, and school officials who said they wanted “tweaks” but did not expect or want the changes actually made – not a single city, county, or school official has told me they supported the bill as drafted or as passed;

(3) Republicans introduced the bill (HF291/SF213), without consulting with Iowans who would be affected, on Tuesday, February 7, running it out of subcommittee and committee by February 9 in both chambers simultaneously and with minimum public notice;

(4) Republicans introduced the bill one day after Americans for Prosperity (Koch Brothers) began advertising and mail campaign, spending over $125,000 on TV ads in a single week;

(5) Senate Republicans talked to Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker over the phone about the bill while over 1,000 Iowans were in the Capitol Monday to talk to them about the issue – Senate Republicans then left through side doors of Capitol to avoid speaking to Iowans;

(6) Senate Republicans brought bill up on Tuesday and expected to pass it then – just one week after initially introducing it;

(7) after breaking Tuesday night, Senate Republicans went right back to floor debate Wednesday morning, cancelling most committee meetings;

(8) House and Senate simultaneously debated the bill – this is a very unusual procedure except during the final days of a session on budget bills;

(9) Senate Democrats were drafting substantive amendments as quickly as possible, but then had to re-draft most of them to Senate Republican amendment – it was a large bill with many provisions that should not have been combined in a single bill – non-partisan legislative drafter was working all through the night – no explanation was ever given for making non-partisan staff work all through the night;

(10) Senate Republican floor manager said he could not take an amendment on university police because of an agreement he had with the House, before the Senate had ever considered amendments or debated the bill;

(11) Senate Republican floor manager said on the floor he met with people to draft the bill who he would not identify and also would not identify city, county, and school officials he claimed wanted the bill;

(12) calls to the Senate switchboard Monday through Wednesday were 2,476 against the bill, only 30 for it – with limited time and limited switchboard staff, staff were not able to write notes to individual Senators;

(13) Senate switchboard was shut down at 8 p.m. Wednesday and not re-opened until 8 a.m. Thursday, due to limited staff, but Senate Republicans decided to keep debate going through the night when calls could not be received and very few members of the public were able to watch;

(14) Senate Republicans ended Wednesday’s floor debate around 9:30 a.m. Thursday morning, then started Thursday’s floor debate around 9:45 a.m.;

(15) House Republicans announced the use of “time certain” in the House to end debate at noon;

(16) Senate Republicans announced they would use the “time certain” procedure in the Senate – unprecedented in my history in the Senate – and end flood debate at 2:00 p.m. Thursday, without explanation for the rush;

(17) Senate Democrats had to hurry debate on amendments, but still only got through about 10 more before 2:00 p.m. hit;

(18) Senate Republicans delayed coming into the chamber to vote, leading Democrats to have to invoke “Call of the Senate” to force members to stay in the chamber;

(19) at 2:00 p.m., Senate President Whitver implemented “time certain” and forced votes on roughly 50 amendments and the bill without allowing Senators to explain to Senators and the public what their amendments were and without any additional floor discussion; and

(20) the bill was signed by Governor Branstad less than 24 hours later in “private” except for the presence of a representative of Americans for Prosperity (Koch Brothers).

I know I may have left some of the procedural irregularities out, but this is a good start. I will try to add comments later if I remember more.

IPP Sponsors Two Events Exposing ALEC

A Legislator for Every Corp.

With all the damage ALEC is wreaking in Iowa these days it may be a very good time to make sure that everybody understands just what ALEC (American Legislative Exchange Council).

As so often happens in Iowa during a time of great stress and change our friends at the Iowa Policy Project (IPP) are ahead of the curve. On March 6th and 7th IPP will be sponsoring an event discussing ALEC and their brother organizations on the evening of March 6th and March 7th.

The March 6th event is in Des Moines:
Time:      6:30 to 8PM
Place:     Public Library 1000 Grand Ave., Des Moines.

The March 7th event is in Iowa City:
Time:      7 to 8:30PM
Place:     Shambaugh Auditorium on the Pentacrest at the U of Iowa

Find out what is behind the union busting, the cutting of education, the “shoot your neighbor” laws and the voter suppression laws.

It will be well worth your time.

The Money, The Money, The Money


Last week brought the not too stunning revelation that the Iowa legislature seems to be under the direction of Americans For Prosperity, a Koch brothers front group.

Following the money, one of the most valuable lessons ever to learn in following politics, leads us to the Koch brothers and from them to a couple of their many, many front groups in this case Americans for Prosperity and ALEC.

ALEC provides the legislation – recently the union busting bill – and Americans For Prosperity provides the grease.

Bet you didn’t know when you cast a vote for a Republican for the state house or state senate you were in effect voting for Charles and David Koch.

Joe Bolkcom probably said it best:
“I think what it says is that the Koch brothers have taken over this state with the millions of dollars that they have poured into this state,” said Sen. Joe Bolkcom, D-Iowa City. “Obviously, this bill was a big priority of theirs, and it shows that big money has taken over state government. Iowans should be very concerned about this.”

Does anyone remember your Republican legislator campaigning on taking away the collective bargaining for public employees? How about taking our tax money to pay for privatized education? Did they stand up and say “I will vote for a bill that may take away your ability to vote!”

Of course they didn’t. Who would vote for them if they did? So they spent last year’s campaign speaking in platitudes about freedoms and liberties and low taxes to us while speaking entirely differently behind closed doors to the folks with the money.

The money, the money, the money. Politics has always been tied to the corruption that money brings. Those with money are always around with baskets of money ready to put into the outstretched hands of politicians on the take.

When we see the gross miscarriage of power that we witnessed last week where Republicans acted as if they were one and refused to engage in serious debate, it almost looked as if the Republican party was acting as if they were employed to do a specific job by someone. I don’t think that impression is too far off.

Expect to see a very similar scene as the Republicans go after Iowa’s once world-class public school system in order to privatize it and make some more donors even wealthier. Drew Klein of Americans For Prosperity has announced this as his next objective. Wouldn’t be very surprised if it suddenly became the Republicans next objective. As if by luck you can bet that ALEC already has a bill already written and ready to go. What luck!

While the national administration is not the well oiled machine Mr. Popular Vote Loser claims, it sure seems like our state government surely is. From Charles and David to the front groups through a very friendly {wink, wink} legislature then landing softly on the governor’s desk who then signs it as a representative from the Koch brothers makes sure the deed is done.

Right now our legislature is doing something that would have seem unconscionable in Iowa just a few years back. The legislature is about to pass a “Stand Your Ground” law which has been shown to give those with guns a reason to shoot those they don’t like for whatever reason. Treyvon Martin’s death in Florida after being stalked and beaten by an unknown (to Martin) assailant stands as a very cautionary tale on this law. Let’s be honest, certain groups will become targets if this law passes. I am old enough to remember when lawmakers didn’t want citizens shooting each other. However, the object here is to increase gun sales.

Many years ago I stated the any and every action between a legislator and any lobbyist or outside interest group should be recorded and reviewed. That still seems reasonable to me.

You have to wonder which will happen first – the end of the democracy that was once the hope of the world under the weight of corruption or getting money out of politics. Right now – especially after the Citizen’s United ruling – it looks like the end of our democracy is leading the race by a large margin.

Iowa Legislative Forums Feb. 24-25

February 2017

02/24/2017 07:00 AM – 08:00 AM Legislative Forum – Lenox
02/24/2017 08:00 AM – 09:00 AM Town Meeting – Parkersburg
02/24/2017 09:30 AM – 11:30 AM Legislative Forum – Davenport
02/24/2017 10:00 AM – 11:00 AM Legislative Forum – Logan
02/24/2017 12:00 AM – 1:00 PM Legislative Forum – Cherokee
02/24/2017 12:00 AM – 1:30 PM Legislative Forum – Keokuk
02/24/2017 12:00 AM – 1:00 PM Economic Development Forum – Anamosa
02/24/2017 12:00 AM – 1:30 PM Economic Development Forum – Monticello
02/24/2017 3:30 PM – 5:00 PM Legislative Forum – Boone
02/24/2017 4:00 PM – 5:00 PM Education Forum – Iowa City
02/24/2017 4:30 PM – 6:30 PM Legislative Forum – Cedar Falls
02/24/2017 4:30 PM – 5:30 PM Legislative Forum – Marion
02/24/2017 4:30 PM – 5:30 PM Legislative Forum – Hiawatha
02/25/2017 08:00 AM – 10:00 AM Eggs & Issues – Rock Rapids
02/25/2017 08:00 AM – 09:00 AM Legislative Forum – Shenandoah
02/25/2017 08:30 AM – 10:00 AM Legislative Wake Up – Ames
02/25/2017 08:30 AM – 10:00 AM Eggs & Issues – Fort Dodge
02/25/2017 08:30 AM – 10:30 AM Legislative Forum – Mount Pleasant
02/25/2017 08:30 AM – 09:30 AM Eggs & Issues – Oskaloosa
02/25/2017 09:00 AM – 11:00 AM Legislative Forum – Maquoketa
02/25/2017 09:00 AM – 11:00 AM Legislative Forum – Keosauqua
02/25/2017 09:00 AM – 10:00 AM Legislative Forum – Winterset
02/25/2017 09:00 AM – 10:30 AM Legislative Forum – Lamont
02/25/2017 09:00 AM – 10:30 AM Legislative Coffee – Council Bluffs
02/25/2017 09:30 AM – 11:30 AM Legislative Forum – Coralville
02/25/2017 09:30 AM – 11:00 AM Legislative Coffee – Clive
02/25/2017 10:00 AM – 11:30 AM Legislative Forum – Sioux City
02/25/2017 10:00 AM – 12:00 AM Legislative Forum – Davenport
02/25/2017 10:00 AM – 11:00 AM Legislative Forum – Clarinda
02/25/2017 10:00 AM – 11:00 AM Legislative Forum – Logan
02/25/2017 10:00 AM – 11:30 AM Legislative Forum – Marion
02/25/2017 10:00 AM – 11:30 AM Legislative Coffee – Colfax
02/25/2017 10:30 AM – 12:00 AM Legislative Coffee – Urbandale
02/25/2017 10:30 AM – 11:30 AM Eggs & Issues – Sibley
02/25/2017 12:00 AM – 2:00 PM Legislative Forum – Bloomfield
02/25/2017 1:00 PM – 2:00 PM Legislative Forum – Mount Ayr
02/27/2017 08:00 AM – 10:30 AM Marti’s Monday Morning Coffee – Des Moines
02/28/2017 6:30 PM – 8:00 PM Legislative Panel – Des Moines

Sirens In The Distance

 After the Iowa Republicans’ dismantling of Chapter 20,  Senator Joe Bolkcom warns that the public employee retirement system is next. 

Dear Editor:

 I woke up about 3 a.m. to a siren in the distance.  I thought to myself: Car accident? Fire? Medical emergency? Somebody needs help right now!  I also knew that siren meant skilled public servants were on the way to do just that.

I went back to sleep knowing that Iowans enjoy excellent local and state services that make Iowa and life as we know and enjoy it possible.  This is all now under threat.

The gutting of Iowa working collective bargaining law last week by legislative Republicans, Governor Branstad and Lt. Governor Reynolds will begin a decline in public services and our schools as the best people find both respect and better pay in the private sector and fewer people decide public service is a respected career choice. It won’t happen overnight. But the seeds are now in the ground.

Our trained, skilled and educated public servants make it possible for businesses to profit and communities to prosper. Here is a short list of some of the things that some politicians are taking for granted:

The inspection that made your home and workplace safe to occupy; a glass of clean water, running the dishwasher, washing the car; great schools and educated citizens; garbage, recycling and leaf pick up; snow plowing and road salting; street design, repair and maintenance; libraries, parks and pools; recreational trails and bike lanes; flood and tornado disaster relief; driver’s licenses; voter registration and clean elections; marriage licenses; birth and death certificates; restaurant and hotel pool inspections; 911, police, fire, emergency medical help; crime investigation; prison guards and community corrections; community planning; airport safety; controlling infectious disease and food born outbreaks; controlling air and water pollution; nurses and doctors; researchers and of course, brushing your teeth and flushing the toilet.

Iowa public servants deliver. They have chosen to work for public employers because in exchange for their contribution, they are afforded a stable work environment, decent wages and health and retirement benefits. This has allowed our cities, counties, school districts, community colleges, public universities and the state attract and retain some of the smartest people to serve us.

Why in the world have Republicans who now control all of state government become so mean-spirited and disrespectful of our skilled and dedicated public employees that do the hard work day and night?

The bad news is that they are not done. They now intend to destroy the retirement system employees have paid into and earned.

When you hear the next siren in the distance, be proud that we have trained public servants on the way to help. These workers are our neighbor and friends. They are taxpayers. They deserve respect and thanks, not scorn.

Joe Bolkcom
State Senator
Iowa City, Iowa

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

February 18: 11:30 AM
Pearson Lakes Art Center

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

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

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

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

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

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 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 to TAKE ACTION.

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