Legislative leaders and the head of the largest state teachers union reacted today to the Governor’s threat to veto the bill that would expand collective bargaining in the state. Governor Culver threatens to veto the bill if there is not more discusion on the issue.
House Speaker, Pat Murphy, a Democrat from Dubuque, issued this statement in reply to Governor Culver’s comments on the collective bargaining bill:
“We believe that the collective bargaining bill approved last week is good for middle class families, including Iowa teachers, police officers, and fire fighters. Our collective bargaining laws have not been changed in over 30 years and the bill is a responsible approach. Open scope bargaining simply gives public employees the same bargaining power as private employees in Iowa and it is also used in 27 other states.
I strongly believe the Governor should sign this legislation. We have co-equal branches of government and we will continue to work with Governor Culver in the closing weeks of the 2008 session to bring resolution to these issues, as well as the state budget.”
Senate Democrat Leader Mike Gronstal of Council Bluffs, issued this statement:
“I am incredibly disappointed by the Governor’s threat to veto legislation that would help thousands of working families across our state. I remain confident that once the Governor understands the modest but important changes in this collective bargaining legislation, he will reverse course, side with Iowa workers and sign the bill into law.”
“For that reason, I have filed a motion to reconsider that will keep House File 2645 in our hands indefinitely. This will give the Governor and his staff additional time to read the legislation, ask questions, separate fact from fiction, and learn more about legislation that would bring Iowa in line with 80 percent of the other states with public employee collective bargaining.”
House Republican Leader Christopher Rants of Sioux City has issued the following statement after Culver’s remarks:
“I am pleased to see the governor is inclined to veto this legislation. House Republicans were prepared to support the non-controversial bill which was drafted as minor, corrective changes by the Public Employee Relations Board. There is a way to bring consensus to this legislation-by completely removing amendment H-8164. Short of a thorough removal of that amendment, the bill should be vetoed by the governor.”
The president of Iowa State Education Association, the state’s largest teachers union, Linda Nelson, also issued a statement on the governor’s veto threat:
“We are extremely disappointed that Governor Culver has said he is considering taking the precipitous action of vetoing changes in the collective bargaining law. If he does, indeed, veto this bill, it represents a major step backward and once again relegates public employees to second-class citizens at the bargaining table.”
“We are hopeful that once he’s had the opportunity to study HF 2645, he will reach the conclusion that it makes reasonable and necessary changes in a law which has remained unchanged for 34 years while the challenges facing educators and other public employees have increased dramatically.”