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Rep. Upmeyer explains school funding and collective bargaining for public employees

This news story was published on February 10, 2017.
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Linda Upmeyer (right)

From Rep. Linda Upmeyer of Clear Lake –

We fulfilled our commitment this week of setting Supplemental State Aid within the first 30 days of session.  This provides school districts with the certainty they need to begin planning their budgets for next school year.  Thank you to the Senate and the Governor for their shared commitment in getting this done in a timely manner.

On Monday, we passed a bill that provides Iowa’s schools with an additional $40 million next year.  Governor Branstad signed the bill into law on Wednesday.  As I said last week, K-12 education is Iowa’s top priority in the budget, accounting for 43% of all state spending.  In addition to providing K-12 with additional resources, we’ll be looking for ways to provide more flexibility to schools and examining some of the funding inequities our schools face.

This week, the House introduced House Study Bill 84, which updates Iowa’s law regarding collective bargaining for public employees.  The law, originally passed in 1974, has remained relatively untouched for four decades.  Over the last 40 years, largely due to arbitration requirements, the scales have been tipped to favor government unions and put management and taxpayers at a disadvantage.  House Republicans believe the law deserves a thoughtful review to rebalance the scales and ensure that Iowans have a fair and equitable system that works for public employers, employees, and taxpayers.

We value our public employees and the work they do in their communities.  I’ve heard from many people who have expressed concerns about provisions in the bill that don’t actually exist.  I appreciate the opportunity to have a dialogue over this bill.  Unfortunately, it seems that many Des Moines union executives are resorting to fear mongering in an attempt to scare workers over what this bill actually does.

First, let me tell you what the bill doesn’t do:

  • It doesn’t affect private sector unions.
  • It doesn’t repeal the right to collectively bargain for government employees.
  • It doesn’t affect pensions in any way.
  • It doesn’t take away health insurance.  Under the bill, the employer is required to provide a health insurance plan to employees.
  • It doesn’t mandate that local governments must join a statewide health insurance pool.

There are many reasons that Iowans should support and be excited for this legislation.

One of the primary things the bill will do is provide flexibility to locally elected officials to make decisions that are best for their communities.  Each item that is mandated to be discussed during negotiations acts as a finger on the scale, tipping the balance towards the unions.  By allowing local governments and school boards to actually manage, citizens in those communities can expect better service and more opportunities for creativity and innovation.

The bill also ends the practice of deducting union dues from government employees’ paychecks.  If a government union has won the right to collectively bargain, it is completely reasonable to expect them to collect their own dues instead of having their employer do it for them.  It’s unfair to expect that the government and taxpayers should serve as the union’s bill collector.

Another provision that I’m really excited about is the opportunity for schools to reward their best and brightest teachers.  Our bill will allow schools, and other local governments, to pay exceptional employees based on merit rather than just seniority.  It can also help schools fill positions in critical subject areas like science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) with highly qualified people.  This gives schools a great opportunity to recruit and retain the best teachers, especially in rural areas.

A public hearing on the bill is scheduled for Monday night at 6:00 pm in the State Capitol.  For more information or to sign up to speak, visit the Legislative website.  It will also be streamed over YouTube for those that can’t make it to Des Moines.

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11 Responses to Rep. Upmeyer explains school funding and collective bargaining for public employees

  1. Avatar

    Anonymous Reply Report comment

    February 12, 2017 at 8:39 am

    Is every department of government corrupt ?

  2. Avatar

    Anonymous Reply Report comment

    February 11, 2017 at 9:39 am

    Trump has been in office 3 weeks and you rotten lieing demorats are blaming your past on him – nice try passing the buck – Your bunch of thieves and liars will and ARE being exposed.

    • Avatar

      Larry Reply Report comment

      February 11, 2017 at 5:29 pm

      Your posts are so wacko and psychotic! Makes me laugh that you are the voice of the Republican Party… Ha ha ha ha… I love it!!
      keep up the good work my friend.

  3. Avatar

    Anonymous Reply Report comment

    February 10, 2017 at 10:22 pm

    Make both sides happy and repeal all of chapter 20.

    Even in the private sector, benefits are considered part of compensation. These changes make teachers agree on wages without knowing the benefit package.

  4. Avatar

    whatever Reply Report comment

    February 10, 2017 at 4:16 pm

    She is so full of crap House study bill 84 turns back the clock to the 1920’s on working people. This is not to update the law its to screw working Iowans.

    • Avatar

      Larry Reply Report comment

      February 10, 2017 at 4:29 pm

      But the republicans are looking out for the middle class now, every move that they make is for the betterment of the average American, just ask any Trump supporter. They will tell you the republicans are not looking out for the rich and elite anymore. They are looking out for you and me. Oh and they will give you a big glass of Kool-Aid to drink too. Its awesome!!

      • Avatar

        Anonymous Reply Report comment

        February 10, 2017 at 6:14 pm

        You are 100% right. This is also the party that will bring back jobs to the state and the nation by unnecessarily cutting budgets which will lead to more layoffs. Then they can cut unemployment benefits and cut out the rules that require employers to have valid reasons for firing people. These people are morons.

  5. Avatar

    Anonymous Reply Report comment

    February 10, 2017 at 2:05 pm

    She’s really excited about is giving local districts the “flexibility” to pay “exceptional” teachers on merit? You bet lady. That state champion football coach can get a bonus check now. That volleyball coach who wins a conference championship can get a bonus check. When the football program isn’t doing well, the school can pony up the money to bring in a top notch coach. And, the physics teacher we couldn’t get before will get paid twice as much as the English teacher for teaching 1/2 the number of students. Bullcrap

  6. Avatar

    Anonymous Reply Report comment

    February 10, 2017 at 11:31 am

    Thats $40,000,000.00 taken away from the private sector(working class) and given to the government sector. Wonder why were in a private sector recession – Fat cat public sector is getting fat -fat fat.

  7. Avatar

    I Should Know Reply Report comment

    February 10, 2017 at 10:09 am

    Who is this guy in drag?

    • Avatar

      Anonymous Reply Report comment

      February 10, 2017 at 7:11 pm

      He/She is a dancer in a CD club on Court Street in DM.