- Associated Press - Tuesday, February 14, 2017

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - The Latest on a collective bargaining overhaul being considered by Iowa lawmakers (all times local):

10:40 p.m.

Both chambers of the Republican-controlled Iowa Legislature have pushed back scheduled votes on a bill that would eliminate most collective bargaining rights for public workers in the state.

The House chamber, which debated the bill for several hours, agreed after 10:30 p.m. Tuesday to adjourn until Wednesday morning. The Senate took similar action shortly after 8:30 p.m.

Democrats, now in the minority, have filed dozens of proposed changes to the bill. At least one amendment in the Senate to gut the measure failed.



The legislation is expected to pass amid support from GOP legislative leaders, Gov. Terry Branstad and Lt. Gov. Kim Reynolds, the incoming governor. However, the timing of final votes remained unclear.

___

10:00 p.m.

The Republican-controlled House has debated for more than an hour over a bill that would significantly reduce collective bargaining rights for public sector employees in Iowa.

Democrats in the minority filed dozens of proposed changes to the legislation and started debating them Tuesday night. It remained unclear how long discussion would last, after the GOP-led Senate postponed further debate on the bill until Wednesday.

Rep. Steven Holt, a Denison Republican, echoed arguments made earlier by colleagues in the other chamber. He said the legislation would result “in a government in Iowa that is more responsive and more efficient.”

Rep. Art Staed, a Cedar Rapids Democrat, said Iowans overwhelmingly opposed the bill. “Don’t sit here smugly and ignore them,” he said.

Spectators in the House gallery silently waved their hands to show support for criticism on the bill.

___

8:30 p.m.

A key vote on legislation that would eliminate most collective bargaining rights for public workers in Iowa has been put on hold.

Lawmakers in the GOP-controlled Senate agreed Tuesday night to postpone further discussion on the bill until Wednesday, following hours of debate. The Republican-controlled House began discussing the bill Tuesday night, and their debate could last several hours.

The legislation would prohibit workers like teachers, nurses and correctional officers from negotiating issues like health insurance, evaluation procedures and extra pay. Republicans argue the bill would give local employers more flexibility, though Democrats disagree with that assessment.

The legislation is expected to pass, but it’s unclear when formal votes will happen because of procedural moves by Democrats.

The bill has similarities to a 2011 Wisconsin law over collective bargaining.

___

6:10 p.m.

Several dozen people have turned up at the Iowa Capitol to watch lawmakers debate a bill that would limit how public workers can negotiate their working conditions.

Public galleries in the GOP-controlled Senate were nearly full by 6 p.m. Tuesday as lawmakers discussed details of a bill that would cut mandatory collective bargaining rights for public sector employees like teachers, nurses and correctional officers.

Lawmakers in the Senate began debating the bill around 4 p.m. The Republican-controlled House is expected to discuss the bill later Tuesday night.

Mary Beth West, a kindergarten teacher in Des Moines, says she came to the state Capitol to support her “brothers and sisters.”

“I don’t know what’s going to become of this, but I need to be here every step of the way so I know I’ve done everything I can,” she said.

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5:00 p.m.

Democrats in the Iowa Legislature have introduced dozens of proposed changes to a GOP-backed bill that would cut most collective bargaining rights for public sector employees in the state.

Lawmakers filed more than 70 amendments in the Republican-majority House ahead of scheduled debate Tuesday. More than a dozen amendments were filed in the GOP-controlled Senate before debate in that chamber.

The process of reviewing all the proposed changes could take hours. It’s unclear when formal votes will take place.

Republican lawmakers announced Tuesday afternoon they would also make some changes to the bill. Democrats say even with those changes, the legislation would gut the state’s collective bargaining law.

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4:40 p.m.

Republican lawmakers in the Iowa Legislature say they will propose some changes to a bill that would eliminate most collective bargaining rights for public sector employees.

Rep. Steven Holt, a Denison Republican, said Tuesday that GOP lawmakers plan to restore language in their legislation that under current law requires proper cause for suspensions or firings of workers.

Public sector employees said removing the language would make it easier to fire employees. Holt said Republicans believe there are additional worker protections, but they wanted to avoid confusion.

Other new GOP changes include removing some bargaining issues from a prohibited list that’s in the bill. Democrats say the changes are not enough to offset the bill’s negative impact.

The bill is scheduled for floor debate in the House and Senate on Tuesday.

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9 a.m.

The Republican-controlled Iowa Legislature is moving to approve a bill that would cut most collective bargaining rights for public sector employees.

The bill is scheduled for floor debate Tuesday in the House and Senate, one week after it was made public. Republican lawmakers fast-tracked the legislation amid growing protests at the state Capitol. Hundreds turned out Monday night for a public hearing.

Procedural moves in both legislative chambers could take hours.

Iowa’s collective bargaining law currently ensures roughly 180,000 public workers such as teachers, nurses and correctional officers can negotiate over issues including health insurance, extra pay and grievances. The bill would specifically prohibit those discussions, though a key GOP lawmaker says there may be changes to the bill.

Republicans say the legislation will give local officials more flexibility with budgets.

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