- Associated Press - Thursday, February 16, 2017

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - The Latest on the Iowa Legislature considering a bill that would cut most of public employees’ collective bargaining rights (all times local):

3:00 p.m.

The Iowa Senate has approved a bill that would greatly reduce negotiating power for public sector unions in the state.

The GOP-led chamber voted 29-21 Thursday, with all Democrats and an independent opposed. The vote followed lengthy debate in the chamber that started Wednesday morning and entered the next day.

The Republican-majority House approved the measure 53-47 about an hour earlier. The bill now heads to Gov. Terry Branstad, who supports the measure.

Legislative leaders used a rare procedural move to end debate early on the bill.


1:50 p.m.

Republicans in the Iowa House have approved a bill that would eliminate most collective bargaining rights for public workers in the state.

Lawmakers voted 53-47 Thursday, with all Democrats opposed, to pass the measure. It would prohibit public sector unions from negotiating over several issues, including health insurance and extra pay. The bill proposes that mandatory discussions be limited to base wages. Some public safety employees are exempt from some provisions of the bill.

Democrats introduced dozens of amendments to try to stop the bill or reduce its impact. Many of those amendments were not discussed after Republicans used a rare procedural move to end debate at noon.

The Senate was scheduled to end debate on an identical version of the bill shortly after the House vote.


10:30 a.m.

The GOP-controlled Senate has agreed to end debate on a collective bargaining bill that was the subject of an all-night debate led by Democrats.

Senate Majority Leader Bill Dix made a motion Thursday morning to end floor debate on the legislation at 2 p.m. The Senate approved the motion on a party-line vote despite criticism from Democrats.

The move follows similar activity in the House, where Republican lawmakers agreed Thursday morning to end floor debate at noon.

Lawmakers rarely use the motion to end floor debate. Expected votes Thursday on the bill will come a little over a week after it was introduced to the public.


9:50 a.m.

The Iowa House has set a time to end debate on a bill that would drastically reduce how public sector employees bargain over working conditions.

House Majority Leader Chris Hagenow made a motion Thursday morning to end floor debate at noon, and it was approved by Republicans, who hold a majority. It means that after debate that has stretched over three days, the House will vote on the bill Thursday after some procedural moves.

Democrats have introduced dozens of amendments in an attempt to delay a vote on the bill, which was made public a little over a week ago.

In the Senate, lawmakers continue discussing an identical version of the legislation. They’ve debated all night, and it’s unclear when they will vote on the bill.


7:20 a.m.

Iowa union and school leaders are rushing to complete and sign contracts before collective bargaining legislation surging through the Statehouse becomes state law.

The legislation’s mirror versions went from House and Senate committee hearings to floor debate in a week. Lengthy debate and amendments have slowed their advance, but passage and the governor’s signature seem certain.

Iowa teachers union president Tammy Wawro told The Des Moines Register (https://dmreg.co/2lbeNrR) that more than 140 districts settled contracts in the past week and seven of 40 districts with multiyear contracts extended them. The Des Moines school board is scheduled to vote in a special meeting Thursday on a temporary agreement before the legislation is signed into law.

The legislation would prohibit unions from bargaining over certain items, such as seniority, insurance, grievances, layoff procedures and additional pay.


7:10 a.m.

It’s unusual for the Iowa Senate to pull an all-nighter at the Capitol.

Several longtime employees who work in the chamber say it has been years since the Senate stayed in session all night. Lawmakers typically reserve late night debate for budget talks at the end of a legislative session. Lawmakers still have months of Statehouse activity this year.

Democrats in the Republican-controlled Legislature are trying to delay votes on a collective bargaining bill that would greatly reduce negotiating rights for public sector workers in Iowa. The minority party led debate in the Senate between Wednesday morning and early Thursday. It’s unclear when members will adjourn.

House members went home after 10 p.m. Wednesday. They’re expected back Thursday morning.


5:30 a.m.

Democrats in the Republican-controlled Iowa Senate have debated through the night to delay voting on a bill that would eliminate most collective bargaining rights for public workers in the state.

The minority party led an hourslong effort that began Wednesday morning and continued after 5 a.m. Thursday. It’s unclear when the Senate will adjourn.

The bill would prohibit public sector employees such as teachers, nurses and correctional officers from negotiating over several issues including health insurance, evaluation procedures and extra pay. It’s similar to a 2011 collective bargaining law in Wisconsin.

House and Senate debate over mirror versions of the legislation began Tuesday. Since then, Democrats in both chambers unsuccessfully have tried procedural moves to alter the proposal. Their efforts are not expected to stop the legislation’s expected passage.

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