In my opening day speech, I encouraged my Senate colleagues to think big, be bold and make lasting reforms that would have a positive impact on Iowa for generations to come. They were not words in an opening day tradition, but rather more of a vision – a roadmap so to speak.
It is important the Republican-led Senate pass bills that will create an atmosphere which allows government to be efficient, effective and innovative. However, one of the reasons this is challenging in government is because of our public sector collective bargaining laws in Iowa.
Public sector collective bargaining, also referred to as Chapter 20, was implemented more than 40 years ago in the state of Iowa. Over time, this has resulted in a process which prevents government from being efficient and innovative.
This week in the Republican-led Senate we filed Senate File 213, which would rebalance the collective bargaining process. This bill is not about hindering anyone from belonging or joining a union. It does not take away our state workers health care. It simply modernizes how state and local elected officials do business, and puts them in control to make the best decisions for the people of Ankeny, and other cities, counties and schools across the state.
Senate Republicans want to make sure Iowa’s state and local governments have the tools necessary to provide services while executing their responsibilities effectively and efficiently for the Iowa taxpayer. It is imperative we are always looking at ways to make the public sector more nimble, economically sound and responsive to the needs of Iowans throughout the state. Senate File 213 is a means to help our state grow financially as well as giving Iowans more of a voice in the process.
A study conducted by the Public Interest Institute revealed Iowa has the largest pay gap in the nation.http://limitedgovernment.org/brief24-4.htmlAccording to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, state employees make nearly 1.3 times that of their private sector counterparts.This is a result of bad deals negotiated because of antiquated collective bargaining laws. After more than four decades, now is the time to modernize the process.
Another significant component addressed in Senate File 213 is empowering local governments and school boards necessary controls to manage their employees, manage their finances and create innovative solutions that work best for their schools and communities. It will allow schools to keep the best teachers in the classroom.
It is important we establish an Iowa solution to develop efficiencies to make our state stronger, more viable economically and create new opportunities that benefits an overwhelming majority of the three million plus Iowans.