Gov. Terry Branstad signs collective bargaining bill

(Photo courtesy Gov. Branstad's office)

Controversial changes to Iowa's collective bargaining law are now official.

Gov. Terry Branstad signed House File 291 on Friday. It passed in the Iowa House and Senate on Thursday. Lawmakers set a Time Certain to cut off debate and force a vote. The bill passed the Iowa House 53-47 and the Iowa Senate 29-21.

“I’m very pleased to sign this bill into law,” Branstad said in a statement.  “These necessary reforms to our antiquated 43 year old public employee collective bargaining law bring fairness for Iowa taxpayers and flexibility to public employees.  This bill also gives local governments, schools and state government greater freedom in managing their resources with the opportunity to reward good public employees.   I want to thank all of the legislators who worked diligently and thoroughly to pass these much needed reforms, including Speaker Linda Upmeyer, Majority Leader Chris Hagenow, Majority Leader Bill Dix, President Jack Whitver, Chairman Dave Deyoe, Representative Steve Holt and Chairman Jason Schultz.”

Lt. Gov. Reynolds also applauded the reforms adding, “I’m excited about the long overdue reforms that have been put in place today.  My experience as county treasurer for 13 years gave me a firsthand look at how out of balance the system had become.  Finally, Iowa taxpayers have a seat at the table and local governments are empowered to make decisions in the best interests of their communities and schools. These changes will improve our educational system by giving local districts the ability to recruit and retain the best teachers in every classroom across the state.  This new, balanced system is something all Iowans can celebrate.”

AFSCME Iowa President Danny Homan told WHO-HD Channel 13 his organization planned to challenge the law in court.