Current Date

The Conservative Reader:

Democrats File (Un)Fair Share Bill… Try To Gut Iowa’s Right to Work Law… Again

Democrats File (Un)Fair Share Bill… Try To Gut Iowa’s Right to Work Law… Again

kraig-paulsen-2From Iowa House Republican Leader Kraig Paulsen’s office:

(DES MOINES)—Today in the House Labor committee, Democrats assigned a bill which would gut Iowa’s right to work law. House Study Bill 702 is an attempt by House Democrats to take away Iowans’ choice to join a union.

Iowa’s right to work law guarantees that no person can be compelled, as a condition of employment, to join, not join or pay any fees to a labor union. Iowa’s right to work law has been in place since 1947. This bill is a direct attack on hard-working Iowans’ liberties.

“It is simply wrong to tell someone they must give their hard-earned dollars to an organization they have chosen not to be a member of,” said House Republican Leader Kraig Paulsen (R-Hiawatha). “A union is not forced to represent non-members. They choose forced monopoly bargaining and now they want to force payment for providing those unwanted services.”

Under the Democrats’ plan, public employees who are non-union would be forced to pay a fee to the union as a condition of their employment, thus completely gutting Iowa’s right to work law.

We’ve been waiting for this.  Here’s link to the bill.  Democrats tried to do this last year (it was called “Fair Share” then), and the year before, and, oh wait, they’ve been trying to rip out Right To Work for over fifty years!  Representative Ralph Watts (R – District 47) wrote this piece a year ago, and is still just as relevant today:

Nothing Fair about Fair Share

Two years ago, after the Democrats took over the Governor’s office, the State Senate and the State House, we started getting more labor bills than I had seen previously. The labor unions had put a lot of money into their candidates and they were here for the payoff. One of those bills was the principle called Fair Share. It was passed by the Senate in 2007 and ran aground in the House when several members of the majority party refused to support the measure. After the extreme pressure put on their caucus to support the bill, one of the Democrats changed registration and became a Republican member of the House and was re-elected in 2008 as a Republican. Apparently her constituents appreciated the principled stand that she took. Emboldened by the increase in Democrats after the last election, the measure is being considered again.

Fair Share sounds on the surface like a fair bill. It’s anything but fair in a Right to Work state such as Iowa and, in effect, would negate the protections offered by the Right to Work law. What Fair Share would do is to make it mandatory for employees who are part of a work group that is represented by a union to pay union dues, whether that employee desired to be a member or not. In a nutshell, it would be a back door repeal of the Right to Work law. Under that law no person can be compelled to pay dues or belong to a union. It has been on the books since 1947.

In an interesting déjà vu moment, a copy of the February 3, 1959 Mason City Globe Gazette front page was distributed to us Tuesday as a reminder of the tragedy where three rock and roll stars died in a tragic plane crash after performing at the Surf Ballroom in Mason City. On that same front page was a large article that talked about a “fiery debate” in the Iowa House over the Right to Work Law. The Democrats have been trying to repeal, or otherwise get rid of, that particular law for the past fifty years. They have been pushing it hard for a good reason; the membership in unions has been declining over the years.

The reason the unions give for wanting this bill passed is that it will help pay for the costs of supporting those members who do not belong or pay dues to the unions, but they are required to serve. The facts tell a different story. In an article in the Register this week a representative of the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) said the forced union dues won’t go to cover their costs associated with representing non-paying members, it will go to increased organizing and recruiting.

This is a critical issue for Iowa Taxpayers and the effort spent by unions to get it passed raises another question whether it is time to revisit the issue of public employee unions in Iowa. Since the mid-70’s when our current law was passed (Chapter 20) there has been a quantum leap in the cost of state and local government in Iowa. Public employee unions have been successful in organizing most state, county, and local employees and the impact has been a principle reason for taxes of all stripes increasing in the state. I will add that I am not anti-union because there are examples of bad management practices throughout our history that caused the unions to be organized, but like many other issues, there needs to be a balance. Allowing the unions to control our government to the extent they have taken control should be a cause for concern for all Iowa taxpayers.

This one is definitely worth contacting your Iowa legislator (click here to find your Iowa General Assembly Representatives) and let them know what you think about giving labor unions free reign to steal money from non-union members.  Keep in mind, this bill currently only impacts government worker unions, but it’s still wrong and will certainly lead to moves to provide the same right of theft to other unions.

Democrats File (Un)Fair Share Bill… Try To Gut Iowa’s Right to Work Law… Again

Paulsen Comments on Governor’s Address

kraig-paulsen-2(DES MOINES)—House Republican Leader Kraig Paulsen (R-Hiawatha) commented on the governor’s condition of the state address today.

“The governor needs to be straight with Iowans, he has raised taxes to balance his budget and that is unacceptable.  Balancing the budget is not good enough if it’s on the backs of the taxpayer.

“Among others, the governor has signed utility tax increases, raised taxes on Iowa employers,  and a $250 million tax levied on property tax payers.  The governor has repeatedly proposed and signed over a half a billion dollars in tax increases.

“Iowa families have been tightening their belts but, they can no longer be asked to carry the weight of this governor’s mistakes and mismanagement.”

Democrats File (Un)Fair Share Bill… Try To Gut Iowa’s Right to Work Law… Again

Iowa House Republican Leader’s Opening Day Remarks

kraig-paulsen-2(DES MOINES)—House Republican Leader Kraig Paulsen (R-Hiawatha) delivered opening remarks to the Iowa House of Representatives today.  The following are his remarks, as prepared for delivery:

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Mr. Speaker, ladies and gentlemen of the House, family and friends:

First I want to start by welcoming Representative Royd Chambers back to the House.  Thank you for your service, Royd, we’re very happy to have you home.

Obviously we have a difficult year ahead of us.  But rather than look at this as a problem I hope this body will choose to see opportunity.  Opportunity for a stronger Iowa, opportunity to create an efficient and open state government.  An opportunity to give the state back to the people.

Last year we heard a lot of blame being passed out.  House Republicans don’t think this is helpful. Wasn’t it President Truman who said, “the buck stops here?”  Instead of blaming our state’s troubles on someone else, House Republicans have taken action and are ready to take action again this year.

Make no mistake though, just like I said last year … if blame is continued to be misplaced, as Republicans believe it has in the past, I will continue to talk about the pork of the last three years – the 2,600 new state employees – the 17+% spending increases. Mr. Speaker, Republicans prefer to move on; I hope Democrats feel the same.

Last year in my opening day speech I called for increased truth and transparency in state government, vowed to stand up against tax increases, and pointed out the importance of reducing the cost of government.  As we worked through the year, Republicans crafted legislation to do just that.  While most of it was not supported at the time, these ideas are now being revered as a good plan.

Today, those three goals have not changed.  House Republicans will continue our efforts in those areas and add a few more to the list.

During the interim we went back to our home districts, met with our constituents and developed several bold solutions for the state of Iowa.  The only party to put forth an agenda, we focused on empowering families, reducing budgets, and strengthening education and healthcare, just to name a few.  We will put our plan into action with legislation that will hopefully be given a better reception than our efforts last year.

We will also focus on creating an environment which is welcoming to employers and encourages them to invest in our workforce, passing an affordable and responsible budget and standing up to the creeping federal intrusion into the lives of Iowans.

When we convened last year, 80,000 Iowans were out of work. When we adjourned that number had jumped to over 100,000.  Now it is somewhere around 115,000 Iowans out of work.  House Republicans will offer concrete and realistic ideas to put Iowans back to work.

We’ve repeatedly been saying we must reduce spending and we must be fiscally conservative with Iowans’ tax dollars.  While bloated budgets, increased spending and growing debt is now the norm—let me be very clear about where we stand—House Republicans will not support any budget that spends more money than it takes in.  Balancing the budget is not good enough if it’s on the backs of the property taxpayer.

The taxpayer deserves a seat at the table and House Republicans will make sure that happens.

Republicans believe state government disregarded Iowans’ concerns last year.  Pushing bills through at all hours of the night with little debate, removing citizens from the very building they pay for, budgets created behind closed doors, and we failed to permit them to have the final say on how marriage should be defined in Iowa.

Abraham Lincoln once said, “Public sentiment is everything.  With public sentiment, nothing can fail; without it nothing can succeed.”

Mr. Speaker, it’s time to listen to the will of the people.  House Republicans believe it’s time to return state government back to the hands of Iowans, allowing their voices to be heard…they deserve a seat at the table that they pay for.

Mr. Speaker, House Republicans stand ready to move Iowa forward.  Mr. Speaker House Republicans are ready to go to work.  Thank you.

Iowa GOP Legislators All Fired Up!

Iowa GOP Legislators All Fired Up!

iowa-gopI attended this morning’s 2010 Republican Legislative Kickoff Breakfast. At least 200 people, including legislators, party leaders, lobbyists and candidates were in attendance. The event was opened by Jim Kurtenbach, Iowa Republican Party Co-chair. Brief speeches were given by:

  • Steve King, US House District 5 Representative.  Invocation and some comments.  He acknowledged that the results of our work are in God’s hands.
  • Linda Upmeyer , Iowa House Republican Whip.  She reminded us to pray, work to get volunteers on campaigns, and raise the financial resources needed to win.
  • Kraig Paulsen , Iowa House Republican Leader.  He commented that he has a lot of love in his trunk, plus a few sticks of dynomite.
  • Steve Kettering, Iowa Senate Republican Whip,   He said “A comeback for Republicans is a comeback for all Iowans!”
  • Paul McKinley, Iowa Senate Republican Leader.  Paul related a story about meeting some US Department of Labor employees in New York who stayed at the Ritz Carlton at the government’s expense… their comment: “It’s a new day!”.
  • Matt Strawn, Iowa Republican Party Chair.  “Iowans have gotten a taste of what a Democrat dominated government is like” and “we have solutions”.

Through out the speeches, a consistent message of satisfaction that all Iowa Republicans in the 2009 voted consistently with the party, that we cannot support a budget that exceeds revenue, that we need to give Iowans the right to vote on the definition of Marriage, labor unions cannot be allowed to destroy Iowa businesses, and that Democrats are extremely vulnerable.

I was honored to sit next Royd Chambers from Sheldon, who was deployed with the Iowa Air National Guard to Kyrgyzstan during the 2009 session. I was also seated next to Bill Northey, Iowa’s Secretary of Agriculture. I had a good chat with Bill about the upcoming budget work in his department, and it sounds like everyone is putting the nose to the grindstone!

Governor Branstad was there, as well as Bob Vander Plaats. I’m assuming the Rod Roberts and Chris Rants were also there, but I did not get a chance to see them. Other candidates that I happened to see included:

  • George Eichhorn, running for Secretary of State
  • Dave Funk, Brad Zaun (Iowa Senator from Urbandale), and Mark Rees, all three running for US House District 3
  • Chris Reed and Mariannette Miller-Meeks, both running for US House District 2

I saw Dave Vaudt as well… Tom Latham was not able to attend the event.

Overall, the event was encouraging and a great opportunity to connect with folks I had not seen in a while.   Although Republicans are in the minority, our legislators are ready to do the hard work of helping reduce unnecessary spending and fight for Iowans rights.

Democrats File (Un)Fair Share Bill… Try To Gut Iowa’s Right to Work Law… Again

Iowa House Republican Leader Kraig Paulsen’s Closing Remarks

kraig-paulsen-2House Minority Leader Kraig Paulsen provided these remarks at 4:15 Sunday morning:

Thank you Mr. Speaker.  Mr. Speaker, ladies and gentleman of the House,

First I would like to thank my caucus.  It is indeed a great honor to stand for you and represent you.  We are 43 strong and we made a difference – be proud of your efforts and successes. Next year we will stand with 44 members as we welcome our friend Rep. Royd Chambers back from serving our country in the Middle East.  We look forward to serving with him in this chamber again. Thank you to my leadership team: Rod, Jodi, Jeff, and Steve for your input and efforts.  And a special thank you to the Republican Whip, Linda Upmeyer for your inexhaustible energy and focus.

I would also like to thank each of you who take the time away from your families and your lives at home to come to Des Moines and serve the people of the great state of Iowa.  Our task is often difficult and grueling, so I think each one of you deserves thanks for giving so much of your time and energy.

The staff of this building who work hard to keep bills moving, get amendments drafted, and make sure things are up and running each day. Thank you.  Specifically, I would like to thank my staff.  Thank you Jeff, Josie, Noreen, Lew, Lon, Brad, Ann, Kelly, Jason, Matt and Tony.  We like to say, and it continues to be true, that we have the most informed staff in the building.

Mr. Speaker – Mr. Majority Leader, I also want to thank you.  Obviously we have some profound differences on policy, but that did not prevent us from working together when possible for the betterment of Iowans.  You committed to me that House Republicans would have opportunities to engage and affect legislation and you followed through on that commitment.   I thank you for that.

Most notably we began working this session effectively to respond to last year’s disaster through the newly formed Rebuild Iowa Committee – while we can debate whether we did enough in the right areas -  Iowa will be better because we worked together.

Republicans and Democrats worked together to write a disaster relief package after listening to the concerns of Iowans.  Of that, we should all be proud.

Unfortunately, much of the cooperation ended there.

Leading is not coming in and pushing a button based on your party.  Leading is listening to the will of the people and hearing the voices of the Iowans who put their faith in you.

I’m not convinced this House of Representatives listened throughout this session.

71 percent of Iowans opposed the massive and unprecedented borrowing proposal we passed in the last two days.  Maybe that is why Iowans weren’t allowed to see the massive spending plan until it was about to be debated.  Even aside from the secrecy which surrounded the formulation of this scheme, the really frustrating part is that Republicans believe we could have accomplished the same things without – WITHOUT – borrowing a single dime if we simply used the infrastructure fund for infrastructure.

On tax day, thousands gathered right outside this building saying, enough is enough, cut back.  Yet, you voted for the largest amount of spending in the history of our state.  Once again, I’m not sure that this House listened.

A few weeks ago the Iowa Supreme Court handed down their ruling striking down traditional marriage in Iowa.  Iowans again came to this chamber and pleaded with this body to take action.  Iowans want to have a chance to be heard on this issue– to vote on a constitutional amendment defining marriage as 1 man and 1 woman just as many promised we would do.  House Republicans tried to make that happen but were circumvented by procedure.  This is very regrettable.

Only 40 percent of Iowans supported the prevailing wage bill.   They sent a deluge of messages voicing their hesitation, but we debated anyway. Later, an even more unpopular plan to take away Iowans’ largest tax deduction was brought to us. As a sea of red shirts packed the balconies to stand up against the raiding of their wallets.  Instead of listening, they were removed from the chamber.

In January, every leader in this chamber promised Iowans that the Legislature would review each program and line item in the state budget to find waste and inefficiencies.  Well, House Republicans followed through.  We went through hundreds of pages of budget documents from state agencies.  And what did we find?  Projects that could be postponed, cars that didn’t need to be purchased, and money that could not be accounted for.  We found $337 million in waste and inefficiencies and offered them as amendments.  Virtually every one was rejected – in fact less than 1% of these savings were accepted.

The result? Historic levels of spending in the state of Iowa.  This is astounding considering all Iowans have heard about are the painful budget cuts and program eliminations.  It is counter-intuitive to know that state revenues are going down and then, fully armed with that knowledge, pass a budget that not only exceeds available revenue but is the largest budget Iowans have ever seen.  After all of this spending I’m left to wonder – if more and more government spending revs up the economy, then why isn’t ours humming along?

Republicans said over and over that we were using a three part test to weigh each bill.  1. Does it grow Iowa’s economy?  2. Does it create jobs?  3. Does it encourage our employers to reinvest in our workforce?

Countless times this year, Republicans urged the majority party to use these same checks.   To consider the choices everyday Iowans are making as they tighten their belts and reexamine their own household budgets to weather this economic storm.   We asked how we were putting even one of 80,000 Iowans back to work.

I’m not convinced that this House was listening.

Mr. Speaker and ladies and gentlemen of the House, I will close with this thought:  we have spent nearly all of our time this session doing one of two things:  spending or borrowing.

As I think back over the last 100 days I think of several things:  the most money spent in Iowa’s history, a partial response to flooding, saddling our children with years of debt, and a failure to act on the issue of marriage.   While I see this as disappointing, I also see an open door of opportunity to take the time to again listen to Iowans and return next year and do the people’s work.

    Log in