AFSCME Iowa Council 61 - Every Day. Everywhere. Making Iowa Better.

Legislative Update: February 27, 2015

New Mental Health Institutes Bill Filed
A new bill by State Senator Rich Taylor, Senate File 308, has been filed. The bill is identical to Senate File 140 but does not include an appropriation in the bill. Like Senate File 140, this bill would prevent the governor from continuing his unilateral process of shutting down Clarinda and Mt. Pleasant Mental Health Institutes before the General Assembly has had a chance to weigh in with a budget for the next Fiscal Year.

Please continue to contact your legislators on this issue. However, please refer to Senate File 308 instead of the original bill. You can look up your legislators' contact information here. Please make sure to use personal phones/computers/e-mail accounts and to contact your legislators from non-work locations during non-work hours.

Education Funding
Iowa House Republicans and Iowa Senate Democrats continue to disagree on allowable growth school funding. Iowa House Republicans continue to support 1.25% while Iowa Senate Democrats support 4%. AFSCME Iowa Council 61 supports a 6% increase. However, a 4% increase is vastly more preferable than a 1.25% increase which would have drastic consequences for Iowa schools (such as layoffs, larger class sizes, and not purchasing needed classroom materials). This week, the House and Senate formed a conference committee consisting of members from both chambers. If a resolution is reached by the committee, it would then be voted on by each chamber.

Correctional Services Districts’ Board of Directors Bill
This bill passed the Judiciary Committee by an 11-2 vote. The bill was then renumbered as Senate File 299 and goes to the full Iowa Senate for consideration. This legislation, if enacted, would add a non-voting AFSCME representative to the board of each Judicial District Department of Correctional Services. AFSCME Iowa Council 61 supports this bill.

Gas Tax
The Iowa House and Iowa Senate passed a gas tax bill and the governor signed it into law. This legislation will increase gas taxes by ten cents per gallon on Sunday, March 1st.

Legislative Forums
We strongly urge members to attend their legislators’ forums. We post links to legislative forum calendars on our website. We typically update this page on Wednesday or Thursday of each week.

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