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Newspaper Archive of
N. Warren Town and County News
Norwalk, Iowa
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March 25, 2015     N. Warren Town and County News
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March 25, 2015
 

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Page Ten N/Warren Town and County News Thursday, March 26, 2015 Legislative Newsletter Stan Gustafson Iowa House Representative District 25 Rep. Stan Gustafson (R-Cumming) hosted the Earlham Cardinals basketball team at the Capitol recently. The group was recognized for qualifying for the state tournament for the first time in their school's history and placed third in Class 1A. Photo submitted. rent law only requires an arbitrator to look at a com- tors that an arbitrator must consider when rendering a parison of other public sector workers. The reason this decision. Under House Rules, each amendment must Rep. Start Gustafson (R-Cumming) met with Sergeant Bill took so long to be debated is that many amendments be introduced and described by the sponsor and then Jim Butler from the Des Moines Police Department at were filed, bringing in other education issues. One determined to see if it is relevant to the Bill. If it is, the the Capitol last week. Butler visited the Statehouse to amendment was divided by its sponsor into 16 sepa- full House votes on it. The Bill finally passed and was meet with legislators and discuss issues. Pictured are rate amendments, mostly reversing the changes in Concluded p. 15 Jim Butler and Rep. Gustafson. Photo submitted. House File 549, and then adding numerous other fac- Rep. Stan Gustafson (R-Cumming) met with constitu- ents Robert Witt Jr. and Heidi Burhans at the Capitol last week. Robert visited the Statehouse to discuss is- sues on behalf of Madison County Farm Bureau and the Iowa Soybean Association and Heidi is the Madi- son County Auditor and visited to attend County Day on the Hill. Pictured are Robert Witt Jr., Heidi Burhans and Rep. Gustafson. Photo submitted. One of the questions I have gotten from constituents is "Why don't you debate bills more?" Most of the Bills that pass out of the House to the Senate have little or no floor debate. This is because the Bill has generally been scheduled for a subcommittee hearing at which time citizens and lobbyists have a chance to give input. Leg- islators also receive input from lobbyists and citizens who come to the Capitol at other times. Each party "cau- cuses" on the Bill before the Bill is submitted to the full Committee in order for Legislators to share informa- tion they may have about the Bill and to clarify the lan- guage of the Bill. The Bill is then voted on by a Biparti- san committee as to whether it should be voted on by the whole House. Amendments can be added to the Bill at any time during this process. HF549 was a Bill, however, which was debated for two days this week. This Bill narrowly changes the bind- ing arbitration process for school district and Area Edu- cation Agency (AEA) employees. The bill makes three small, yet very significant changes to what an arbitrator is allowed to consider when rendering a decision on union contracts. Currently an arbitrator must choose one or the other of the two parties' final offer on an item when there is an impasse between the bargaining enti- ties. Under this Bill, the arbitrator is authorized to choose a point between the two offers. This ensures that a com- promise position can be reached between where the parties end up. An arbitrator will no longer be able to consider the public employer's authority to levy taxes to finance an increase in compensation packages. Unions point to government's unlimited ability to raise taxes as the basis for pay increases beyond what current revenues can afford. Third, an arbitrator will be required to look at a comparison of public and private sector wages, hours and conditions of employment for workers doing com- parable work to get a true and fair comparison. Cur- Editor's Note: This is a monthly column prepared by the Iowa Public Information Board to update Iowans on the IPIB's activities and provide information on some of the issues routinely addressed by the board. QUESTION: What are the powers and duties of the The IPIB also offers training IPIB? in Chapters 21 and 22 to gov- ANSWER: The IPIB is an in- ernment bodies, disseminates dependent agent authorized by information to the public, sub- statute (Iowa Code chapter 23) mits an annual report to the to issue advice, or declaratory Governor and Legislature and orders with the force of law, makes recommendations relat- regarding the applicability of ing to access to government the open meetings (Chapter information. 21) and open records (Chapter QUESTION: What are the 22) laws. limits of the IPIB jurisdie- It can receive and investigate tion? complaints alleging violations ANSWER: The IPIB does not of the laws and seek resolu- have jurisdiction over the judi- tion through an informal pro- cial or legislative branches, or cess. If a complaint cannot be resolved informally, and the over the Governor and Gover- IPIB has probable cause to be- nor's office. A complaint must lieve the law has been violated, be filed with 60 days from the the board may prosecute thetime .the alleged violation oc- government body or officialcurred or the complainant in a contested-case proceed- could have become aware of ing under the Administrative the violation with reasonable Procedures Act (Chapter 17A). diligence. The IPIB can issue subpoenas QUESTION: Do I have to to investigate complaints and file a public meetings or prosecute cases, and it can also records complaint with the issue orders with the force of IPIB instead of going to law to require compliance with court? If I file a complaint the sunshine laws. O with the board and am dis- satisfied with the result, can I appeal? ANSWER: Any person, the At- torney General or a County At- torney seeking to enforce open meetings and records laws can bring the complaint before the IPIB, or the individual can bring an action in state district court, as under current law. If more than one party simultane- ously brings an action before the IPIB and in court, the court shall stay the case pending resolution of the complaint by the IPIB. A final IPIB order is subject to judicial review. QUESTION: Where can I find out more information about the IPIB? ANSWER: The IPIB has a web- site: www.ipib.iowa.gov. You can also contact the IPIB staff by phone at 515.725.1781, by fax at 515.725.1789 or by email at IPIB@iowa.gov.