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Legislative session winding down

Published: Wednesday, April 12, 2017 10:32 a.m. CDT


Labor Agreements

A Republican-sponsored bill that concerns Project Labor Agreements passed the House 57-41 along party lines. PLAs are a collective bargaining agreement used by a project owner that sets terms under which a contractor who successfully bids on a project proceeds in labor relations and work on that particular project. Both public and private entities presently have the option of utilizing PLAs to manage wages, benefits and working conditions. Sometimes these agreements contain provisions for the use of local labor and preventing work stoppages. They do not require that workers be from a union.

SF 438 prohibits government entities from mandating that bidders for public contracts complete contractor qualification questionnaires. The questions concern the contractor’s five year history, liens and judgments, whether their registration has been suspended or revoked, or whether they’ve been cited by a government regulatory agency. Supporters of SF 438 insist that this type of information should be kept confidential, and this bill protects contractors from having to release proprietary information. Opponents of the bill say that PLAs help control costs and locks in labor conditions on projects that are highly complex and may last several years. The prohibition is another example of limiting local control.

Appropriations - Transportation One of the first appropriations bills has emerged; it concerns funding for the Department of Transportation. This bill proposes spending $384.1 million (mostly federal monies) to fund 2,748 full-time employees for fiscal year 2018. This figure represents an increase of $13.3 million from fiscal year 2017. Most of the budget remains the same in terms of the type of projects being funded. One change is an appropriation of $10.8 million for the relocation and replacement for the Dubuque maintenance garage.

20 Week Abortion Ban  Senate File 471, which would ban abortions once a pregnancy reaches 20 weeks and establish a three-day waiting period for women seeking any abortion, passed the House this week. It had come over from the Senate with an amendment that would allow for abortion after 20 weeks in the event of fetal anomalies, but that provision was stricken from the bill that went before the House out of the Human Resources committee. All 41 Democrats voted against the bill. Democrats argued the bill does not account for the wide range of circumstances that can lead women to seek abortions. For instance, the bill makes no exception for pregnancies resulting from rape or incest. We must value all life, which includes the mothers carrying a non-viable fetus, young children impregnated by rape or incest, as well as the unborn. This is an emotional issue with passionate individuals on all sides. My heart goes out to all mothers and families that face these heart wrenching decisions. The bill includes changes that must be approved by the Senate before it could be sent to the governor’s desk.

Contact Rep. Wes Breckenridgeat 641-521-6714 orwes.breckenridge@legis.iowa.gov

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