During last Saturday’s legislative cracker barrel, Rep. Bernie Hunhoff (D-Yankton) said something that didn’t make it into my story but which is probably worth repeating. To deny that there is some kind of Republican governor playbook at work across this country is really to deny reality. Whether that is good or bad is in the eye of the beholder. Here’s what Bernie had to say:
“The whole legislative session is based on a false premise, and when you operate anything on a false premise, bad decisions are made. That’s exactly what is happening in this legislative session. After being oblivious to any kind of problem, (Gov. Dennis Daugaard) came in with the idea that we need to cut everything 10 percent to hit a new norm, to hit the reset button or to not kick the can down the road — all language you’re hearing from other Republican governors like him across the country. It’s obviously from a Republican playbook. It has nothing to do with South Dakota. It’s some kind of extremism that’s going on.”
After the forum, Bernie told journalists that a bill being shopped around the legislature this year to limit collective bargaining rights was more or less considered a joke because of the very weak labor presence in the state. However, in other states with a Republican administration and more organized labor, those bills have been emerging like clockwork. The most prominent, of course, is Wisconsin.
This is a story out of Iowa today:
Dozens of Iowa union members rally against bill
DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — The Iowa House has opened debate on an overhaul of the state’s collective bargaining law, with majority Republicans vowing to scale back negotiating rights.
The debate began Wednesday afternoon and could stretch into Thursday.
The bill limits what public unions can bargain on, including the terms and source of insurance and factors that can be considered before employee layoffs. It also calls for arbitrators to consider a comparison of the wages and benefits of state workers with private sector workers.
Democrats have filed more than 100 amendments in an effort to slow the measure, but it’s expected to pass the House. Its future is doubtful in the Democratic-controlled Senate.
Union members have gathered at the Capitol, chanting “kill the bill” and “we are one.”