Gov. Chet Culver is strongly hinting that he might veto the collective bargaining expansion for public employees that passed the House and Senate at light speed. From The Gazette:
DES MOINES – Gov. Chet Culver warned today there is a “strong possibility” he will veto a Democratic-passed bill that expands Iowa’s collective bargaining law unless more work is done to find the “right balance between labor and management concerns.
The governor said he hopes bipartisan discussions can take place to find common ground on a number of controversial issues that he doesn’t believe have an enough discussion by Iowans who potentially could be impacted by “open scope” bargaining included in the bill that has passed both the House and Senate.
Culver had urged a go-slow approach Monday, calling on the Senate to conduct a public hearing and solicit more public input before proceeding to a final vote. That call went ignored when the Senate voted 27-23 to approve the House version unchanged, but to put a procedural hold on the measure to give Culver time to review the legislative work product.
“I am disappointed our concerns were not addressed and the bill was pushed through anyway,” the governor told reporters at a Statehouse news conference today.
“I want to be clear that there is a strong possibility I will veto this bill if a real effort to listen to the concerns of Iowans, local elected officials, and government stakeholders at all levels does not take place,” he added. “As I’ve said before, a real effort to reach a consensus must be made. I stand ready to do my part.”
And in a sure sign of the apocalypse, House Republican leader Christopher Rants praised the governor.
“I am pleased to see the governor is inclined to veto this legislation,” Rants said in a short press release.
But Rants then chided Culver for messing up the living room and for being unable to identify a ladle. (Sorry to those of you too young to understand this lame Odd Couple reference)
Meanwhile in the Senate, where Culver’s misgivings were seriously considered Monday and carefully filed in the nearest recycling bin, Majority Leader Mike Gronstal slowed things down by filing a motion to reconsider the bargaining bill. In real-people talk, that means he’s holding onto the bill to give Culver time to think this through.
The Lug better think, think, think about what he’s trying to do to them. (Blues Brothers. See apology above)
Back to The Gazette story, Gronstal issued a statement today:
“I am incredibly disappointed by the governor’s threat to veto legislation that would help thousands of working families across our state.
“I remain confident that once the Governor understands the modest but important changes in this collective bargaining legislation, he will reverse course, side with Iowa workers and sign the bill into law,” he added.
So everybody but Christopher Rants is disappointed. Which party is running this place again? These things can be tough to follow.
Personally, as I’ve said before, I think legislative Democrats bungled this. I actually support expanding bargaining rights, perhaps not to the extent the bill expands them, but I don’t like this sort of pedal-down, drive-by lawmaking. It almost always means trouble.
I’ve already had e-mail today deriding me for not understanding that this has been a top union issue for years. Sure, you’re right. It has been around.
But just because an issue has a long history doesn’t mean it should be shoved through from draft to final passage in less than a week. Not all Iowans closely follow labor issues. They just pay taxes. And they should have time to consider this.
Culver is smart to take a dim view of this process. He’ll be under enormous political pressure to sign the bill and may still scrawl his Lug Hancock across the bottom. Or maybe the Senate backs up and reconsiders to meet his demands.
Or he vetoes it, and we get more drama. Someone’s gotta blink.