20 Procedural “Irregularities” Used By Iowa Republicans

From the Facebook page of Senate Minority Leader Rob Hogg  @SenatorRobHogg

While it is fresh in my mind, here is a list of 20 major procedural irregularities used by Republicans on the bill to take away workers’ rights and teachers’ rights (that were originally enacted in 1974 by a Republican Governor and a Republican Legislature after two full years of work and after 12 days of floor debate in Iowa House and a week in Iowa Senate):

(1) Republicans did not campaign on issue;

(2) Republicans told the public after election they would do “minor tweaks,” misleading the public including city, county, and school officials who said they wanted “tweaks” but did not expect or want the changes actually made – not a single city, county, or school official has told me they supported the bill as drafted or as passed;

(3) Republicans introduced the bill (HF291/SF213), without consulting with Iowans who would be affected, on Tuesday, February 7, running it out of subcommittee and committee by February 9 in both chambers simultaneously and with minimum public notice;

(4) Republicans introduced the bill one day after Americans for Prosperity (Koch Brothers) began advertising and mail campaign, spending over $125,000 on TV ads in a single week;

(5) Senate Republicans talked to Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker over the phone about the bill while over 1,000 Iowans were in the Capitol Monday to talk to them about the issue – Senate Republicans then left through side doors of Capitol to avoid speaking to Iowans;

(6) Senate Republicans brought bill up on Tuesday and expected to pass it then – just one week after initially introducing it;

(7) after breaking Tuesday night, Senate Republicans went right back to floor debate Wednesday morning, cancelling most committee meetings;

(8) House and Senate simultaneously debated the bill – this is a very unusual procedure except during the final days of a session on budget bills;

(9) Senate Democrats were drafting substantive amendments as quickly as possible, but then had to re-draft most of them to Senate Republican amendment – it was a large bill with many provisions that should not have been combined in a single bill – non-partisan legislative drafter was working all through the night – no explanation was ever given for making non-partisan staff work all through the night;

(10) Senate Republican floor manager said he could not take an amendment on university police because of an agreement he had with the House, before the Senate had ever considered amendments or debated the bill;

(11) Senate Republican floor manager said on the floor he met with people to draft the bill who he would not identify and also would not identify city, county, and school officials he claimed wanted the bill;

(12) calls to the Senate switchboard Monday through Wednesday were 2,476 against the bill, only 30 for it – with limited time and limited switchboard staff, staff were not able to write notes to individual Senators;

(13) Senate switchboard was shut down at 8 p.m. Wednesday and not re-opened until 8 a.m. Thursday, due to limited staff, but Senate Republicans decided to keep debate going through the night when calls could not be received and very few members of the public were able to watch;

(14) Senate Republicans ended Wednesday’s floor debate around 9:30 a.m. Thursday morning, then started Thursday’s floor debate around 9:45 a.m.;

(15) House Republicans announced the use of “time certain” in the House to end debate at noon;

(16) Senate Republicans announced they would use the “time certain” procedure in the Senate – unprecedented in my history in the Senate – and end flood debate at 2:00 p.m. Thursday, without explanation for the rush;

(17) Senate Democrats had to hurry debate on amendments, but still only got through about 10 more before 2:00 p.m. hit;

(18) Senate Republicans delayed coming into the chamber to vote, leading Democrats to have to invoke “Call of the Senate” to force members to stay in the chamber;

(19) at 2:00 p.m., Senate President Whitver implemented “time certain” and forced votes on roughly 50 amendments and the bill without allowing Senators to explain to Senators and the public what their amendments were and without any additional floor discussion; and

(20) the bill was signed by Governor Branstad less than 24 hours later in “private” except for the presence of a representative of Americans for Prosperity (Koch Brothers).

I know I may have left some of the procedural irregularities out, but this is a good start. I will try to add comments later if I remember more.

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