UPDATE: Iowa Democrats debate through night on bargaining bill

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DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) -- Democrats in the Republican-controlled Iowa Senate have debated through the night to delay voting on a bill that would eliminate most collective bargaining rights for public workers in the state.

The minority party led an hourslong effort that began Wednesday morning and continued after 5 a.m. Thursday. It's unclear when the Senate will adjourn.

The bill would prohibit public sector employees such as teachers, nurses and correctional officers from negotiating over several issues including health insurance, evaluation procedures and extra pay. It's similar to a 2011 collective bargaining law in Wisconsin.

House and Senate debate over mirror versions of the legislation began Tuesday. Since then, Democrats in both chambers unsuccessfully have tried procedural moves to alter the proposal. Their efforts are not expected to stop the legislation's expected passage.

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As Republicans with majorities in both chambers of the Iowa Legislature prepare to pass a bill that would reduce most collective bargaining rights for public workers, they're also poised to knock out a political force that tends to challenge them on issues and often backs their opponents.

The proposed changes to Iowa's collective bargaining law would drastically change how public sector unions negotiate and organize on behalf of roughly 180,000 people in the state. Academics say the ripple effect is weakened unions with reduced membership and less financial stability.

That could impact how those labor groups are able to lobby for legislative changes. Data show key public sector unions in Iowa often finance Democrats.

Lawmakers continue to debate the GOP-backed bill Wednesday. It is expected to pass.
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Both chambers of the Republican-controlled Iowa Legislature will resume debate Wednesday on bills to limit collective bargaining power in Iowa. It's unclear when a vote on the two versions might happen.

The House chamber, which debated the bill for several hours, agreed after 10:30 p.m. Tuesday to adjourn until Wednesday morning. The Senate took similar action shortly after 8:30 p.m.

Democrats, now in the minority, have filed dozens of proposed changes to the bill. At least one amendment in the Senate to gut the measure failed.

The legislation is expected to pass amid support from GOP legislative leaders, Gov. Terry Branstad and Lt. Gov. Kim Reynolds, the incoming governor. However, the timing of final votes remained unclear.
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As of 10 p.m. Monday, the Republican-controlled House has debated for more than an hour over a bill that would significantly reduce collective bargaining rights for public sector employees in Iowa.

Democrats in the minority filed dozens of proposed changes to the legislation and started debating them Tuesday night. It remained unclear how long discussion would last, after the GOP-led Senate postponed further debate on the bill until Wednesday.

Rep. Steven Holt, a Denison Republican, echoed arguments made earlier by colleagues in the other chamber. He said the legislation would result "in a government in Iowa that is more responsive and more efficient."

Rep. Art Staed, a Cedar Rapids Democrat, said Iowans overwhelmingly opposed the bill. "Don't sit here smugly and ignore them," he said.

Spectators in the House gallery silently waved their hands to show support for criticism on the bill.
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A key vote on legislation that would eliminate most collective bargaining rights for public workers in Iowa has been put on hold.

Lawmakers in the GOP-controlled Senate agreed Tuesday night to postpone further discussion on the bill until Wednesday, following hours of debate. The Republican-controlled House began discussing the bill Tuesday night, and their debate could last several hours.

The legislation would prohibit workers like teachers, nurses and correctional officers from negotiating issues like health insurance, evaluation procedures and extra pay. Republicans argue the bill would give local employers more flexibility, though Democrats disagree with that assessment.

The legislation is expected to pass, but it's unclear when formal votes will happen because of procedural moves by Democrats.

The bill has similarities to a 2011 Wisconsin law over collective bargaining.
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Legislative debate has stretched into several hours at the Iowa Capitol as Republican lawmakers try to fast track a vote on a bill that would eliminate most collective bargaining rights for public workers in the state.

Lawmakers in the GOP-controlled Legislature assembled in the state House and Senate Tuesday night to discuss identical versions of the bill. The legislation is expected to pass, but it's unclear when formal votes will happen because of procedural moves by Democrats.

The bill would prohibit workers like teachers, nurses and correctional officers from negotiating issues like health insurance, evaluation procedures and extra pay. Republicans have argued the bill would give local employers more flexibility, though Democrats disagree with that assessment.

The legislation has similarities to a 2011 Wisconsin law over collective bargaining.
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Several dozen people have turned up at the Iowa Capitol to watch lawmakers debate a bill that would limit how public workers can negotiate their working conditions.

Public galleries in the GOP-controlled Senate were nearly full by 6 p.m. Tuesday as lawmakers discussed details of a bill that would cut mandatory collective bargaining rights for public sector employees like teachers, nurses and correctional officers.

Lawmakers in the Senate began debating the bill around 4 p.m. The Republican-controlled House is expected to discuss the bill later Tuesday night.

Mary Beth West, a kindergarten teacher in Des Moines, says she came to the state Capitol to support her "brothers and sisters."

"I don't know what's going to become of this, but I need to be here every step of the way so I know I've done everything I can," she said.
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Democrats in the Iowa Legislature have introduced dozens of proposed changes to a GOP-backed bill that would cut most collective bargaining rights for public sector employees in the state.

Lawmakers filed more than 70 amendments in the Republican-majority House ahead of scheduled debate Tuesday. More than a dozen amendments were filed in the GOP-controlled Senate before debate in that chamber.

The process of reviewing all the proposed changes could take hours. It's unclear when formal votes will take place.

Republican lawmakers announced Tuesday afternoon they would also make some changes to the bill. Democrats say even with those changes, the legislation would gut the state's collective bargaining law.