Iowa politics: Reynolds, unions and education



Protesters from various organizations, including UNI United Faculty and the Iowa State Education Association, picketed Gov. Reynolds’ visit on Friday.

These past few weeks, the Iowa Legislature has hit the ground running, taking on Republican legislation that has carried over from the 2017 session agenda and more. These upcoming bills are hitting the legislative floor as political tension continues to rise in the state.

A bill which would remove $3.7 million of state appropriations to UNI remains in consideration. Any potential cuts to UNI’s budget will not be finalized until March revenue estimates are released. The deappropriation comes alongside a recommendedation from Governor Reynolds to not fund the bookstore acquisition and renovation of the Industrial Technology Center.

The legislature is also considering a bill signaling the state of Iowa’s desire for a constitutional convention. If the bill passes, Iowa would be the 28th state of the required 34 for a convention to take place. The right to holding a convention is given to the states by Article V of the Constitution.

A bill which would loosen the legal definition of an “official document,” designed to make the voting documentation process easier, is also up for consideration in the legislature. The bill, recommended by the office of the Iowa Secretary of State, would change the definition of “official document” to include electronic forms of documentation, like iPads, phones and others.

Governor Reynolds visited Cedar Falls this past Friday, coming to College Square HyVee at 4 p.m. Reynolds’ visit was met with stern opposition from UNI United Faculty, the Iowa State Education Association and others who turned out to protest the visit. Reynolds and Acting Lt. Governor Adam Gregg were visiting as a part of their “Unleashing Opportunity” tour, aimed at getting feedback from across the state on job opportunities and other topics.