Iowa Legislature Public Hearings


Public Hearings and times are as follows:

HF 295 - A bill for an act prohibiting counties and cities from establishing certain regulations relating to employment matters and the sale or marketing of consumer merchandise, providing for properly related matters, and including effective date provisions. (Formerly HSB 92.)

Sponsored by the Local Government Committee

Monday, March 6, 2017
5:00 PM (introductions begin)
6:30 PM (conclusion of the hearing)
RM 103, Sup. Ct. Chamber

Comments Received at Public Hearing (Date Published: 03/08/2017)
03-01-2017
Lucas Beenken [Iowa State Association of Counties]
CON
03-01-2017
Connie Ryan [Interfaith Alliance of Iowa Action Fund]
CON
03-01-2017
Bridget Fagan-Reidburn [Iowa CCI Action Fund]
CON
03-01-2017
Matt Chapman [CCI Action]
CON
03-01-2017
Rev. Ryan Arnold [First Christian Church, Des Moines]
CON
03-01-2017
Matt Sinovic [Progress Iowa]
CON
03-01-2017
Anonymous []
CON
This is nothing more than an attack on urban communities with different political climates than the rural (Republican) portions of the state.
03-01-2017
Lisa Bunn [Indivisible Iowa SD 46 HD 91]
CON
This is ridiculous. Keep local control with cities. I thought Republicans were all for local control?
03-01-2017
Emily Mineart []
CON
In almost every other instance, Republicans are in favor of protecting local control. Why not on this issue?
03-01-2017
Lindsey Ellickson []
CON
This is doing the exact opposite of what Republicans say they're for by imposing a larger government control over the local control.
03-01-2017
Joe Stutler []
CON
I wish to speak on the issue of this bill's adverse impact on the citizens of my community, Marion, due to its attack on local control of our Civil Rights.
03-02-2017
Cynthia Steflik [Indivisible Iowa SD 42 HD 83, 84]
CON
Opposed!Stop trying to take control of our counties and cities! I thought republicans were for LESS Government intervention. Why this now?
03-02-2017
Jessica Dunker [Iowa Restaurant Association]
PRO
The Iowa Restaurant Association strongly supports the employment related portions of this bill. It is nearly impossible to plan for multicounty or even city expansion with the threat of an ever changing county by county patchwork of wages. We are willing to discuss all employment issues from wages to leave to benefits. We simply want one authority to work withthe state legislature. 99 counties with multiple cities is nearly impossible. If amendments are made to the bill, we would ask the employment portion be kept as reflected in the current bill.
03-02-2017
Darin Beck [Iowa Restaurant Association & Barmuda Companies]
PRO
I will be attending with the Iowa Restaurant Association.
03-02-2017
Mike holms [Jethros bbq]
PRO
03-02-2017
Anonymous [no organization]
CON
I am against this bill, because it would stop local areas from being able to establish a higher minimum wage than the state. It doesn't make sense in today's world, and instead of finding ways to make life harder for working people, we need to support them. Thank you.
03-02-2017
Mary Kay Pence []
CON
I am strongly opposed to HF 295. We elect city councils, and county board to address the needs of all stakeholders in the cities and counties. Our local elected officials know what their citizens want and need better than do state legislators in Des Moines. Do not take away our local voice.
03-02-2017
Anonymous []
CON
The costs of living in our cities are much greater than rural areas. Let counties and cities set a living wage so that people can afford to live in the cities they work in. Cities should also be able to add civil rights protections that make sense for their constituents.
03-02-2017
Charles Wishman [Iowa Federation of Labor, AFL-CIO]
CON
03-02-2017
Todd Obadal []
CON
This bill is an attempted overreach of authority by the State Legislature into matters that are best left to the providence of local governing bodies.
03-02-2017
Thomas Krystofiak []
CON
03-02-2017
Anonymous []
CON
This is an attack on our local democracy and on the freedom of our local communities to manage their resources based on the needs of their respective community. This is a grab to take away local governance.
03-02-2017
Gayle Murray [Citizen]
CON
This bill coming out of a republican controlled legislature is remarkable. The republican platform is supposed to be about small government & local control. Yet you are trying to undermine the authority of local communities in our state. Please vote no on this bill & allow communities to govern themselves.
03-02-2017
Kenmt Morris []
CON
Once again, Republicans preach less upper government control and more local control until it doesn't suit them.Counties with a higher cost of living should have a right to set a higher minimum wage.This legislation is coupled along with dissolving collective bargaining.The actions of this legislature is to depress wages while corporate profits increase.
03-02-2017
Nancy and Dale Hanaman []
CON
We are against this legislation because these employmentrelated issues are better handled by the local governmental units including minimum wage. These elected officials know their communities best. Iowans in all areas need a minimum wage that provides enough for their basic needs and provides money to spend in their communities.
03-02-2017
John Cook []
CON
This bill is an inappropriate interference with local control.
03-02-2017
Anonymous []
CON
Iowans deserve to earn a fair wage. If the state will not move in that direction, and local municipalities and counties will, then they should be allowed to do so.
03-02-2017
Anonymous [ICCI]
CON
My brother wrote this and I will share it here. Could not agree more.
Attachment
03-02-2017
Alene Rickels []
CON
I don't understand the desire to take away local control of minimum wage. I hear the legislature wanting more local control for most issues. Education and getting rid of collective bargaining is an example of a recent decision using local control as the argument. Workers deserve a living wage. Who better to decide that then local cities and counties?
03-02-2017
Anonymous []
CON
03-02-2017
Anonymous [Proud Member of ICCI]
CON
I am against this bill! The State should not be allowed to set the minimum wage for the entire State. Cities and counties should be able to set the minimum wage for their jurisdictions.
03-02-2017
Naura Godar []
CON
03-02-2017
Rev. David Sickelka [Urbandale UCC and Interfaith Alliance of Iowa]
CON
03-02-2017
Rev. Debbie Griffin [Downtown Disciples]
CON
03-02-2017
Larry Ginter []
CON
03-02-2017
Michael Triplett [Greater Iowa Apartment Association ]
PRO
03-02-2017
Matt Everson [NFIB]
PRO
03-02-2017
Anonymous []
CON
03-02-2017
Jennifer Gero []
CON
We are incredibly opposed to this bill. Stripping away the required regulations, particularly for health care workers is a dangerous precedent to set. As the parent of a developmentally delayed adult who's life depends on having qualified professionals providing his care, I assure you that these regulations matter. They matter to our elderly community, our disabled community, and to companies attempting to provide the best care possible to Iowans. Lowering our standards lowers the quality of care, which touches the lives of every citizen and effects us all.
03-02-2017
Douglas Pepe []
CON
I believe that individual municipalities should be able to adjust their minimum wage, in line with, for example, the Social Security Administration's "C.O.L.A." (cost of living adjustment).
03-02-2017
John Noble [CCI Action]
CON
03-02-2017
Jennifer Smith []
CON
This law would hurt Iowans, particularly women with children. Let municipalities set standards so there is a livable minimum wage.
03-02-2017
Stella Herzig [Iowa Resident]
CON
I object strongly to this subsection:NEWSUBSECTION.12.a.A county shall not adopt,enforce,14 or otherwise administer an ordinance,motion,resolution,or15 amendment providing for any terms or conditions of employment 16that exceed or conflict with the requirements offederal17or state law relating to a minimum or living wage rate,18 any form of employment leave,hiring practices,employment 19 benefits,scheduling practices,or other terms or conditions20 of employment.LET cities have autonomy to create their own minimum wages to attract workforce talent to their towns!
03-02-2017
Lori Young [Iowa CCI Action]
CON
Thank you for the opportunity to voice my opposition to any action that would preempt the increase of the minimum wage in Polk County to $10.75.
03-02-2017
Victoria Keinert [none]
CON
It makes no sense for Iowa to keep minimum wage down if we wish to compete with other states. Seventeen states now are raising their minimums and seeing conditions improve. We have good data. In 2014 the US Department of Labor concluded from research that raising the minimum wage in some states does not appear to have had a negative impact on job growth, contrary to what critics said would happen.In the 13 states that boosted their minimums at the beginning of the year, the number of jobs grew an average of 0.85 percent from January through June. The average for the other 37 states was 0.61 percent.Nine of the 13 states increased their minimum wages automatically in line with inflation: Arizona, Colorado, Florida, Missouri, Montana, Ohio, Oregon, Vermont and Washington. Four more states Connecticut, New Jersey, New York and Rhode Island approved legislation mandating the increases. http://www.npr.org/sections/thetwoway/2014/07/19/332879409/statesthatraisedminimumwageseefasterjobgrowthreportsays
03-02-2017
Zachary Filzer [Concerned citizen]
CON
03-02-2017
Mark Cooper [South Central Iowa Federation of Labor, AFL-CIO]
CON
03-02-2017
Janet Greazel []
CON
03-02-2017
Anonymous [none]
CON
This bill is not good for working Iowans. Businesses can handle paying employees different wages in different counties. Hard working Iowans deserve a wage that allows them to afford basic human needs. You were elected to represent the people of Iowa, work for them!
03-02-2017
Kathy Geronzin [None]
CON
This is a time when we should increase the minimum wage state wide. It is not a time when we should cut the hard earned wages of any Iowa workers. Wages are not keeping up with the cost of living for many Iowans and have not been for many years. Please do not pass any legislation that would cut wages of any Iowa workers.
03-02-2017
Vicki Pilcher []
CON
Rather hypocritical, don't you think? All over the place, you are all for local control...but here we are with you taking local control away from cities and locales that have done things that make sense for them. Shame on you!
03-02-2017
Regina MacRae []
CON
The increases made to local/county minimum wages should remain. Please do not interfere with local control. Working class citizens deserve and need a living wage. Attention should be focused on expanding a higher minimum wage for the entire state. Let's have compassion and allow dignity to hard working families by supporting increases to minimum wage.
03-02-2017
Mary Clover []
CON
I do not support this bill. It ties should be allowed to decide and refusing to allow a long overdue wage increase to workers is unjust
03-02-2017
Heath Hancock []
CON
Wages in Iowa need to increase. As we are on the border of Illinois we are already at a disadvantage because minimum wage right across the Mississippi is at least $1/hr higher. If the state is unwilling to protect citizens from corporations that wish to keep wages stagnant then at least allowing the local county government the opportunity to care for their people is the next best option.
03-03-2017
Sandra Nichols [none]
CON
03-03-2017
Zebulun Treloar-Reid []
CON
Local governments know how much it costs to live in their communities and should be able to legislate a wage that reflects the cost of living. I am deeply concerned especially for my friends in Iowa City, whose wages would be lowered by this bill, and who already struggle to make ends meet. There is no way someone could live in that area on $7.25 an hour.
03-03-2017
Anonymous []
CON
03-03-2017
Caitlin McCleary []
CON
This bill is completely antithetical to supposed Republican values. Local governments should be allowed to make decisions for their own cities and municipalities. Just because Iowa City wants to be progressive and offer higher minimum wage doesn't give the state the right to drag us backward. Please vote no on HF295.
03-03-2017
Anonymous [Mrs.]
CON
03-03-2017
Patricia Fitzgerald []
CON
03-03-2017
Kelli Soyer [Every Child Matters]
CON
03-03-2017
Marlene Runyon []
CON
03-03-2017
Marlana Schnell []
CON
03-03-2017
Virginia Meyer []
CON
We hear that we need a uniform minimum wage across the state. Why? Multistate franchised business seem to be able to handle differences in wage standards across America.Businesses in Davenport have been coexisting for years with the different minimum wages set in Moline and Rock island. Council bluffs can function with the different wage in Omaha. What's the problem? There is none.The problem seems to be that our Republican lawmakers don't want to see Iowa low wage workers gain any traction to improve their lives or maintain a sustainable livelihood. Again I ask, Why?
03-03-2017
Brant Kassel []
CON
The debate on HF 295 should not simply be on money or bottom lines but also local control and representative governance. As it stands, our current legislature will not be taking up a wage increase while at the same time denying our local governments the ability to represent and support their constituents. By raising the minimum wage, our local governments are responding to the needs of their voters. Any bill that denies or negates this ability by local governments is a major disservice to the voters who elected them. We voted for our local officials and they voted for wage increases. That is how our democracy works. Secondly, our current legislature has shown no interest in helping lowincome workers and even publicly stated they do not want to raise the minimum wage. If the state wont act on our behalf, why cant our local governments? Lastly, we have already seen the positive effects of raising the wage for workers. Living wages will attract workers and support families and communities. This isnt just about teenage workers. Families, retirees, and communities will all benefit from a living wage. HF 295 will strip local control from governments and deny a living wage to thousands of Iowans. I hope the legislature will act in the interests of their constituents and support working Iowans.
03-03-2017
Elizabeth Brooke []
CON
Doesn't this fly in the face of "local control?" Isn't this a state level "government overreach??"
03-03-2017
Anonymous []
CON
03-03-2017
Kurt Friese [Johnson County Board of Supervisors]
CON
03-03-2017
Peggy Ross []
CON
There are great differences in the cost of living between different cities and towns in Iowa. There is no reason to restrict cities from establishing a higher minimum wage in those places where families need higher incomes to meet basic needs. This is a foolish and intrusive measure which should be abandoned.
03-03-2017
Brends Friedrich []
CON
03-03-2017
Chris Schwartz [Black Hawk County]
CON
This proposed legislation is an assault on the concept of local control and is punishing counties and municipalities who have taken action when the state legislature has failed to do so. We will not silently forfeit our duty to protect the civil rights of our citizens, nor our duty to enact ordinances that improve the health, safety, and economic prosperity of our community.
Attachment
03-03-2017
Anonymous [citizen]
CON
I am writing in strong opposition to HF 295. This bill represents extreme overreach by the state government. It is a misguided approach to government efficiency and is opposed by an overwhelming number of local governments and their affiliates.The republican party has always maintained that local control is the best control. Yet, this session, it seems that bill after bill is being introduced to remove control from the most local of governments, the cities and counties. These hyperlocal entities are the ones that make the greatest impact in the average voter's life and this continual hamstringing of those entities is against all notion of local control.
03-03-2017
Tom Hockensmith [Polk County Supervisor]
CON
03-03-2017
Brenda Friedrich []
CON
03-03-2017
John Stineman [Iowa Chamber Alliance]
PRO
03-03-2017
Patsy Martinson []
CON
NO. People already can't afford to live on th existing minimum wage. This is unconscionable. Every one benefits when all can live.
03-03-2017
Anonymous []
CON
03-03-2017
Anonymous []
CON
Instead prohibiting local municipalities from doing what's right for their communities, the state should finally fulfill its responsibility of raising the minimum wage for all of Iowa.
03-03-2017
Laurinda Young [Mrs.]
CON
The set minimum wage of $7.25 in Iowa is a totally inadequate wage. The fact that it hasn't been raised since 2008 is not comprehensible. In addition to the negative impact on many Iowa individuals and families, this failure is a source of embarrassment for our state and reveals a callousness in those supporting it. In addition any attempt to roll back local civil rights protections against acts of discrimination in housing, education and employment not in keeping with the values of the majority of Iowans. I see no defensible reason for supporting House File 295 and am strongly opposed.
03-03-2017
Anonymous []
CON
NO NO NO NO NO WHAT IN THE WORLD IS HAPPENING TO OUR ELECTED OFFICIALS! HAVE YOU BEEN DRINKING?
03-03-2017
Gary Duneman [private citizen]
CON
Republicans profess to want local control yet deny it with this issuse. Corporations do not want this because there will be pressure to increase wages. Iowa Republicans should be more concerned about the citizens of Iowa and less about what will benefit corporations at the expense of our citizens.
03-03-2017
ted wisman [water drinking human and iowa resident]
CON
i am against this because it takes these issues another layer away from local choice
03-04-2017
Clarice Krippner []
CON
Vote no on House Bill 295. Iowa communities should not have to limit their minimum wage laws, and their civil rights ruling or their product regulation to the level of the entire state as long they meet the state requirements. Some of our local governments face challenges that may not apply to all of Iowa. Do not force them them to cut back to the state standard on local regulations that meet the state standard and go beyond it. Cost of living is not the same across the state. Do not gut local ordinances that raise minimum wage. Our working families need this. Civil rights standards that may not seem important in some communities may be needed and embraced in others. The same is true for product regulation. Vote no.
03-04-2017
Josh Myatt [Iowa State Student Action]
CON
03-04-2017
Kate Wolf [none]
CON
I am OPPOSED to this bill.
03-04-2017
Tony Reid [Retired]
CON
This is a naked attempt by the Koch brothers and ALEC to make Iowa a lowwage state and depress our economy like they have done in Kansas. Also, it's yet another move to destroy local control by the Big Government Republicans.
03-04-2017
Anonymous
CON
03-04-2017
Julie Neff [Mrs.]
CON
All states adjacent to Iowa (except Wisconsin) currently have a higher minimum wage than our state. The current hourly minimum wage of $7.25 per hour has not been raised in Iowa since 2009. Meanwhile, the cost of living for Iowans has risen, inflation has risen, and the number of citizens working minimum wage jobs has also risen. Counties responded to the state's inaction by raising wages and it is working well. Businesses are still operating smoothly. Employees are still being paid the correct amount. Chaos did not overtake the state and consumer prices did not skyrocket. The Iowa business environment did not deteriorate and workers in several counties have more disposable income. Local control works.
03-04-2017
Anonymous []
CON
03-04-2017
Anonymous [CCI]
CON
03-04-2017
Judy DeAngelo [ICCI]
CON
I find so many issues wrong with HF 292 that my head spins! The thought that our state has even taken them up is mindboggling. I cannot see how any person, state, country can ever be too lenient when it comes to civil rights. Reverting back to the old minimum wage in the counties with some of highest population centers with college students is outrageous and evil. How dare you! And getting rid of plastic bags is one of the best things we could do! You say it's because you want people to have a choice? Since when has that mattered to you? I think Walmart is in your pockets!!!! I think that company wants the bottle deposit law ditched, too. This Legislature is now a NY Times joke! Glad you made it to the big time!
03-04-2017
Anonymous []
CON
You can't have it both ways! Either raise the minimum wage OR allow local government entities to establish their (own) desired minimum wage.
03-04-2017
Sandra Sanchez [American Friends Service Committee]
CON
As a resident of Des Moines and as an advocate of immigrants/refugees many of whom live in poverty; I urge all legislators to vote No on this bill. Taking away the ability of counties and cities to increase the minimum wage which has not seen an increase in more than fifteen years is irresponsible and serves the interests of the few in the short term, to end up being a bad decision for everyone in the long term.Counties, cities, and the state are already short of funds for even the most basic educational and social services necessary to help our communities get out of poverty or prevent them from falling into poverty. Increasing the minimum wage helps families to be selfsustaining, increases the taxes they pay both in income and as consumers if having disposable money to spend, and it is a winwin situation for all involved.Increasing the minimum wage and allowing counties and cities to do so as they see it fit, is long overdue. Those at the local level have a much better handle of what and when this can be done in a way that will make a positive impact instead of the opposite. I dare you try to live with the minimum wage for three months supporting a family of four (average in Iowa), and see how you fare. I am sure the experience will change your mind, though Iowans cannot wait for you to experience how it feels to be in their shoes. I urge you to vote NO on bill HF 295. Sincerely,Sandra SanchezAFSC Organizing and Advocacy Director
03-04-2017
Anonymous [Retired Iowan]
CON
I do not agree with lowering wages for Iowans as is proposed in HF 295. If anything should happen to wages, they should be raised.
03-04-2017
Bev Philpott []
CON
I take the time to vote in local elections so that my local environment is controlled by people who have a stake in the community. Republicans are usually crying out for smaller government and local control. The overriding issue here is the disgraceful state of Iowa's minimum wage. It is high time that the whole state a had a minimum LIVING wage. This is an outright attack on areas that have political priorities different from the Republicans in the IA legislature. Shame!
03-04-2017
The Rev. Wendy K Abrahamson [Diocese of Iowa]
CON
03-04-2017
Anonymous []
CON
03-04-2017
MIRIAM F KAMMER [Ms.]
CON
03-04-2017
Kristen Anderson []
CON
03-04-2017
krysten reid [t]
CON
I am against removing a county or city's right to set a minimum wage. Local control and rule should be a priority.
03-04-2017
Anonymous []
CON
This bill directly affects me as a student worker making $8.25/hour and trying to afford living expenses, rent, and tuition payments all while taking on a full credit hour load. This is not sufficient money for these expenses, and I cannot even begin to fathom what other families working minimum wage laws are going through to survive on a day to day basis.This bill cedes power to employers, allows them to further exploit our labor, and takes away resources from hard working Iowa citizens whom our economy runs and relies upon. Repeal this bill at all costs!
03-04-2017
Patrick Stall [Democratic Socialists of America]
CON
I'm Patrick Stall, 1301 8th St., and I drive for a catering company here in Des Moines. I've worked about 20 different jobs in 5 cities since I was 14, about half of them at the minimum wage. And since I moved to Des Moines 3 years ago, I've been fighting with my friends at Iowa CCI to increase the minimum wage. We pushed it at the federal level, and asked our congress members and senators to increase the wage, and the Republicans said no, because it was an issue best left to the states. Last year and the year before, we asked our state officials to increase the wage, and the Republicans said no, because it was any issue best left to local governments.Last year, we convinced some local governments to increase the minimum wage, and now the Republicans are coming back and saying, no, we need to determine the minimum wage at the state level. This bill is a hypocritical demonstration of Republicans' willingness to lie, politic, and cheat their way into serving their corporate cronies. You don't care about local control or good local governance, you care about the interests of the employers over the workers. Make no mistake: this is a bill directly aimed at lowering the minimum wage for workers in Iowa City and Des Moines.This is not a popular bill. Republicans cannot claim that the people of Iowa want this. 7 in 10 Iowans want an increase in the minimum wage. This bill represents the will of a minority, the will of the dirty money interests than fund their campaigns. This bill is a legislative coup that intends to usurp the right of local governments to determine what a living wage is for their residents.I would say that the Republican scumbags that are supporting this bill should be ashamed of themselves, but it is clear that they are not capable of shame. So my message is actually to everyone opposed to this bill: these people are taking food out of the mouths of working Iowans. Let's not forget what they're doing here today, and lets take the power back.
03-05-2017
Peggy Gingerich []
CON
Local governments should be able to make decisions to improve the lives of their citizens. This bill would give too much power to state government, which has proven that it does not have the best interests of the people of Iowa at the heart of its decisions. Please recognize the importance of empowering people to improve their own lives.
03-05-2017
Robert Bernard [None]
CON
Local entities have authority to establish minimum wage beyond state standards. We must establish and maintain civil rights parameters.
03-05-2017
Dr. Jill Sudak-Allison []
CON
I am against this bill as it will have adverse effects on the minimum wage. The minimum wage in Iowa is already too low. We will continue to lose more young people who will not be able to afford to stay in our state due to the passing of this bill.
03-05-2017
Jackie Joens [Citizen]
CON
03-05-2017
Mary K. Steffen []
CON
I believe that the minimum wage should be raised to a livable wage and if this bill is passed, the State will reduce the minimum wage. Most of the minimum wage jobs are in the service sector. These jobs used to be mostly held by teens. Now they are mostly held by adults with families and do not provide a livable wage.
03-05-2017
sharon Lamb [personal]
CON
Why would anyone want to stop local governments from raising minimum wages? That is unwarranted interference! What is the hidden agenda? Is this another instance where one needs to follow the money? Who benefits? Certainly not the working people of Iowathe ones who elected you.
03-05-2017
Patricia Fuller [self]
CON
we need a living minimum wage and we the people need to have some local control in our counties particularly from polluting corporations such as confined feeding operations which make their neighbors lives a living hell.
03-05-2017
Jill Sudak-Allison [Iowan]
CON
Vote No. this bill harms working Iowans. How much lower can the minimum wage go? Who will be able to afford to live here if these type of bills keep getting introduced and passed?
03-05-2017
Ann Bublitz []
CON
I am opposed to HF295. Most of the major legislation going through the Iowa legislature this year is for the benefit of corporations, not the people of Iowa. This bill is another example of that. If some counties think it is important to raise the minimum wage of people in their counties or enact other measures that benefit their residents, then that should be their right. I understand corporations opposition support of the bill, as it benefits them greatly. Is the Republican support for local control only when they want it that way? Please vote NO.
03-05-2017
Anonymous []
CON
I am opposed to HF295 which establishes a minimum wage. I believe counties have the right to establish minimum wage and a state minimum is not necessary.
03-05-2017
LINDA HELT []
CON
Let the locals govern themselves! If they (including the businesses) haven't voted out their local council members to show their displeasure, why should state government interfere?
03-05-2017
Janis L Elliott [ICCI]
CON
03-05-2017
Sarah Gardner []
CON
03-05-2017
Matthew Peirce [Iowa Citizens for Community Improvement Action Fund]
CON
I live in Johnson County. I was on the front lines in the summer of 2015, volunteering my time and energy to make a bold move to improve the lives of those living in my community: raising the minimum wage locally, the first time anywhere in the midwest.We raised the minimum wage for a very simple reason: a HUGE number of our neighbors are hurting. Families double up because they cannot afford the rents in Johnson County (these are the highest of any city in the state).Families routinely use food banks to get through the week. (19,000 Johnson County citizens are food insecure.) Cars go unrepaired. Kids go to school with clothes that do not fit. One small mishap an illness, something breaks down, etc. and a familys world comes crashing down. People work 23 jobs, yet still cannot get ahead.I cannot sit back and allow our current situation to exist. It is a moral imperative to make people's lives better. Whats more, I absolutely KNOW this has been been good for our local economy.But for the state and federal governments, the moral and ethical imperative to improve the lives of huge numbers of people has fallen by the wayside in the last 35 years.But, you say: It will cost us all our jobs! First, this is absurd, many jobs won't be effected at all. Second, there are businesses that will fail whether anything is done or not; wages ARE NOT the ONLY determining factor to a business success or failure; poor management and larger economic conditions are far more likely to produce failure, neither of which is the responsibility or the product of the lowly hourly wage employee. She's just trying to get by and feed her children!While some jobs likely will be lost, (again, this would happen even in a static environment) even more will be gained. As lowwage workers have more money to spend, consumer demand will create jobs. Grocery stores, restaurants, bars, auto repair shops (a BIG economic generator), movie theaters, clothing stores, etc. will all have more customers with more money. They will undoubtedly need to hire in order to meet demand. That means jobs. And the jobs being created will pay more than the jobs being lost. Other jurisdictions have seen increases in employment follow increases in the minimum wage. Rhetoric stating that an increased minimum wage costs jobs is absolutely, and patently false. It is a LIE by corporate lobbyists and executives to keep poor people down and exploit their labor, and keep making them rich, and everyone else poor.A low minimum wage employer is a parasite in our communities. Bring in the exterminator and raise the wage for ALL IOWANS!!
03-05-2017
Barry Wilson []
CON
Cities and counties should be able to set minimum wage. Local control is sensitive to local situation. I have no confidence that state will raise the minimum wage (which they should do bot won't with GOP in charge)
03-05-2017
Nikolaos Maggos []
CON
It's funny to me that Republicans bill themselves as the party of local control, and then propose a bill like this one. There is absolutely no justification for prohibiting cities and counties from passing their own minimum wage ordinances. It's morally despicable that Republicans in Des Moines want to make absolutely sure that no citizens earning minimum wage are earning a living wage. Let cities and counties raise the minimum wage so that they can reward their workers with fair pay, and so that pay can then be reinvested in the local economy. Don't take away workers' ability to provide for themselves. This bill is in flagrant violation of Republicans' expressed stances on the role of government and the proliferation of "handouts" (you do realize that taking away people's ability to earn enough to support themselves will inevitably result in those individuals relying on state welfare to survive, don't you?). If Iowa Republicans had any moral conscience or commitment to their own professed values, they would vote no on this bill.
03-05-2017
Sister Marilyn Jean Hagedorn []
CON
We are very opposed to this bill because 1)it is unreasonable to expect that hardworking Iowans can live on $7.25 an hour; 2) it takes control away from local decision makers who recognize this reality; 3) it does not honor the reasonable and compassionate decisions already made by some of our counties to improve the lives of lowincome Iowans.We urge you to vote NO on this bill!Sister Marilyn Jean Hagedorn, CHMSister Elaine Hagedorn, CHM
03-05-2017
Eli Shepherd [Iowa Citizens for Community Improvement Action Fund]
CON
Stop this bill and stop the attacks on our workers and communities from corporate power and their representatives in our legislature. The minimum wage must be a livable wage of at least $15 an hour and if the federal and state governments won't lead, as they have not been, localities should continue to take the lead as they have been in places like my home county of Johnson. We can either meet people's needs or feed corporate greed but we clearly can't do both it's time to put people (& planet) over profit and that starts with killing this bill!
03-05-2017
Mary Howell-Williams []
CON
VOTE NO on this bill! We have the right to local control we know what is best for our own communities. This is a bill written for businesses ONLY, and hurts those of us just trying to get by. Why does the legislature insist on impoverishing Iowans?
03-05-2017
Mary Vermillion []
CON
Local control!
03-05-2017
Rod Sullivan [Johnson County Board of Supervisors]
CON
In November of 2015, the Johnson County Board of Supervisors raised the minimum wage $.95 countywide to $8.20. It went up another $.95 on May 1, 2016 to $9.15. It goes up yet another $.95 to $10.10 on January 1, 2017. After that, the wage will annually be tied to the CPI unless the Board decides to vote for a different amount.Other counties are taking similar action. And this makes sense far too many of our citizens are in crisis. One out of every six of our kids lives in poverty. Federal and state governments refuse to address this crisis. So local government has to step up.This is not the first time local government has intervened in the free market. Local governments pick winners and losers all the time. It is just the first time local government has intervened on behalf of the workers.We intervened because many of our neighbors are hurting. Families double up because they cannot afford the rents in Johnson County. Families routinely use food banks to get through the week. (19,000 Johnson County citizens are food insecure.) Cars go unrepaired. Kids go to school with clothes that do not fit. One small anomaly an illness, something breaks down, etc. and a familys world comes crashing down. People work 23 jobs, yet still cannot get ahead.As lowwage workers have more money to spend, consumer demand is creating jobs. Grocery stores, restaurants, repair shops, clothing stores, etc. all have more customers with more money. They need to hire in order to meet demand. That means jobs. (Consumer spending makes up 70% of the US economy.) Other jurisdictions have seen increases in employment follow increases in the minimum wage; we are seeing that, too.Some claim jobs will move elsewhere. Not minimum wage jobs. These are primarily service sector jobs, which simply follow population. Retail, fast food, etc. cannot move jobs to China. So far, so good unemployment in Johnson County remains less than 2.5% one of the lowest numbers in the whole country!Others claim that business owners will cut back on hours. But our economy is lacking consumer demand. When workers have more income, they spend it at local businesses. Those businesses will need employees to keep up with demand. So while anything can happen at any given business, most employers should see a need to fill more shifts, not less.Some people say prices are going to go up. You are already paying for low wage jobs through your taxes. Whats more, studies do not bear out a huge jump in prices. For example, if McDonald's doubled the salaries of its employees to $14.50 an hour, not only would many of them go off public benefits, but so would the company and a Big Mac would cost just 68 cents more (another study says only 14 cents.) At Walmart, increasing wages to $12 per hour would cost the company only about one percent, so that madeinChina $10 item would run you all of $10.10. (Source: Center for Labor Research and Education.)You probably heard the debate over a lower wage for teens. But according to the Economic Policy Institute, the average age of workers who would benefit from a higher minimum wage today is thirtyfive. Eightyeight per cent are over the age of twenty. I have heard concerns expressed for small businesses. But twothirds of all minimum wage workers are NOT employed by small businesses. Better yet, one survey shows three out of five small business owners favor raising the minimum wage; their profits require more money in local consumers' hands. Sad to say, 5080 percent of most small businesses already fail for various reasons, even with a minimum wage that has not kept up with inflation. (Wage costs are actually lower now than in the past; in 1968 the federal minimum was $1.60 per hour, approximately $10.70 in 2013 dollars.) Factors other than labor costs seem far more significant to business success.Raising the minimum wage has been a good thing for the people of Johnson County. Why would the State take that away? Does the State of Iowa really want to lower the wage for thousands of workers? Some claim we need a single minimum wage for the whole state. Why? We have different sales tax rates, different property tax rates, different prices for utilities and insurance heck, wages ALREADY vary dramatically throughout individual companies. Why is the minimum wage different?Whenever possible, I like to make decisions based upon data. The data here is clear raising the minimum wage has been good for our local economy.Rod SullivanJohnson County Board of Supervisors
03-05-2017
Tyler Higgs [N/A]
CON
You know, whenever the left wants to raise the minimum wage in the state or federally, the right argues, "That might be fine for big cities, but it will devastate rural areas!" This is actually one of the right's better points about the minimum wage. I ask, why are you arguing against one of your own better points by restricting local control?When are you going to pass a bill that helps people? So far, you've cut funding to schools, you've restricted first amendment rights in the work place, you've gone after access to mammograms and pap smears, you are attacking our access to clean water....when are you going to do something for somebody instead of just taking our rights away and making sure we get paid less and are treated more poorly at work?WHO THE F*K ARE YOU WORKING FOR? Who wants this stuff?!?! It sure doesn't seem to be good for the hardworking citizens of Iowa.
03-05-2017
Susan mrzena []
CON
Our local elected officials are more and touch with what needs to go on in their county and city. We cannot cater to special interest such as the restaurant industry on who sets wages in their area. That particular area already receives a bonus of sorts by paying less than minimumwage And relying on customers to support the staff.
03-05-2017
Lisa Heineman [None]
CON
Counties that have raised the minimum wage constitute 25% of Iowa's population. Small businesses and employees are equally happy with the result a better standard of living for all. There's no need for a uniform minimum wage across the state appropriate wages depend on local economic conditions. In some places it makes sense to have a higher minimum. That's what LOCAL CONTROL is designed to enable towns & counties being able to respond to local conditions. Please do NOT pass this legislation
03-05-2017
Jan Corderman [WILPF Des Moines Branch]
CON
Iowans have not had an increase in the minimum wage since 2008.But one thing we haven't had is a bill lowering the minimum wage....at least not until now. HF 295 would lower wages for thousands of Iowans in Wapello, Johnson, Polk and Linn Counties. Vote "no" on HF 295.Thank you.
03-05-2017
Elizabeth Norris []
CON
Iowa has long touted local control. I'm not sure why Republicans are so set on doing away with it now. The increases in minimum wage in certain counties came after study, debate, and voting at the local level. These are areas in our state where the standard of living is higher. It is very difficult to afford a place to live, food, gas, etc., on a $7.25/hour wage in these areas. The increased minimum wages in these areas make it affordable for the residents to live and work there. If the state does away with these increases, you will see either people moving away from those areas, or people sliding into poverty. The bill also targets communities that ban the use of plastic bags at stores, add any extra protections in civil rights ordinances, or add extra protections for workers in their communities. I think that adding protections for Iowa residents is a good thing. We are a state made up of people. The only reason I can see for anyone wanting to do away with these protections is that they would rather protect business than the people of Iowa. This is not a valid reason to do away with these protections. Vote no on this bill.
03-05-2017
Patti McKee [Citizen]
CON
I strongly oppose this bill. This bill takes away the rights of local government to meet the needs of their citizens Once again the legislature is trying to take away local control on actions they don't like.Also the federal minimum wage, civil rights, and environmental standards are minimums which state and local governments can raise.As a Des Moines citizen I worked to raise the minimum wage in Polk County. A single person needs the wage of about $13/hour to make a basic no frills living in Polk County. When the State fails to act in the best interests of its citizens, then the local government must act. This bill will cut the wages of thousands of Iowans. I am also opposed to other aspects of this bill. I encourage you to oppose this bill in its entirety.
03-05-2017
Karla Smith []
CON
Whatever happened to home rule? Seems to me that local governments know more about what works in their area than people over 100 miles away. Do you really think it is OK to take money away from people who are already at the low end of the totum pole? I have heard that paying people more money will hurt businesses and cost jobs, but that has not been the case in Johnson County. It has been my experience that when people have more money, they spend more money, which actually helps businesses. Please reject this bill, and allow people who know an area, govern that area.
03-05-2017
Rev. William Steward [Iowa Conference, United Methodist Church]
CON
03-05-2017
Anonymous [Petroleum Marketers and Convenience Stores of Iowa]
PRO
03-05-2017
Anonymous [PMCI]
PRO
03-05-2017
Anonymous [PMCI]
PRO
03-05-2017
Jeremy Rosen []
CON
03-05-2017
Jennifer Sherer [Iowa Policy Project]
CON
Attachment
03-05-2017
Adin Mann []
CON
This bill strips opportunities for communities to take proactive steps toward improving their communities through a fair wage, safe merchandise, and ethical behavior toward employees as agreed to by those elected to lead those communities. With all the challenges to get laws enacted at a state and especially federal level, please stop this bill and continue to provide communities the abilities to take their own initiatives that go above the minimum requirements set by the state. Local communities can spur innovation as well as provide trials for new laws and regulations.
03-05-2017
Jennifer Schumann []
CON
I oppose this bill
03-05-2017
Mallory Oliver [Ms.]
CON
03-05-2017
William Casey Erixon []
CON
This is, in my opinion, an unconscionable bill. This bill will literally take money out of the pockets of working families, it is a direct assault on their ability to earn a living in this state. As a person who works in the service industry, I watched with cautious optimism last year as workers and activists push business owners and politicians here in Polk County to come together and pass a minimum wage increase that would help workers like myself. When it passed I felt an overwhelming sense of relief, knowing that sooner or later I might no longer have to choose between getting my car fixed and paying rent on time, between going to the dentist and buying groceries.If this bill passes all their work will be erased and that sense of relief will be replaced with an all too familiar sense of dread, an allencompassing fear of a sudden unexpected bill or expense. This dread is all the more real for many of my coworkers, however, theyre not here tonight. Theyre not here because too many of them work two or three jobs in order to support their families, and too many of them make less than I do while doing it. Theyre not here because too many of them cant earn enough money to support themselves or their families working 8hour days and 40hour weeks. Theyre not here because for too many of them the gains that workers made more than a century ago that guaranteed a just and livable wage for an honest days labor have simply disappeared. For the legislature to come barreling in and take away the one modest gain Iowa workers have seen in almost a decade is inexplicably cruel. The rationale they have given for such a move is that it is the states responsibility, and not the local governments, to set labor law and frankly I dont necessarily disagree with that notion. However, if the authors of this bill are serious about claiming the responsibility to legislate labor issues, they havent shown it. The counties that have chosen to implement minimum wage increases should have signaled to the authors of this bill that the current state minimum is not sufficient, that workers cant earn a living based on a standard set a decade ago, and they could have taken action to raise it or perhaps even index the state minimum to inflation. Furthermore, the authors of this bill could have also considered that, given 3 of the counties that passed increases contain some of our states largest urban areas, it might be prudent to acknowledge that the cost of living is higher in Des Moines than it is in Missouri Valley, and higher in Cedar Rapids than it is Elkader, and they could have crafted state policy to address this issue. They havent done any of these things. Theyve done nothing at all. By refusing to take action and address the problems of the lowest wage earners in the state, the authors of this bill have abdicated their responsibility to lead on this issue; to turn back now and admonish counties for stepping up to the plate in their place is hypocrisy at its worst. I urge the legislature to reject this bill.
03-05-2017
Tara Tarnowski [Individual]
CON
Why is the Republican party introducing legislation to limit local control of policies when they claim that is one of the principles of their platform? Different communities in Iowa have different needs/standards, and the state shouldn't try to preempt local ordinances if they are not violating the constitution. This is a silly law, trying to stifle the local control of local issues. Please vote to oppose this bill.
03-06-2017
Jill Malmer []
CON
This bill would decrease income of up to 65,000 Iowans/contsituents/voters. Vote no to protect their interests.
03-06-2017
Derek Johnston [n/a]
CON
03-06-2017
Robin [Butler]
CON
I oppose this bill for many reasons. For a group of people who tout "local control," this is the hieght of hypocrisy. Minimum wage should be controlled locally. Rents and the price of products, differ from location to location, therefore wages should as well. It's simple economics. The provisions about human rights ordinances just makes me sick. Iowa has always been a leader in protecting its citizens. This bill should be called the "brain Drain" bill. Why would any young person want to stay in Iowa, and why would anyone want to move back? Please realize the harm that this bill will cause. To people in poverty, to GLBT people in Iowa, to businesses in Iowa who won't be able to get workers because Iowa will finally be the backwards, hateful state people not from Iowa often assumed it was. Now people from Iowa will realize it is and either leave or never come back. This will kill my proud state of Iowa
03-06-2017
Janelle Rettig [Johnson County Supervisor]
CON
HF 295 represents the lowest common denominator of Iowa. It is a power grab by state government that has become disconnected with the challenges Iowans are facing every day. Iowa has a rich tradition of home rule and local control. This bill undermines the balance of power and responsibilities between elected bodies.Poverty is a growing issue in my County. Over 19,000 residents are food insecure. Hard working people can't make ends meet and have to rely on government programs. In practice, government has become the subsidy of poor wages. County government is tasked with the health and well being of our citizens. Poverty wages are undermining the well being of our residents.When Johnson County took action to raise wages, we did so after careful consideration of our local cost of living and the stability of our economy. When we reached a wage of $10.10 over 10,100 Johnson County residents received a raise. Those raises enabled people to pay more and more of their bills and has reduced the reliance on government programs like housing assistance.HF 295 also removes the ability for local government to have human rights protections and employment practices.HF 295 destroys local control and home rule. I urge a no vote on this bill. Iowa has never been about a centralized all encompassing state government. Iowa has always understood that townships, counties and cities have very precise and important roles in a decentralized government. This bill reverses that direction and creates significant state government power.For all these reasons, HF 295 should be tabled.Thank you for your consideration,Janelle Rettig
03-06-2017
Rachel Cole []
CON
Another bill to hurt workers, the disabled, and the poor.
03-06-2017
B. Kinnison []
CON
I am strongly opposed to HF 295. We elect city councils, and county board to address the needs of all stakeholders in the cities and counties. Our local elected officials know what their citizens want and need better than do state legislators in Des Moines. Do not take away our local voice. This is an attack on our local democracy and on the freedom of our local communities to manage their resources based on the needs of their respective community. This is a grab to take away local governance and against core Republican values and desire for smaller/local government.
03-06-2017
Tom Chapman [Iowa Catholic Conference]
CON
Attachment
03-06-2017
Tsedeye Gebreselassie [National Employment Law Project]
CON
Attachment
03-06-2017
daniel zeno [ACLU of Iowa]
CON
03-06-2017
Sarah Garvin []
CON
Republicans are for local control...except when it comes to how much workers within a local district are paid. THIS is government overreach. I oppose this bill. I oppose this overreach. Let local municipalities determine what is an equitable and living wage for their citizens.
03-06-2017
Miriam Timmer-Hackert Timmer-Hackert []
CON
The part of a Republican brochure that really resonated with me was that local control is best the level of government where you know your representatives the best and live close to them. I don't understand why the Republicans would want to take away the rights of counties to set a higher minimum wage. Unless the purpose of the Republican party is to make life harder for the poor harder to vote, harder to feed their kids, harder to get contraception to prevent more kids, harder to earn a higher wage. In which case, who do you think will vote for you next election? Most of us care about all our neighbors.
03-06-2017
Ashtin Trimble []
CON
I am opposed to this bill. Do not strip away local control. Do not strip away wages from our hardworking, and oftentimes mostvulnerable, residents. If the legislature is truly interested in resolving this issue, propose a bill that will raise the minimum wage for all Iowans.
03-06-2017
Anonymous [Strong WoMen.]
CON
This is undermining local control. It should not be up to the state to regulate wages for communities with disparate cost of living. Compare Iowa City to New Hampton or any small Iowa town when considering a living wage. It is important for local communities to have control of hourly wage.
03-06-2017
Joe Fagan []
CON
For years the Iowa legislature did nothing to raise our minimum wage above $7.25/hour and try to get a little closer to a living wage. Then 4 counties (Johnson, Linn, Polk and wapello) took action to raise the wage. Polk Counties raised their wage so that by 2019 the minimum wage would be $10.75.This proposed preemption bill (House File 295) would lower the minimum wage for thousands of Iowans, and take away local control from cities and counties.Those supporting this bill should be ashamed of themselves. Kill this bill.
03-06-2017
Angela Gronborg-Harder [None]
CON
Tgis completely contradicts the conservative value of local control. Not to mention is harmful to working families and college students whom you have already harmed by repeatedly cutting funding for our universities.
03-06-2017
Ben Rogers [Linn County Board of Supervisors]
CON
Preempting County Supervisors and city councils from acting on behalf of their constituent's needs is the direct opposite of local control by the state legislature. Nowhere else in our society are costs evenly distributed state wide. For instance, where you live determines the price of gasoline, food, rent, transportation, etc. Why you believe that the floor for wages should be spread out evenly across the state when living costs in areas of the state are different. Businesses will say they don't want a 'hodgepodge" of labor rates, but they currently have a 'hodgepodge' of different wages within their companies for hourly employees. It is a simple update to their employment forms to change wages. To believe the business interest groups that are pressuring you to keep wages low is to believe a lie for their own self benefits. I believe the only pathway out of poverty is through wages. If the market and the private sector purposefully keep wages low, tax payers will continue to subsidize public assistance programs for those who cannot meet basic needs. you are telling Iowans that you believe the taxpayers should fund more assistance programs for those making minimum wage instead of allowing duly elected officials to make decisions based on their constituent's needs.
03-06-2017
Lauren Whitehead []
CON
Any town that wishes to opt out of a minimum wage raise in their county can do so. I live in Solon, which opted out of the Johnson County raise. Debates about the appropriate minimum wage SHOULD begin at the local level, to meet the local need and culture. This bill also opens citizens to clear discrimination, including preventing those who receive benefits for disability or income assistance from purchasing homes. Is it 1953? This is retrograde and offensive. The only outcome for this bill is making Iowans poorer and creating further opportunity to oppress the poor.
03-06-2017
Emily Schott []
CON
03-06-2017
Alexander Pontier []
CON
This bill is, as I'm sure you are well aware, very inflammatory. Mounting evidence has been compiled that the current minimum wage is not an actual "living wage." What this bill is essentially doing is allowing employers to have governmental evidence for when new legislation that increases the minimum wage they can show to slow or block the new legislation. This bill shows a cowardice bias to big business so they don't have to take responsibility for the economy they forced on our American people. If you say this is for the small business owners, then I recommend amending regulatory laws that were meant for larger corporations to not include these smaller businesses. Those laws that create sweeping legislation that were meant to reign in large companies that now encapsulates smaller businesses are the real reason for their suffering along side big corporations. This is a bill meant to divide actual working class citizens so they don't have time to ask for legislation that binds corporations that want to use us as they see fit.Do not pass this bill. This bill only seeks to legitimize and deepen the divide between business owners and their employees. Do what you know to be right and seek to change the laws so that smaller businesses aren't treated like human shields for their larger counterparts. They shouldn't be thrust out to show that government restrictions are working to help the people, and they shouldn't be abused to allow the legitimacy for big business to claim the interruption of free enterprise. You, as our duly appointed leaders need to come together and change the laws that affect national or international businesses so that their regulations do not affect our small heartland businesses.Thank you,Alexander Pontier A voter for Iowa
03-06-2017
Lynn Gallagher []
CON
I am adamantly opposed to this bill. Allow cities/counties to have local control over these issues.We need a higher minimum wage.
03-06-2017
Anonymous [Veterans National Recovery Centers]
CON
03-06-2017
Jeanne Schwendinger [Ankency Citizen]
CON
03-06-2017
Linda Schneider []
CON
I feel that this has been presented as "the minimum wage" bill, but is actually about taking away LOCAL control on several areas included in the bill, thereby moving control to the State. We talk about local control when it's convenient and it suits our needs, but vote it down at other times.Please VOTE NO and keep the control of these issues locally, where they belong. Please represent all Iowans! We would like the chance to decide locally how to best handle these issues. Thank you for listening.
03-06-2017
Jon Krieg []
CON
If the Legislature truly represented the needs of working Iowans, it would enact a true living wage across the state. Taking away local control is antiworker.
03-06-2017
Anonymous [voter.]
CON
What happened to "local control?" Let cities decide their own minimum wage. Do you know how expensive it is to live in these cities who have raised their minimum wage? If $7.25 an hour is a living wage, then all lawmakers should see if they can raise their families on that. Leave local control alone!
03-06-2017
Stephen Toothman []
CON
This yet another bill trying to fix something that is not broken. Once again local control is under attack. The reason cities have to step up and pass these measures is because state government has refused to protect vulnerable populations in our state and provide for a living wage. If cities want to enact these provisions they should be allowed to do so. If the citizens of that city or county have a problem with it they can settle it with their votes.
03-06-2017
Mari Davis [Dav-Mart Properties/RS Consulting]
PRO
Comments by Mari Davis, Rental Property Owner/Manager/Tenant RelationsRental Consultant, Cedar Rapids and Marion IA I support HF 295 and amendment HF1107 and I hope legislators will do so as well because limiting the action of local leadership in an effort to protect the rights of all Iowa citizens uniformly has merit, not because the legislature is controlled by Republicans but because doing so is in the best interest of all citizens. Those who are opposed to the legislation/amendment have described such support to be that of partisan politics; I disagree. As a liberal Independent, I have believed for at least the past six (6) years that home rule has led to abuses among communities even as others have hailed the merits of local control. I am frustrated a bit by HF 295 and amendment HF 1107 because it references only three specific items in limiting the extent of community action under home rule. I believe the bill should be broadened to better define the parameters under which home rule is invoked or applies. In my experience, local control should be limited not only because there are issues which impact individuals statewide (i.e., civil rights protections should apply to all individuals regardless of where they may reside and the Iowa Uniform Residential LandlordTenant Act, Chapter 562A, Code of Iowa is the controlling statute regarding residential housing) but because it is far too easy for abuse at the local level to occur. We have experienced the unintended consequences of punitive ordinances in Cedar Rapids which doesnt not specifically conform with the Iowa Code with the passage of the nuisance and housing ordinances and which led to the unanimous passage by 20152016 legislatures to modify the Cedar Rapids ordinances under the right to assistance or the right to call 911 legislation signed into law by Governor Branstad and codified in Iowa Code 562C. While I believe the protections passed by the prior legislatures did not go far enough in addressing the abuses occurring in Cedar Rapids, the importance of this legislation ensures that other communities will not be able to pass similar ordinances which have the impact of interfering with the rights of citizens to call for emergency assistance as individuals believe such assistance is needed. Moreover, tenants are protected from lease terminations as a result of such calls. As in Cedar Rapids, abuse often occurs because home rule has been used to further the special interests of certain local groups and leadership to the exclusion of other equally important groups. In this way, local control seems to exceed reasonable action within individual communities by passing ordinances which pit individuals and groups against one another and to the detriment of others and which, further, is not sustainable and doesn't necessarily meet expectations regarding the alleged goals of the promoted ordinances. In other words, there are unintended consequences impacting those with a vested interest and who are often able to specifically identify problematic aspects of the local ordinance despite the efforts of others who deny such the concerns will have unintended consequences and/or which leadership ignores and proceeds with their intent despite evidence that unintended consequences occur. While I wish I could leave my concerns with this generic statement, I believe it is important to present the rationale for my belief and concerns especially because, in my experience, the efforts made by some groups and among some leaders to promote their own agendas against balancing the needs within the community results in violation of the rights of many. Specifically, while Cedar RapidsMarionHiawatha area is comprised of individual communities, these communities make up an economic area which serves all who reside within the individual communities but who also are a part of the area at large. And as has been demonstrated by the differences in ordinances in these communities pertaining to issues ranging from wages to those involving housing, there can be confusion in how local control affects individuals within the adjacent or other communities, sometimes by merely crossing the street. I believe there is room statewide to increase the minimum wage because economic selfsufficiency is important. But, in so doing, there are considerations which I havent seen articulated in any news articles or by individual accounts pertaining to possible negative outcomes of increasing minimum wage. I know many individuals and families now struggle at the current minimum wage, but we must consider the impact of increasing the minimum wage against offsetting eligibilities that individuals and/or families may have with public programs (i.e, will increasing the wage help with overall income but be detrimental to the individual or household because it will cause disqualification for leased housing eligibility, food stamps, medical assistance, school grants, etc.)? And, if the overall impact represents a net loss to those individuals or families then passing such increases means the individual or household doesnt actually benefit from the change (even as local leadership beats their collective chests about what a good deed theyve performed even though there is a negative net benefit to those they purport to assist). And from my perception as a small business owner, increasing the wage may impact a small business to the point that a fulltime position cannot be sustained resulting in a decrease in the employees hours or termination of the employees position altogether so the employee, who would benefit from such wage increase, ultimately is penalized with a reduction in work or the loss of the position. The business owner must also weigh whether increasing the cost of goods or services to offset a wage increase can be sustained within the community. This is why the counties who have enacted the minimum wage increase also provided for an opt out. Those are very tough choices in trying to balance the needs of the individual and the needs of the business. In this instance, it seems like a statewide wage would benefit the larger percentage of individuals even as the current minimum wage is too low to sustain these lower paid employees long term. And my concerns extend to civil rights considerations because those who champion the Marion civil rights ordinance would have you believe that passage of HF 295 with amendment HF 1107 would somehow result in taking away their rights or, alternately, that defeating HF 295 and the amendment is necessary to ensure that landlords and sellers of real property engage in fair housing decisions. do not consider the origin of a persons or households income. The reality is that most rental property owners dont consider source of income nor do sellers consider the source of a persons income in making housing decisions because what is important in both instances is the amount of income to ensure that neither the rental or sale of property falls short of contractual terms. However, the basic question in this dilemma of whether communities should use home rule in deciding local issues superseding the parameters of the legislature is: are the civil rights of individuals in Marion more important than those who reside in Fort Dodge or in Creston? And if these rights arent equal, what is so special about Marion (but does not extend to surrounding communities)? The fact of the matter is that Marions ordinance doesnt actually apply to the largest percentage of those who own rental property because those who own less than three single family units are exempt and because rejecting applications or offers to purchase have not been focused on a persons source of income. Rather, the criteria generally has been amount of income. Thus, retaining the local ordinance doesnt ensure a broader compliance in housing decisionmaking because it doesnt impact the majority of decisions made by property owners. Considering the quantity of a persons income against a landlords income to rent ratio ensures that a tenant meets preliminary qualification criteria, just as being concerned as a seller that a buyers income is sufficient to meet mortgage requirements to secure the sale. The only time we hear that lawful source of income matters seems to be about requiring landlords to accept leased housing voucher recipients even as these may not meet the basic rent to income ratio. As this pertains to the sale of a property, the terms offered must be a consideration from the standpoint that it can impact not only the dollars offered and the net proceeds but the length of the transaction, the inspection process, and jeopardize the sale if the negotiation falls apart at the last minute. Bear in mind that just as a subsidy is not income in the rental world, loans are not income in the world of selling property. In the instances of either rental or sale of property, the city is not a party to the contract and, therefore, a city ordinance shouldnt dictate the contract which a property owner considers. While I understand why some advocates want the narrow language of the Marion ordinance enacting such narrow ordinance language as exists in Marion, such ordinances become punitive because it doesnt meet the stated goal of opening housing so that it is accessible to more individuals. Why then should we have such inconsistent criteria from one community to that of a community 25 miles down highway? Im not stating it should be narrow in all communities, I am saying that we need to consider the underlying motivation of those who want to narrowly define what discrimination means. Ultimately, the impact is exclusionary to some other group of individuals and we should reject the impulse to be restrictive.Further, if the purpose of the language results not from how things actually function but from a supposed concern that hasnt been articulated (as it was not in Marion and which seems unsupported experientially as there do not appear to have been any cases in Marion leading to the restrictive language in the civil rights ordinance), then why place additional burdens on property owners who have the financial obligation and responsibility for property? Im not saying that landlords or sellers should be able to discriminate against individuals who fit federal or state established classifications but narrowing those definitions from community to community claiming the right to do so under home rule creates problems resulting in hit or miss protections. In the instance of lawful source of income, decisions are not based on basic protected groups in Iowa but rather on economic factors and these are secondary to primary protections and do not necessarily fit the primary protections. Moreover, landlords and sellers are not responsible to tenants and buyers regarding the financial health or viability of either of these groups. Thus, I say to those who object to HF 295 and the amendment HF 1107 and who extol the virtues of determining civil rights protections at the local level rather than through federal and state legislation or regulation, have you read Chapter 31.18 and 31.21 of the Marion Civil Rights ordinance because if you have read these two sections, you would realize how restrictive the language actually is for those who may own more than three single family units and then better understand the economic impact of such ordinance as well as how an ordinance of this nature restricts the rights of property owners while heightening the rights of others. This can affect not only the quality but the quantity of diverse housing options. Further, it seems inequitable to then not ensure the rights of those who do not qualify or may only marginally qualify for available governmental subsidies or programs against those who have been able to qualify resulting in discriminatory practices. A review of the lawful source of income definition and application of the language would seem to demonstrate favoritism which is the very thing that proponents say must not occur! And further the misuse of terminology has resulted in proponents of the Marion civil rights ordinance misleading the public into believing that income includes subsidies and loans when these have not previously been considered income. It is inconceivable to me that city leadership would disregard the rights of property owners and substitute the rights of others in housing decisions and call this equitable under civil rights. This is simply an issue which must not be defined community by community because of resulting inequities throughout the state. We must reject the notion that more narrowly defining how housing decisions are made improve housing options, recognizing that in those communities which use home rule in passing ordinances under the guise that their community is more special or requires more control has led to disparate treatment of citizens. Thus, I believe the language of HF 295, along with amendment HF 1107 should be expanded to address the broad use of home rule in deciding issues which impact citizens statewide should be under the perview of the legislature. This means we must support HF 295 and amendment HF1107, moving these forward during this legislative session and then work to expand the scope of same to ensure that we have cohesive rule of law throughout the state.(Portion of Marion Civil Rights Ordinance with specific applicable passages marked)
Attachment
03-06-2017
Pat Bowen [CCI Action]
CON
Don't lower the wage for thousands of Iowans and don't preempt future wage increases.
03-06-2017
Kenn Bowen [Iowa CCI Action]
CON
Don't lower the wage for thousands of Iowans and don't preempt future wage increases.
03-06-2017
Dennis Bush [Cherokee County Supervisor]
CON
This bill is another attempt by legislators to chip away at the concept of local control. Let those elected officials who are closest to the problem(s) enact the solutions that they believe will work. Please do not allow this bill to move forward.
03-06-2017
Colin Scanes []
CON
Why is this needed? We have a legislature that has failed to raise the minimum wage for almost 10 years. Some counties want to but the Iowa Republicans want to prevent that. I thought the Republicans were the party of local control. Moreover, the Republicans are against counties etc. from enacting extending civil rights. DISGRACEFUL!
03-06-2017
Barbara Kalbach [Iowa CCI]
CON
This bill takes away the ability of local governments to manage their own budgets. It takes away their local control. Republicans always talk about the benefits of local control, but are removing it from many venues this year. VOTE NO!!
03-06-2017
James A. Conklin []
PRO
Individual illegal aliens moving into our community, they take jobs that friends and family will work. Employers simply want to pay under the table.
03-06-2017
Rev. Sarah Trone Garriott [Evangelical Lutheran Church in America]
CON
Please vote no on this legislation. Working people deserve a living wage. A living wage is an investment in our families, and it only benefits our economy. We cannot afford low wages any longerthe cost of poverty is too high. Legislation that suppresses wages is the opposite of what our state needs.
03-06-2017
Anonymous [none ]
CON
Leave the ability to raise the minimum wage alone. Shame on you for even attempting to benefitpeople who make so little!
03-07-2017
William Brown [Individual Voter]
CON
This bill removes the ability of local governments to control the minimum wage in their districts. This is the opposite of local control. Local governments should be able to raise the minimun wage especially since the state has not acted in years. This bill also hurts those who are trying to earn a living wage. This is why I am asking the legislature to oppose this bill.