House Resolution 126 - Introduced HOUSE RESOLUTION NO. 126 BY HANSON , GAINES , LENSING , THEDE , GASKILL , ANDERSON , DAWSON , KAJTAZOVIC , T. TAYLOR , M. SMITH , RUNNING-MARQUARDT , WINCKLER , HUNTER , H. MILLER , THOMAS , ISENHART , WOOD , PRICHARD , ABDUL-SAMAD , JACOBY , OLDSON , KRESSIG , LYKAM , BERRY , COHOON , MURPHY , MUHLBAUER , KELLEY , FORBES , STECKMAN , STUTSMAN , WESSEL-KROESCHELL , BEARINGER , WOLFE , RUFF , DUNKEL , LUNDBY , KEARNS , STAED , and HEDDENS A Resolution directing the standing Committee on 1 Government Oversight to investigate certain state 2 government matters. 3 WHEREAS, legislative investigations are an essential 4 function of the General Assembly’s constitutional 5 duties of lawmaking, appropriation of state moneys, 6 and open and transparent oversight relating to public 7 policy decisions made by the General Assembly and the 8 implementation of the law by the executive branch; and 9 WHEREAS, Governor Terry E. Branstad created an 10 Iowa Juvenile Home Protection Task Force in August 11 2013, which recommended in October 2013 that a 20-bed 12 facility of last resort be maintained for delinquent 13 girls and that child-in-need-of-assistance youth not be 14 placed at the Iowa Juvenile Home, but Governor Branstad 15 closed the Iowa Juvenile Home on January 15, 2014, 16 two days after the convening of the 2014 Legislative 17 Session, impounding and redirecting the use of state 18 funds and transferring residents without allowing the 19 General Assembly time to perform its public policy and 20 lawmaking functions with regard to the home and its 21 -1- LSB 6213YH (5) 85 rn/rj 1/ 4
H.R. 126 residents; and 1 WHEREAS, Teresa Wahlert, Director of Iowa Workforce 2 Development, eliminated the Chief Administrative Law 3 Judge’s position responsible for the oversight of 4 unemployment compensation cases in her agency, assuming 5 the supervision herself, and allegedly directing the 6 Administrative Law Judges to conduct themselves in a 7 manner favorable to employers, thereby interfering with 8 their ability to impartially judge cases as required 9 by federal law; and 10 WHEREAS, during Governor Branstad’s current 11 administration the employment of state employees has 12 been terminated through the use of personnel settlement 13 agreements that contain confidentiality clauses 14 attempting to force state employees to maintain the 15 confidentiality of facts, circumstances, and terms 16 related to the settlement agreements, with additional 17 compensation offered or paid to some state employees 18 for the inclusion of such confidentiality clauses; and 19 WHEREAS, the Department of Administrative Services, 20 pursuant to a recent public records law request, 21 has released a list of hundreds of workers who are 22 disqualified from future employment because they were 23 discharged or resigned before termination, a practice 24 which has been concealed from the public and often from 25 workers on the list; and 26 WHEREAS, it is the duty of the standing Committee on 27 Government Oversight to act as the investigative arm of 28 the House of Representatives; and 29 WHEREAS, the standing Committee on Government 30 -2- LSB 6213YH (5) 85 rn/rj 2/ 4
H.R. 126 Oversight in the past has investigated or conducted 1 inquiries regarding government wrongdoing involving the 2 Central Iowa Employment and Training Consortium, the 3 Atalissa boardinghouse workers, the Iowa Film Office, 4 and the Iowa Association of School Boards, and such 5 investigations and inquiries have resulted in the 6 improvement of governmental functions; and 7 WHEREAS, the abrupt closing of the Iowa Juvenile 8 Home, the alleged attempt to interfere with 9 impartiality in Iowa Workforce Development cases, 10 the unenforceable use of confidentiality clauses 11 in personnel settlement agreements in the executive 12 branch, and the secret disqualifying of former state 13 employees have not been as thoroughly investigated 14 as anticipated, and therefore these issues remain 15 unresolved; and 16 WHEREAS, additional investigation by the elected 17 representatives of the citizens of Iowa is necessary to 18 assure transparency and openness in state government 19 actions, to protect citizens and prevent future abuses 20 of the law, and to restore the citizens’ faith in state 21 government; NOW THEREFORE, 22 BE IT RESOLVED BY THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES, 23 That the standing Committee on Government Oversight is 24 directed to thoroughly investigate the issues described 25 in this resolution and any related issues that may 26 arise; and 27 BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, That the House standing 28 Committee on Government Oversight is encouraged 29 to consult and cooperate with the Senate standing 30 -3- LSB 6213YH (5) 85 rn/rj 3/ 4
H.R. 126 Committee on Government Oversight regarding any or all 1 of the issues described in this resolution or on other 2 related issues; and 3 BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, That the standing 4 Committee on Government Oversight, in conducting such 5 investigation, pursuant to Iowa Code sections 2.15 6 and 2.23, is authorized to call witnesses, administer 7 oaths, issue subpoenas, and cite for contempt, and 8 to meet at such times and at such places as the 9 Chairperson of the Committee deems necessary; and 10 BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, That the standing Committee 11 on Government Oversight is directed to receive and 12 review any relevant public records information 13 available through a request for examination or copying 14 of public records pursuant to Iowa Code chapter 22; and 15 BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, That the standing Committee 16 on Government Oversight is authorized to retain, at 17 a reasonable rate of compensation, independent legal 18 counsel, with expertise in investigatory work, and 19 special investigators to coordinate, direct, and 20 conduct such investigation, as necessary, to reimburse 21 such persons for reasonable expenses related to such 22 investigation, and to make recommendations to the 23 committee regarding legislative and prosecutorial 24 actions. 25 -4- LSB 6213YH (5) 85 rn/rj 4/ 4