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February 21, 2017

Statement from Attorney General Tom Miller on AFSCME Lawsuit over Collective Bargaining Law

Miller to ask Executive Council to approve outside legal counsel to defend state

DES MOINES – Attorney General Tom Miller today announced that he will ask the Iowa Executive Council to seek outside legal counsel to defend the state against the lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of House File 291, the collective bargaining bill signed into law on Friday.

The American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME) Iowa Council 61 filed the lawsuit Monday in Polk County District Court.

The Executive Council, comprised of the governor, secretary of state, state treasurer, secretary of agriculture and state auditor, must approve the appointment of outside counsel to represent the state.

“As the new collective bargaining law has the potential to existentially threaten the viability of public sector unions—many of the very same organizations that have supported me in the past—I am recommending that the Executive Council seek outside legal representation to defend this lawsuit in order to avoid any questions about a potential conflict,” Miller said. “While the extraordinarily professional and skilled attorneys in my office have vigorously defended Governor Branstad and the legislature in past lawsuits involving AFSCME, I think it’s most prudent in this highly charged legal dispute to avoid any appearance of politics clouding our office’s legal representation and judgment.”

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