Week Sixteen Capitol Report

April 29, 2022

This week, the House and Senate met on Monday and Tuesday to work on three of Governor Reynolds remaining proposals. On Monday, the Senate Ways and Means committee approved House File 2128 with an amendment. On Tuesday both chambers passed the bill with bi-partisan support. HF 2128 is the Governor’s renewable fuels standard legislation that establishes requirements for retail dealers to offer E-15. The bill includes limited exemptions for retailers who are unable to comply.

House File 2355 reforms the state’s unemployment insurance system and was previously approved by both chambers with slightly different language. On Tuesday, the House and Senate reached an agreement to send the House’s version, that does not include a one-week waiting period, to the Governor for signature. The bill does the following:

· Reduces the maximum time an individual is eligible to received unemployment benefits from 6 months to 4.

·  Allows an employer to seek a refund from an overpayment of unemployment benefits if Workforce Development finds that the employer’s failure to respond timely or adequately was due to insufficient notification by Workforce Development.

· Defines “misconduct” for the purposes of unemployment benefit determinations

· Modifies the percentages of an individual’s average weekly wage for insured work paid to the individual that is considered suitable for an individual to apply for and accept work in order to remain eligible for unemployment insurance benefits.

On Tuesday, the House approved Governor Reynolds workforce omnibus bill, Senate File 2383. The bill relates to work-based learning, eliminates some city and county inspections of manufactured homes, expands loan forgiveness programs for healthcare workers, and eliminates certain fees for veterans. The bill originally included a provision to create a state-wide building code, but the provision was removed by the Senate after concerns were raised regarding the impact to small communities.

Governor Reynolds released the following statement in response to the passage of both workforce bills:

“The success of Iowa’s robust economy is driven by employed Iowans and their hard work ethic.  Today the Iowa legislature passed two bills that will help bolster our workforce in Iowa. I’ve worked tirelessly to find ways to reinvigorate our workforce and make it more attractive for recruitment and retention of workers. With more than 85,000 job openings in our state, we cannot afford to leave any employable Iowans on the sidelines.  We’ve realigned our state’s workforce agency to serve as a reemployment agency providing more dedicated, one-on-one career coaching, and to make the process for Iowans to reenter the workforce as simple and efficient as possible. We want to ensure that every employable Iowan finds a meaningful and fulfilling job within our state." 

Next week, Senate and House leadership will continue to work towards a final agreement on the Fiscal Year 2023 budget and well as remaining policy priorities including the Governor’s education bill.