Iowa Legislative Session Begins & What We’re Advocating For
Jan 15, 2020
The second session of the 88th Iowa General Assembly kicked off on Monday, January 13. The Economic Alliance is well prepared for the weeks ahead. Likewise, as we begin a national election year, we’ve prioritized our federal agenda so we’re ready to talk to federal officials. At the end of 2019, we announced our 2020 state and federal agendas to elected officials and our members, including the items we’ll focus on in the coming year.
As we work to grow awareness and support for our public policy agenda, in 2020 we want to shine a light on our work to advance the state’s Future Ready Iowa program, as well as other initiatives to address the workforce challenges in our region. This will include supporting the funding requests for PK-12 public schools and Grant Wood AEA. It is imperative that this year’s Supplemental State Aid (SSA) increase should reflect our state’s economic growth and compensate for necessary past funding shortages. We want to continue to advocate for the Employer Innovation Fund and Last Dollar Scholar program, two initiatives included within Future Ready Iowa, and areas where we’ve already seen a return on investment.
Positive movement to remove barriers to employment like addressing the child care “cliff effect” for parents is a priority of the Economic Alliance. We are also supporting work to help prepare offenders for successful reentry to Iowa communities and employment. Working together on workforce initiatives for re-entry citizens is a win-win for communities, businesses, families and individuals. We will also continue to advocate for immigration reform that will allow employers further access to skilled workers, including reform to our work and student Visa system to allow more students who are educated and trained in our region, to stay in our region.
Finally, we’ll continue to join our higher education partners to advocate for the federal government to allow Pell Grants to be used for short-term, workforce-oriented programs and allow more federal dollars for financial aid and research programs. Addressing workforce challenges isn’t the only thing we’ll focus on in the coming year. The Economic Alliance will also advocate for policies that improve the overall business environment and those that *enhance our community* attraction endeavors.
Among other examples, two include working toward pro-growth business regulations and clarity for the hemp industry. From production to processing, this industry has much potential for rural and urban communities and businesses in our region. Additionally, we’ll work with our partners across the state to secure sustainable and permanent funding sources to assist communities with placemaking projects that spur workforce attraction projects.
To view our comprehensive agenda, visit www.cedarrapids.org/publicpolicy