Week three of the 2023 Iowa legislative session saw plenty of action. The first part of the week was dominated by the Governor’s school choice legislation that will allow low-income parents, as early as the ’23-’24 school year, who enroll their child in a private school in Iowa, to apply for nearly $7600 in state funding to cover costs such as tuition, books, tutoring, etc. By 2026, all private school parents will be eligible to apply for the state funds. The Governor signed the bill in to law Tuesday morning.
This week also included many committee meetings and the introduction of new legislation, including many focusing on workforce challenges. Attracting and retaining a strong workforce is a top concern for our member businesses, and it remains a focus of the Economic Alliance’s public policy efforts. Some of those we’re keeping an eye on include:
- HF47 exempts from the individual income tax the amount of wages received by a taxpayer for providing certain child care services. Status: Passed out of House Ways & Means Subcommittee on 1/25.
- HF51 directs the Department of Health & Human Services to amend its rules to require that state child care assistance program payments be made to child care provider for only the time a child is regularly scheduled. Status: Referred to the House Health & Human Services Committee on 1/17.
- SF62 expands the state child care assistance eligibility requirements for families and reimbursement rates for providers. Status: Referred to the House Public Safety Committee on 1/18.
- SF108 prohibits employers from knowingly employing unauthorized aliens. We do not support the mandatory use of the federal Employment Verification (E-Verify) system because the system is flawed and would penalize employers regardless. Status: Passed out of Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on 1/25.
New Resident/Graduate Incentives:
- HSB63 creates a new resident and new graduate tax credits, which are available against the individual income tax. Status: Referred to a House Ways & Means Subcommittee on 1/20.
Mental Health Workforce:
- SSB1012 allows Iowa to adopt the Professional Counselors Interstate Licensure Compact, a system whereby professional counselors licensed to practice in one member state may practice in another member state. Status: Passed out of Senate Health & Human Services Committee and renumbered to SF127. House companion bill is HF90.
- HF48 prohibits the tenure systems at public postsecondary educational institutions like the University of Iowa. Eliminating a system used by most other higher education institutions would be another inhibitor for our region to attract and retain talent. Status: Did not advance through House Education Subcommittee.
Second Chance Hiring
- HF15 establishes a pathway to education and employment reentry program to be administered by community colleges to ensure formerly incarcerated citizens can successfully transition back into the community. Status: Referred to House Education Subcommittee on 1/18.
- SSB1063 places a $1 million cap on noneconomic damages in lawsuits against health care providers in certain cases. Status: Passed out of Senate Judiciary Committee on 1/25 and renumbered SF148. House companion bill HF102 passed out of Health &Human Services Committee 1/26.
Those are just a few of the bills we’re tracking so far this session and will continue reviewing the various legislative proposals that come forth. Our work always includes influencing policies that promote economic growth and robust and welcoming communities.
Better Your Community by Serving on a City or State Board of Commission
There’s power in the voices of the business community and our members! Amplify your voice by serving on a city or state board or commission. This is the perfect opportunity for passionate community members to see direct results from their volunteer time.
All Iowa residents are eligible to apply for a state board or commission covering issues from workforce to technology, transportation and more. See the full list of State positions at https://talentbank.iowa.gov/. Economic Alliance members span multiple municipalities, so we encourage you to apply to serve on local city boards as well. City opportunities can be found directly on your respective city’s website.
Public Policy Strategist Barbra Solberg can provide guidance for both city and state positions. Reach out to her at email@example.com if you would like to apply or have any questions.