After weeks of contention in the Senate, we have found bipartisanship as we passed SF 1 and SF 180 though the Senate, both with a 50-0 vote.
SF 1- Jobs Impact Statements for Administrative Rules
At the beginning of this session, we set out a number of priorities for the coming months. One of those priorities is Senate File 1, which requires a job impact statement for administrative rules. This would put into code what is currently found in Executive Order 71. We believe this is so important to job growth in Iowa, we want to codify this requirement so future governors cannot remove this requirement with the stroke of a pen.
State Senator Jeff Edler
Jobs impact statements identify the purpose of a rule and the anticipated costs for state agencies, local governments, the public, regulated industries (including regulated businesses and self-employed individuals) to comply, and whether a rule would have a positive or negative impact on private sector jobs and employment opportunities in Iowa.
Additionally, they also include which categories of jobs will be impacted, the number of jobs, and which regions of the state will be impacted by the rule, as well as additional costs to employers due to implementation of the rule. The bill requires agencies take steps to minimize adverse impacts on jobs prior to implementation of the rule.
This bill will help ensure businesses and jobs are not overburdened by excessive regulations from the State. Requiring a jobs impact statement forces agencies to consider how a rule will impact jobs, a consideration that is vital to creating job growth in our state.
SF 180 - Apprenticeships
Helping create an environment for job growth in our state is something we have been focusing on for a long time. Along with SF 1, the Senate on Wednesday unanimously passed SF 180, strengthening Iowa's apprenticeship programs. The bill clarifies that in order to qualify for an apprenticeship training grant under the Iowa Economic Development Authority; the applicant must be an Iowa resident.
Iowa training programs that improve the skills of Iowa workers and are funded by Iowa taxpayers should apply to Iowa residents, period. Previous Iowa taxpayer funded grant approvals have gone toward apprentice trainees that lived outside of Iowa. With our bill, employees that are not Iowa residents can still be enrolled in the training programs they just don't qualify for the grants. Programs like our apprenticeship program are important for our state and ensure we have the skilled workers we need.
My Subcommittees This Week
SF 197: This week, I was the subcommittee chairperson of a bill, which relates to POW/MIA flags and when they are to be flown in the state of Iowa.
SF 290: This bill was passed through subcommittee and committee to modify licensing provisions applicable to electricians and electrical contractors. The purpose of this bill was to put into Code actions from an executive order and to clarify definitions.
SSB1127: I was also the subcommittee chairperson for SSB 1127. This bill allows for making criminal penalties and defining intent of theft for equipment rental property.
School Funding Equity
One common issue I discussed in the district related to education and education funding is the challenge of school funding for rural schools. Rural schools cover a much larger geographic area than urban or suburban districts. Consequently, those districts have much higher costs per pupil to transport those students between school and home. All those dollars spent on transportation are then unavailable to spend in the classroom, creating more disparity in resources between rural schools and urban schools.
We have offered several proposals to address this inequity in recent years but have not been able to see this policy advance through the legislative process. This year majority Republicans have filed Senate Study Bill 1124 (SSB 1124), which will start to bring equity to the funding levels between small and large geographic districts. Funds approved may only be spent on transportation costs.
This bill was approved in subcommittee this week and will be discussed in the Education Committee next week. We have long believed student educational opportunities should not be determined by a student's zip code. This bill is important to many rural districts across the state as they seek to provide the best education to their students regardless of where they live in Iowa.
Election Integrity in Iowa
The integrity of Iowa's elections has long been a priority of many Iowans. It is also a priority of mine. Senate Republicans have long considered a requirement to prove who a person is when voting a fail-safe measure to guarantee the integrity of our election process. This simple and reasonable measure was squashed in the past by the Democrat majority in the Senate. The inability for Democrats in the Senate to act was an unfortunate situation, because more than two-thirds of Iowans supported the Voter ID concept and still do.