(Des Moines, IA) -- Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds signs three bills into law, each targeting the workforce.
The latest laws reduce the amount of time Iowans are eligible for unemployment benefits from 26 weeks to 16 weeks, adjust child care ratios and age requirements for child care employees, and several licensing reform changes.
"Together these bills send a clear message that we are committed to modernizing Iowa’s unemployment system and attracting new employees to Iowa’s workforce," says Governor Reynolds. "It’s no secret that Iowa, like the rest of the country, is facing a critical workforce shortage, but we cannot stand idle and allow employable Iowans to sit on the sidelines and we must implement practical and efficient changes that cut through bureaucratic red tape and assist employers with filling their critical vacancies."
The unemployment bill saw no support from Iowa Democrats, who say the bill punishes Iowans.
"People who lose their jobs are not sitting at home collecting checks because they don't want to work and, if they are, why are we punishing everyone because a few people are working the system," says House Minority Leader Jennifer Konfrst.
House File 2355, in addition to reducing unemployment benefits, also requires workers to accept a job for less pay if they use unemployment benefits for more than a month.
"This bill will make Iowa even less attractive and cutting benefits to force unemployed Iowans to go back to work for less isn't the solution," says State Representative Cindy Winkler.
Governor Reynolds signed the bills into law while attending the Association of Business and Industry’s Annual Convention in Dubuque. In a press release, she stated the following: "I'm confident these changes will encourage more Iowans to join the workforce and find a rewarding career while contributing to our economy."
Currently unemployed Iowans will still receive the full 26 weeks of unemployment benefits after the law takes effect on July 1st.
Reynolds also signed House File 2198, which changes the staff to children ratios at childcare centers to increase the number of children staff can supervise. The new ratio is 7 two-year-olds per staff member and 10 children who are three-years-of-age and above. The new law also allows 16-year-olds to supervise school-age children without adult supervision.