The economy is improving, both nationally and here in Iowa. You may recall that the unemployment rate nationally dropped from 14.7% in April to 13.3% in May. So called “experts” had reportedly expected a substantial increase. The stock market has also recovered much of the ground lost earlier in the year, though we continue to see significant ups and downs because of uncertainty about the future.
Here in Iowa we also saw the unemployment rate dropping. The rate was 11% in April and 10% in May. Hopefully the improvements will continue as more and more businesses open up and expand. Everyone remembers that before the virus hit, we had the best economy in modern times, both nationally and here in Iowa.
When we debate voter ID bills Democrats always claim that there are no cases of voter fraud in Iowa. A quick search shows that there are in fact some cases. According to the Cedar Rapids Gazette, there were 23 people convicted of voter fraud in Iowa, from 2012 through 2016. The Iowa Division of Criminal Investigation after investigating election misconduct in 2012 reported in February of 2014 that they found evidence that 117 illegal votes had been cast.
Secretary of State Paul Pate says he referred 36 cases of possible fraud in the 2018 election to prosecutors. Iowa is able to discover some cases where people vote in Iowa and another state because of our participation in the Electronic Registration Information Center, that keeps track of who voted and where. Unfortunately not all states participate in this effort so we won’t know if people vote in Iowa and one of those states. The most recent information that I could find is that about 20 states still do not participate in this effort to root out voter fraud.
At any given time there will be names on the voter rolls of people who have died or moved away. A dishonest person might be tempted to apply for an absentee ballot in the name of one of the persons who died or moved, forging the signature on the application. I am more concerned about cases that were not discovered than the cases that were discovered.
Licensing is proper to protect the health and safety of the public. It is not proper when used as a way to prevent competition by new entrants into the profession. HF2627 reforms our licensing laws to allow applicants to receive credit for work experience in states that do not require a license for that kind of work. It also allows those who have been licensed in another state to obtain a similar license in Iowa. The law provides for the waiver of fees for low income people. The bill also makes it easier for ex-felons to obtain certain licenses, taking into account the crime that was committed and the kind of license the person is applying for. It allows continuing education to be done online during the COVID-19 crisis.
As always please feel free to contact me with your ideas or concerns.