As we near the end of this legislative session the volume of our work each day goes down, but the importance of it does not. With the availability of quality child care being a problem for many families, the Senate amended and passed HF 2198. This bill will ease some regulations, including allowing child care center employees and substitutes who are 16 years or older to supervise school-age children without additional supervision. In addition, it permits 1 adult child care worker for every 7 children who are 2 years old and 1 child care worker for every 10 children who are 3 years old. These policies are common-sense solutions to more closely align Iowa’s laws with federal government standards and policies in surrounding states for child care and will make it easier to raise wages for child care workers. The House also passed this bill this week, sending it to the governor.
We also passed HF 2128, which will require gas stations to have at least one pump dispensing E15. There are exemptions and grants in the bill for small retailers that cannot justify the expense of new infrastructure. The governor can also suspend the requirement to sell E15 if the federal government decides next year to not allow E15 sales during the summer months.
As a farmer and owner of a few shares in an ethanol plant, it is my desire to see E15 succeed in a big way. Yet as a supporter of free enterprise, I resist placing a requirement on business, telling them what they must sell. I oppose mask mandates. I oppose vaccine mandates. I oppose mandating that a farmer has to allow a carbon pipeline to pass through their property. To be consistent, I also oppose telling a fuel retailer that he must provide E15. If the free market is allowed to operate, I think E15 will prosper.
With so many parts of the economy struggling to find workers and some employers closing their doors because they can’t find help, it’s time to address the barriers to re-entering the workforce for some of the unemployed. HF 2355 changed the length of unemployment benefits from 6 months to 4 months. This bill also changes the definition of suitable work. If suitable work is offered to people on unemployment, they must take that position or lose benefits.
With all of the federal spending that has taken away some of the motivation for a worker to get back on the job, this is a good step in the right direction.
Recently I’ve been reading a book called Thou Shall Prosper, which speaks of the attitudes we need to make money in a free market. The author is quoted as saying “I have learned much from my teachers, even more from my colleagues, but I have learned most by far from my students.” I think that if you substitute “constituent” for the word “student” in that quote you would have a good description of my last ten years in the Iowa Senate. Thanks to all of you who have helped to educate me on the important issues of the day.