***The Iowa Standard is an independent media voice. We rely on the financial support of our readers to exist. Please consider a one-time sign of support or becoming a monthly supporter at $5, $10/month - whatever you think we're worth! If you’ve ever used the phrase “Fake News” — now YOU can actually DO something about it! You can also support us on PayPal at [email protected] or Venmo at Iowa-Standard-2018 or through the mail at: PO Box 112 Sioux Center, IA 51250

This week the State Government Committee discussed Senate File 163, which provides an extension for professional and occupational licenses for those working on continuing their education. This means Iowans licensed by the state for their occupation can apply for an extension to their licensing board if they were unable to meet continuing education requirements by the renewal deadline due to an unforeseen financial or medical hardship. This will bring more Iowans into our workforce and get our economy back on track, it is one way we can help our state and those people working hard to succeed.

This week the Judiciary Committee, which I chair, discussed Senate File 84, requiring employers to use E-Verify to make sure they are not violating federal immigration law, which prohibits the employment of illegal immigrants. Currently, the law makes this practice voluntary, and while many employers use it, many also do not. This is an important bill to keep Iowa’s business climate fair for both employers and potential workers.

One of my priorities for this legislative session is getting Iowans back to work and growing our state’s economy. Iowa’s unemployment rate in December was the third-lowest in the country at 3.1 percent. This rate has returned to pre-pandemic levels in many areas. In fact, the Iowa Business Council recently noted the significant demand from Iowa’s employers for qualified people to fill the job openings in the Iowa economy. The strength of the recovery is more evidence of the success of the reforms implemented over the last several years to improve the economy. It also emphasizes the importance of keeping the economy open, getting Iowa students back in school, funding schools with reliable and sustainable increases, and improving public education.

Author: Brad Zaun