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Workforce Presser

Growing Iowa’s workforce is the path forward to long-term, broad-based prosperity for
our state and the people who call it home. But more must be done to recruit workers for
existing and future career opportunities in Iowa. Governor Reynolds is introducing a comprehensive workforce bill to re-employ the unemployed, eliminate barriers to employment, and make Iowa a destination for career building.

Governor Reynolds proposes:

  • Reforming the state’s unemployment system to re-employ out-of-work Iowans sooner.
  • Retaining Iowa’s law enforcement officers and recruiting others to our state.
  • Recruiting military veterans to civilian careers in Iowa.
  • Easing licensure requirements that delay employment.
  • Limiting non-economic damages in tort litigation.
  • Standardizing building codes to promote construction of attainable housing and child care facilities.

Unemployment benefits started in the 1930s to ensure Americans could provide for their families during the Great Depression. Today, these benefits continue to serve an important purpose as a short-term safety net for individuals unexpectedly out of work. But they are not intended to provide long-term support. Unemployment must return to its original mission – providing financial support for a limited time while working to re-employ out-of-work Iowans as quickly as possible.

  • Reduce the term of regular unemployment benefits from 26 weeks to 16 weeks maximum. Reduce the extension of benefits for plant closings from 39 weeks to 26 weeks maximum.
  • Benefit payment will begin one week after a claim is filed, allowing time for claims and potential employer appeals to be processed, while also encouraging a faster return to work.
  • Under current law, benefit recipients are required after a certain number of weeks to accept a job that pays a fraction of their prior wage or lose their benefit. The percentage of prior wages will decrease on a more rapid timeline to encourage reemployment.
  • Define "misconduct" for unemployment benefit determinations to provide clarity and consistency in claim resolution.
  • Allow unemployment decisions to be directly appealed to district court.

In Iowa, we value safe, strong communities and the brave men and women who protect them. Unfortunately, in some states, law enforcement officers are treated like villains and police department funding is slashed. We can’t fix attitudes in other states, but we can certainly let officers around the country know that if they come to Iowa, they will be treated with the respect they deserve.

  • Award $1,000 one-time retention bonuses to certified peace officers and corrections officers.
  • Launch a multi-state law enforcement recruitment effort in 2022 and execute a strategic marketing plan to attract the law enforcement leaders of tomorrow.

The unique skills, training and experiences developed through military service make veterans ideal recruits for civilian careers. Through programs such as Home Base Iowa, veterans have proven to be tremendous assets to Iowa’s workforce and our state
should prioritize recruiting them.

  • Waive testing and licensing fees for experienced veterans pursuing a career as an Emergency Medical Technician (EMT).
  • Waive CDL and other occupational license fees for certain veterans.
  • Increase Military Service Property Tax Exemption to $2,500.
  • Offer all veterans lifetime hunting and fishing licenses.

After Governor Reynolds introduced and signed significant licensing reform legislation in 2020, Iowa now has the most flexible licensing reciprocity and recognition laws in the country. But more can be done to ensure qualified workers can be on the job as soon as possible.

  • Issue a temporary professional license to military spouses so they can work in Iowa until their full license is issued.
  • Allow non-residents in most professions to have their out-of-state license recognized to quickly obtain an Iowa professional license.
  • Eliminate the requirement for individuals to hold a professional license in another state for at least one year before obtaining their license in Iowa.
  • Issue temporary licenses for individuals awaiting the completion of background checks.

When accidents or mistakes occur resulting in harm to others, responsible parties must be held accountable. But tort litigation must also be handled responsibly and reasonably, without excessive damages that have far-reaching consequences that limit businesses from investing in their workforce.

  • Limit liability by establishing hard caps on non-economic damages in cases of medical malpractice and trucking accidents.

Differences in construction codes and zoning are creating barriers to building attainable housing units and child care facilities that will help attract workers to communities where jobs are available.

  • Establish single statewide building codes.
  • Ensure zoning regulations do not prevent future development when 80% of existing structures do not conform.
  • Streamline placement of federally regulated manufactured housing by preventing duplicative inspections.