The Iowa House is moving Iowans forward. I am privileged to be a part of solutions to aid rural Iowans, and the people I represent. This week, House Republicans passed a bill that would benefit rural pharmacies, move Iowa from pandemic related unemployment to reemployment and a return to prosperity, and attract highly skilled Americans to come to Iowa.
Throughout the state of Iowa, rural pharmacies have struggled. This week the Iowa House passed the Pharmacist Benefit Management Bill, HF 2384. Over the course of the past four years, 56 pharmacies have shut their doors across rural Iowa. The Iowa House found a solution that would benefit several rural communities and provide access to the medication they need. There are 19 states that have passed similar legislation and found no increase in premiums. This will also lower the price of prescription drugs at the point of sale. Rural Iowans will have greater access to life saving medication.
Earlier in the session, I spoke of the governor’s goal to shift from the unemployment that the pandemic thrusted upon us, to a resurgence of the Iowa economy returning us to normal. We’re facing a workforce shortage in Iowa and across the country. So, changes must be made to our state’s unemployment system to serve as a reemployment system.
This week, the House passed HF 2355, which makes a number of reasonable reforms to Iowa’s unemployment insurance system. This bill shortens the amount of time Iowans can collect unemployment from 26 weeks to 16 weeks. Four months is a reasonable amount of time to expect Iowans to be able to find work, especially in this job market. If unemployment is due to plant closure, the weeks are reduced from 39 to 26. This bill does not change who is required to search for employment in order to receive unemployment benefits. However, if you are required to be looking for employment, the percentage of benefits you receive, if you refuse a job offer, will decrease. As Governor Reynolds pointed out, the unemployment system has moved from a safety net to a hammock. We must incentivize Iowans to work.
House Republicans also passed our Education budget proposal. In this bill, we proposed a strategic approach to fund Iowa’s Regent Universities to further address Iowa’s workforce crisis. The bill provides $12 million for scholarships for students preparing to fill high-need jobs. The students in their junior and senior years of qualifying programs will receive scholarships of $5,000 per year. This money is on top of the Regent’s usual general fund appropriation. The State and Regent Universities need to be better partners in addressing the state’s workforce needs. This new funding will incentivize the regents to recruit more students to the jobs we need here in Iowa.
I also had the opportunity to meet with the Northwest Iowa Rural Electric Cooperative (REC). This week they spent their day on the hill, and we were able to discuss various issues. We discussed some issues that will promote lower costs to REC customers and make electricity more affordable. I am looking forward to working on the opportunities presented by these conversations.
As always, if you have any questions or concerns, please do not hesitate to contact me. I can be reached at my email: email@example.com.