Collins Capitol Connection – June Newsletter

To the People of House District 95


It’s been great to spend some more time with family over the last month after not having to run back and forth to Des Moines on a weekly basis. Now that all of this year’s policy and appropriations bills have been signed by the Governor, I can now give a wrap up of what the next fiscal year’s budget will look like, as well as where many pieces of policy landed after the end the of the 90th General Assembly.


Fiscal Year 2025 Budget Ready for Implementation as Governor Signs Appropriation Bills

With Governor Reynolds signing all this year’s budget bills, the state’s spending plan for the new fiscal year is now set. The Fiscal Year 2025 appropriations bills were signed on May 9th. The Governor chose not to use her line item veto authority on any of the ten appropriations bills that comprise the FY 2025 budget.

The newly enacted budget will spend $8.9132 billion over the next 12 months, starting July 1st. That is a 4.22% increase in General Fund spending when compared to the current year’s budget of $8.5520 billion. Fiscal Year 2025 revenue is estimated to be $9.3596 billion after the enactment of Senate File 2442, which lowers the income tax rate to 3.8% in tax year 2025. After these adjustments, the FY 2025 budget will spend 95.23% of the projected ongoing revenue for the year.

Next year’s budget includes a number of priorities that Iowans brought to the Legislature. They include:

  • 2.5% increase in state aid to schools, which is projected to be an additional $87.2 million given to public schools next school year.
  • $66.3 million in new funding to raise teacher salaries and an additional $14 million to increase pay to paraeducators and other school support staff.
  • $11.9 million for improvements and salary increases within the Department of Corrections, including raising correctional officer base pay to $24 an hour.
  • 5% increase in salaries for all judicial officers.
  • $7.1 million increase for the Department of Public Safety.
  • $107.2 million increase in funding for the Medicaid program, including in provider rate increases for a number of different services.
  • Additional $7 million for Iowa’s Community Colleges.


Biden Administration Favors Illegal Immigrants Over Iowans

Illegal immigration remains a serious concern throughout the country. While the Biden administration refuses to act, states are stepping up to protect the country. Fourteen states, including Iowa, have sent National Guard soldiers south to assist in securing the southern border. Additionally, many have enacted legislation to allow for the detention and arrest of illegal immigrants. This year, we passed Senate File 2340 with bipartisan support to discourage illegal immigrants from coming to Iowa.

The new law is modeled after Texas law SB 4.  It’s straightforward and makes it clear that illegal immigrants remains illegal in Iowa. Under the bill, if a person has previously been caught in the country illegally and they later enter Iowa they are guilty of the crime of reentry into the state and can face various penalties. Contrary to what some pro-open borders Democrats have said, SF 2340 is not anti-immigrant, it’s pro legal immigration, pro law and order, and focused solely on illegal immigration.

Instead of protecting our borders, the Federal Government has decided to sue the state of Iowa for taking action against illegal immigration. The Justice Department has filed a lawsuit against Iowa challenging the constitutionality of Senate File 2340. According to the complaint, SF 2340 is unconstitutional under the Supremacy Clause and Foreign Commerce Clause. The federal government claims that federal law preempts the new law and is asking for an injunction to prevent the law from being enforced.

Iowa would never have needed to consider passing SF 2340 if the Biden administration had done its job to protect Americans and secure the border. Millions of individuals have entered the country illegally since Biden took office and he continues to do nothing to stop it. If states don’t take action and enforce the law, who will?

The goal of Senate File 2340 is not to scare or intimidate those who follow the process and come here legally. The goal is to discourage those who enter the country illegally from coming to Iowa. Immigration has made our country great, but illegal immigration puts all of us at risk.


House Republicans Continue to Support Teachers

A top priority for House Republicans this year was raising teacher pay, which makes it perplexing why some, hoping to gain a political advantage, have attempted to put Republican legislators in a bad light by claiming that we don’t support teachers or public education. Well, facts are stubborn things, and the facts tell a different story.

In 2020, House Republicans passed a therapeutic classroom bill that gave teachers an alternative to disruptive “room clears” for dangerous or destructive students, giving more protection for how to handle disruptive and violent students. The bill created a grant program for schools to create therapeutic classrooms for an alternative environment for students causing disruptions and allows other students a normal classroom environment. This stemmed from teachers asking for help – they needed tools to help control their classrooms and students. Teachers needed a way to keep their students and themselves safe – but it didn’t stop there.

In 2021, House Republicans established a substitute authorization to help get more substitutes in the classroom. House Republicans heard that there were never enough subs and did something about it. Teachers have spoken to legislators numerous times about unnecessary professional development sessions and many of the associated trainings they have to take. House Republicans passed a law that said half of their individualized professional development plans may be used towards licensure renewal – or, in other words, it must actually be related to making them better classroom teachers.

Also in 2021, House Republicans led the charge to get back to normal classrooms in the face of often bombastic objections based in fear not facts. House Republicans required in-person classrooms, banned mask requirements inside schools, and protected students and teachers from being forced to take a vaccination they had misgivings about.

In 2022, House Republicans removed the Praxis test as a requirement. Legislators also made it easier for teachers with a Masters and five years of experience to renew their license. Again, House Republicans listened to teachers and acted upon what teachers were telling them.

In 2023, House Republicans passed a bill that stemmed directly from teachers coming to House Republican members for help. The bill gave teachers more protections in their classrooms. House Republicans heard teachers didn’t feel supported from their administrators. As a result, a teacher can now report problems to the Ombudsmen’s Office if administrators are not listening. House Republicans also heard that teachers were getting physically harmed inside schools and were instructed that they can’t do anything to protect themselves or their students. House Republicans made sure teachers were instructed on what they were legally allowed to do to protect themselves and their students. Again, pointless professional development that did little to make them better teachers got brought up. Teachers were told they had to these superfluous professional development trainings but were not told why. Now, teachers must be told the legal authority behind these training sessions.

Which brings us to 2024 and the largest teacher salary increase the state of Iowa has ever seen. The facts are clear and House Republicans very clearly support teachers – anything to the contrary is simply false.


Protecting Kids, Giving Schools Options on School Security

Keeping students safe in schools is a top priority for House Republicans. That’s why the Public Safety Committee advanced House File 2586 to ensure students have the protection they deserve all day. The bill has two parts, the first addresses the need for school resources officers and the second creates a professional weapons permit and training for school employees.

School resource officers (SRO) are a huge asset to schools and the community. Their connection with students and staff allows them to see problems developing before they get out of hand. The officers bring a sense of safety and security to a sometimes chaotic place. Unfortunately, some schools have removed school resource officers from their buildings. HF 2586 requires school districts with more than 8,000 students to have an SRO in schools with grades 9-12. These large school districts can opt out of the requirement, but that will require a vote of the school board. Smaller schools are encouraged to have SRO’s. In addition to law enforcement officers, schools can also hire private school security officers who meet the background checks and training standards.

While school security officers are great, they can’t be everywhere at once, that’s why HF 2586 also gives schools the option of allowing employees to qualify for a special professional permit for school employees. This is a completely optional program staff can volunteer to join. A school employee must pass a standard weapons permit background check every year and complete rigorous special training. The training includes:

  • Prescribed firearm safety training course.
  • One time in person legal training, including training on qualified immunity.
  • Annual emergency medical training.
  • Annual communications training.
  • Yearly live scenario training.
  • Quarterly live firearms training.

A school employee who meets all these qualifications shall be entitled to qualified immunity from criminal or civil liability for damages when reasonable force is used in the school.

Now that House File 2586 has been signed school districts have two additional ways to protect their students, both with school resource officers, and well-trained, and armed, school employees. School boards across the state will be discussing this issue in the coming weeks and it is important they hear from parents who support either or both policies, so they know how important it is to have security in schools.


Governor Signs Major Transportation Legislation

As Governor Reynolds finished her work signing or vetoing legislation passed during the 2024 legislative session, she gave her approval to three significant pieces of transportation legislation that have vexed the General Assembly for several years.

Headlining the transportation agenda during session was the issue of automated traffic enforcement systems, aka traffic cameras. While the issue has been discussed often by legislators, finding a consensus on how to address it had been elusive over the past decade. This year, a new approach was taken, and the House was given a choice – ban the cameras or regulate their use. That was the debate over House File 2681, which ultimately resulted in an approach which gives the Department of Transportation authority to regulate the use of speed cameras on Iowa roadways.

Under the new law, cities or counties would have to show the speed and safety issues at the camera’s location and how utilizing the speed camera is necessary to improve traffic safety at that location. House File 2681 sets a standard for all speed cameras – penalties would not be imposed if a driver is less than 10 miles an hour over the speed limit. The bill also sets out the fee schedule – the fines would be:

  • Between 10 and 20 MPH over: $75 fine
  • Between 20 and 25 MPH over: $100 fine
  • Between 25 and 30 MPH over: $250 fine
  • In excess of 30 MPH over: $500 fine

Fines would be doubled in construction zones. Violations will be considered civil infractions and will not be considered by the DOT in determining driver’s license sanctions. Violations will also not be considered in the determination of auto insurance premium rates.

For those cities and counties that had speed cameras in operation before January 1st of this year, they can continue to operate them as the DOT reviews their permit request. These communities could apply on July 1st for the permit, and the DOT would have to decide on the application by October 1st. For those communities that did not have cameras in operation on January 1st of this year, they could apply to the DOT for a permit, but they would not be allowed to put the cameras into operation before July 1st of 2026.

After the Governor’s signature, the DOT is now working to be ready to implement the law by July 1st. They will be contacting those cities and counties who had speed cameras in operation on January 1st with information about the application process.

Another topic that has been a subject of much discussion over the years has been where people can file initial car registration and titles. While there has been discussion about letting Iowans file these important documents at any courthouse, the matter of how the service is paid for stood in the way. With property taxpayers supplementing the cost of these services at county treasurer offices, it did not make sense to let people living outside a particular county to come in and file without paying their share of the cost.

After several years of work, a compromise was found in House File 674 that allows Iowans to file a vehicle’s initial registration and title in any county with a reasonable increase in the fees for these services. Most registration and titling fees will go up $10, which will allow this work to not be paid for by property taxes.

One of the more winding debates over the past few years has dealt with the limits on school driving permits. Numerous committees have formulated revisions to the school permit system, only to see the issue end up in the ditch. The 2023 session produced many bills addressing school permits, but none found a road forward. However, it did result in an interim committee that met last fall.

The interim committee’s work produced what would become Senate File 2109. The bill would replace the current school permit and farm work permit system with a new restricted work license and a special minor’s restricted license. The special minor’s restricted license would be for those between the age of 14.5 and 18 who have an instructional permit, has completed driver’s education, or have been allowed by the DOT to get the license without driver’s education due to hardship, and is enrolled in a school.

The special minor’s restricted license would allow qualifying teens to drive to and from school, extracurricular activities, work, and to stop at service stations. To use the special minor’s restricted license to drive to and from work, the teenager must have written permission from a parent or guardian filed with the DOT.  Driving time would be limited to 1 hour before or after school, extracurricular activities, or their work shift.

The distance a teenager would be allowed to drive with a special minor’s restricted license is 25 miles, unless the distance between the driver’s residence and their school is more than 25 miles within the same school district.  A teenager with a special minor’s restricted license would be allowed to have siblings and one unrelated person in the car with them, which is the same as current law. The teenager with this license would be allowed to have up to three residences as long as they have been filed with the DOT.

Thanks to the hard work of the Transportation Committee, enactment of these bills helps to clear the decks of major issues facing the committee going into the next General Assembly.


Mental Health Continues to be a State Priority

Again this session, the legislature passed, and the Governor signed many bills to address mental health in Iowa. These bills build on the work the legislature has done over the last 6 years to expand access to mental health care, increase our workforce, increase Medicaid rates, create sustainable long-term funding of the mental health regions, and provide an emphasis on children’s mental health care.

  • Mental Health Rate Increase – The HHS budget provides $2.1 million in increased state funding towards mental health Medicaid rates. This builds on the work we did last year when we passed a $13 million increase. These increases came based on a Medicaid rate review that compared Iowa’s mental health rates to surrounding state and Medicare. This budget also provided an increase to community mental health centers based on the 2023 Medicaid rate review.
  • MHI Specialization – The HHS Budget continues to provide funding and employees to specialize the Independence MHI to behaviorally complex youth and the Cherokee MHI to acute and forensic adults.
  • Psychiatric Residencies – The HHS Budget transfers two psychiatry residences from UIHC to Broadlawns and MercyOne.
  • Autism Infrastructure – The HHS Budget provides $750,000 from the Autism Support Fund to be used for new ChildServe buildings to care for children with autism.
  • Children’s Mental Health – House File 2402 provides for an enhanced rate to Psychiatric Medical Institutions for Children to care for the most complex children in our state.
  • Care Coordination – HF2404 allows DHHS to establish health care coordination and intervention teams through Iowa Medicaid. These teams will be able to review individual cases for individuals with complex conditions in need of health services and interventions.
  • Behavioral Health System – HF2673 transitions the current county run mental health and disability services system to a state behavioral health service system with state contracted administrative service organizations governed by the Iowa Department of Health and Human Services. This bill also combines mental health, substance use, tobacco use, and problem gambling treatment into one system in Iowa.
  • 988 call line – HF2673 provides $3 million from the regional incentive fund for the 988 call line.
  • Social Worker Compact – HF2512 establishes an interstate license for social workers. The compact is now effective and is in the implementation process.
  • Mental Health Transportation – HF2397 requires DHHS to authorize payments to ambulances transporting mental health patients in crisis to an access center at a similar amount to when transporting to an ER.
  • Direct Supervision and Licensure by Endorsement – HF2515 creates licensure by endorsement for licensed marital and family therapists and licensed mental health counselors. This bill also prohibits live and recorded direct observation of client interaction for LMFTs, LMHCs, and Social Workers.
  • Voluntarily Holding Firearms – House File 2421 allows a person to voluntarily handover their firearm to a FFL dealer for safekeeping. This allows gun owners who are in mental health distress to give their property over while in crisis and have it returned when they are prepared.
  • Health Care Provider Recruitment – The Education Budget provided a $125,000 increase to the Iowa Rural Primary Care Loan Forgiveness Program.


Legislature and DHHS Prioritize Care for the Disabled

This session, the legislature passed multiple bills to expand access to care for Iowans with disabilities, and the Department of Health and Human Services has continued progress on redesigning its community-based services to improve how disabled Iowans choose where to live and the services they receive to maintain their health, social connections, and quality of life.

Below is a list of issues the legislature addressed this session to improve care for disabled Iowans:

  • Home and Community Based Services – The HHS Budget increases home and community-based services rates for care for disabled Iowans in their communities with a $14.6 million investment from the general fund. With additional general funds to backfill ARPA investments, this budget in total increases disabled care with over $84 million.
  • HCBS Waiver Access – The HHS Budget provided 70 additional HCBS waiver slots to Iowans with intellectual disabilities.
  • Residential Support for Children – The HHS Budget (HF2698) provided $1.35 million to increase residential-based support community living rates for children.
  • Case Management – The HHS Budget also provides $5 million of state general fund to increase access to enhanced case management for Iowans using long-term services and supports.
  • Home Health – This HHS Budget provides a $3 million increase to home health rates.
  • Aging and Disability Resource Centers – HF2673 designates aging and disability resource centers to establish a coordinated system of providing assistance to persons with disabilities and the elderly.

DHHS recently announced the following updates:

  • Received preliminary approval for a tool to screen and prioritize waitlist members, conducted focus groups on the functional assessment process, and summarized ideas for improving Iowa’s HCBS member-facing informational materials.
  • Completed over 2,300 Needs On Waitlist (NOW) surveys. The NOW survey collects information about what people who are on the waitlist might need and will help Iowa to make important changes to improve how waivers work in the future.
  • Shared a proposed list of waiver services with Iowans and gathered their feedback through listening sessions and a feedback form.
  • Shared a concept paper on waiver redesign and announced listening sessions and a public feedback form for Iowans to provide insights on the proposal.
  • Studied tiered budgeting to inform a proposed approach for the redesigned waivers.
  • Made a plan for assessing provider capacity to serve children with serious emotional disturbances.


Commerce Committee Legislation Signed by the Governor

Recently, the Governor completed signing bills that ran through the House Commerce Committee. In total, 28 bills from the committee were signed. Below are some of the insurance, health care, and financial bills that impact Iowans.

HF 2099 – PBM bill from Insurance Division: This bill comes from the Iowa Department of Insurance and Financial Services regarding Pharmacy Benefit Managers (PBMs). This bill expands the PBM’s duty of good faith and fair dealing to pharmacies, prohibits retaliation against pharmacies that comply with the law, and cleans up reporting requirements.

HF 2265 – Insurance Renewal Timeline: This bill increases the timeframe from 30 to 60 days to personal lines policyholders on whether their policy is being renewed and what the renewal policy is.

HF 2276 – Zoning for Maternity Homes: This bill prohibits cities and covenants from restricting maternity group homes in residential areas. A maternity group home is a community-based residential home that provides room and board, personal care, supervision, training, support and education in a family environment for women who are pregnant or have given birth in the last two years. This legislation is modeled after similar protections in place for homes for those with developmental disability and brain injury (Iowa Code 414.22).

HF 2464 – Firearms Tracking: This bill prohibits the government and payment processors from using firearm / ammunition specific merchant category codes.

HF 2489 – Breast Imaging: This bill requires health insurers to cover supplemental breast examinations and diagnostic breast examinations.

HF 626 – Nonmedical Switching: This bill prohibits health insurers from switching a covered person’s prescription drugs to a less costly alternative or increasing the cost of the drug on the covered person when the individual is stable on the drug and their health care provider continues to prescribe the same drug.

HF 2100 – Reinsurance for Mutuals: This bill allows county and state mutual associations to obtain reinsurance from companies that are in compliance with Iowa reinsurance laws, rather than only those that are licensed in Iowa.

HF 2490 – Mutual Reorganization and Insurance Timelines: This bill allows for county and state mutual insurance associations to reorganize by forming a mutual insurance holding company. This bill also extends the timeframe in the Automobile Insurance Cancellation Control code chapter and the County and State Mutual Insurance Association code chapters for renewal notification from 30 to 60 days.

HF 2279 – Electric Utilities: This bill adds electric storage unit and nuclear to the list of alternate energy production facilities, requires electric storage units over 25 megawatt hours of electricity to have a generating certificate, and includes language temporarily prohibiting a city from unreasonably refusing to grant a franchise for a merchant line when the IUB has granted a franchise.

HF 2394 – Real Estate Wholesalers: requires a real estate wholesaler to be a licensed realtor or represented by one. Real estate wholesalers hold an equitable interest, but not legal title, in residential property for the purpose of selling the equitable interest.

HF 2668 – Biomarker Testing: requires health insurers to provide coverage for biomarker testing when the testing has demonstrated clinical utility.

HF 2581 – One Call: Iowa Code Chapter 480 has not had many updates in the last 10 years, and this bill is meant to modernize the Iowa One Call system. The bill makes the following changes:

  • Revises the 48-hour notice period  and the notice timeline from 20 days to 25 days.
  • Requires two excavators and two locators to the board as non-voting members.
  • Requires the IUB to receive records upon request when they are involved in a case with the AG’s office and allows the IUB to investigate complaints against locators.
  • Allows the AG to issue civil penalties ($100-$5,000) against the locator if a complaint is filed. Allows for a warning letter from the AGs office instead of the civil penalty.
  • Requires locators to accurately complete locates and to notify One Call when a locate cannot be completed.
  • Requires One Call to establish a communication system to allow for notice to be provided to utilities, locators, and excavators.
  • Allows for nondestructive methods to be used when agreed to by the excavator and utility.
  • Requires the flag used to include the name of the utility.


Local Government Committee Wrap Up

The Local Government Committee reported 9 bills out of the Committee for full consideration of the House of Representatives. These bills cover a range of topics including allowing religious groups to use public funds for public benefit, limiting local government overreach on private property rights, and providing better and more efficient local government.

This legislative session House Republicans passed two important bills to help restore true local control back to property owners across Iowa. As Iowans have seen increases in costs for everything, including home prices, cities have started passing ordinances to limit options for what building materials are allowed for residential buildings. House File 2388, when enacted, will prohibit counties and cities from imposing such strict limitations on property owners. The bill would allow for exemptions for historical landmarks, historical districts, common interest communities (HOAs), overlays, or special zoning districts with overlays.

Another bill to protect Iowans from overly restrictive building requirements has been signed into law by the Governor. Senate File 455 addresses a burdensome regulation that started being enacted by local governments across Iowa. These regulations imposed by cities and counties exceeded state and federal regulations concerning water quality and increasing construction costs for new housing developments and renovations of existing structures and developments. In 1978, the EPA delegated to the Iowa Department of Natural Resources to issue permits under the National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permit program. Under Iowa’s NPDES program, all facilities that discharge pollutants from any point source into waters of the United States or waters of the state are required to obtain an NPDES or operation permit, respectively. One of these permits is the General Permit No. 2, covers stormwater discharge associated with construction activities.

Currently, the General Permit No. 2 requires that unless infeasible, permittees minimize compaction and preserve topsoil and any areas of the site where the ground is disturbed shall remain within the area. The permit also requires that erosion and sediment controls shall be installed to control stormwater volume and velocity. The newly enacted law only allows a city or county to adopt and enforce regulations that would exceed these regulations if the city or county pays for the study, design, and engineering costs for a more restrictive runoff requirement as determined by a licensed engineer. This would allow governments to, if they deem necessary, to regulate above the state requirement but to take on the additional costs instead of passing the cost onto homebuilders and ultimately homebuyers. Regulations imposed on new construction in cities attempting to address a citywide issue will only drive increases in new home pricing and drive down new construction.

Another bill from the committee, House File 2264, was signed into law to help connect public dollars to charitable services that benefit local communities provided by religious groups. Currently, under Iowa law counties and townships are not allowed to directly appropriate public funds to institutions, schools, or associations under ecclesiastical or sectarian management. Once the law goes into effect, public funds would be allowed to be given to these groups for projects and programs to benefit the public. Programs include such as meal services, homeless shelters, etc. The law specifies that the group receiving the funds cannot require participation in religious services, educational programs, or other participation in order to receive the benefit of the program. This bill will be another tool for local governments to further utilize public dollars to help those in their communities who need assistance.


Governor Signs Veterans Legislation

Last month, the Governor completed signing bills that passed the legislature to support Iowa’s veterans. Below is a list of those topics.

  • VSO Training – HF2663 transfers $300,000 from the Lottery fund to provide each county with funds to be used for national training for veteran service officers.
  • Veteran Code Modernization – HF259 updates the definition of veteran in code, adds requirements for the Department of Veterans Affairs and veteran service officers to ensure VSOs are trained and have access to the information needed to complete the job, and updates who pays for the funeral expenses of a deceased veteran.
  • Budget – The HHS Budget funded increases to the Iowa Veterans Home and the Iowa Department of Veterans Affairs.
  • Small Business Linked Investments – SF461 adds veterans to the list of classifications eligible for the small business linked investment program.
  • Veterans Commission Membership – HF2306 adds a member of the marine corps league to the membership of the Commission on Veterans Affairs.
  • U.S.S. Iowa Battleship – The RIIF budget appropriated $750,000 to the IEDA to provide a grant for deck replacement on the U.S.S. Iowa Battleship.


Governor Signs Increase to Contribution Maximums for Educational Savings Plan Trusts

Last month House File 2667 was signed into law. The bill increases the income deduction limit on contributions to College Savings Iowa accounts by almost $1500. Additionally, Iowa Code is amended to match recent changes to federal tax code to allow tax free transfers from an Iowa College Savings Account to a qualified Roth Individual Retirement Account. Beyond increasing the tax deduction of eligible 529 contributions, HF 2667 ties the deduction limit to the Consumer Price Index to keep pace with increasing inflation rates.

Commonly referred to as 529 plans, Iowa College Savings Accounts are plans that allow parents, family members, and others to contribute to a child’s college savings account that grows in value without being subject to federal and state income taxes to provide tax free growth for future higher educational expenses. Qualified expenses that can be paid for by these plans include tuition, certain room and board, books, supplies, fees, equipment, certified apprenticeship programs, and postsecondary trade and vocational schools.

Recent changes to Federal tax policies have made contributing to these 529 plans even more attractive for Iowans. New federal laws allow the transfer of unused 529 funds to the beneficiary’s qualified Roth IRA without tax implications. State law now mirrors this change and would not impose taxation on such transfers for a beneficiary. This new law continues to encourage Iowans to save and invest in their children’s educational future while providing tax relief for those contributions.


Iowa’s Unemployment Rate Decreases to 2.8% in April

Iowa’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate was 2.8% in April, down from last month’s rate of 2.9% and tying the rate from a year ago. The state’s labor force participation rate fell to 66.8%, down from 67% last month. Meanwhile, the U.S. unemployment rate rose to 3.9% in April.

“April’s report shows signs of easing across the Iowa economy, with several industries inching back from huge hiring sprees earlier in the year,” said Beth Townsend, Executive Director of Iowa Workforce Development. “Many industries remain at or near historic highs for employment despite Iowa’s aging workforce. Last month was the tenth month during the past year where Iowans voluntarily left the workforce, possibly to retire or go back to school. With IowaWORKS continuing to list more than 56,000 open jobs, we see plenty of opportunities available for those Iowans who want to work.”

The number of unemployed Iowans decreased to 47,200 in April from 48,700 in March.

The total number of working Iowans fell to 1,646,900 in April. This figure is 1,300 lower than March and 19,300 lower than one year ago.

Seasonally Adjusted Nonfarm Employment
In April, Iowa’s business establishments trimmed payrolls slightly relative to March (-900), lowering total nonfarm employment to 1,610,800. Hiring in private service and government was eclipsed by layoffs in goods-producing industries, particularly within construction, which eased down in April following a sizable gain in March. Private services received a boost from leisure and hospitality and other services, which advanced by a combined 2,000 jobs.

Construction shed the most jobs (-3,100) after establishing an all-time high in March. Even when factoring in the April loss, this sector continues to generally trend up and has gained 1,500 jobs compared to last year. Professional and business services lost 600 in administrative support and waste management services. This sector fared well last month, gaining 2,400 jobs since February. Heavy and civil engineering construction was responsible for much of the movement. Finance posted the only other loss in April, paring 300 jobs with losses in both credit intermediation and insurance. Alternatively, leisure and hospitality expanded their payrolls in April (+1,000). Most of those hires were within eating and drinking establishments, although arts, entertainment, and recreation gained 200 jobs. Other services also gained 1,000 and has advanced by 2,500 jobs over the past three months. Trade and transportation advanced by 600 since March with half of all jobs added being in transportation and warehousing.

Over the past 12 months, total nonfarm employment has increased by 22,900 jobs. The largest gain has been in leisure and hospitality (+5,900). Accommodations and food services fueled all the hiring in this sector; arts, entertainment, and recreation has decreased slightly since last year. Education and health care have added 5,300 over the past 12 months. Most of the jobs gained originated from health care and social assistance (+4,500). On the flip side, trade, transportation, and utilities has lost the most jobs (-3,000). Retail trade along with transportation and warehousing have been responsible for the jobs shed over the past 12 months.


Tuesday June 4th is Primary Election Day

2024 is a general election year in Iowa and Iowans will be voting for their U.S. House Representatives, the Iowa Legislature, and County Officials all in November. Before the general election in November, there will be primary elections to decide which candidates will represent their parties on the ballot this fall. Voters who are already registered as a member of a political party or wish to register with a political party are eligible to vote in the June primary elections. Voters have the option to vote in person on election day June 4th or they can vote early in person at their county auditor’s office until June 3rd. If you are unsure where your polling location is you can look up your address on the Secretary of State’s Precinct / Polling Place Finder. Remember to bring valid photo ID in order to vote (Iowa issued ID, US passport, Department of Defense Identification, or Tribal Identification).

Voters who have requested and received an absentee ballot for the June primary must be received by the County Auditor’s office no later than 8:00PM on June 3rd. As of May 29th, there are currently over 5,000 ballots that have not been returned to county auditors for tabulation. Don’t miss the deadline for your ballot to be counted. You can find even more information and answers to frequently asked questions at the Secretary of State’s Voter Ready website.

Voters who have requested, but not yet received their absentee ballots or have mailed their ballots back to the county auditor can check the status through this ballot tracker. If you have not already received your ballot or have any issues or questions concerning your absentee ballot contact your county auditor for help.


Staying in Touch

Now that the legislative session has ended, I’m back to my monthly newsletters that will be sent out on the first of each month. As always, you can can shoot me an email with any questions or concerns at or you can call the Capitol Switchboard and leave me a message at (515) 281-7340.

Rep. Taylor Collins