Apr 27, 2022 - Politics

Iowa lawmakers approve unemployment cuts and requiring E-15 sales

Photo illustration: Allie Carl/Axios. Photo: Joe Raedle/Getty Images

The Iowa Legislature on Tuesday passed three major bills that were priorities for the governor and Republican lawmakers.

E-15 requirement: The Legislature approved a bipartisan bill that requires the majority of gas stations to sell E-15 fuel, a 15% ethanol-blend gasoline, Iowa Capital Dispatch reports.

  • Waivers may be granted to smaller gas stations, but new fuel pumps must offer the higher-blended fuel.
  • Of note: While the majority of lawmakers support the move, citing the need for more renewable fuel options, some studies argue that ethanol is not more sustainable than regular gasoline.

Cut unemployment benefits: The House and Senate came to a compromise and passed a bill that cuts the state's unemployment benefits from 26 to 16 weeks.

  • Senate Republicans wanted a one-week waiting period to receive benefits, but weren't able to push the measure through.
  • Still, Republicans have lauded the bill as a way to entice workers to jobs. But an economist argues the larger issue is backfilling Iowa's retiring workforce.

Child care challenges: House lawmakers passed a bill that allows 16 year olds to supervise young children without an adult present.

  • The bill also increases how many toddlers an adult at a child care center can watch.

What's ahead: Gov. Kim Reynolds said she plans on signing the three bills soon.

What to watch: It's still up in the air if Reynolds' "school choice" bill will pass this session.

  • Some Republicans in rural areas say it diverts money away from their public schools, and that many counties don't even have private schools.

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