ABI Priority Heads to Governor Reynolds

April 29, 2022

This was a significant week for the Iowa Association of Business and Industry (ABI) as the Legislature passed unemployment insurance tax reform, which is ABI’s top legislative priority for 2022.

Although ABI’s priority bills are awaiting Gov. Kim Reynolds’ signature, the session is not over. Both chambers of the Iowa legislature will need to finish key items, such as the budget. In addition to providing updates on the latest activity on legislation, our public policy team will provide an outlook for the remainder of the legislative session and what to expect in the next several weeks.

HF 2355 addresses ABI’s workforce policy priority and will modernize the state’s unemployment insurance system by turning it into a re-employment system. This bill accomplishes several things:

  • Establishes the maximum time an individual can receive unemployment benefits to four (4) months from six (6) months;
  • Establishes the business closing benefit period as six (6) months from nine (9) months;
  • Defines “misconduct” and when an employee is disqualified from benefits;
  • Enhances suitable work requirements; and
  • Streamlines the appeals process and modernizes the guide for interpretation of the legislation.

In late March, both the Iowa House and Iowa Senate passed slightly different versions of the bill. Originally, the legislation included a provision that required a one-week waiting period before someone could receive unemployment benefits. The House passed a version without a one-week waiting period, and the Senate amended the House bill by including the one-week waiting period.

This week, both the Iowa Senate and House agreed to send the House version of the legislation that does not include a one-week waiting period down to Gov. Kim Reynolds’ where it now awaits her signature. She has signaled her support for this legislation and it was included as part of her Condition of the State address. “The success of Iowa’s robust economy is driven by employed Iowans and their hard work ethic,” she released in a statement in response to the legislature’s actions.

“We’ve realigned our state’s workforce agency to serve as a reemployment agency providing more dedicated, one-on-one career coaching, and to make the process for Iowans to reenter the workforce as simple and efficient as possible,” she added.

ABI is appreciative of the leadership Gov. Reynolds’ demonstrated by making this issue a key priority this year. We’d also like to thank Senate Commerce Chair Jason Schultz (R-Schleswig) and Representative Mike Bousselot (R-Ankeny) for floor managing the bill in the Senate and House respectively.

You can read more from the Iowa Capital Dispatch and The Des Moines Register.