116 3rd St SE
Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52401
DES MOINES — Workers ages 16 and 17 will be allowed to operate pizza dough rollers under legislation signed into law by Gov. Kim Reynolds.
Previously, no workers under the age of 18 could operate pizza dough rollers.
Saying it would help them address a shortage of workers, the convenience store chain Casey’s lobbied for the change in law to allow 16- and 17-year-olds to operate the machines. Those workers still would not be allowed to set up, adjust, repair, oil or clean the pizza dough roller machines.
A lobbyist for Casey’s said the law change brings Iowa regulations in line with other states where there are Casey’s stores, including Minnesota, Illinois and Missouri.
SF 2190 passed both chambers of the Iowa Legislature unanimously.
COVID VACCINE REQUIREMENTS: Schools and day care centers would be prohibited from requiring children to receive the COVID-19 vaccine before attending, under legislation approved by the Senate.
With a party-line, 29-16 vote — with all Republicans supporting and all Democrats opposing — HF 2298 heads to Gov. Kim Reynolds’ desk for her consideration.
Sen. Jason Schultz, R-Schleswig, said the legislation gives parents the authority to choose whether their children are vaccinated against COVID-19.
Democrats noted Iowa students are already required to receive several vaccines before they can attend public school; this legislation does not change that.
Sen. Joe Bolkcom, D-Iowa City, suggested the legislation is intended to create doubt in the efficacy of vaccines.
GEORGE WASHINGTON CARVER DAY: The House voted 85-0 to establish Feb. 1 as George Washington Carver Day in Iowa.
SF 2380 calls on the governor to proclaim Feb. 1 each year as George Washington Carver Day in recognition of Carver’s scientific and agricultural accomplishments and global humanitarian achievements, and to acknowledge Iowa State University and Simpson College, which allowed a Black man to persevere through racial barriers and fulfill his potential, according to the bill.
Carver, who died in 1943, was an agricultural scientist and inventor who promoted alternative crops to cotton as well as farming methods to combat soil depletion. For much of the early 20th century, he was the most prominent Black scientist.
After being refused admission at various colleges, he began his studies at Simpson College in 1890. A professor there encouraged him to study botany at Iowa State, which he began the following year.
The bill previously passed the Senate, 48-0.
EMPLOYMENT REBOUNDS: A new economic trends report from the Legislative Services Agency shows that 65.4 percent of Iowa’s adult population reports having a job. That’s the eighth highest in the nation and 5.6 percentage point above the national average.
The employment-population ratio measures the percentage of the adult, civilian, non-institutionalized population older than 16.
Iowa had the seventh highest employment-population ratio, 69.6 percent, before December 2007, the start of a national recession. The ratio declined in Iowa and nationally during and after the recession.
The Iowa ratio was 68.4 percent in November 2019 before the coronavirus pandemic and the brief recession that began in February 2020. Since the end of the recession in April 2020, the ratio has steadily increased.
Nebraska, the District of Columbia and North Dakota have the highest ratios at 68.6 and 68.2 and 67.4 percent, respectively. The states with the lowest ratios are Mississippi and West Virginia, both at 53.1 percent.
It is likely ratios will continue to be impacted in future months due to the COVID-19 pandemic and the February 2020 recession, the report stated.
An improvement in ratios is possible during 2022 as COVID-19 restrictions cease and service-sector jobs increase, the report stated, adding an increase in temporary or permanent retirements may hinder the ratio.
CAREER CHANGE: Council Bluffs Republican Rep. Jon Jacobsen, formerly of Marion and a Cedar Rapids Regis High School graduate, told colleagues Monday evening he was casting his last vote before reporting for basic training for the Coast Guard Auxiliary.
Jacobsen, 62, said he has been in training to lose weight and build strength to meet the Coast Guard’s physical requirements.
A “proverbial fish who was always happiest on water,” Jacobsen said he was involved in endurance swimming and Boy Scouts activities as a youth. He gained an interest and respect for the Coast Guard, which patrols the Missouri River, during flooding in his Pottawattamie County district in 2019.
Jacobsen, who is a lawyer, bank trust officer and podcaster, is married, the father of three and a grandfather. He is not seeking re-election.
“Instead of serving my constituents in the House, I will be serving them on the Missouri and the Nishnabotna” rivers, Jacobsen said.
FORD SETTLEMENT: Ford Motor Co. has agreed to a $19.2 million multistate settlement regarding claims that it falsely advertised the real-world fuel economy of model year 2013—14 C-Max hybrids and the payload capacity of model year 2011—14 Super Duty pickups, according to Iowa Attorney General Tom Miller.
Iowa will receive a $289,538 payment to its Consumer Education Fund from the settlement.
The settlement agreement also prohibits Ford from making false or misleading advertising claims concerning the estimated fuel economy or payload capacity of a new motor vehicle. It subjects Ford to penalties under the Iowa Consumer Fraud Act if a court determines that Ford violated the settlement agreement.
“Consumers place a premium on fuel-efficiency when shopping for new vehicles,” Miller said. “For years, Ford advertised impressive fuel economy and payload capacity for its cars and trucks,” Attorney General Miller said. “Unfortunately, these figures were not based in reality, leaving customers with vehicles that did not meet their standards.”
USS IOWA: The Iowa House concurred with the Senate to cut funding for the USS Iowa, a Navy fast attack submarine.
The House had approved HF 2147 with a $200,000 general fund appropriation. The Senate cut that to $150,000, with $75,000 from the general fund and $75,000 from the Veterans License Fee Fund, which has been used to buy books, Christmas decorations at the Iowa Veterans Home and computers for the Department of Veterans Affairs.
The House approved the change, 69-24.
FRAUD FIGHTERS: The Iowa Attorney General’s Office will host mobile offices and give presentations around the state this summer to assist Iowans with consumer protection issues, including providing information on how to spot and protect themselves from fraud.
Investigator Al Perales of the Consumer Protection Division can answer consumer questions regarding identifying price gouging, hiring contractors, avoiding scams, and other issues, and can take consumer complaints.
All sessions of the mobile office hours and Iowa Fraud Fighters will be from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. unless otherwise noted:
- May 26, public library, 805 First St. East, Independence
- June 2, public library, 1202 10th St., Eldora
- June 7, 11:30 a.m. to 2 p.m., Rhythm City Casino, 7077 Elmore Ave., Davenport
- June 9, public library, 205 E. Grand St., Monticello
- June 14, 11:30 a.m. to 2 p.m., Cass County Community Building, 805 W. 10th St., Atlantic
- June 21, fraud presentation, 2 p.m., public library, 320 First Ave E., Dyersville
- June 28, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., fraud presentation, public library, 202 Main St., Lake View
- June 29, 11:30 a.m. to 2 p.m., Meskwaki Bingo Casino Hotel, 1504 305th St., Tama
- July 7, 2 p.m., fraud presentation with Grinnell Police Department, Drake Community Library, 930 Park St., Grinnell
- July 13, fraud presentation for Connections Area Agency on Aging, 11:30 a.m., Supertel Inn & Conference Center, 800 Laurel St., Creston
- July 18, fraud presentation for Connections Area Agency on Aging, 11:30 a.m., Siouxland Center for Active Generations, 313 Cook St., Sioux City
- July 27, fraud presentation for Connections Area Agency on Aging, 12:30 p.m., public library, 400 Willow Ave., Council Bluffs