Several Bills That Could Have Far-Reaching Affects Clear Hurdles In The Iowa Legislature

Wed 3-6-2019

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — A committee has approved a bill that would amend the Iowa Constitution to declare there is no right to an abortion in Iowa, making it eligible for debate in the full Senate.

All but three of the 32 Senate Republicans have signed onto the bill, which the committee approved Tuesday. No Democrats have signaled support of the measure.

Republican Sen. Jake Chapman introduced it in January, just days after an Iowa judge overturned last year's fetal heartbeat law, which banned abortions as early as six weeks into a pregnancy.

Chapman says his bill addresses what he considers judicial tyranny and overreach.

Democratic Sen. Claire Celsi says she's disgusted by Republican attempts to "spread misinformation and scare monger about women's constitutional rights to make their own health care decisions."

She says the bill is a response to GOP frustrations over their lack of progress in the courts.

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — A Senate committee has approved a bill that requires all Iowa businesses to use the federal E-Verify system to confirm employees are legally authorized to work in the United States or face losing their business license.

The bill is now eligible for Senate debate.

The bill voted out of a committee Tuesday prohibits businesses from knowingly employing workers with no legal residency status. It requires Iowa Workforce Development to investigate violations and enforce the measure.

Democratic Sen. Rob Hogg echoed the concerns of several business groups who say E-Verify routinely wrongly flags U.S. citizens as not being in the country legally and makes other errors.

Republican Sen. Julian Garrett says employers who pay low wages to workers in the country illegally creates an unfair advantage over companies that follow the rules. He says the bill would help ensure only legal workers are employed in Iowa.

Garrett says more than 20 states have similar measures.

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — An Iowa Senate subcommittee has advanced a bill that would require tens of thousands of Medicaid recipients to work to keep their benefits.

Medicaid is a health insurance program for poor or disabled people paid for with federal and state money. Among those covered in Iowa are 172,000 adults living in poverty who were added to the program as part of a health care insurance expansion enabled by the Affordable Care Act.

Republican Sen. Jason Schultz says there's a "groundswell of support" for a work requirement in his northwest Iowa district.

State officials say about 60,000 people could be affected by the bill, which requires recipients to work or volunteer at least 20 hours per week.

Opponents say it could kick people off Medicaid who must stay home, such as to care for a parent with Alzheimer's.

The nonpartisan Kaiser Family Foundation says seven other states have similar laws, including Arkansas where 18,000 Medicaid recipients were kicked off their health insurance after last year's enactment of the law.