DES MOINES, Iowa — Lawmakers at the Iowa Statehouse carved out a path on Tuesday to end the 2022 legislative session.

The session is working one week into overtime as the session end date was originally scheduled for April 19. On Tuesday, three bills that have been holding up adjournment passed a vote in both chambers and are eligible for Governor Reynolds to sign.

House File 2128, or the biofuels bill, passed through the Senate and House today and is ready to be implemented into law. The bill would require gas stations that sell over 300 thousand gallons of gas a year to have E15 gasoline available to consumers.

The push for this type of legislation comes from both parties wanting Iowa to be a national leader in ethanol production and consumption. The bill passed both chambers with a wave of bipartisan support on Tuesday, with some Republican State Senators opposing the bill due to free-market values.

“We just seem to be on this path where there is just too much comfort with the government making these kinds of power grabs into our private lives and businesses and then handing us the bill for it,” said State Senator Jim Carlin, (R) from Sioux City.

In a statement Governor Reynolds said:

“I am proud that my biofuels legislation will lead to the single greatest expansion of biofuels in our state’s history, while providing our industry with consistency in the face of ever-changing federal policy.”

She added in her press release that she would be signing that bill very soon. E-15 will be required for most pumps in the state by 2026.

House File 2355 also was sent to the Governor’s desk on Tuesday. The bill lowers the number of weeks Iowans are able to claim unemployment benefits from 26 down to 16.

There was hold up for a month between Republicans in the House and Senate on a one-week waiting period before one can collect those benefits. The House did not want this, but the Senate did. Both sides eventually settled on not including it in the final version of the bill.

Gov. Reynolds also released a statement on this bill passing.

“I’ve worked tirelessly to find ways to reinvigorate our workforce and make it more attractive for recruitment and retention of workers. With more than 85,000 job openings in our state, we cannot afford to leave any employable Iowans on the sidelines.”

Gov. Kim Reynolds

Democrats in the House and Senate have been opposed to this overhaul of the unemployment system. Democrats would rather see wages raised and affordable child care, which they believe would provide a bigger help to the workforce.

“Instead of working to fix Iowa’s workforce shortage crisis, Republican lawmakers passed a bill negotiated behind closed doors with special interests to take away earned unemployment from Iowans who lost a job to no fault of their own,” said State Representative Jennifer Konfrst, (D) from Windsor Heights.

Child care centers will have new options with who they can hire and how many kids one provider can watch. House File 2198 passed both chambers by a partisan vote.

The bill would allow 16 and 17-year-olds to work unsupervised in childcare centers. It also increases the amount of two and three-year-olds a single provider is able to watch. The new ratios are one for every seven two-year-old and one for every ten two-year-old.

Metro childcare centers have been vocal in their opposition to these changes; where Iowa YMCA’s were lobbying for these changes to help with after-school and summer programs.

With all three of these bills heading to Governor Reynolds’ desk, there is a light at the end of the tunnel for the 2022 legislative session. The House and Senate are both in session on Thursday morning, where Iowans could get more answers on if the private school scholarship bill will be passed.